Air pollution occurs when substances known as pollutants are in excess in the environment (What Is Air Pollution? n.d.). These substances are divided into two broad categories namely primary and secondary pollutants. Primary pollutants include carbon IV oxide and sulfur IV oxide that are emitted directly into the air.
On the other hand, secondary pollutants result after primary pollutants have undergone through chemical effects/reactions. An example of secondary pollutants is photochemical smog that results when fossil fuels like gasoline react with oxides of nitrogen gas in the presence of sunlight.
This process produces numerous chemicals, which are hazardous and highly toxic. Automobiles greatly contribute to air pollution, as they release fumes into the atmosphere. They also pollutes environment indirectly through the industries that manufacture their body parts, disposal, and refueling. Moreover, there is pollution that comes during refining and distribution of car fuels.
Automobiles, like cars, produce chemical compounds such as carbon IV oxide, which is a powerful greenhouse gas. On the other front, other components of car air pollution include dirty air, smoke, and smog. They cause difficulties in breathing, watery eyes and upon inhalation increases the risk of lung cancer.
Cars also pollute land; for instance, when their tires wear out, the particles remain in the soil. Further, cars cause water pollution when particles from their tires are washed into streams. At car wash points, the dirt from these vehicles gets into rivers and lakes thus causing pollution (Cars and Air Pollution n.d.).
The effluents are directed into streams of water like rivers, lakes, and oceans and, finally, human beings use them for domestic consumption. From the two broad categories of pollutants, from cars, there are four classifications of the pollutants, which include the following: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) or hydrocarbons, Carbon II Oxide (CO), Particulate Matter (PM), and Nitrogen Oxides (NOX).
These chemicals have different lifespan while in the air (Car Pollution Facts n.d). For instance, some hang around for a few hours as others stay in air for thousands of years. The four classes of pollutants results when fuel, air, and spark interact/come together and water is released in the process.
Particulate Matters are particles from soot and metals. They are the reason behind the murky coloration in smog. In car air pollution, automobiles emit sulfur IV oxide, nitrogen oxides, and other hydrocarbons. Later, these pollutants react with other substances in the environment to form secondary pollutants. Hydrocarbons react with nitrogen oxides to form ozone at the ground level. Notably, this reaction occurs in the presence of sunlight.
Ozone causes reduction in capacity of the lungs, choking, and coughing (Car Pollution Facts n.d). Nitrogen oxides always weaken the defenses of the body against respiratory diseases like influenza and pneumonia. Cars and trucks are the major emitters of carbon II oxide from combustion of gasoline. This gas is colourless, odourless, and very poisonous. Further, NO2 can prevent the flow of oxygen in the blood to other parts of the body like the brain.
Sulfur IV oxide (SO2) are produced when cars burn diesel, which are sulfur containing fuels. SO2 forms finer particles upon reacting with the environment hence causing great health risk to human population, animals, and plants. Additionally, car air pollution has toxics or hazardous air pollutants. They include benzene, 1, 3-butadiene, and acetaldehyde compounds (Cars, Trucks, & Air Pollution 2008). Again, CO2 that is emitted by cars causes global climate change.
Historically, car air pollution is a common phenomenon across valleys and cities worldwide. The coming up of large cities and towns led to rise of industries; for instance, the car manufacturing industries. These industries released waste products into the environment.
This trend continued until nature could not cope up with the level of wastes in the atmosphere. These emissions concentrate in regions where they are emitted and can lead to adverse effects to human beings. For example, in December 1952, London experienced a smog event, which created a toxic atmosphere; the occurrence consequently proclaimed about 4000 human lives (Gow & Pidwirny 1996).
Currently, there are so many automobiles under the transport sector. Therefore, they cause air pollution through emissions during operation. In addition, air pollution comes from the manufacturing industries as they continue to supply vehicles in order to meet the increasing market demand, the distribution, and manufacturing of cars’ fuels.
Markedly, the manufacturing companies aim at maximizing profits by increasing their market sales each year. Government agencies have also failed in controlling this trend, as they view it as a source of tax and revenue for their daily operations. However, these funds are again used in controlling environmental degradation; as a result, the whole process has no benefits but limitations. Any effect on the environment affects all humanity irrespective of the actors.
