Gases are all around us. Although scientists are interested in gases in part due to their unique behaviour in terms of solubility, gases are important because they allow living things to breathe. Air quality is a very important part of human life: unfortunately, the modernization of industry and day-to-day life has a very negative effect on the atmosphere and the gases around us.
Ozone is a colourless gas made of three atoms of oxygen. Most people know about the ozone that is found at Earth’s outer atmosphere that keeps energy and heat in the atmosphere and protects us from UV rays. But there is another kind of ozone that sits at ground level. This kind of ozone is referred to as smog; it is created by man-made pollution such as car exhausts, chemical and electrical plants, and other industrial processes, and can be damaging to human health (EPA 1). Depending on the concentration of ozone in the air, ozone can cause respiratory problems like irritation, worsened asthma, bronchitis and emphysema, reduced lung function, and damaged lung lining. Active people (especially children) are more sensitive to ozone, because when you exercise you breathe faster and more deeply, and therefore intake more ozone (Environmental Protection Agency 2).
The problem with ozone is just one part of the greater problem of pollution and global warming. Smog and air quality are only getting worse as we neglect to care for the environment, and increase the mass production of consumer goods. It has gotten to the point where in some places children are advised not to do physical activity outside (Environmental Protection Agency 6)! Human beings have the right to breathe clean air and enjoy nature without having to worry about their health.
What do you think? What are the best ways we can cut down on our air pollution, on a small scale? What little steps should we all take as individuals to reduce air pollution and keep our respiratory systems clean and healthy?