Automobile Air Pollution

Efforts to improve the standard of living for humans, through the control of nature and the development of new products have also resulted in the pollution of the environment. Much of the world’s air, water, and land is now partially poisoned by pollution. Some places have become uninhabitable. This pollution exposes people all around the globe to new risks from disease. Many species of plants and animals have become endangered or are now extinct. The air pollution comes from lots of sources but the paper will be about air pollution cause by automobiles. As a result of tremendous amount of air pollution, primarily for automobile governments have passed laws to limit or reverse the threat of environmental pollution.

There are lots of sources other than the automobile for air pollution. Nature itself is one of the causes. Sometime nature causes the air pollution by activities like a forest fire, volcanic, hurricane. These are temporary dislocations that nature balances and accommodates to modern economic development, however, sometimes disrupts nature’s delicate balance. The other source is from factories. Factories are release smokes and chemical in the air. In many places smoke from factories and cars combines with naturally occurring fog to form smog and create a midday sky. It had happened in London, London, England, has been subjected to the danger of smog, long recognized as a potential cause of death, especially for elderly persons and those with severe respiratory ailments (pollution).

Transportation by car though, is the major source of air pollution. Early in the century human invented, internal combustion engine, engine that use fuel as gasoline or diesel. Those engines were used to manufacture an automobile for fast travel from one place to another. Because they were not much in use, those few cars were not enough to threat the environment. Those engines were not fast enough so mastermind humans invented bigger and faster engines and those take more fuel. When these engines burn fuels they introduce smoke and other, less visible, by products.

Once they are released into the air, the products of incomplete combustion, particulate matter (soot, ash, and other solids), unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, various nitrogen oxides, ozone, and lead, undergo a series of chemical reactions in the presence of sunlight. The result is the dense haze characteristic of smog. Smog may appear brownish in color when it contains high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, or it may look blue-gray when it contains large amounts of ozone (Danger). The cumulative effect of air pollution poses a grave threat to humans and the environment.

Smog causes number of children and elderly to die because children lungs are still developing, also they breath more rapidly than adults, and they play outdoor. Most elderly people loose the red cells that cause diseases to go out of control. That lead them to the development of chronic lung diseases.  The costs of air pollution are enormous. The American Lung Association sites sulfur-dioxide exposure as the third leading cause of lung disease after active and passive smoking (Justification)

Air pollution does not only cause health hazard but also cause acid rain to fall. Acid rain causes damage to structure or life. Plants and animal marine animal are most effected by acid rain. Acid rain or snow pollute the water and soil the major source for plants and marine species to survive. Acid rain or snow falls when sulfur dioxide emissions from exhaust of an internal combustion engine combine with particles of water in the atmosphere. In Canada, Scandinavia, and the northeastern United States, acid rain is blamed for the deaths of thousands of lakes and streams (Acid rain).

Another new and troubling form of air pollution comes from a variety of chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons, also known as CFCs. For many years it was used by automobile industries. These chemicals were used in the air conditioning systems of the car. CFCs takes decade to get in the upper atmosphere but when it gets there it combines with other molecules. Then, by attaching themselves to molecules of ozone, CFCs transform and destroy the protective ozone layer. The result has been a sharp decline in the amount of ozone in the stratosphere. At ground level, ozone is a threat to our lungs, but in the upper atmosphere ozone works as a shield to protect against ultraviolet radiation from the sun (Ozone). If the ozone shield gets too thin or disappears, exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause crop failures and the spread of epidemic diseases, skin cancer, and other disasters.

The automobile has a big impact on over our environment. Today we have trillions of automobiles on the road. Each car produce smoke and chemicals that hazardous to our world. Sometimes people take that threat seriously and they try to find solution. It is necessary to burn fuel completely because unburn fuel release more chemicals than burned fuel. Most new cars have two oxygen sensors that monitor and control the burning of fuel (Toyota Eng.). I think problem is that as oxygen sensors age, their warm-up response slows considerably. Even government says, The major cause of air pollution is the internal-combustion engine of automobiles. Gasoline is never completely burned in the engine of a car, just as coal is never completely burned in the furnace of a steel mill  (EPA). Other than two oxygen sensors some engineers came up with electric.

These cars are good for our environment because they do not use gasoline as fuel. Even they dont produce any smoke. It has some problem with it too like electric cars need to recharge more often and the are not fast enough. The other problem is that after while the batteries needs to replace. You imagine if trillion cars need to replace batteries than it will fill our safe chemical deposal sites in few years than we have more chemical waste in our environment. The solar cars are not that bad in the futuristic problems but cars arent fast enough.

Air pollution has been the target of some of the most complicated and far-reaching legislation ever enacted. In 1970, the United States Congress passed legislation aimed at curbing sources of air pollution and setting standards for air quality. A few years later, Congress passed laws designed to phase out the use of lead as an additive in gasoline (EPA). That helped us because the level of lead in the average American’s bloodstream has declined. We still didnt do much about cause of acid rain and it is continually debated in North America and throughout Europe. In late 1987, more than 20 nations signed an agreement to limit the production of CFCs and to work toward their eventual elimination (EPA).

The extent of environmental pollution caused by humans is already so great that sometimes I question myself that the Earth can continue to support life unless immediate corrective action is taken.


1. Natural Pollution,
2 EPA (Environmental protection Agency),
3 Pollution, The World Book p. 145
4 Air Pollution, Air Pollution Facts (April 1998),
5 Danger, Danger in the air,
6 Justification,
7 Acid Rain, Outdoor Air Pollution,