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What have we done to our planet Earth? At present, the most extreme and realistic finality we will ever realize as a race of beings is that our planet doesn’t need us; we need the planet. Within the last two hundred and fifty years we have caused the planet more harm than its 4 billion years of existence. It is and has been time to realize the seriousness of our abuse towards Earth. We can’t just turn pollution off like a switch when we don’t want to deal with it, we have to do something about. And we have to start now.
What is pollution? Pollution is “to make impure and to contaminate with man made waste.”(Webster) When people go into business they want to make a dollar. Every single one of us at one time or another has probably heard the phrase “every dollar counts”. Well these big business corporations make every dollar count. Even if it damages the air we breathe with the selfless disregard for others. They don’t care what the future generations will have to face and they clearly do it for that extra dollar.
A law should be made to limit every major country on the planet to decrease their levels of pollution 60% as well as an additional 5% annually. The first major action to be made will be to decrease according amounts of carbon monoxide into our planet’s atmosphere, which causes the greenhouse effect. Secondly, we need to ban all CFC’s that are the main variable in creating carbon dioxide. When CFC’s are released into the atmosphere, they eat up all of the carbon monoxide that makes up our ozone layer.
If these issues lack attention any longer many dramatic affects will occur to our planet as well as our selves. If ozone depletion continues we will have a raise in ultra-violate radiation that increases all forms of skin cancer, tumors and promotes blindness. Will we be happy with knowing our roles in causing health risks to our children? “In developed countries, where indoor pollution levels are lower, increasing traffic density and elevated NO2 levels with secondary photochemical and fine particulate pollution appear to be the main contemporary problem.” (Environmental Health Risks Vol. 103, Supplement 6, Sep. 1995)
In England, during the mid 18th century, we made a ripple in time towards our planets safety. Something called the industrial revolution occurred and blew up with enormous proportions. We had invented the steam machine, which uses fossil fuels. These machines exert carbon dioxide, which acts like a blanket in our atmosphere that traps heat. “Carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream and reduces the delivery of oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues. The health threat from carbon monoxide is most serious for those who suffer from cardiovascular disease, particularly those with angina or peripheral vascular disease. Healthy individuals also are affected but only at higher levels. Exposure to elevated carbon monoxide levels is associated with impairment of visual perception, work capacity, manual dexterity, learning ability and performance of complex tasks.”(EPA) As of today we produce 18 billion tons of man made carbon monoxide per year.
The major problem resulting in the damage of our planet is the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect happens because of excess amounts of carbon dioxide being released into our atmosphere. A few results from the greenhouse effect are severe weather, longer droughts that cover more area, more floods, tornadoes and hurricanes as well as the shifting of the rain belts. The greenhouse effect and the depletion of the ozone layer are a direct result of over using our planet’s resources. Such as oil, coal and gas. We, as the modern human race, use these resources in order to get to work, heat our homes and prepare our food etc One bright solution to our transportation and machinery pollution would be the implementation of solar powered and/or electric cars, trains and planes.
“Characterization of the air pollutants in Europe demonstrated unusually high concentrations during winter inversions of fine particles dominated by acidic sulfates, genotoxic organic compounds, and toxic trace elements. The major source of airborne fine particles is the burning of coal for heating and power. Human exposure and biomarker studies demonstrated large seasonal variations in air pollution and higher seasonal average pollution levels. Personal exposures to fine particles and organic carcinogens [e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)] were correlated with excretion of PAH metabolites in urine, several trace metals in blood, and DNA adducts in white blood cells. Respiratory and neurobehavioral studies of school children were conducted using questionnaires and clinical measures. A significantly higher prevalence of adverse respiratory symptoms and decreased lung function were found. The neurobehavioral studies indicated significantly higher referrals for clinical assessment, but the majority of objective performance measures did not differ. Reproductive studies were conducted in both males and females. A study of the effects of exposure on pregnancy and birth found an excess prevalence of low birth weight and premature births; these adverse effects were more common in infants conceived in the winter and whose mothers were smokers. Based on questionnaires and medical examinations, the reproductive development of young men’s measures of semen quality suggest that exposure to high levels of air pollution are associated with transient decrements in semen quality.”(Environmental Health Perspectives Vol. 104, Supplement 4, Aug. 1996)
Changes have to be made in order to stop this absurd and needless pollution. The EPA says that their mission is to ” to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment “(EPA) The power that the EPA has is very clear. One might have to ponder when asking him/herself the question “Why don’t they put a stop to all of the pollution” The answer to that question is difficult. The EPA only operates in the United States. They can’t stop what other countries do. “About 86 million people in the U.S. reside in counties which did not meet at least one air quality standard based upon data for the single year 1991. Ozone is the most common contributor with 70 million people living in counties that exceeded the ozone standard in 1991.”(EPA) Did everyone know that the problem would come down to the fact that it would hurt to see fifty feet in front of you on a very smoggy day in LA? The pollution we make today can and will change our genetic codes tomorrow.
Some countries around the world are beginning to realize the serious complexity of our planet’s problem. There is currently much concern globally regarding the effect of human activities on the environment. “The United Kingdom is soon to set up its own Environmental Protection Agency. Statistics should play an important part in all environmental studies. Many of the staff at Kent have research interests in environmental statistics.” (University of Kent)
We have only recently stood up for the fight against pollution in the United States. “The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) addresses the wide ranging problems associated with preventing, responding to, and paying for oil pollution. It does so by creating a comprehensive prevention, response, liability, and compensation regime for dealing with vessel and facility-caused oil pollution in our navigable waters.” (The National Pollution Funds Center, NPFC) WE also have many different satellites above Earth monitoring the Ozone everyday in order to show in statistics what we are really doing to our planet everyday. “The OOPS 1b Capture System was designed to capture raw, perishable Earth located SBUV/2 data from the TIP stream as well as meteorological information from the RTOVS system and merge them along with other ancillary information to create and archive Daily 1b Data sets. The remainder of the OOPS system was developed as the OOPS Phase 2 software. This includes the generation of the ozone data set (Product Master File) and an instrument characterization data set (Historical Instrument File).” (NOAA)
“Through industrialization and deforestation mankind is increasing the global concentration of greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide. If present trends continue, the enhanced greenhouse effect will produce a noticeable warming at the earth’s surface and cooling in the upper atmosphere before the middle of the next century.” (National Center for Atmospheric Research) These researches have produced a project that enables us to see just how much carbon monoxide has been released in certain areas around world. “Images that have the two natural-colored earth’s with red and blue splotches. These images depict climate changes due to a doubling of carbon dioxide.” (National Center for Atmospheric Research)
If we could completely have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) behind my policy, we would be in a great position. However, the EPA has done something noble for the ozone this year. “In the August 24, 1998, Federal Register (63 FR 45060), EPA published an availability notice of proposed planning guidance for States to use in meeting the revised ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone and particulate matter. The proposed EPA guidance mainly addresses ozone and PM non-attainment issues. EH issued an August 31, 1998 memorandum sent to DOE programs, field offices, and the Clean Air Working Group to announce the availability of the EPA guidance and its relevance to DOE operations in non-attainment areas.” (Enviro-watch)
The dictionary defines ozone as pure and refreshing air. No longer can we have smog and deforestation as well as many other things in lieu of that. “According to industry estimates, more than 2.4 billion pounds of toxic pollutants were emitted into the atmosphere in 1996.”(EPA) Pollution reveals a clear and present danger to man-kind as we know it. Action and legislation must be taken right now.
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