ENG 130 Air Pollution Final Draft .docx - 1 Rafael Gomez...

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Rafael Gomez ENG 130 First Draft A Gray World Imagine a world with dark dingy skies where everyone is wearing dust masks twenty- four- seven. Doctor offices, emergency rooms, and hospitals filled with patients who are ill, all stemming from air pollution. They will all be overwhelmed with the great number of sick patients coming in. Walking outside around the neighborhood would be like walking through a dark and ominous forest because the sky will be dark and hazy. The alluring blue sky we once knew will not be visible anymore. Plants will start to die out. Structures and buildings will erode. This is what our world will could become if we do not start taking action against air pollution. Today, Air pollution is being controlled to prevent further structural, vegetation and animal, and health concerns. Air pollution is defined as air that has a substance in it that has harmful and poisonous effects. It has been lingering around us longer than many people think. According to Boubel et al., In the 12 th century, during the Medieval Ages, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine criticized that the polluted air hurt her lungs, so coal smoke was labeled to be “detrimental to human health.” This bad air caused her to leave her palace in Nottingham to the less-polluted country side. It was not until forty-five years later when the first known law to clean up air quality in England was introduced. This law was the prohibition on burning soft coal in 1273. (Goklany 1999) Air pollution became prevalent during the Industrial Revolution in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. The Industrial Revolution was focused on using steam to provide power and also pump water to machinery. These steam engines/turbines required steam boilers, which were fired by vegetables or fossil fuels. During most of this time, coal was the dominant fuel. This burning of coal in the boiler furnaces of stationary power plants, locomotives, marine vessels, and in-home 1
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fireplaces was the predominant air pollution problem of the 19 th century. Knowing the history of air pollution is important to know so we can see how it has changed over the years. It was not until the 20 th century when the production of air pollution decreased. (Boubel et al. 1993) The 20 th century saw many great changes to fight against air pollution. The invention of the electric motor substituted the steam engine in providing power to machinery and pumping water. Oil replaced coal in many utilizations, decreasing ash emissions. In 1952, London, Great Britain had a major air pollution disaster. The Great Smog of London was about an anticyclone, a circulation of wind, that formed a thick layer of smog over the city for two weeks. Recent research has found that around 12,000 died and many more were sickened due to the Great Smog of London (Griffin 2007). This disaster led to the creation of the Clean Air Act in 1956 which substituted smokeless fuels for soft coal in heating homes. The result was a decline in “smoke” concentration by 175 μg m 3 in 1958 to 75 μg m 3 in 1968. The unit μ is not a unit, but a
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