Automobile Pollution

Topics: Automobile, Catalytic converter, Internal combustion engine Pages: 2 (649 words) Published: March 24, 2002
Automobile Pollution.
Automobiles can cause many different kinds of pollution in the environment. Air, health and groundwater pollution are of the most common. The reasons for these problems can be contributed to exhaust systems and light switches that are standard equipment on most cars today.

Older and newer cars alike are equipped with a catalytic converter system. Which are supposed to convert hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides into harmless materials emitted from the automobiles engine. According to Robert Harley, when nitrogen oxide from the engines exhaust is "over- reduced," a complex chemical reaction ensues. Ammonia gas (NH3) forms in the catalytic converter, which is then emitted from the vehicles tailpipe and released into the air. These ammonia gasses are the cause of haze and may also cause serious health problems. The catalytic converter not only hurts but also helps the environment. Automobiles that have this system on them produce close to 50% less hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and other gasses. (Converters 1) Which in the long run helps the ozone from depleting even more than it has already. Another problem we face is having vehicles with mercury light switches in the trunk and hood. Mercury is a fluid metallic element that is toxic and can cause various health problems, air and groundwater pollution also. Ford is one of the automobile companies that still use mercury in light switches and certain antilock brake components. The mercury becomes a problem only after vehicles containing it are taken to a junkyard and destroyed. When these vehicles are destroyed the mercury seeps out into the environment and is absorbed into the ground eventually to make its way in to our water supplies. While in the water it can contaminate the fish that in turn we end up eating. Another way the mercury makes it way into the environment is during the process of melting the vehicles in steel furnaces where the mercury vaporizes into the air....
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