Air Pollution Statistics

Air Pollution Statistics

Air pollution has severe effects on the health of living beings. For the past several years, the government has introduced various measures to control air pollution. Let us take a look at some air pollution statistics to get some information on this issue.

Air pollution has many causes and affects humans, animals and plants in many ways. Air is polluted by the addition of various harmful substances to the atmosphere and rapid industrialization that has led to an increase in the environmental pollution levels. Some of the common sources of pollution are emissions from cars, factories, dust, pollen etc. Inhaling air polluted with these substances can cause various diseases including certain types of cancers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for monitoring the pollution levels and compiling the air pollution statistics in the United States. There are around 4,000 monitoring stations in the country and most of these have been set up in the urban areas.

The Environmental Protection Agency checks the levels of the six pollutants. These are nitrogen oxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and lead. There are certain allowable limits for each pollutant and the EPA is responsible to ensure that these pollutants do not cross these set limits. The EPA also compiles environmental pollution facts and information so that people are made aware about air pollution. Let us take a look at the air pollution statistics in America.
The toxic releases have reduced by more than 50 million tons since 1970. Carbon monoxide emissions have decreased by around 33%.
The levels of nitrogen oxide which contributes to formation of the ozone has decreased by 12% over the last few years. This is a decrease of about 3.3 million tons each year.
The emissions of sulfur dioxide have decreased and it has shown a decline of 38%, that is, around 13 million tons a year.
Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are the substances which have significant vapor pressures to affect the environment. These compounds have also shown a decrease of about 42%, which has reduced their presence by 14 million tons per year.
Lead emissions and particulate matter emissions have also seen a decline in the last few years. Particulate matter emissions have been reduced by 9 million tons per year and lead emissions have decreased by 217 thousand tons per year.
Although, these reports are encouraging, there is still a long way to go to realize the goal of pollution free air. Let us now take a look at the air pollution statistics by state.

Air Pollution Statistics by State

State of the Air 2010, a report on the quality of air has revealed that the hard work done by the government and citizens seems to be paying off well as there is a lot of improvement on the quality of air, particularly in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland and New York. The report also pointed out that despite these improvements, unhealthy air posed a threat to around 58% of Americans. According to the report, the most polluted regions of the United States are
Los Angeles
The regions mentioned above are not arranged in any particular order as the levels of pollution in an area are determined by the three parameters, namely, levels of short-term particle pollution, levels of year-round particle pollution and levels of ozone pollution.

To achieve the goal of a clean, pollution-free America, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. The American Lung Association which focuses on improving lung health and quality air has recommended some actions which can help in controlling air pollution. These are:
Cleaning up of power plants, dirty diesel engines and ocean-going vessels.
Reducing the consumption of fuel by carpooling, walking or using the public transport. Biodiesel can also be used as an alternate as not only will it control air pollution but it will also save the non-renewable sources of energy.
Planting a tree every year and by using bio-safe products in homes.
Further research on how to tap solar and wind energy so that dependence on combustible fuels decreases.
The air pollution statistics regarding the effect on living beings reveal that controlling air pollution is one of the most crucial areas that need to be focused on. The most important thing that we as responsible citizens need to remember is that it is not only the duty of the government to have preventive measures in place and instead we can take initiatives too to improve the quality of air. If our future generations are to breathe in fresh air, it is very important that we respect mother nature and help in maintaining its balance. As William Ruckelshaus has aptly said, "Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites".

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