The impact of man’s environmental destruction and thoughtlessness was felt by wildlife years ago. More and more, the natural cycles were interrupted and ecological societies and systems were destroyed. Environmental pollution has a deep effect on us, as a whole on the natural.
A few persons were concerned. There were too busy clearing the land, mining the earth, and stripping nature of her resources to build a great industrial empire. Man had removed himself from dependence on nature. Then it happened. The society most people felt was self-sufficient, became trapped in its own destruction, piles of trash, poisoned waters, and foul air.
Pollutants Of Air
Of the many gases produced by burning coal or oil containing sulfur, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is among the most deadly. Many consider it the number one enemy in air pollution. Sulfur dioxide is a heavy gas with a choking odor. In the atmosphere, it may combine with water and form sulfurous acid.
Two oxides of nitrogen are considered air pollutants. Nitric oxide (NO) is formed by a chemical union of nitrogen in the air and oxygen under conditions of high temperature and pressure. This occurs in automobile engines. Nitric oxide is a somewhat toxic gas, but not a dangerous one. A far more poisonous gas nitrogen dioxide which formed when nitric oxide combines with oxygen in the air. Sunlight accelerates this process, often spoken of as a photochemical reaction.
Perhaps the most familiar gas pollutant is carbon monoxide, a product of incomplete combustion of coal, oil, and gas. While any combustion may release this deadly gas, the automobile engines of the nation are the worst offenders. For every tank of gasoline burned in the average car, a ton of air is used and three pounds of carbon monoxide is given off.
What Is Smog?
The word, smog, was first used to describe a combination of smoke and fog. In broader use today, however, the term can be applied to any air pollution that is annoying. Generally, there two types of smog that are important in air pollution. The London type occurs when smoke from coal and oil combustion mingles with fog, an atmosphere condition frequent in the lower areas of the British Isles.
When London type smog blankets a city, sulfur dioxide accumulates and sulfuric acid builds up in the foggy mist. This is lethal in high concentration. It is the type of air people breathe in industrial cities with many large blast furnaces, power plants, and factories that burn coal.
An entirely different type of smog is known as the Los Angeles type. This type of smog is due not to smoke but to gases.
While it is named for Los Angeles, it is by no means limited to this city. However, conditions in Los Angeles are suitable for this phenomenon. The city lies in a C-shaped bowl between the ocean and the mountains. It is, also, a large center of automobile traffic.
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