Despite significant progress, the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2010 reportfound that nearly 58 percent of Americans continue to inhale dangerously polluted air.
Sardinero Beach saturated with people in Santander, SpainAccording to Opednews.com, over-population exponentially increases air pollution.The United States is expected to add at least 100 million more people by 2040.
Pilatus PC-12Aircraft emissions will likely become one of the largest contributors to global warming by 2050,due to increased aircraft traffic. There is particular concern about jet emissions in thestratosphere, where the warming effect of some pollutants is magnified. On a typical New York-to-Denver flight, a commercial jet emits up to 1,660 pounds of carbon dioxide per passenger,which is about what an SUV generates in a month.
In the U.S., transportation is the largest single source of air pollution. It was responsible formore than half of the carbon monoxide, over a third of the nitrogen oxides, and almost aquarter of the hydrocarbons emitted in 2006, according to the EPA.
According to the American Lung Association (ALA), pollution from heavy highway trafficcontributes to a higher risk of heart attack, allergies, premature births, anddeaths of infants around the time they are born. of lower lung function,developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and dying prematurely.
Trucks are a major source of smog, toxic chemical pollution, and fine particle diesel soot,which causes respiratory problems, cancer, and up to 50,000 premature deaths a year.According to Clean Air Trust, trucks could use 90% cleaner fuel. with less sulfur.
Long-term particle pollution is linked to increased hospitalizationfor asthma attacks for children living near roads with heavy traffic.
Open-fire in Breckenridge, ColoradoBurning wood produces the raw materials for particle pollution, according to the ALA.
Toxic pollutants in the air and deposited on soils or surface waters harm wildlife innumerous ways. Studies show that air pollution is contributing to birth defects,reproductive failure, and disease in animals.
Birds are more susceptible to ozone, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide becauseof their high respiratory rates and they die from inhaling pollution and consumingpolluted sources of water and food.
Air pollutants harm trees by damaging their foliage and impairing the process ofphotosynthesis. Preserving the nation’s forests is important to counteracting air pollution,especially in urban areas, as trees are the principal absorber of carbon dioxide.
Ever since the 1970s, pollution hanging over downtown Denver, famously known as“the Brown Cloud,” can often be clearly seen, especially on cold winter days. The hazy skies above the city are due to Denver’s location at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, which causes temperature inversions where warm air, which is less dense, rises and traps the coolerair near the ground.
According to inventory data produced by the Colorado Department of Public Health, from 2004 and 2005, oil and gas production facilities were accountable for more than 50% ofall the volatile organic compounds released from stationary sources in Colorado, at timescausing dangerous levels of ozone in the air.
According to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission, the Denver Metro- NorthFront Range region has exceeded ozone standards since the early 2000s and was designateda federal nonattainment area for ozone in 2007. Historically, a major source of pollution in thisarea was the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.
The Rocky Mountain Arsenal was used as a chemical weapons manufacturing centerduring World War II, and dangerous levels of air pollution resulted from the routinedemolition of obsolete munitions.
The arsenal was placed on the National Priorities List of Superfund sites in 1987,and has since become one of the largest environmental cleanup programsin the nation.
The cleanup program is expected to end in 2011, and the Rocky Mountain ArsenalWill become one of the largest urban national wildlife refuges.
To aid legislation in the 1977 Clean Air Act to prevent and aid existing visibility impairment to Class I areas, the IMPROVE program was initiated in 1985.Arches National Park in Utah is a Class I area because it is greater than 6,000 acres.
The IMPROVE program implemented an extensive long-term monitoring program to trackchanges in visibility and determine causal mechanisms for the visibility impairment in theNational Parks and Wilderness Areas.
The Rocky MountainsIn 2006, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission approved restrictions on the oil and gas industry to curb emissions and, in 2010, approved a plan to replace power plantswith commercial boilers to reduce “regional haze” in a unanimous vote. The plan isexpected to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 70,000 tonsby 2018.
Denver Light RailAccording to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), public transportationin the U.S. saves approximately 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline and about 1.5million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Yet 88 percent of all trips in the U.S. are made bycar.
If just one in 10 Americans used public transportation daily,U.S. dependence on foreign oil would decrease by 40 percent.
Hybrid cars, like the Toyota Prius, emit far lower levels of air pollutants thanconventional cars because of increased gas mileage. Emissions can be reduced upto 90 percent, when comparing hybrid cars to traditional gas-powered vehicles,according to CarbonMonoxidePoisoning.Com.
Solar power is a great alternative and renewable energy source, and can be used to chargeElectric Vehicles (EVs). According to EnergyIndependence, the technology to harness the powerof the sun is available now and could provide all of the energy that Americans now consume.