I feel pretty good about it but would appreciate feedback. it didn’t cut and paste real good but I posted it anyway.
Atmospheric pollution, also known as air pollution has become a significant environmental health concern. The atmosphere is the air that surrounds the Earth, held in place by gravity. This atmosphere is made up of 78% Nitrogen, about 21% oxygen, about 1% of other gases such as Ozone and Carbon Dioxide. Because of the atmosphere, the planet Earth is able to sustain all forms of life. The atmosphere also plays a part in controlling the amount of light, heat and radiation we receive from the sun. Atmospheric pollution has become a serious problem affecting clean air, climate change, and stratospheric ozone depletion. Many of the United States cities are feeling the impact of air pollution. This air pollution is affecting our health, economies, and the environment. “Air pollution might be blamed for as many as 24,000 deaths annually in California according to scientists.” (Liang, 2008) The United States prides itself on being a leader for the entire world but comes up short in addressing health concerns caused by atmospheric pollution.
The atmosphere closest to the Earth suffers primarily from acid rain and smog. This layer of the atmosphere is what we breathe. This air is increasingly becoming dangerous, for us. The sources for these pollutants come from automobiles, buses, trucks, small engines, industrial plants, industrial fuels, wood smoke, construction, agriculture, and roadways. There are standards put forth from our government to address these pollutants that are affecting our health. When the fifth largest city in the United States, Phoenix, Arizona, “Accounts for an additional thousand deaths a year from respiratory ailments,” (Laumer, 2005) these standards are not set high enough. With these standards in place there is still a high incidence of respiratory, immune and circulatory systems being affected. The most vulnerable are the very young, sick, and elderly to low level air pollution. Wildlife and plant life is also being compromised. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is what is used to measure air quality. The AQI can help in determining the health risks there may be on any given day. We rely on the environmental Protection Agency (EPA), their mission to protect humans, to measure five major pollutants when they calculate the AQI. These pollutants have been regulated by the Clean Air Act. Protecting the health of humans is part of the mission of the EPA. Through research the most dangerous micro particles are found in automobile exhaust. These particles are named PM10s (particular matter, the 10 is a size smaller than 10 microns). These particles enter the lung alveoli that can lead to respiratory disorders. The EPA has failed in their mission. “EPA is ignoring the advice of their own staff, the advice of EPA advisory committees, the opinion of the medical and scientific community,” says Dr. Ingbar. (American Thoracic Society, 2007)
Some pollutants can be filtered out in a short time but others can linger for thousands of years. This is why our current standards must be brought into question. The standards we are using may be based on flawed scientific studies. “Studies of the relationship between acute asthma in children and air pollution have relied on ambient central-site data. Exposure error from using this data will likely diminish the accuracy of exposure-response estimates.” (Delfino, 2008)
Americans are dependent on the automobile. Most of today’s automobiles are still powered by the combustible engine. These gas powered vehicles are responsible for much of the ground level pollution in our major cities across America. “Transportation accounts for the majority of nitrogen oxide (54%) and carbon monoxide (89%) emissions in the United States. And the largest single source of carbon dioxide (28%) emissions.” (Wilkins, 1997) Some success has been achieved by the introduction of electric vehicles. These pollutants created because of and from the electric vehicle are now being questioned as a concern also. The electricity used to power these vehicles comes from pollution causing industrial plants. There also is an increase in carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxides though there is a noticeable decrease in carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.
Americans are going to have to end its reliance on the gas powered vehicle as a mode of transportation. Other industrialized nations have been doing this for years. The evidence points to the fact that we can no longer count on the gas powered vehicle to travel to the store, to our jobs, or jump on one of our vast byways to visit relatives thousands of miles away.
“A large body of literature, much of it published in recent years, suggests increased risks for exacerbation of asthma and other respiratory diseases, premature mortality, certain cancers, and adverse birth outcomes from air pollution exposures in populations residing in relatively close proximity to roadways. Furthermore, several air quality monitoring studies have revealed the presence of elevated concentrations of pollutants emitted directly by motor vehicles near major roadways when compared with overall urban background levels.” (Cook,
We can be proud of what we have accomplished in the past with our cars and our roadways, byways, and highways but now we must accept the fact that those accomplishments are making us sick if not killings us. Our years of coming and going as we pleased may also be causing longer heat waves, drought, hurricanes and flooding. In the last 200 years the damage has been done to our atmosphere because of pollution. Progress has been made, but the progress is limited still resulting in “70, 000 deaths a year in the United States.” (Fischlowitz-Roberts, 2002) The time is now for a more radical mitigation plan to solve atmosphere pollution.
This mitigation plan will find critics from all sides of this issue. That is to be expected but the promise is made that our health issues that are a result of low level air pollution is going to be reduced by 80% by the year 2050. This is an all encompassing mitigation plan where every aspect of society is going to make sacrifices. Our nation needs relief much like the times the United States was experiencing in 1932. Franklin Roosevelt said in his presidential acceptance speech at the Democratic convention he will make, “use of the authority of government as an organized form of self-help for all classes and groups and sections of our country.” (Travel and History, 2008) This program will be echoing the successes of the Works Progress Administration; The WPA existed from 1935 to 1941.
The goal of this mitigation plan is to eliminate low level atmospheric pollution in steps that will be completed by the year 2050. The responsibility of the government agency currently responsible for air quality management is to work with all proponents of this plan. This goal will include reducing the use of the combustible engine to a minimum. This plan does not propose a reduction in travel for Americans. Current laws and regulations will remain in effect. Well, thought out and cost-effective measures will be planned out by the scientific community. Measureable effects of this plan must begin to be shown by 2020. The effects on the health from pollution on Americans have already been established. We do know what is making us ill and even leads to death. An ethical imperative must be the United States taking the lead in this quest. As poorer nations industrialize and grow they too will experience pollution and its adverse consequences. We have an opportunity to show the global population we care for our planet and its citizens.
