Environmental Pollution Research Papers Examples
The purpose of the essay is to look at the pollution in Los Angeles and study the environmental pollution her, the reason behind as well as the adverse effects of the pollutants on the life and health of the inhabitants. The paper discusses happened in the past and what is happening today to tackle the situation.
It is true that despite making great strides in technologies and advancements in other fields, the United States needs to do something about air pollution in its cities that has only risen over the past decade. More than 45% of the U.S. population lives in unhealthy levels of air pollution. According to the report by American Lung Association (ALA), the air pollution is slightly higher than last year. California’s Central Valley has shown no improvement with concerns to air pollution and remains among the top polluted areas (Calio, 2014).
Pollution in Los Angeles
About 2 million inhabitants in the Los Angeles live with asthma and deal with chronic obstructive lung disease. Effects of air pollution make these residents even more vulnerable to the adverse effects of pollution in the air. The ozone levels in the city are the highest in the country. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Area is the second-largest in the United States and the largest urban area in California. The LA Basin is vulnerable to atmospheric inversions and traps exhaust from on-road vehicles, locomotives and airplane (Su et al., 2009).
The Port of Los Angeles conduct an air quality monitoring program and is joining efforts to improve air quality. There are four air monitoring stations that measure the set of air pollutants within the city. Real-time air quality measurements of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter are made. Every third day, integrated samples of particulates are collected and the meteorological monitoring stations read the air quality data. The monitoring stations collect wind direction, wind speed and temperature (Air Quality Monitoring, 2015).
Looking back at Los Angeles Even back in the 1950s and '60s, Los Angeles was breathing some of the dirtiest air in the world. The first real smog attacked Los Angeles during World War II. By 1975, new cars with new technology allowed things to change. However, there are other reasons too for the pollution Los Angeles and the geography of the area along with the temperature inversions trap dirty air. During the early times, smoke and fumes from oil refineries, steel, and chemical plagued the city until the late 1950s. What added to the pollution were the higher number of vehicles on the road as early as 1940. With the boom in the population and economy, the number of vehicles has only increased over the years.
Los Angeles is not that clean and healthy place is it is promoted. This excuse the air pollution threatened tourism, agriculture, and real estate. Moreover, it took more than a decade to realize that the tailpipes of the automobiles could be responsible for the smog. The laboratory-proven tests proved that the hydrocarbons getting emitted from the tailpipes when bared to sunlight, and nitrogen oxides turned into smog. Still it was hard to convince politicians and regulators of the industry that cars were the main culprit behind the smog in Los Angeles. Automakers were slow to respond and were anxious about making changes that would add to their costs (Gardner, 2014).
The toxic atmosphere made the doctors think about the possible connections between the smog and lung cancer. What followed were rallies and media events making environmental protests and putting pressure on the politicians. California asked for the first anti-smog controls on cars in the 1960.
The most polluted areas in Los Angeles are East LA, Vernon and Baldwin Park, according to California Environmental Protection Agency. What makes a place more vulnerable to pollution is race and poverty. Looking at Los Angeles-North Main Street Real-time Air Quality Index currently, the air quality is satisfactory in most parts, but in some parts the pollutants pose a
health concern for those who are sensitive to air pollution (Los Angeles-North Main Street Air Pollution, 2015).
Sources of air pollution in Los Angeles Despite decades of research, the air pollution in Los Angeles remains a political and technical concern for generations and is one of the leading causes behind cardiac and respiratory causes. There has been a steady rise in the number of respiratory diseases that are linked to the concentrations air pollutants. Because of economic and climatic differences, pollutants such as sulfur oxides and particulates are less prevalent here. However, Oxidants accumulate with the masses of air and are responsible for the mortality rise (Mahoney, 1976).
In LA, there is minimal pollution removal by precipitation, and higher auto-dependence of the population here lead to more air pollution and subsequent health effects. Because of the geography, infrastructure and road network in LA, NO and NO2 concentrations are high. There is a cumulative impact of traffic and density in the mega cities as compared to smaller urban areas. Satellite remote sensing monitor particular matter PM10 and PM2.5, as well as SO2, O3, NOx, CO and volatile organic compounds. Places with high vegetation cover are seen to lower the pollutant concentrations. In LA, the major contributor to air pollution has been found to be traffic, and NO was found to be highly concentrated near major roadways and highways. The exposure modeling strategy and data show the traffic-related air pollution in the very complex cityscape of Los Angeles (Su et al., 2009).
