Air Pollution in America

smog over a large city

The problem of air pollution in America has been increasing in severity since the early 1700s when coal mining first began. There are numerous sources of air pollution today and researchers continue to look for ways to combat both the problem and its effects on the environment.

What Is Air Pollution?

Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particles, biological materials and other substances into the atmosphere. This can happen naturally or as the result of technology. Usually it is a combination of both.

Some of the sources of air pollution in America are:

  • Exhaust (carbon monoxide) from cars and other transportation vehicles
  • Smoke and soot from forest fires, factories and other sources
  • Naturally occurring methane gas from farms and the breakdown of organic matter
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) found in paint and other manufactured items
  • Aerosols from hairspray, deodorant and various household sprays
  • Dust and small particles of dirt

In America, the biggest source of air pollution is transportation. According to CBS News the exhaust from cars and other vehicles makes up 60 percent of all the carbon monoxide pollution across the nation while it contributes up to 95 percent in most cities.

Where Is Air Pollution the Worst in America?

Not surprisingly, the areas with the worst air pollution are those around large cities. Because of the crowded city conditions and the large amount of traffic, these areas maintain dangerous levels of ozone all year.

California has the most cities with air pollution despite the steps it has taken to ensure cleaner air for the residents of the state. Some of the most polluted cities are:

  • Los Angeles
  • Bakersfield
  • Visalia
  • Fresno
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego

Most of the other states do not have so many cities with air quality problems. Some other polluted cities in the United States:

  • Charlotte (NC)
  • Dallas (TX)
  • Houston (TX)
  • Knoxville (TN)
  • Mesa (AZ)
  • Phoenix (AZ
  • Scottsdale (AZ)

How to Stop Air Pollution

The United States Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1963 in an effort to limit the amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere. Since that time there have been several amendments to the act that have served to strengthen it and make it more detailed. Yet according to by 2007, a full 46 percent of the American population resides in counties that experienced unhealthy levels of air pollution.

Clearly the responsibility for protecting the environment rests with the individual. Each person must be willing to cut back on the amount of driving and traveling they do. Other possibilities are:

  • Don't over accelerate or speed. Keep your car in good working order.
  • Shop locally and try not to have items shipped from long distances.
  • Be frugal with the amount of electricity that you use in your home and work place.
  • Choose recycled products and recycle the products you no longer want.
  • Use organic cleaning products and buy other organic items as much as possible.

There are many more things that each person can do to limit the amount of air pollution they create. Making a few small changes every month can result in a cleaner environment over a long period of time. At the very least, you will know that you are doing your part.

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Air Pollution in America