The following are additional components of this mitigation plan to remove vehicles from our roadways that use the combustion engine. The combustion engine is used in cars, boats, motorcycles, pickups, larger trucks and other vehicles. There is also the two stroke combustible engine which also will be phased out. This mitigation plan does not include airplanes. By removing the combustion engine, we will reduce carbon dioxide, CO2, carbon monoxide, CO, oxides of nitrogen, NOx, hydrocarbons, HC, benzene and derivatives, C6H6, sulfur dioxide, SO2, and particles micro-particulate, 10 microns, PM10s, the most dangerous. From photochemical reaction these chemicals create smog. We have tried solutions such as driving less, putting catalytic converters on our vehicles, building a cleaner burning engine, driving hybrid and smaller vehicles, demanding vehicles be maintained, using oxygenated fuels and teaching drivers to drive more intelligently. These are minor solutions that have not improved atmospheric pollution. “The U.S. accounts for more carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel consumption than any other nation. Although the U.S. has maintained this number-one ranking since 1980, China’s emissions have risen 224%.” (Environment, 2008)
The first step will include education. Within the first four years a curriculum will be formulated and used in our schools teaching all aspects of this mitigation plan. This plan will be taught in the final four years of high school. A mass education of the public will begin. At this time training of a workforce capable of bringing this plan forward will begin. All oil companies will be nationalized. Though this may be met with resistance, we will be saving oil companies when their product no longer will be a commodity. Nationalizing of this natural resource has already begun around the world. Each oil company will give up 50% of controlling interest within the first two years and total control at the end of the four years after this mitigation plan is signed into law. Included in the first four years of this mitigation program each American citizen after reaching the age of 16 will be limited to owning no more than two cars. Those currently that have more than two cars per person will only be allowed to license two vehicles at one time. This will become active after 10 years. Instead of a yearly emission test done on cars older than five years, all cars will be tested bi-annually. New car warranties will include this emission testing. This will be under the control of state motor vehicle divisions. Companies, family-owned business, and those involved in agriculture will be allowed vehicle fleets to deliver product and services but must meet and maintain rigid nonpolluting standards. This aspect of the mitigation plan should be fully incorporated by the public within the first 10 years. Incentives will be offered to those meeting or surpassing the standards put forth by this plan ahead of schedule.
Through a program using the WPA as a model, metro transit will begin a major overhaul in our cities. This overhaul will begin in 2010 with the 20 most populated cities in the United States. All American cities with populations greater than 100,000 will be subject to the guidelines of this mitigation plan and should have metro transit via electric trains by the year 2050. Cities with populations less than 100,000 will still be allowed to use the combustible engine in transportation. This mode of transportation must meet the same rigid pollution guidelines of larger cities. Metro electric trains will be made available to a much greater extent than we find in our cities today. There will still be a need for city bus travel but these too will no longer be allowed to use the combustible engine after 15 years.
From the beginning of this plan, if a national healthcare program is not in place, all health concerns directly related to atmospheric pollution will be treated at no cost. As a nation we created this problem and as a nation we will absorb the cost of what we have sown.
Because of this plan, besides being a healthier nation, we will also be a prosperous nation. Two or more hour commutes to work, most of which is sitting idle on our freeways while our vehicles deposit poisonous chemicals into the air that we breathe no longer will be necessary. Sacrifice is the key to the success of this mitigation plan. All tiers of society will be called on to make changes to current lifestyles.
American Thoracic Society, (2007, June, 22). EPA Ozone Pollution Standards ‘Unhealthy For
America,’ Says American thoracic society president. Retrieved June 24, 2008, from
ScienceDaily Web site: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070621143648.htm
Cook, R., Isakov,V., Touma, J., Benjey, W., Thurman, J., Kinnee, E., Ensley, D., (2008).
Resolving Local-Scale Emissions for Modeling Air Quality near Roadways. Journal of the
Air & Waste Management Association, 58(3), 451-461. Retrieved June 24, 2008, from
ProQuest Central database. (Document ID: 1443210181).
Delfino, R., Staimer, N., Tjoa, T., Gillen, D., Kleinman, M., Sioutas., et al. (2008, April).
Personal and Ambient Air Pollution Exposures and Lung Function Decremements in Children
with Asthma. Environmental Health Perspectives, 116(4), 550-558. Retrieved June 24, 2008,
from Academic Search Premier database.
Environment. (2008). World Almanac & Book of Facts, Retrieved June 23, 2008, from
Academic Search Premier database. Website:
Fischlowitz-Roberts, B (2002, 09, 2002). Air pollution fatalities now exceed traffic fatalities by 3
to 1. Retrieved June 21, 2008, from Earth Policy Institute Web site: http://www.earth-
Laumer, J (2005, 10, 04). How now, brown cloud. Retrieved June 24, 2008, from Treehugger
Liang, Y (2008, 05, 23). Health. Retrieved June 24, 2008, from China View Web site:
Travel & History, (2008). Presidents the new deal 1933-1938. Retrieved June 23, 2008, from
Travel & history Web site: http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1851.html /
Wilkins, (1997, August). Will electric vehicles really reduce pollution?. Retrieved June 21, 2008,
Web site: http://www.physics.ohio-