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Cincinnati Water and Air Pollution Plan

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Essay title: Cincinnati Water and Air Pollution Plan

Cincinnati Water and Air Pollution Plan

April 1, 2007

Air and water pollution has long been a concern in the major cities of the United States but our concern should not end there. Other cities and even small towns are suffering from the effects of pollution. Cincinnati, Ohio is a city with very poor air and water quality from pollution so a plan is needed to reverse these effects and restore health to the ecosystem and human life.

The term air pollution is used quite often, but what does it actually mean? Basically, it can be defined as the presence of chemicals in the atmosphere in concentrations high enough to affect climate and harm organisms and materials (Miller, 2005). The air pollution in Cincinnati is photochemical smog, which is also called brown-air smog. Photochemical smog is a mixture of air pollutants formed by the reaction of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOC) under the influence of sunlight (Miller, 2005).

There are several factors contributing to the photochemical smog over Cincinnati. Car exhaust, industry, coal-burning, gas-powered lawn equipment, paints and boats on the Ohio River are some of the major contributors with car exhaust contributing 44% alone. Oak trees in the surrounding hills emit high levels of VOCs which are ingredients in the development of the smog. Photochemical smog has many harmful effects to human health and the health of other living organisms but it also increases the rate of destruction of buildings, metals and rubbers.

Water pollution in Cincinnati is just as harmful. The Ohio River ranks number three on the list of the most polluted waters in the United States. One of the pollutant sources is from Mill Creek which runs near Cincinnati and is highly industrialized. Wastes and toxins from factories and plants are dumped into Mill Creek contaminating the water which then flows into the already highly polluted Ohio River, which is also polluted from industry, agriculture and barges carrying coal, oil, wastes and chemicals.

There are some naturally occurring prevention methods like rain, snow wind and cooler temperatures but these alone cannot put a stop to the severe air and water pollution in Cincinnati and its surrounding towns. Human intervention is needed and it is needed now. City, state and federal government programs need to be put into place to find and enforce solutions.

To clean up the air in Cincinnati transportation planning and changes need to be implemented. New transit services, park-and rides and bicycle paths along with education would help lower emissions from vehicle exhaust. Using biodiesel as a fuel source in factories rather then burning coal would lower emissions as would funding more buses to be switched from burning old fuel sources to using an alternative fuel like biodiesel. Selectively replacing the large amount of oak tress in the surrounding hills with trees that emit lower levels of VOCs would also assist in reducing the photochemical smog over Cincinnati. Changing factories and companies to alternative energy sources, such as solar, would assist with air quality but these costs would be very high and difficult to enforce.

We have options to clean up the water in Cincinnati also. The first is to clean up the air. Pollutants from the air are transferred to the ground and to the waterways by rain, snow and winds. By reducing air pollutants the first step is taken in reducing water pollution. Factories and plants that will find substitutes to the toxic chemicals they use can reduce the harmful effects to the water and air. Source reduction and recycling within the factories and plants would greatly reduce the wastes going into the waterways. Reusing the waste water that has been treated for irrigating crops would keep the wastes from being dumped directly into Mill Creek and the Ohio River.

The most cost-effective and feasible solutions to reduce air and water pollution start with education and community involvement. To reduce air pollution car exhaust emissions must be dramatically reduced. Providing more public transport with vehicles using biodiesel and teaching the citizens of Cincinnati the benefits of public transportation along with replacing oak trees in the surrounding hills with trees that emit lower levels of VOCs air pollution can be reduced greatly. Parking garages and parking lots can be removed as a means of encouraging public transportation and replaced with parks that have organisms and plants that support the ecosystem and air quality.

The best means of restoring water quality to Mill Creek is prevention of waste through source reduction.

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