The Car and the Environment

Cars offer fast reliable transportation, offering drivers access to anywhere with roads, but there are consequences.

Automobiles are the leading cause of air pollution

Cars also release toxic emissions that damage our environment. Hurting our environment by adding to the greenhouse effect, damaging air quality, and decreasing the ozone. Not to mention the growing smog problems, disasters done with landfill and the effects done to our water supply. Which all are connected with the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion, and air quality. Even though today’s ozone is stable, ultraviolet rays are under control, and the air we breathe is still healthy. In the near future these luxuries will not be available if we continue to drive cars of today. Effecting the way humans operate their lives on a regular basis.

Cars damage our environment by the emissions released from the combustion system of an automobile. Certain emissions effect out environment and do damage to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is the process where infrared rays from the sun come into the Earth’s atmosphere. The atmosphere traps these rays after they have entered, keeping the Earth warm and habitable. Toxic gases weaken the atmosphere allowing for more infrared rays to enter. Having more infrared rays reflected on the Earth warms the Earth, raising the temperature. Causing certain vegetation life to die off, the snow caps to melt, and increased temperature. Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are two greenhouse gases that damage our Earth’s atmosphere. Reducing the amount of these greenhouse gases will greatly help reduce these effects.

Cars release 30 percent of the carbon dioxide in the earth’s air. Carbon dioxide is released from the tailpipe of a car and can do much damage to the human respiratory system. Every time an automobile burns a gallon of gasoline it releases 22 pounds of carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide is also a damaging greenhouse gas.

Cars account for 76 percent of the carbon monoxide in the earth’s air. Carbon monoxide affects the bloods total capacity for carrying oxygen by to the heart, brain, and other important organs. Automobiles also release nitrogen oxide (N0x), contributing 30 percent of N0x in the earth’s atmosphere. Adding to the already problem of acid rain, which can damage health by increasing coughing, asthma, and stinging eye.

Volatile organic compounds also released by car emissions combine with nitrogen oxides creating smog. Smog contaminates city air and cause respiration problems to humans and harms vegetation. Volatile organic compounds have also been linked to the vague ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ a cancerous disease that has unknown effects on the body.

The ozone layer is made up of a molecule containing three oxygen molecules. Playing an important role in absorbing radiation from the sun. Protecting us from ultra violet rays. Without an ozone layer these rays would effect humans with non-melanoma skin cancer, as well as damaging plant life, marine life, and animal life.

Ozone molecules destroy and create at a stable rate, but when in contact with certain man made chemicals. Ozone molecules are being destroyed faster than they are being produced, creating a hole in the ozone. CFC’s, once considered a miracle substance, is one of the major chemicals breaking down ozone molecules. Breaking ozone molecules down at a rate of 100,000 to 1. CFC is a chemical used in the cooling process, or refrigeration process of man made objects. Car’s air conditionings release these CFC’s, and appropriate precautions are not being taking to deplete the amount of CFC’s.

The disposal and production of car hurts the environment in two ways, adding CFC’s to the atmosphere and creating landfills for tires. In the production of cars, CFC’s are entered into the car system. Releasing small amounts of CFC’s into the atmosphere, but it only takes a small amount of CFC’s to do a good amount of damage. CFC’s are also released during the life of the car, and released once again in the destruction of cars.

Tires also damage the environment because tires are not biodegradable, and usually discarded in a tire dump. Most tires are sent to dumps or landfills were they must be monitored, in case of a fire breaking out. No one is really sure of the damages done from a tire fire, but they can never be put out. Tires can burn for decades, releasing smoke and haze into our environment.

To deal with a burning fire they must be buried, this does not extinguish the fire; it just covers it up. From that point the tire burns within. These landfills also create problems because of the amount of disease spread from the large amount of insect populations growing in these tires. These tire dumps are not a very nice setting and cause much of a threat to humans.

Traveling automobiles also damage the water supply with runoff lubricants, coolants, and gas deposits. These runoffs mix into the rivers and lakes through sewer systems. These toxic chemicals cause rapid growth of aquatic plants, which deplete water of dissolved oxygen, which then kills fish. It also creates a persistent bioaccumulative toxic substance that marine animals eat. This substance then grows in the fatty tissue of fish, then getting passes along to humans in the food chain. This substance breaks done over a very long period of time that can take up to a decade. Causing future health problems for humans and marine animals.

Cars might be seen as a fast and free way to travel, but at whose expense. They are solutions to fix this problem, Americans can support mass transit, electric sources of transportation, or choose other forms of transportation that do not harm the environment.

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