3.1 Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Sources and Emissions

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					3.1. Air pollution and greenhouse gas sources and emissions (search for emission inventories or other

Air pollutants, including greenhouse gas sources are emitted to the atmosphere contributing to smog, acid
rain, poor air quality, and adverse human health effects. Emissions are the bi-product of human activities such
as industry and commercial sectors, heating and electricity generation, transportation, agriculture, as well as
natural sources such as forest fires. According to Environment Canada the most significant pollutants include,
Carbon monoxide (CO), Sulphur oxide (SOx), Nitrogen oxide (NOx), Volatile organic compound (VOC),
Hexachlorobenzene, Dioxins and furans, Polycyclic Aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), particulate matter less
than or equal to 2.5 microns (PM2.5), ammonia, and heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury (2009
Air Pollutant Emission Summaries and Historical, 2011). Pollutants have an adverse affect to human health
and to the environment; when inhaled at low concentrations pollutants can cause respiratory distress, likewise
the health of the environment is compromised due to the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
thereby contributes to global warming.

The combinations of chemicals released into the atmosphere and the presence of sunlight on warm summer
day results is a chemical reaction that forms; photochemical smog, a mixture of ground-level ozone (O3), and
fine particulates (BC Air Quality). In addition, many of these gases also exhibit “greenhouse” properties
including, water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. These chemical compounds contribute
to the warming effect of the environment in the following way, the sunlight that enters the atmosphere freely
is reflected back towards space from the Earth’s surface, the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorb part
of this infrared radiation thereby trapping the heat (National Energy Information Center (NEIC), 2004). The
amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface and is reflected back should be constant overtime,
resulting in a roughly constant temperature found on the Earth’s surface. However, this is not the case,
although naturally occurring greenhouse gases do occur at determined concentration, human-made sources
have increased concentration levels by as much as 25% since large-scale industry began 150 years ago
(National Energy Information Center (NEIC), 2004). Anthropogenic increases to gas levels have been
identified affecting such sources as; CO2, NOx, SOx, and VOCs. The management of pollutants, especially
those that exhibit greenhouse properties, is done so through Air Quality Management plans, initiatives, and
emission summaries.

Air Quality management plans include inventory reports that are made publicly available. Air pollutant
Inventories and other reports help to quantify base-line data, identify priorities for action, and track progress
on air quality management strategies, policies and regulations (2009 Air Pollutant Emission Summaries and
Historical, 2011). Canadians have a domestic obligation and interest to track and report on pollution
emissions, as well as to meet commitments at an international level.

Works Cited
2009 Air Pollutant Emission Summaries and Historical. (2011, 08 12). Retrieved 10 13, 2011, from Environment
Canada: http://www.ec.gc.ca/inrp-npri/default.asp?lang=En&n=2DAFE231-1

BC Air Quality. (n.d.). Breathtaking Discoveries. Retrieved 10 13, 2011, from BC Air Quality:

National Energy Information Center (NEIC). (2004, 05 06). Greenhouse Gases, Climate Change, and Energy. Retrieved
10 13, 2011, from Envirnoment Canada: http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/1605/ggccebro/chapter1.html

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