Impact on health Studies offer evidence that the spatial association of ozone distribution and respiratory mortality is most confrontational. Numerous experiments and human exposure have shown that the ozone toxicity can be directly linked to disturbances in pulmonary function. The consistent findings and observations indicate the correlation between oxidant and particulate matter and the respiratory disease (Mahoney, 1976).
There have been links found between the long-term exposure to air pollution and cardiovascular mortality. When the contribution of air pollution to many cardiovascular diseases was investigated, the results represented an association between atherosclerosis and pollution. These findings carry a high public health relevance and further investigations need to be made in the westernized countries, as well as developing countries behind the heart disease and its link to air pollution (Künzli et al., 2005).
Data related asthmatics in the Los Angeles area was collected by the Environmental Protect oxidant ion Agency, to study the relationship between daily attack occurrence and the levels of oxidant, particulates, humidity and average wind speed, etc. The studies indicate that the attacks were higher on days with high oxidants and particulate pollution. The relationship between air pollution and the increased frequency of asthmatic attacks is consistent with other findings. A higher number of attacks occurred on days when the pollutants caused plant damage and eye irritation (Whittemore & Korn, 1980).
The recent improvements Because of the tough state regulations, motivation programs and cleaner fuels, the air pollution has shown a drop, but is still high in many areas. The diesel releases from trucks, ships and in freight corridors and ports have been curbed. While there is remarkable progress, the Cancer risk in the region remains unacceptably high and is the worst in the nation. Exposure to toxic air contaminants can add to cancer risks and the highest cancer risks have been placed in and around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The lowest cancer risk has been found in the Coachella Valley and the southwest Riverside County.The state is making efforts to slash emissions in the area ports and the most heavily polluted communities near the ports under a clean-air plan that was initiated in 2006. Environmentalists and advocates are supporting the stringent emissions rules for industry, but there is still a lot more that needs to be done. There are many communities that are still breathing the most polluted air (Barboza, 2014).
Los Angeles carries some of the most polluted air in the country and the prime source of pollution are motor vehicles, and industries and ports. Moreover, the geographical features, low rainfall and sunny days lead to ozone formation and high levels of fine particles and dust. There are widespread concerns about the pollution in Los Angeles and the residents here believe that the air quality has only gone down with time. Scientists and Environmental Protection Agency conclude that the pollution in air leads to respiratory and cardiovascular damage. The air pollutants can trigger asthma attacks and lead to heart attacks and heart disease. Both short-term and long-term exposure to the fine particle pollution can lead to serious health threats.
Still, there are serious limitations in the studies of the health effects of air pollution and the
Information on individual pollutant exposure. There is a need to carry further studies and research on air conditioning, presence of cigarette smoke, the time spent by individuals on roads, at home and at work, so as to estimate the daily exposure to the air pollutants (Whittemore & Korn, 1980).References
Air Quality Monitoring. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.portoflosangeles.org/environment/air_quality.asp
Barboza, T. (2014). Cancer risk from air pollution drops in Southern California. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-cancer-risk-20141003-story.html
Calio, V. (2014). The 10 Most Polluted Cities in America. Retrieved from http://247wallst.com/special-report/2014/04/30/the-10-most-polluted-cities-in-america/
Gardner, S. (2014). LA Smog: The battle against air pollution. Retrieved from http://www.marketplace.org/topics/sustainability/we-used-be-china/la-smog-battle-against-air- pollution
Künzli, N., Jerrett, M., Mack, W. J., Beckerman, B., LaBree, L., Gilliland, F., Hodis, H. N. (2005). Ambient Air Pollution and Atherosclerosis in Los Angeles. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(2), 201–206. doi:10.1289/ehp.7523
Los Angeles-North Main Street Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI). (2015). Retrieved from http://aqicn.org/city/losangeles/los-angeles-north-main-street/
Mahoney, L. E. (1976). Air pollution and respiratory mortality in los angeles. The Western Journal of Medicine, 124(2), 159-166.
Su, J. G., Jerrett, M., Beckerman, B., Wilhelm, M., Ghosh, J. K., & Ritz, B. (2009). Predicting traffic-related air pollution in Los Angeles using a distance decay regression selection strategy. Environmental Research, 109(6), 10.1016/j.envres.2009.06.001. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2009.06.001
Whittemore, A. S., & Korn, E. L. (1980). Asthma and air pollution in the Los Angeles area. American Journal of Public Health, 70(7), 687–696.