Therefore, stringent measures should be put in place to avert such scenarios from occurring. In China, most of its carbon dioxide emissions come from cars. At present, the cars are cleaner than they were 30 years ago (Car Pollution Facts n.d.). On the other hand, the pollution level is determined by the miles that a car covers in a day, but not the type of cars that one owns. Today there are still more cars that are driven for long distances.
As a result, they burn many gallons of fuel. This situation needs solutions to control. California and China, for example, use over 80 million gallons of gasoline per day. A 600-acre lake of two feet deep can be filled with 400 million gallons of gasoline. Traffic idling also leads to 8 million gallons usage of fuel.
Car air pollution have numerous effects that it posses to the entire environment. The first instance is the effect on the size of babies that mothers in car-polluted areas deliver. After birth, such children experience stunted growth syndrome. The pollutants reduce the sizes of babies in these regions; this leads to health complications and can result to early infant deaths (Car Pollution Facts n.d.).
It also leads to premature births; the situation that makes it difficult for such babies to survive. Therefore, car air pollution does not only affect already born human persons but also affect the unborn/fetus. This observable fact is very serious therefore should be addressed from all perspectives in order to ensure healthy lives for all. The emissions can also cause severe respiratory and neurological infections in human beings.
For example, the small particles from nitrogen oxides can easily penetrate the humans’ respiratory systems into the lungs. These toxic substances settle in the lungs and disrupt the normal flow of air in and out of the lungs. If this situation persists, human beings develop lung cancer.
Car air pollution has toxics or hazardous air pollutants: therefore, breathing polluted air increases the probability of contracting heart diseases, bronchitis, and asthma (King 2011). On the other aspect, CO gas can block the smooth flow of oxygen into the brain; consequently, leading to brain complications. Car air pollution also damages the neurons that are responsible for learning and memorization of ideas.
Noticeably, these effects are perilous. In the US, close to 80 people die per day due car air pollution, while in Europe, over 300 people die due to the same effect. Notably, these infections are due to car air pollution that the human population can control if they collectively decide to act.
Moreover, car air pollution causes global warming. Global warming involves the change in climatic conditions of a given area, that is, abnormal high temperatures during the day and extremely low temperatures during the night, severe droughts, flooding instances and melting of glaciers. These conditions arise when CO2 and other substances that trap heat are in the atmosphere.
They form a blanket-like structure that traps heat from the ground (King 2011). This continuous process increases the ground temperatures, as heat is unable to get into the outermost part of the atmosphere. This increase in heat waves, acidic oceans, and rising sea levels, clearly shows that global warming can disrupt the food chain.
This effect, then, leads to food insecurity, which is a basic need for all. Although cars can be comfortable and classy, their effects on the environment range wide to causing food insecurity. In addition, cars emit some particles that can get in contact with the ground and changes completely the acidity and alkalinity of the land. The change in pH of the soil makes it impossible for the continuous growth of crops (King 2011).
Evidently, the yield will greatly go down and even results to no yield. Again, agricultural lands will be rendered unproductive since the high acidity kills all the important organisms that support the growth of crops. Gases like sulfur IV oxide and nitrogen oxides cause acidic rain. This type of rain can kill living organisms in vegetations if it falls on their leaves and stem.
When the leaves are not available, plants cannot make their own food through photosynthesis (King 2011). The acidic nature withdraws water from all parts of the plants hence drying up. If this water falls on the skin of a human being, it forms a cold burn or scald due to withdrawal of water from the body.
In line with global warming, cars also emit bromine and chlorine-heavy substances that can deplete the ozone layer. The depletion enables ultraviolet rays to reach the earth surface. Further, there are fluids that cars use and are very toxic to humans for example, air-conditioning refrigerants and gasoline (King 2011). If disposed off wrongly, they get into the air and water systems. Coolants like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have damaging effects on the ozone layer.
From the above discussion on the effects of car air pollution, it is essential to discuss vividly some of the solutions or mitigation measures that humans can adopt in order to avert/reduce these scenarios. Car air pollution ought to be controlled.
The whole world should ensure that their automobiles are electrified. Such vehicles do not release effluents into the atmosphere thereby maintaining the cleanliness of air. The National Aeronautics and Space Exploration (NASA) have tried to move towards this direction by making cars that use natural gas. The idea was initially meant to monitor the propelling of hydrogen in the Space Shuttle.
