Air pollution is a very big problem in the United States. A large partof air pollution comes from cars. The Environmental Protection Agency says,”The most polluting activity an average person does everyday is drive theircar”(1 factsheet OMS-5).
Most people probably aren’t aware that they arepolluting the environment. Maybe if everyone knew how serious this pollutionproblem is, they would find ways to reduce the pollution.Most pollution that is released by cars comes from the exhaust, mainlyin the form of hydrocarbons(1 factsheet, OMS-5).
Hydrocarbons are organiccompounds ,a combination of two or more elements, that contain only carbon andhydrogen (2 factsheet, OMS-5). Hydrocarbons are released when fuel in theengine burns partially. When hydrocarbons come in contact with sunlight theyform ground level ozone.
Ground level ozone is a major ingredient in theformation of smog. Ground level ozone is responsible for irritating eyes,damaging lungs, and it complicating respiratory problems. Hydrocarbons aren’tthe only pollutants released through car exhaust.Two more pollutants released through car exhaust are carbon monoxide andnitrogen oxide. The first reduces the flow of oxygen to the bloodstream, andcould harm people with heart disease. Nitrogen oxide is formed when a carengine gets hot. It contains chemicals that aid in the formation of groundlevel ozone as well as acid rain (2 factsheet, OMS-5).
Acid rain destroys theoutsides of buildings, statues, etc. Acid rain can also contaminate drinkingwater, damage vegetation, and destroy sealife. These two pollutants are two ofthe most dangerous pollutants released through car exhaust. If these twopollutants were cut down just a little bit our planet would be a safer place tolive.Carbon dioxide is another gas released through exhaust emissions. Itisn’t dangerous directly to humans, but it is considered to be a “green housegas.” A “greenhouse gas” is a gas that is associated with global warming.
Global warming is the gradual increase of temperature due to human activity. Certain gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone allow radiation fromthe sun to break through the atmosphere and go to the earth’s surface. Globalwarming affects all living things on the entire planet (4 factsheet OMS-5).Another type of hydrocarbon pollutant occurs through fuel evaporation. These hydrocarbon pollutants are produced four different ways.
The first way iscalled diurnal. This is when the venting of gasoline vapors occurs due to thetemperature of the car’s engine rising. The second way is running losses. Thisis the venting of gasoline when the car’s engine is running.
The third way iscalled hot soak. Hot soak occurs when gasoline evaporates after the car hasbeen turned off. The fourth way additional hydrocarbons are released occurswhen a person is refueling a car. This occurs when a person fills up their gastank.
While the tank is being filled gasoline vapors are forced out. One wayto cut down on this type of pollution is to have the car tuned properly. Therefueling problem can be reduced with the use of vapor recovery system. Thissystem traps the vapor inside the tank. These systems are present at many gasstations in highly polluted areas (4 factsheet, OMS-5).Some cities around the world are very dangerous to live in because ofcar pollution. One city is Athens, Greece.
In Athens the number of deaths riseson days with greater air pollution. Just breathing the air in Bombay is the sameas smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day (97 Brown). Over 150 million peoplein the United States live in areas where the Environmental Protection Agencyconsiders the air to be unhealthy. The American Lung Association says, “Theunhealthy air leads to 120, 000 deaths every year” (97 Brown). The citizens ofearth are killing themselves. They are killing themselves for convenience. Eventhough the actions taken by the government and car manufacturers havereduced car emissions a lot since 1970, The number of miles an average persontravels in a day has doubled (4 factsheet OMS-4).
The average person must finda way to reduce the number of miles he or she drives. One way to do these is tocar pool. If a large number of people started to car pool, pollution producedby cars would be reduced. This would reduce the amount of smog in urban areas,making these polluted areas a better place to live.There are many other alternatives to reduce car emissions besidescarpooling.
One possible solution is to use