Preventing air pollution essay

Highway congestion costs are another externality; lost time and congestion costs, however, are difficult to determine. A true evaluation of competing transportation modes, such as mass transportation, cannot be obtained if travel costs for work trips do not include congestion costs. Land-use planning for air pollution control includes zoning codes and performance standards, land-use controls, housing and land development, and land-use planning policies.


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Land-use zoning was the initial attempt to accomplish protection of the people, their property and their economic opportunity. However, the ubiquitous nature of air pollutants required more than physical separation of industries and residential areas to protect the individual. For this reason, performance standards based initially on aesthetics or qualitative decisions were introduced into some zoning codes in an attempt to quantify criteria for identifying potential problems. The limitations of the assimilative capacity of the environment must be identified for long-term land-use planning.

Then, land-use controls can be developed that will prorate the capacity equitably among desired local activities.

Air Pollution Causes, Effects & Solutions

Land-use controls include permit systems for review of new stationary sources, zoning regulation between industrial and residential areas, restriction by easement or purchase of land, receptor location control, emission-density zoning and emission allocation regulations. Housing policies aimed at making home ownership available to many who could otherwise not afford it such as tax incentives and mortgage policies stimulate urban sprawl and indirectly discourage higher-density residential development. These policies have now proven to be environmentally disastrous, as no consideration was given to the simultaneous development of efficient transportation systems to serve the needs of the multitude of new communities being developed.

The lesson learnt from this development is that programmes impacting on the environment should be coordinated, and comprehensive planning undertaken at the level where the problem occurs and on a scale large enough to include the entire system. Land-use planning must be examined at national, provincial or state, regional and local levels to adequately ensure long-term protection of the environment.

Governmental programmes usually start with power plant siting, mineral extraction sites, coastal zoning and desert, mountain or other recreational development. As the multiplicity of local governments in a given region cannot adequately deal with regional environmental problems, regional governments or agencies should coordinate land development and density patterns by supervising the spatial arrangement and location of new construction and use, and transportation facilities. Land-use and transportation planning must be interrelated with enforcement of regulations to maintain the desired air quality.

Ideally, air pollution control should be planned for by the same regional agency that does land-use planning because of the overlapping externalities associated with both issues. The clean air implementation plan should always contain an enforcement plan which indicates how the control measures can be enforced. This implies also a resource commitment which, according to a polluter pays principle, will state what the polluter has to implement and how the government will help the polluter in fulfilling the commitment.

In the sense of a precautionary plan, the clean air implementation plan should also include estimates of the trends in population, traffic, industries and fuel consumption in order to assess responses to future problems.

Air Pollution : Meaning , Causes , Effects and Control Measures

This will avoid future stresses by enforcing measures well in advance of imagined problems. A strategy for follow-up of air quality management consists of plans and policies on how to implement future clean air implementation plans.

Essay on Air Pollution: Causes, Effects and Control of Air Pollution

Environmental impact assessment EIA is the process of providing a detailed statement by the responsible agency on the environmental impact of a proposed action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment Lee EIA is an instrument of prevention aiming at consideration of the human environment at an early stage of the development of a programme or project. EIA is particularly important for countries which develop projects in the framework of economic reorientation and restructuring. EIA has become legislation in many developed countries and is now increasingly applied in developing countries and economies in transition.

EIA is integrative in the sense of comprehensive environmental planning and management considering the interactions between different environmental media. On the other hand, EIA integrates the estimation of environmental consequences into the planning process and thereby becomes an instrument of sustainable development. EIA also combines technical and participative properties as it collects, analyses and applies scientific and technical data with consideration of quality control and quality assurance, and stresses the importance of consultations prior to licensing procedures between environmental agencies and the public which could be affected by particular projects.

A clean air implementation plan can be considered as a part of the EIA procedure with reference to the air.

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International agencies such as the World Health Organization WHO , the World Meteorological Organization WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP have instituted monitoring and research projects in order to clarify the issues involved in air pollution and to promote measures to prevent further deterioration of public health and environmental and climatic conditions.

The kernel of this programme is a global database of urban air pollutant concentrations of sulphur dioxides, suspended particulate matter, lead, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and ozone. As important as this database, however, is the provision of management tools such as guides for rapid emission inventories, programmes for dispersion modelling, population exposure estimates, control measures, and cost-benefit analysis. The GAW programme consists of four activity areas: the Global Ozone Observing System GO3OS , global monitoring of background atmospheric composition, including the Background Air Pollution Monitoring Network BAPMoN ; dispersion, transport, chemical transformation and deposition of atmospheric pollutants over land and sea on different time and space scales; exchange of pollutants between the atmosphere and other environmental compartments; and integrated monitoring.

The aim of air pollution modelling is the estimation of outdoor pollutant concentrations caused, for instance, by industrial production processes, accidental releases or traffic. Air pollution modelling is used to ascertain the total concentration of a pollutant, as well as to find the cause of extraordinary high levels. For projects in the planning stage, the additional contribution to the existing burden can be estimated in advance, and emission conditions may be optimized. Depending on the air quality standards defined for the pollutant in question, annual mean values or short-time peak concentrations are of interest.