The automobile industry has borrowed the concept to develop the environmentally friendly cars. Besides, the engineers make the radial tires from larger chain materials thereby increasing their lifespan by over 10,000 miles (Lithium Battery Power Delivers Electric Vehicles to Market 2008). The purification of air and water using various methods helped in making them safe for human consumption. The effect reduced health problems that were posing a significant threat to the humankind, animals, and other properties/materials.
On the other front, using electricity will reduce overdependence on oil and even encourage continuous use of cleaner biofuels. Countries like Brazil and China have started using this technology and are saving billions of dollars that could have been spent at the gas pumps. In further reducing emissions, NASA has also developed vehicles powered by lithium batteries.
The fuel cell systems generate energy through electrochemical reaction. In this case, oxygen and hydrogen rich fuel coalesce to form water. Fuel cell systems provide opportunities that has outstanding benefits, including the non- combustion of fuel. Fuel cells eliminate greenhouse gases over the entire cycle. Hydrogen electrolysis is driven by renewable energy and therefore the degree of safety is highly enhanced.
The electric vehicles do not emit any effluent thus making them safer to the environment compared to other models. In the transportation sector, human beings can practice a culture of riding or walking to work, driving for short distances, or forgoing driving at least once a week. These practices help to reduce the amount of gas that is burnt during movements hence less oil will be used (Lithium Battery Power Delivers Electric Vehicles to Market 2008).
World governments should enact policies that ensure that the vehicle manufacturing industries supply the market with fuel-efficient cars. Such cars will use less gas to cover a given distance thereby improving the quality of air, ensuring public health protection, and reducing global warming emissions (Clean Vehicles 2012). The US federal government enacted a policy in 2002 that guides vehicle-manufacturing companies on the standards of vehicles that should be in the market until 2025.
Moreover, carbon dioxide in the air can be removed from the atmosphere through technological applications. Humankinds need to burn less coal, natural gas, and oil. The recycling of CO2 from the atmosphere is an idea of geo-engineering. Some of the companies that have ventured in this initiative include Kilimanjaro Energy, Global Thermostat, and Carbon Engineering. The latter industry is in Canada while the first two are in Columbia.
These industries remove CO2 from the air through chemical procedures (Gunther 2012). These startup companies also intend to find CO2 markets in the oil industries. Oil industries use liquefied CO2 to push oil remnants out of the barrel. In addition, these industries plans to build their carbon capture plants at a low cost of operation and construction. This innovative idea is similar to carbon credit, as they all intend to minimize emissions into the atmosphere.
There can be development of alternative sources of energy like wind, geothermal and solar. Along with this, there should be manufacturing of cleaner fuels. For example, using a mixture of gasoline and alcohol from fermented sugarcanes helps to minimize air pollution. This type of fuel, gasohol, is very friendly to the environment.
Apart from using food products, advanced biofuels can be obtained from agricultural wastes, grasses, and garbage. Cellulosic biofuels significantly reduce global warming emissions and provide a great opportunity for saving on oil (Transportation and Air Quality 2013). As the industries move towards producing an environmentally friendly fuel, there should be proper policies on disposal of used cars in order to minimize the cost of protecting the fauna and flora (Thumma 2000).
In addition, to ensure a clean environment, all humans should take the responsibility of monitoring their professional and personal lives. These solutions should start at an individual level for example by recycling wastes, reducing energy consumption, and decreasing CO2 emissions from cars. This initiative is not only for corporate or government bodies but also for individual persons living in the society.
In conclusion, the adverse effects of car air pollution imply that serious and achievable steps should be taken to eradicate this menace. It requires unraveled commitment from all the sectors, since an act by one person will affect everybody.
For example, while vehicle-manufacturing companies target high profits from their sales, they should understand the ethical implications of protecting the atmosphere. Their actions will definitely increase their cost of protecting the environment. Organizations should carry out mass education among the human population so that the people can own the whole conservation process.
Moreover, a clean environment will support the growth of forests and crops that will support the growing population. Human beings will also experience less health complications that could result from car air pollution like obesity and asthmatic conditions. Therefore, for all to benefit, environmental protection remains an inclusive affair.
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