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air pollution

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What has/is the government done/doing and what could we as the general public to do improve our air quality? With the great concern surrounding the destruction of the earth's atmosphere due to air pollution, the immediate and direct harm caused to the human body is often over shadowed. While many are aware that our careless use of hazardous chemicals and fossil fuels may leave the planet uninhabitable in the future, most over look the fact that they also cause real damage to the air we breathe in at this moment. Such pollutants cause damage to our respiratory system, as the concentration in the air is too high. If you breathe dirty air, you are more likely to develop health problems and become ill. Plants and animals need clean air too. A lot of the things that make our lives more comfortable such as cars, electricity and heating; create bad gases which make the air dirty. The problem of air pollution started with the burning of coal in homes and factories. Dirty air is called 'polluted air'. Some of us get asthma which can be caused by pollution. Air quality is affected in many ways by pollution. The Earth's atmosphere consists of nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2), argon (Ar), carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). This table and pie chart shows the gases in clean air and the percentages. Air A clean air supply is essential to our own health and that of the environment. 500 years ago in Britain, the burning of coal was increasing in cities like London. Coal was used in factories and also used to heat homes. Coal, when burnt makes a lot of smoke, which makes the air very dirty. About 200 years ago, the Industrial Revolution began in Britain. Factories were built, and even more coal was burnt. Air pollution was becoming a really big problem, especially when the weather was foggy. ...read more.

Middle

The 1995 Environment Act makes local authorities review air quality and to check whether the air quality standards set out by the National Air Quality Strategy, are being completed. Since January 1993, all new cars sold in the European Union have been fitted with a catalytic converter. As I have already mentioned most catalytic converters lead to a dramatic reduction in emissions of nitrogen oxides, as well as other harmful pollutants. As a result of the smogs, the UK no longer experiences high levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide pollution. The Environment Act of 1995 included a requirement for the development of a strategy to address areas of poor and declining air quality, to reduce any significant risk to health and to achieve the wider objectives of sustainable development in relation to air quality in the UK. The final version of the UK Air Quality Strategy was published in response to this Act in 1997. The Air Quality Strategy sets targets to improve air quality in the UK by 2005, based on information of the health effects of the pollutants concerned and costs of emission reduction methods. The Strategy sets out standards and objectives for the 8 main health-threatening air pollutants in the UK: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, particulates and ozone. Industry is a significant source of air pollutants. Under the Environmental Protection Act lots of the most polluting things have been made to follow a regime called the Integrated Pollution Control, whilst a lot of other things have been made to follow a regime called the Local Air Pollution Control. The table below shows how air pollution emissions have been decreasing in the UK since 1970 due to the governments actions. Due to this decrease our air pollution is significantly lower than some other major cities such as Bombay, India. As you can see that London's pollution is significantly lower than Mexico City's due to less population and a better government which has more wealth than Mexico's as New York has quite a high population but a low pollution rating. ...read more.

Conclusion

Energy saving bulbs work in standard fittings and lamps, and are widely available at low prices (including in supermarkets). You can buy ones that look similar to old-style bulbs and give out the same coloured light, and some are even available for use with dimmer switches. Choose sustainable wood Trees absorb carbon dioxide, so if they are cut down and not replaced, there is an increase in CO2 which contributes to climate change. Choose wooden furniture or flooring products made from sustainable wood. Buy recycled furniture and flooring It takes a large amount of energy and water to manufacture furniture and flooring, so think about whether you need to buy brand new. You can save valuable resources and add style to your home by buying second-hand or vintage items, or by using reclaimed floorboards. Buy to last Because of the energy used in producing new goods, if you have a choice, it's often better to buy to last rather than replacing often. In the long run, this could end up saving you money. Buy fittings that save water When choosing new bathroom fittings, there are a number of ways you can save water and therefore energy. Look for water-efficient shower heads; low flush or dual-flush toilets; and aerator or spray fittings for taps in hand basins (these may not be appropriate for baths or sinks, as the water flow may be slow to fill them). Think about hiring power tools Manufacturing tools uses energy and resources, but the average drill is used for less than 15 minutes in its entire lifetime. Consider borrowing or hiring power tools instead of buying them. And when you've finished... recycle Instead of throwing away your old furniture, try donating it to a charity shop, recycling it or passing it. Most of the rubbish we throw away can be recycled, such as glass bottles and jars, steel and aluminium cans, plastic bottles and waste paper. Recycling used materials uses less energy than making new ones. Composting fruit and vegetable waste reduces the amount of rubbish buried at rubbish dumps. ...read more.

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