Environmental ethics is the ethical relationship between people and the environment in which we live. There are many ethical issues and decisions that people make, within the respect of the environment.
Environmental quality is necessary for human life. People rebuild their environments every day. The environment is filled with artifacts, soil, air, water, and the different climates. Culture and nature all play a special role to the environment. (pg. 518 ethical issues).
One of the environmental issues that most attracted my concern is air pollution. Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm to people and other living organisms, or damages the natural environment into the atmosphere. Air pollution is one of the significant causes of health problems all over the world. Outdoor environments contain infections, allergens, irritants, and chemical toxins. Every time we breathe, we risk inhaling dangerous chemicals that are in the air. Air pollution; have found their way into the atmosphere. These can harm the quality of life and cause many diseases. Pollution is inhaled by the throat, nose, and lungs. These pollutants enter the body and cause infections, such as; colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, and the lists go on and on.
Air pollutants can be natural or human-based. Some of the natural pollutants are by natural gases that are released from the atmosphere. Human-based pollutants are from smoke from factories, carbon dioxide, and molds.
Pollutants can be found outdoors and indoors. These pollutants can be trapped in buildings, houses and not even know they are there and most are odorless. Indoor air quality is a lack of ventilation indoors concentrates air pollution where people often spend the majority of their time. Radon gas, a carcinogen, is from the Earth in certain locations and trapped inside houses. Building materials including carpeting and plywood emit formaldehyde gas. Paint and solvents give off organic compounds as they dry. Lead paint can degenerate into dust and be inhaled. Intentional air pollution is introduced with the use of air fresheners, incense, and other scented items. Controlled wood fires in stoves and fireplaces can add significant amounts of smoke particulates into the air, inside and out. Indoor pollution may be caused by using pesticides and other chemical sprays indoors without proper ventilation.
“The World Health Organization states that 2.4 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution, with 1.5 million of these deaths due to indoor air pollution. Studies suggest that more than 500,000 Americans die each year from cardiopulmonary disease due to breathing fine particle air pollution (EPA).
The health effects caused by air pollutants may range from biochemical and physiological changes to difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing and aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiac conditions. These effects can result in increased medication use, increased doctor or emergency room visits, hospital admissions and premature death. The effects of poor air quality are far reaching, but affect the body’s respiratory system and cardiovascular system. Reactions to air pollutants depend on the type of pollutant a person is exposed to, how bad the exposure is, a person’s health status and their genetic genes.
Why is air pollution dangerous?
Health reasons: pollution has been linked to numerous types of illnesses, such as, strokes, heart disease, and breathing problems. 2) Global warming: air pollution is responsible for global warming. This leads to gradual, but persistent increase of the temperature of our planet. It affects ecosystems as well as the atmosphere. 3) Ozone layer: air pollution causes the ozone layer to shrink, reducing its ability to protect us from ultraviolet radiation. This not only causes skin cancer, but will also damage wildlife and plants. 4) Acid rain: certain pollutants can cause rain to turn to acid rain. This also has an impact on animals, fish, and plants that are soaked in the rain. Acid rain can also affect the ground making the soil toxic to many plants and animals.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are six common air pollutants, and are found all over the United States. “These are ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, lead, and particulate matter (also known as particle pollution). These all can harm your health and the environment, and also cause property damage. Of the six pollutants, particle pollution and ground ozone are the biggest health threats.”(EPA)
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“For each of the pollutants, (EPA) tracks two kinds of air pollution trends: air concentrations based on actual measurements of pollutant concentrations in the outside air at selected monitoring sites throughout the country, and emissions based on engineering estimates of the total tons of air pollutants released each year. Despite the progress made in the last thirty years, millions of people live in the countries with monitor data showing unhealthy air for one or more of the six common air pollutants. For (EPA) most recent evaluation of air pollution trends for these six pollutions.
Another form of air pollution is caused from industrial farms. Confined animal feeding operations pollute the air in many ways, letting off foul odors, airborne particles, greenhouse gases, and numerous toxic chemicals. In the United States, industrial farms are the leading producers of substances such as nitrous oxide, and ammonia. US farms produce more than 400 different gases, in addition to dust and airborne particles, generated during the handling and disposal of manure. Air pollution from industrial farms can cause a lot of health problems in agricultural workers, in residents of neighboring communities, and in farm animals. Many industrial farms do little or nothing in this regard.
People that live near hog farms often have increased respiratory problems. “A number of studies have demonstrated that fatigue, depression, and mood disturbances occur in higher proportions in people living near such facilities”.
An environmental effect, of air pollution from farms directly affects, the environment, through the production of nitrogen and some of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. About 80% of the U.S. ammonia emissions came from livestock manure. (EPA) “Atmospheric ammonia and nitric oxide-both produced on farms, contribute to what is known as the “nitrogen cascade,” in which each ammonia molecule can in sequence, impact atmospheric visibility, soil acidity, forest productivity, terrestrial ecosystem biodiversity, stream acidity, and coastal productivity (National Academy of Sciences, retrieved 8/22).
The only logical solution is that everybody needs to find a way to reduce air pollution in the hope that eventually, someday, is eliminated.
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