(Runner-Up 2015-2016) “The Future is Up in the Air” by Lisa Tang
The Future is Up in the Air
Consumption of carbon monoxide and other air pollutants rapidly depleting the Earth’s natural resources and the overall quality of life for humans and other animal species is a key environmental concern in today’s world. The issue involving air pollution has been around since the industrialization of civilization, but now it is more crucial than ever to propose a solution. By implementing laws for corporations and citizens to limit their use of air pollutants and encouraging conservation projects or planning, the ecological footprint may be reduced or in the least, repressed.
In countries around the world, air quality is decreasing and the result is detrimental. The well-being of not only humans, but of plants and animals is negatively affected by emissions such as carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and nitrogen dioxide. These chemicals, when released into the air by automobiles, can cause damage and many health problems when inhaled. The precarious state of health has led to an estimated 750,000 deaths in China and a total of over 200 million dollars worth of medical expenses in California(40 Facts About Air). These numbers loom large and demonstrate the monstrosity of the issue at hand. All life is of importance including plants that are also harmed by pollutants. They can become clogged with particles and their ability to photosynthesize is decreased(The Effects of Air). The environment is being unfairly punished for human actions.
The multifarious environmental impacts that accompany air pollution include acid rain, eutrophication, and global climate change. Acid rain is deleterious as it can be carried hundreds of miles, damaging trees and causing bodies of water to acidify (Clean Air & Climate). This can lead to eutrophication, the loss of animal and plant diversity, and the stimulation of algal growth. Humans have inadvertently disturbed the balance of the “greenhouse effect” by producing large amounts of greenhouse gases causing rising temperatures. All of these effects have caused a decline in the quality and sustainability of life on Earth.
A solution can be reached by enacting laws to reduce chemical emissions. Factories or corporations may be inclined to further pursue cleaner energy sources that do not emit as much pollution. There are other sources of energy that may be of use to companies or people in general. Instead of the use of fossil fuels, biologists and businesses should be provided incentives to find a use for other energy sources that can be harnessed. If it is possible to use renewable sources like wind, solar, and hydropower to power industries, air pollution would dramatically decrease. For some countries, different sources are possible, but costly. It is important that research is done in these aspects to learn more about these sources of energy that have the potential to overcome the challenges air pollution presents to society.
A more pragmatic approach to conservation is to inform society of the issues and motivate people to want to reduce their carbon footprint. An educated society can work together to make a difference. Bicycles are becoming more obsolete with the increased efficiency of cars. To overcome this mentality, people should be encouraged or given a reason to use alternate transportation more. City planners could make more bike lanes and pedestrian walkways, providing an impetus for people to exercise and take control of their health.
The problem of air pollution may seem covert in our daily lives as factories are not always prominent in our ventures. The effects however, are noxious. Diversity of life is put at risk because of dangerous substances. The damage to the environment and to the life it holds exemplifies a need to reverse the trend and find a solution to a problem that has persisted for far too long.
“40 Facts About Air Pollution.” ConserveEnergyFuture. Conserve Energy Future, 13 Oct. 2013. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.
“Clean Air & Climate Protection.” Energy and Environmental Affairs. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.
“The Effects of Air Pollution on Plants and Animals.” The Effects of Air Pollution on Plants and Animals. N.p., 18 Oct. 2010. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.