The Automobile's Role in Pollution

Essay by jpontrelUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2002

download word file, 17 pages 4.5

Air is never clean. Natural sources have polluted our breathable air for centuries. Sources such as volcanic ash, salt released from oceanic waves crashing, smoke from forest fires and windblown dirt particles all contribute to natural air pollution. Humans and their ability to manipulate these natural pollutants have accentuated their natural effect. For example, farmers often use fire to burn off vegetation on their field and to re-oxygenate their fields. However, human production and consumption have purged the environment of its natural balance. Human accentuated forms of natural pollution seem minor when compared to the pollution released in the modern day United States, specifically in its larger cities. Industrial and population growth have added to pollution deriving from man-made goods. Today's major contributor of air pollution is the automobile. The internal combustion engine burns fossil fuel causing the fuels elemental composition being released into the atmosphere. I will discuss historical air pollution leading up to the automobile.

I will also discuss the automobile's role in pollution and suggested resolutions.

Accidental fires have also accentuated natural air pollution by unnecessarily burning wood, plastics, and other man made material. The burnt man made material undergoes a chemical reaction from the fire and the polluted smoke harms animals, humans and plants. London air pollution was so horrible in the early 1300's that King Edward I said, "whoever shall be found guilty of burning coal shall suffer the loss of his head". Sure enough, the King caught one citizen burning coal and ordered the violator's decapitation. This is the only known capital punishment case for violating a pollution control law.

London then replaced coal burning for wood burning machinery. Air pollution, however, did not desist. In fact, London has had air pollution problems up until the smog disaster in 1952. The industrial revolution resulted...