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Air Pollution in London

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Autor:   •  June 6, 2018  •  Research Paper  •  1,967 Words (8 Pages)  •  128 Views

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London, at present, which not only has an alarming level of nitrogen dioxide (NOx) in its air, but has also successfully breached the legal limits of NOx, just a month after the Mayor of London introduced an Emissions Surcharge in an attempt to combat the worsening situation of air pollution (Talk London, 2018). In fact, in 2012, the United Nations produced a report stating that nearly 7 million people suffered as casualties simply due to air pollution (WHO, 2018). According to Maria Neira, the World Health Organisation's public and environmental health chief, both indoor and outdoor air pollution are affecting developing and developed nations and is currently the largest environmental health issue (WHO, 2018). Air pollution can be described as the process of the air in the atmosphere when it undergoes biological, physical and photochemical changes, and due to this series of events, the air in the atmosphere becomes severely contaminated.There are several types of air pollutants hovering in the atmosphere such as particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NOx) and ozone. Due to these harmful gases, dust, and smoke hovering in the atmosphere, living organisms are affected by respiratory, cardiac and several other health-damaging problems. This essay will assess air pollution, discuss ways to reduce or prevent this problem as well as evaluate how realistic these solutions are

Air pollution is caused by a tremendous number of reasons.They can be highlighted as the main and important causes which are the burning of fossil fuels, road traffic, hazardous air pollutants, and greenhouse gases. A few examples of fossil fuels are petroleum, natural gases and coal. It has been understood that fuel, which is derived from petroleum, is not very good in quality as it contains gasoline, a very toxic and highly inflammable liquid. A study carried out by a group of lecturers from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh found that secondary organic aerosol (SOA), a component of organic particles (OA), was highly formed when gasoline was combusted. Due to this occurrence, the concentration level of the oxides of nitrogen increased significantly (Sharma, 2015). Next, road vehicles and transport account for a consequential part in causing air pollution as they release a very high amount of chemical gases when in use (Environmentlaw.org.uk, 2018). The gases compromise alarming levels of carbon monoxide, carbon NOx and other health-damaging pollutants. In 2013, it was even reported that the amount of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides that was found in the air, half of it was fueled from from the gases that were released by vehicles (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2018). Due to this, serious pollution problems have surfaced such as smog and carbon monoxide gas.  Inhalation of carbon monoxide does not only lead to an array of fatal pulmonary diseases, it can also cause immediate death if inhaled in large amounts. Michael Gove, the environment secretary to the UK government, stated that due to the toxicity of air, nearly 40,000 early deaths were reported in the UK (Carrington and editor, 2018).        

Hazardous air pollutants usually consist of particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide. Particulate matter, which is made up of 7 components, consists of a mixture of solid and liquid particles of organic and inorganic substances suspended in the air (Conserve Energy Future 2018). Particles, are often associated with causing haze, that further causes air pollution due to their light density and fine nature. The last cause of air pollution that will be discussed is the release of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect and it is caused by the absorption of infrared that is caused by radiation. Again, carbon dioxide, being the main pollutant of a greenhouse gas, is constantly leading to increased temperatures in the air and this causes, which causes the air to be trapped in the atmosphere, thus leading to increased temperature in the atmosphere, which eventually leads to severe air pollution. Greenhouse gases is also made up of several other gases such as methane and chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases which also contribute to the air pollution in today’s world.

Although air pollution is caused by a tremendous number of reasons, there are also methods that can be incorporated in one’s daily life that would contribute to lesser degrees of air pollution. In order to reduce the SOA formation in the air, petroleum manufacturers should increase the quality of fuel. This can be done by adding hydrogen fuel additives to fuel as it would result in reductions of emissions. In fact, in 2009, British manufacturer, CGON developed Ezero1, a hydrogen additive product which aids in reducing emissions produced by a vehicle engine by up to 80% (Technology, 2018). According to information on the developer’s website, the unit once installed on an engine, allows only a certain amount of hydrogen to be combusted, which generates a coherent combustion phase. This combination of air-fuel-hydrogen would then not only burn faster, but also more thoroughly without the release of any hazardous by-products. Next, another solution will be to introduce autonomous vehicles, i.e self driving cars. According to the auto industry and environmental advocates in the UK, the use of this smart technology helps in tackling the amount of carbon monoxide that is released into the air (Croy, 2015). For example, smart-cars come fitted with a high-end modern technology that lets the driver detects parking spots and also sends information to the driver in real time. This reduces the amount of time spent by drivers looking for parking, a whooping 21%, and as well as the amount of carbon monoxide being emitted ( Julia Pyper, 2018)   For example, people could start switching to more economical-friendly products at home as it has been proven that these products help reduce release of ground-level ozone into the air (European Environment Energy 2018). Another habit that people should incorporate into their daily lives is to start start saving electricity. This can be done so by turning off switches of appliances, heat and lighting when it is not being used as advised by the European Environment Body (European Environment Energy 2). Besides that, another good habit that can be taken up by people is to start carpooling whenever they are are commuting to places. This method is quite advantageous as this would help reduce the number of automobiles on the road. Decreased number of automobiles on the road will gradually start contributing to lesser release of of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere that would help in reducing the air pollution in the atmosphere. Another effective method would be by banning smoking outdoors completely. This step however can only be taken by the government as a new statute would need to be created and it is understandable that most people would stop doing something only if there was a ban on it by a government body.

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