Earth, Wind, fire, and Air Pollution

Views 41872 Votes 0 2011.02.19 11:17:27

Earth, Wind, Fire, and Air Pollution

Paul Hyun – Woodson High School


          Pollution is the contamination of the environment that causes a change in nature or the space around it.  The main problems in pollution are those that take place in the water, soil, and in the air.  Water pollution is caused by the wastes and chemicals that go into the water, causing it to be toxic and harmful. (Krantz and Kifferstein)  The pollution in a body of water can include different materials and chemicals such as nitrates and phosphates that come from human activity. (Krantz and Kifferstein)  If the organisms that live in a water are exposed to pollution, then the population will change and the cycle of nature will be disrupted in an ecosystem.  Pollution can also be caused by petroleum (oil) that can spill into the ocean, causing it to be more polluted. (Krantz and Kifferstein)  If nitrogen goes into a body of water, it will cause an increase of algae, due to the amount of nutrients of the nitrogen. (Gardiner)  Algal blooms occur due to this, and cause the water to be more toxic with the continual addition of nitrogen.  The pollution in the water is the biggest problem in the world, since 80 percent of the earth’s population lies in the oceans and the atmosphere. (Greenpeace)


          Air pollution is caused when a gas (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and hydrocarbons) is released into the atmosphere and makes the air more dangerous to breathe. (Socha)  The first sign of pollution were shown when a fire caused carbon dioxide to spread into the atmosphere.  Some of the chemicals can be spread into the atmosphere because of the increasing rate of fuel combustion and the increase of automobile pollution. (Socha)  The main chemical that is released into the air is carbon dioxide, and is caused from a forest fire or the burning of fossil fuels in an environment. (Socha)  The factors and reasons why the growth of pollution spreads rapidly are because of society’s industrialization, the introduction of automobiles, and the growth of populations.  The air pollution found in homes comes from sources that people use every day including electronically charged sources such as the cable from phones, the use of copying machines, or the problem of poor ventilation. (Socha)  In the body of an average person, there are more than 100 different types of pollutants.  Some of the ones that are harmful can cause disease and weaken a part of your body system. (Health and Energy)


The pollution in an atmosphere is mostly affected by the spread of human activity and the growth of the population.  As the human population increases, there will be a more need of factories and industries to support the amount of people in an area, making the cause of pollution increase. (Gardiner) When an area has reached it’s carrying capacity and has no more space to sustain any more growth, it has to grow further and expand, forcing expansion causing the amount of pollution to rise.  The pollution in the atmosphere can cause further increase of pollution because of the pollution in the atmosphere. (Gardiner)  If some of the pollution is mixed in with the rain, then the polluted rain will also cause a rise in pollution.


The pollution in the soil can come from water or the air while sending some of the pollution back.  Pollution in the soil mostly comes from manmade reasons such as waste materials, acid rain, and radioactive dumps. (Soil Pollution)  One of the biggest manmade causes of pollution was the outburst of war and the problems that occurred during it. (Soil Pollution)  During the war, the soil that was unharmed turned into a battlefield and caused it to become destroyed as time went on.  Even after the war, countries that were affected were in a shortage of food and had to look for faster ways to make nutrients. (Soil Pollution)  Due to this, some harmful fertilizers were introduced and made the ground more polluted. (Soil Pollution)  The soil pollution can be spread to humans directly, or indirectly. (Pollution effects)  Direct contamination is caused when someone physically contacts the soil and can also be indirect contamination when someone inhales the soil after it was dissolved in the soil. (Pollution effects)  Both of these ways can occur in secondary contamination when pollution from the soil spreads through the food that is consumed and can cause food organizations to be cautious. (Pollution effects)


Through the years, laws were passed about pollution, but weren’t taken seriously until it was increasing at an alarming rate.  Ultimately, they found out that if the rate of pollution were to increase, then the effects would include a loss of wildlife, loss of some vision, and a risk of health in the body. The first major sign of pollution occurred in 1930 in the Meuse Valley of Belgium when pollution caused a group of smog to float for five days.  Similar events occurred in different places, causing deaths and major illness in a population.  The effect of air pollution affects more on the population of a young and elderly group because of their weak lungs and body.  A way to prevent inhaling too much pollution in the air is to watch the forecasts of air quality and to try to go out only when the pollution rate is low.


