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Air Pollution Concerns & Efforts

Air Pollution Concerns & Efforts
Gabriella Perez
SUST 410

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Air Pollution Concerns & Efforts

  1. 1. Air Pollution: Concerns & Efforts Case Studies: Distrito Federal, Mexico, D.F Gabriella Perez Fall 3015 SUST 410 Ramapo College of New Jersey
  2. 2. Air pollution is the introduction into the atmosphere of chemicals, particulates, and biological matter that cause harm to humans, other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment. Air pollutants - airborne substances that occur in concentrations high enough to threaten the health of people and animals, to harm vegetation and structures, or to toxify a given environment (See Ahrens, 2000). Air Pollution is measured by the amount in 'concentration'. What is Air Pollution? The air that makes up our atmosphere is almost entirely made up of two gases (78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen), with a few other gases (such as carbon dioxide and argon) in smaller quantities.
  3. 3. Sources of Air Pollution Natural Sources: wind picking up dust suspended Particles volcanic eruptions dust, ash, gases like SO2, CO2 forest fires: smoke, ash, unburned hydrocarbons, CO2 Vegetation: VOCs, pollen Ocean Waves: salt particles Anthropocentric Sources: industry Mills, power plant, refineries manufacturing particulate matter, SOx, NOx, ash transportation open burning of refuse CO, NOx, VOCs, particulate matter forest fires smoke, ash, CO2
  4. 4. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for six common air pollutants. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA establishes air quality standards to protect public health and the environment. EPA has set national air quality standards for six common air pollutants. (See Of the six pollutants, particle pollution and ground-level ozone are the most widespread health threats. EPA calls these pollutants "criteria" air pollutants because it regulates them by developing human health- based and/or environmentally- based criteria (science-based guidelines) for setting permissible levels. The set of limits based on human health is called primary standards. The Big 6 Carbon Monoxide (CO) created by incomplete combustion (especially bad with older cars) generates headaches, drowsiness, fatigue, can result in death Ground-level Ozone (O3) Lead (Pb) Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx, NO) emitted directly by autos, industry Particulate Matter (PM) dust, ash, salt particles bad for your lungs Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) Sulfur Oxides (SOx) produced largely through coal burning responsible for acid rain
  5. 5. requires clear, sunny skies (since L.A. photochemical smog requires sunlight for at one of the key chemical reactions). NOx + ROG + sunlight --> O3 + NO2 ROG are reactive organic gases from unburned gasoline NOx are oxides of nitrogen Primary pollutants in LA smog: CO - carbon monoxide NO - nitric oxide ROG - reactive organic gases (unburned gasoline) These are mainly direct combustion products from gasoline- or diesel-burning internal combustion engines. There is a significant source of ROGs from stationary industries and small businesses. examples include: sulfuric acid H2SO4 can cause respiratory problems nitrogen dioxide NO2 gives air a brownish coloration photochemical smog First & Secondary Pollutants Form in the atmosphere through chemical & photochemical reactions from the primary pollutants See
  6. 6. Effects of Air Pollution Acid Rain Eutrophication Haze/Smog Negative Effects on Wildlife Crop and Forest Damage Ozone Depletion Global Climate Change
  7. 7. Photo from The Week:
  8. 8. Air Pollution in Mexico City "Mexico City is an omen, that jammed city of toxic air and leafless trees may be the first to know asphyxiation by progress. One of the world's oldest civilizations suffers mankind's newest affliction. Mexico City warns the rest of the species of all that has gone wrong with modernity's promised millennium of happiness." - Carlos Fuentes, 1992 23/books/bk-1926_1_mexico-c breathing-fecal-dust-carlos-fuen
  9. 9. Mexico City Air Pollution History In 1992, the United Nations described Mexico City's air as the most polluted on the planet. ● Many factors have contributed to this situation: industrial growth, a population boom (from three million in 1950 to some 20 million today), and the proliferation of vehicles. More than 3.5 million vehicles — 30% of them more than 20 years old — now ply the city streets. ● ● Pollution since the early 1990s has dropped dramatically according to the Mexico government studies.
  10. 10. Sources & Issues ● Added emissions tests ● Reduction of outdated cars Transportation – automobiles account for about 90% of pollution Personal Vehicles ● Collectivos (buses) ● Factories ● Homes ● Slum areas
  11. 11. Geographical Concerns Geography is partly responsible for the lack of dispersion of air pollution in Mexico City. Mexico City is set in a valley surrounded by mountains. Located in the crater of an extinct volcano, Mexico City is about 2,240 metres above sea level. Depending on the pressure of the air, the dry air from the upper layer moves downwards on the lower layer creating a condition known as Thermal Inversion This acts like a stopper, trapping pollution and provoking a reduction in visibility. The trapped air pollution is exposed to solar radiation making visibility difficult. The photochemical transformation of the pollution stimulates production of ozone and fine particles.(See pollution-in-mexico-city/) This is the same photochemical reaction that happens in LA as both of these places have sunlight for this reaction. Photo from city/)
  12. 12. Major Pollution Composition & Reduction SULPHUR DIOXIDE NITROGEN DIOXIDE NITRIC OXIDE CARBON MONOXIDE OZONE This is a very similar pollution composition to LA. (See
  13. 13. Actions Hoy No Circula (No Drive Days) Implemented in 1989 during the time of worst air pollution in Mexico City. Based on testing EcoBici Bicycle sharing system launched in 2010.
  14. 14. Literature Cited ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Hester, Ronald E, and Harrison, Roy M, eds. Air Pollution and Health. Cambridge, GBR: The Royal Society of Chemistry, 1998. ● Cheremisinoff, Nicholas P.. Handbook of Air Pollution Prevention and Control. Burlington, MA, USA: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002. ● Brimblecombe, Peter, ed. Effects of Air Pollution on the Built Environment. London, GBR: Imperial College Press, 2003. ● Commission on Life Sciences Staff. Biologic Markers of Air-Pollution Stress and Damage in Forests. Washington, DC, USA: National Academies Press, 1989. ● Kennedy, Donald, and Bates, Richard R., eds. Air Pollution, the Automobile, and Public Health. Washington, DC, USA: National Academies Press, 1988. ● McGranahan, Gordon, and Murray, Frank, eds. Air Pollution and Health in Rapidly Developing Countries. Toronto, ON, CAN: Earthscan Canada, 2003. ● Committee on Geosciences, Environment and Resourcs S, and National Research Council Staff. Rethinking the Ozone Problem in Urban and Regional Air Pollution. Washington, DC, USA: National Academies Press, 1992. ● Bryner, Gary, and Duffy, Robert J.. Integrating Climate, Energy, and Air Pollution Policies. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2012. ● Gonzalez, George A.. SUNY series in Global Environmental Policy : Politics of Air Pollution : Urban Growth, Ecological Modernization, and Symbolic Inclusion. Ithaca, NY, USA: State University of New York Press, 2005. ● Ahrens, C D. Meteorology Today: An Introduction to Weather, Climate, and the Environment. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Pub, 2000. Print

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Air Pollution Concerns & Efforts Gabriella Perez SUST 410


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