Easy ways for teens and others to make the necessary changes for our earth.
Critical Movements and Criteria PollutantsApril 22nd, 2012 at Sun, 22nd, 2012 at 2:36 pm by zshucklin
With summer just around the corner, the same can be said for pollutant emissions as well. Though heating and electrical emissions may go down, there is an expected increase in criteria pollutants that will be launched into the stratosphere. The six defined criteria pollutants are tropospheric ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and lead. These air pollutants are common and are currently monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency. Criteria pollutants are not only harmful to the environment, but can be detrimental to human health, exacerbating cardiovascular disease, asthma, repertory failure, lung disease, and bronchitis.
So why are we going to be seeing these pollutants in the summer? With newfound extra time sunny weather, families will be doing a lot more driving, a lot more boating on Lake Washington, and a lot more barbecuing. The only problem is, five out of the six criteria pollutants are primarily produced from combustion reactions in motor vehicles and other machinery. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and in fact, there are measures we can take to reduce our particulate and gaseous emissions. For those lackadaisical environmentalists like me, it means taking the bike out for a spin instead of the car, and choosing the right grill.
The ultimate question boils down to this: which is better, charcoal or propane? Supporters of charcoal might say “who can deny the smoky taste of the classic American barbecue?” The answer is easy; you can – if you think about the environment before your taste buds. For protecting the environment, propane (gas) grills are the way to go. Even though the gas is derived from non renewable resources, they emit fewer emissions and have a smaller carbon footprint. So why is charcoal the wrong choice? Charcoal grills emit higher levels of carbon monoxide and particulate matter. Also, most charcoal used in charcoal grills charcoal briquettes. Charcoal briquettes are composed of sawdust and wood waste and are often treated with harmful chemicals. The burning of this material results in the production of great amounts of carbon monoxide and VOCs like benzene. While lump (real) charcoal isn’t manufactured with harmful additives and doesn’t’ emit as many harmful pollutants as charcoal briquettes, it is less common and more expensive.
I asked my first period environmental science class whether or not they used propane or charcoal grills and out of about thirty kids, about 60% affirmed that their family used propane grills. So join the movement! The answer is clear. Propane is less harmful for the environment and for human health. So now you know the responsibility you need to take come summer. Make the environment last, go for gas.