The pollution in the air can cause a decrease of sight and also blindness if exposed to it for too long.  Smog is a combination of smoke and fog that contains pollution.  (Eastburn)

The starting place for smog usually occurs in a city with a big population while the wind carries it to other distant areas.  The biggest problem of smog in the atmosphere is the cause of the change of climate and decrease of the amount of sunlight.  If there is a decrease in sunlight, then the main source of power would decrease significantly and would end up as a problem to the energy needed. (Eastburn)  Besides smog affecting the amount of sunlight, it can also disrupt the patterns of precipitation and rainfall.


Because of the pollution spread by the wind, it migrates to nature and damages the ecosystem.  Like humans, the organisms in a biome can be affected by health problems because of the spread of pollution. Some pollutants directly go into the animals, but others combine with the nutrients they consume and cause the food to be contaminated. (Eastburn)  When enough pollution combines for sulfuric acid, acid rain is then produced and harms the natural world. (Eastburn)  Acid rain can cause harm to the trees, plants, animals, and the soil, which makes the cycle in an ecosystem changed and altered.  Different pollutants in an atmosphere can affect and destroy the ozone, giving a space for the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet radiation to go through the stratosphere and cause problems in the biosphere.  The change of ozone in different parts of the atmosphere can alter and change the reproductive cycles of respiration. (Eastburn)  When plants can’t properly use photosynthesis, they will decay and will make the supply of producers decrease. (Eastburn)


          Over the years, people became more cautious of pollution and its effects and tried to prevent it.  To prevent pollution, some stopped driving cars to prevent any carbon dioxide from getting into the atmosphere.  Others, who thought giving up their car was not an option, cleaned their car so that the waste and dirty materials didn’t transfer as they were driving.  (Auckland Council)  To be ecologically friendly, some people recycle and reuse items so that it can be used again and not wasted. (Auckland Council)  To make sure that pollution didn’t get too dangerous, organizations were made to insure that the spread of pollution didn’t spread. (EPA)  The Environmental Protection Agency was an organization made in 1970 by President Nixon and was a step into stopping pollution.  After the EPA was made, there was a change of air pollution in the national policy.  The EPA made pollution laws and were responsible for repairing anything done to the natural world from pollution.  The Greenpeace organization is an international group that helped the environment cleaner and freer of pollution.  The Greenpeace organization tries to stop pollution around the world without violence through campaigns. (Greenpeace)  Being in 40 countries around the world, the organization prevented pollution in different parts of the world by making major laws and regulations.  By making laws and treaties, organizations succeed in making a country less polluted.


          One of the major laws that were made worldwide was a treaty called the Kyoto Protocol, made in 1997. (UNFCCC)  The Kyoto Protocol was an international treaty that targeted countries with the most pollution and tried to make them agree to reduce the greenhouse gas that they produced. (UNFCCC)  This treaty was ratified by 183 nations, limiting 35 major industrialized countries. (Washington Post)  Because of the countries that were still developing, they weren’t expected to contribute to the treaty, allowing them to grow enough before joining. (Washington Post)  Out of the countries the treaty targeted, 2 countries, the United States and Australia refused to sign the protocol. (Washington Post)  One of the main reasons for the refusal was because of the fear of the decrease of the economical growth.  Because they were required to lose 7% of their pollution spread if they agreed to the treaty, over 5 million jobs would be lost with a $400 billion loss per year. (Washington Post)  Due to this decision, some of the states take their own opinion and try to help the economy by cutting their pollution growth. (Washington Post)  Different states see a problem in their ecosystem that they feel they need to act before anything harmful could happen by finding ways to make efficient solutions to decrease pollution. (Washington Post)  But since many of the countries agreed to this act, it was seen as one of the most important steps into a worldwide agreement to pollution. (UNFCCC)


          As each day goes on, more pollution is spread through the world, but people try to prevent it by making sure that it doesn’t spread too far and cause a threat to the environment.







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