Air Pollution Pictures Are Shocking
If you live far away from large cities, you may find pictures of air pollution in cities to be shocking. Some pollutants do not discolor the air, while others are very obvious. All pollution contributes to health problems, possible global warming and other environmental concerns.
Researchers continue to look for alternative fuels, alternative methods for producing power and other ways to stop air pollution. Governments have passed laws to help control pollutants found in the larger cities of the world. Tokyo, shown here, battles air pollution from many sources, including automobiles and industries.
Impact of Coal Burning Plants
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, coal burning plants are the leading cause of smog, acid rain and air toxins. Typically, a coal plant generates 3,700,000 tons of CO2 per year. CO2 is considered by many scientists to be the primary cause of global warming.
Mining Releases Pollutants into the Air
Mining releases a variety of heavy metals into the air. In 1998, the State of Nevada reported that four Nevada gold mines were emitting a total of 13,560 pounds of mercury into the air. This was a previously unknown pollution problem for the state. Lead is another pollutant that is released during the mining process.
Auto Emissions in Big Cities
Auto emissions cause heavy smog and pollution around large cities. This image of Oakland, California shows a thick layer of smog.
Pollution from Oil Refineries
Oil Refineries release large amounts of pollution into the air. The state of Louisiana reports that over 15.3 million pounds and 21.8 million gallons of pollutants were released by ten Louisiana refineries in a four year time period.
Fires Create Pollution
It isn't just industry and technology that release pollutants. Fires, whether they are from burning trash in an incinerator, a fireplace or a wildfire, release significant amounts of ash, soot, carbon monoxide, small particulates and other pollutants into the air.
Nuclear Power Plants
Although many people consider nuclear power to be a clean energy, the power plants release pollutants into the environment.
Smog Is a Fact of Life
Most people don't notice smog anymore. It is such a normal part of life that a gray sky over a city like Beijing, China is no cause for alarm.
As alternative sources for power and fuel are explored, it's ultimately an individual responsibility to reduce pollutants in the air, water, and on land, by practicing green living principles whenever possible.