Usually concentrations have to be determined where people are active - that is, near the surface at a height of about two metres above the ground. Two types of parameters influence pollutant dispersion: source parameters and meteorological parameters. For source parameters, concentrations are proportional to the amount of pollutant which is emitted. If dust is concerned, the particle diameter has to be known to determine sedimentation and deposition of the material VDI As surface concentrations are lower with greater stack height, this parameter also has to be known.

In addition, concentrations depend on the total amount of the exhaust gas, as well as on its temperature and velocity. If the temperature of the exhaust gas exceeds the temperature of the surrounding air, the gas will be subject to thermal buoyancy. Its exhaust velocity, which can be calculated from the inner stack diameter and the exhaust gas volume, will cause a dynamic momentum buoyancy. It has to be stressed that it is not the mass of the pollutant in question but that of the total gas that is responsible for the thermal and dynamic momentum buoyancy.

Meteorological parameters which influence pollutant dispersion are wind speed and direction, as well as vertical thermal stratification. The pollutant concentration is proportional to the reciprocal of wind speed. This is mainly due to the accelerated transport. Moreover, turbulent mixing increases with growing wind speed.

As so-called inversions i. On the contrary, convective situations intensify vertical mixing and therefore show the lowest concentration values.


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  6. Air quality standards - for example, annual mean values or 98 percentiles - are usually based on statistics. Hence, time series data for the relevant meteorological parameters are needed. Ideally, statistics should be based on ten years of observation. If only shorter time series are available, it should be ascertained that they are representative for a longer period. This can be done, for example, by analysis of longer time series from other observations sites. The meteorological time series used also has to be representative of the site considered - that is, it must reflect the local characteristics.

    This is specially important concerning air quality standards based on peak fractions of the distribution, like 98 percentiles. If no such time series is at hand, a meteorological flow model may be used to calculate one from other data, as will be described below. As mentioned above, dispersion of pollutants is dependent on emission conditions, transport and turbulent mixing. Using the full equation which describes these features is called Eulerian dispersion modelling Pielke By this approach, gains and losses of the pollutant in question have to be determined at every point on an imaginary spatial grid and in distinct time steps.

    As this method is very complex and computer time consuming, it usually cannot be handled routinely. However, for many applications, it may be simplified using the following assumptions:. In this case, the equation mentioned above can be solved analytically. The resulting formula describes a plume with Gaussian concentration distribution, the so called Gaussian plume model VDI The distribution parameters depend on meteorological conditions and downwind distance as well as on stack height.

    They have to be determined empirically Venkatram and Wyngaard Under this approach, distinct puffs are emitted in fixed time steps, each following its own path according to the current meteorological conditions. On its way, each puff grows according to turbulent mixing.

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    Parameters describing this growth, again, have to be determined from empirical data Venkatram and Wyngaard Concerning accidental releases or single case studies, a Lagrangian or particle model VDI Guideline , Part 3 is recommended. The concept thereby is to calculate the paths of many particles, each of which represents a fixed amount of the pollutant in question.

    The individual paths are composed of transport by the mean wind and of stochastic disturbances. Due to the stochastic part, the paths do not fully agree, but depict the mixture by turbulence. In principle, Lagrangian models are capable of considering complex meteorological conditions - in particular, wind and turbulence; fields calculated by flow models described below can be used for Lagrangian dispersion modelling. If pollutant concentrations have to be determined in structured terrain, it may be necessary to include topographic effects on pollutant dispersion in modelling.

    Such effects are, for example, transport following the topographic structure, or thermal wind systems like sea breezes or mountain winds, which change wind direction in the course of the day. If such effects take place on a scale much larger than the model area, the influence may be considered by using meteorological data which reflect the local characteristics.

    If no such data are available, the three-dimensional structure impressed on the flow by topography can be obtained by using a corresponding flow model. Based on these data, dispersion modelling itself may be carried out assuming horizontal homogeneity as described above in the case of the Gaussian plume model. However, in situations where wind conditions change significantly inside the model area, dispersion modelling itself has to consider the three-dimensional flow affected by the topographic structure.

    As mentioned above, this may be done by using a Gaussian puff or a Lagrangian model. Another way is to perform the more complex Eulerian modelling. To determine wind direction in accord with the topographically structured terrain, mass consistent or diagnostic flow modelling may be used Pielke Using this approach, the flow is fitted to topography by varying the initial values as little as possible and by keeping its mass consistent.

    As this is an approach which leads to quick results, it may also be used to calculate wind statistics for a certain site if no observations are available. To do this, geostrophic wind statistics i. If, however, thermal wind systems have to be considered in more detail, so called prognostic models have to be used. Depending on the scale and the steepness of the model area, a hydrostatic, or the even more complex non-hydrostatic, approach is suitable VDI Models of this type need much computer power, as well as much experience in application. Determination of concentrations based on annual means, in general, are not possible with these models.

    Instead, worst case studies can be performed by considering only one wind direction and those wind speed and stratification parameters which result in the highest surface concentration values.