With the way that societies have developed themselves and our current dependence on unrenewable energy sources, I don’t think that completely getting rid of air pollution is a possibility for right now. However, who knows what the future will hold and the possibilities that green technology will bring. Until then, there are definitely a number of ways that we can significantly reduce the amount of air pollution. For example, we need to start becoming more aware of what is causing harm to our air, reduce our use of standard automobiles, plant more plants, and go solar whenever possible.
It’s difficult to say. With our present technology, it definitely is not possible to get rid of air pollution. However, there are definitely things we can do to cut down on the amount of pollution we are adding to the air. The most obvious way to do this is to cut down on emissions from vehicles and power plants. Over time, the atmosphere will likely clean itself up to some extent (through processes like photosynthesis, which naturally removes carbon dioxide from the air), though it’s difficult to say how successful it will be on its own. Right now, researchers are working on technologies to remove pollutants from the air, but again, it will be quite a while before we can see how successful they are.
Most air pollutants decay and leave our atmosphere over time through reactions with other chemicals in the air. Sometimes this causes acid rain and other negative side-effects, but it depends on the particular pollutant of interest. Here are a couple of links describing what happens to nitrogen oxides after they enter our atmosphere and what we can do to prevent it from entering out atmosphere in the first place. The EPA has a list of five other common pollutants that have been extensively studied. If you are interested in learning about what happens to other pollutants, just ask 🙂
I wouldn’t say that it’s impossible to get rid of air pollution, but it’s going to be really difficult with other countries currently going through their industrial revolutions, such as China. Air pollution has gotten better in other areas though, such as Los Angeles. Due to strict air regulations, smog levels have gone down from what they were in the past.
I suppose its not impossible, eventually, but at this juncture in modern history, it’s impossible. Technology is progressing in a way that cuts waste, which is a good trend. Where I think society will really begin cutting air pollution will be the use of waste in the production of other products. Here’s an example:
This is a pig feed lot whose waste products are used in a host of other processes. Theo Van Kempen writes, “Swine feces are collected on a belt system placed in the barn, and are harvested in a dry state. These feces are transported to a centralized steam reforming gasification/liquefaction plantwhere they are recombined to form a liquid fuel or used for electricity production… Urine is continuously removed from the building usinggravity. Ammonia is then extracted using an ion-exchange process yielding zinc-ammonium-sulfate which is transported to a centralized processing plant and turned into ammonium sulfate, which is sold as a fertilizer. Remaining water is used for irrigation.”
This type of system is a good start to eliminating air pollution, but even a system this efficient still emits air pollutants.
From a financial point of view, it is infeasible to get rid of all air pollution. When pollution levels are high, pollution abatment can be achieved relatively easily with moderate amounts of costs. The ratio of level of abatment to costs is high. As pollution levels decrease, abatment becomes harder to achieve. The ratio of level of abatment to costs is very low. It is possible to get rid of air pollution with a mix of technological and use control, but getting rid of all air pollution might not make sense, moneywise.
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