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ISE 388: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT (UNIT_6) 6 - 1 1.0 Environmental Problems Following are some of the major problems, which are adversely affecting the environment. 1.1 Global Warming Global warming is receiving increasing attention in international environmental policies, such as Kyoto protocol. It is also known as the greenhouse effect because the gases that are gathering above the earth make the planet comparable to a greenhouse. The greenhouse effect is warming the planet and threatening the environment by trapping heat near the surface of the earth. Global warming may result in unpredictable climate conditions, higher temperature and increased sea level. It could also affect human health, animals and ecosystems. Causes of Global warming Overpopulation – more people consume more items leading to more energy consumption and hence contributing to global warming Industrialization and Globalization more energy using products more fuel consumption – more emissions. Deforestation is among other causes of global warming. 1.2 Acid Rain The term acid rain refers to acid deposition. It is caused by airborne acidic pollutants and has highly destructive results. It is one of the most important environmental problems, which cannot be seen. It is caused by invisible gases (e.g. sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides), which usually come from automobiles, industrial processes or coal-burning power plants. Acid rain falls down to the earth in the form of fog, snow, rain, hail, frost, or dew. The acidity in acid rain can badly harm or destroy the natural ecosystems and man-made products, such as automobile finishes. Major source of sulfur dioxide - power plants that use coal as their fuel. These plants emit 100 million tons of sulfur dioxide, 70% of that in the world. Major source of Nitrogen Oxide - Automobiles produce about half of the world's nitrogen oxide. Other sources contributing to acid rain - natural causes such as fires, volcanic eruptions, bacterial decomposition, and lightening. However, their contribution is very small when compared to the above two causes. 1.3 Air Pollution Air pollution means contaminants, such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides, and vaporizable organic compounds, found in the atmosphere. The existence of such
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ISE 388: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT (UNIT_6) 6 - 2 dangerous substances in the air can be either in the form of gases or particles. The effects of air pollution are diverse and numerous. It can have serious consequences for the health of human beings, and it also severely affects natural ecosystems. Due to its ability to travel easily, air pollution is a global problem. Sources of air pollution Natural : Wind erosion, volcanic eruptions, forest fires, pollen dispersal, evaporation of organic compounds etc. Human Activities
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This note was uploaded on 10/02/2011 for the course ME ISE388 taught by Professor Kc during the Spring '11 term at NYU Poly.

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