Breathing cannot hurt you, right?

Everyone knows that breathing is a necessity for life.  You have to take air in in order so that your body is able to perform the necessary tasks to stay alive.  However, what if this same air you breathe to stay alive is also possibly causing your death?  According to the world health organization, outdoor air pollution is “a major cause of death a disease globally”.  The air that we breath can be filled with these pollutants that can cause disease and possibly death.  The pollutants that have strong public health concerns and are found in the air include: carbon monoxide, lead, nitric oxides, particulate matter, ozone, and sulphur dioxide.

The EPA regulates the amount of each of these pollutants that can be found present in the air.  This regulation also includes testing the air quality of cities and counties to ensure they are following the guidelines.  The link below shows which which counties in the US are over the EPA regulated amount of particulate matter annually.  Also, there are three counties in Southern California that are over the EPA regulated amount for all six regulated pollutants.  Each county that is found to  be over in at least one pollutant must submit a plan to the EPA on how they will decrease the pollutant amount in their air.

To lower the emission of these gases into the atmosphere a good place to start is to increase regulation of Power Plants.  Most power plants burn coal which then puts sulpher dioxide, nitric oxides, lead, and particulate matter into the environment.  I believe that increasing regulation on these power plants would help to increase the air quality.  Regulating what can e make it through the smoke stacks of the power plants is a good place to start.  This would decrease the amount of the above mentioned pollutants found in the air.

Power plants are not the only main source of pollutants in the air, vehicles are also large contributors.  It is nice to think everyone could just drive electric cars and that would solve the problem.  However, this is not currently feasible given the fact that there are 1.4 billion cars in the world and most are powered by fuel.  However, by adding catalytic converters to cars, the amount of pollutants that they put out decreases.

I believe that it is important for us to discuss the health consequences of air pollution and to know the harm it can cause us.  However, it is important to all play a part in decreasing the amount of pollutants that we contribute to the air.  It can be something as small as carpooling to work and class or quit smoking.  It is important to think about what the pollutants we add to the air not only do to ourselves, but those around us.

2 thoughts on “Breathing cannot hurt you, right?

  1. I enjoyed reading your post. However, I have a question regarding electric cars. I have read in the past that in the short term, they are actually worse for the environment due to the amount of electricity they use and the fact that their batteries are not recyclable. How do we counteract this aspect of electric cars if we are planning on increasing their use in the future? Overall, a very informative and interesting post!

  2. Short and straight to the point, I liked reading this. Something needs to be done about the amount of cars polluting the environment. What would you suggest the regulations for coal burning power plants be? I agree steps need to be taken to improve air quality all around. It’d improve the quality of life for many people.

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