1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The land can be cleaned up before we use it, and purify water before we drink it, but, except in air-conditioned rooms, we must breathe air as it comes to us. Automobiles, factories, heating furnaces, power plants, trash incinerators, each add to the problem, so control is difficult. (Microsoft Encarta 2009). Air pollution is a major environmental problem throughout the world. Most air pollution problems thus result from man’s pattern of energy use and production.
Air quality is affected by economic activities which introduce pollutants into the atmosphere that pose threats to human health and other life forms on earth. It furthermore has the potential to change the climate with unpredictable, but potentially severe consequences on a local and global scale. Because large bodies of air cannot be contained, atmospheric pollution can only be controlled at its source.At present there is no comprehensive information on air quality or on the levels of emissions entering the atmosphere from different sources.
However, air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. By reducing air pollution levels, we can help countries reduce the global burden of disease from respiratory infections, heart disease, and lung cancer. The lower the levels of air pollution in a city, the better respiratory (both long- and short-term), and cardiovascular health of the population will be.
Apollutant is the wrong stuff in the wrong place at the wrong time, and especially in developed nations such as ours, avoiding pollution is not necessarily easy. The problem is made worse by a loss of ownership of the problem; by reality gaps between government agencies which must regulate and monitor on the broader level of pollutant averages over time and local citizens that are justifiably upset over local episodes; and by entrenchment in the comfort of our own consumptive lifestyles and by limited alternatives.
The auto industry and its support enterprises continue to flourish, while mass transit struggles to survive. Fossil fuel-based energies overshadow wind, solar and other sources of energy. Cleaner fuels often remain a novelty. Land use decisions, or the lack of them, make it difficult for many to walk or bike to work. Numerous small mechanical devices replace muscle power. Disposable items save us even more time and work. Food is transported far from where it is grown, to a region which could supply its own food needs. All of these factors lead to increased product and energy consumption and have a vast impact on air quality.