Pollution and Chemistry


I recently got the option to do a chemistry research paper in class so i chose air pollution and how it relates to chemistry! Its a bit long but extremely informative!

Clean and clear air is essential to life on Earth. If the whole world was extremely polluted then species would die off and every living thing would eventually disintegrate and die due to our natural recourses disappearing and people falling very ill. “The health effects of air pollution imperil human lives. This fact is well-documented” (Johnson). It is very important that this is understood. The thing is, the world is already polluted. India, Bangladesh, China and more countries are contaminated the highest level of PM2.5 meaning the diameter measured in microns of particulates such as ammonia and nitrate but also carbon and sulfate.  Around 2.4 million people die each year from air pollution.Health-effects-of-pollution

Los Angeles, California has the worst and most harmful ozone pollution in the United States for the 17th time in 18 years. Some parts of Los Angeles such as Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Topanga, Chino Hills, Palos Verdes, Torrance, El Segundo and many Coastal parts of Los Angeles have cleaner air compared to other places like Baldwin Park and Boyle Heights.

This is partly because  winds blow east which means that inland areas are more prone to having toxic particles blown in and staying in the area.  Hills are more prone to fire because pollution settles in the valley since it’s like a bowl and temperatures are higher. These locations are densely white about 90% and majority is very clean too.nitrogenoxides

“Pollution is a serious one. Water pollution, air pollution, and then solid hazardous waste pollution. And then beyond that, we also have the resources issue” (Jun).

Pollution comes in 7 types one of them being air pollution which is harmful gasses and smoke being contaminated into the air air pollution occurs from vehicle fume, burning of fossil fuels and nuclear radiation. Land pollution is part of the damage done to the environment, animals and natural recourses when people litter and dispose of trash in general or inland oil spills. Light pollution is from streetlights and lights being projected into the night sky, light pollution uses a lot of energy.

Noise pollution is pollution that is made by noise which is irritating to humans and affects animals and example would be construction or loud vehicles.  Thermal pollution is man caused temperature increase, such as climate change or a lake warming up and killing all its fish and algae  because of the factories nearby.

Visual pollution is anything that is visually unappealing to the eye such as skyscrapers that block the natural view, or gross mini malls that just make everything look worse. Water pollution is the damage to bodies of water by man made substances like radiation and oil spills and also raw sewage being dumped into a lake.10-571js06

“The environmental effects of the automobile are well known: motor vehicles cause, for example, as much as 75 percent of the noise and 80 percent of the air pollution in our cities” (Udall). Air pollution happens when specific particles and gasses stick together in the atmosphere up to a point where it harms people’s health and causes lung problems from breathing in polluted air.   Air is one of the most vital necessities on this earth, in order to breathe we need air and also the many gasses that help the planet.halogen2-300x227

These elements aka pollutants are mainly man made. The dictionary defines a pollutant as “a substance that makes land, water, air, etc., dirty and not safe or suitable to use: something that causes pollution”

Pollution has a great relation with chemistry. Chemical reactions happen in the atmosphere when the primary pollutant is directly emitted from a source compared to secondary pollutants which occur when primary pollutants are  cohesive with one another in the atmosphere.


Primary pollutants are known as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides , sulfur oxides and particulate matter such as dust and ash/ salt particles.  When toxins are released into the environment and atmosphere it hurts it immensely and since the atmosphere has an extremely thin sheet of gas over it that blocks radiation- such as cosmic or ultraviolet from entering then makes the planet cool and inhabit oxygen.

Yet when people disrespect their power and start harming the Earth they will release pollutants such as nitrogen and sulfur dioxide into the air which  are harmful gasses. These gases react negatively when mixed with other compounds which can cause health problems to many.environmental-problems-pollution-35__880

This is why chemistry is vital to air pollution, if more and more harmful compounds were to mix and mix then you will end up with an explosion that can destroy the world or even melt someone’s face. Chemistry can help regulate these happenings by examining the periodic table and element properties, if one element were to be extremely harmful and another one deathly then scientists would know not  to infuse the two.

“Clean energy is about offering people the opportunity to do what’s right for themselves and the people they love” (Reuben) . It is up to human nature to find out ways to prevent pollution in the future. Luckily, there are numerous ways, starting with conserving energy by turning off a light when not in use, cleaning up disposed trash on the street, redu
ing one’s carbon footprint by using less waste and eco friendly modes of transportation such as riding the bike or taking the train to work.environmental-problems-pollution-45__880 A way to reduce pollution that will also benefit human and animal life too is not eating factory farmed foods such as meat, dairy or eggs, factory farming dumps millions of waste and chemicals into the environment causing even more pollution from land to water. There is only so much time before it is too late.





Posted by Lily Larsen

I am a 17-year-old​ activist/arts advocate and have been participating in marches, protests and petitions since I was 5 years old. I serve on Mayor Garcetti's Youth Council for South LA. And have generated a petition to ban factory farming in California with over 55,000 signatures. I organize community events and get teens like me connected with social justice issues and activism all over LA.

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