The topic I have chosen for today is something we all take for granted-the air. Most of us hardly ever think about it. It’s just something we take for granted. But the air we breathe carries pollutants that can be bad for our health. People with sensitivities, like those who have asthma, or the elderly, and also athletes are especially vulnerable to unhealthy levels of air pollution. There are many kinds of air pollution. The ones I want to talk about are the ozone, acid rain, carbon monoxide and toxic air contaminants. Ozone is formed when hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide react in sunlight.
Acid rain deposits are found in fossil fuels emitted from utility and industrial sources. The power plants that were built before the 1977 Clean Air Act did not have to comply because they were supposed to be phased out eventually. Many are still operating today, releasing much more pollution than modern plants. 97 percent of the acid rain and haze-causing sulfur dioxide, 85 percent of the ozone smog-causing nitrogen oxide, and 99 percent of the toxic mercury pollution come from the utility sector.
Unfortunately, these pollutants can be carried in the atmosphere by weather systems. Thus, they can travel for hundreds of miles causing damage as they go. Acid deposits in the soil can have devastating affects in the forest. It gradually causes the loss of plant nutrients, calcium and magnesium. This leads to dying off of trees in the forest. Also, acid deposits in lakes and streams have led to a drop in fish production. Mercury is another source of pollution which can be harmful to humans and wildlife.
It comes from the emissions of coal-burning power plants and is deposited into the air and water. This chemical damages the nervous system, and has a detrimental affect on reproduction and prenatal development. Greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, absorb energy radiated by the Earth and then send it back into our atmosphere as heat. This is called the greenhouse effect.