Oil Refinery Environmental Pollution Essay

Environmental Pollution Essays

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Environmental Pollution

Our environment is affected by our daily actions. The earth is plagued with land, air and water pollution. Some of the problems we face on earth are: deforestation, nuclear waste, acid rain, global warming, overpopulation and some animals are endangered. Air pollution has many different sources. Power-generated plants, oil refineries, chemical plants, and steel mills contribute to about 140 million tons of pollutants into the air every year. Automobiles account for at least 80 percent, of air pollution; the heaviest polluter. Another type of air pollution is acid rain. Acid rain is formed when sulfur and nitrogen are distributed from factories, automobiles and power plants. The sulfur and…show more content…

Solid waste such as tires, diapers and plastics are buried in landfills each year. It takes generations for them to decompose. Today, there are laws that penalize manufacturing plants that dispose hazardous wastes. These plants dump these hazardous materials in nearby woods or dump them into streams (this practice was common fifty years ago). We need rain forests for survival. Rain forests pump fresh oxygen into the atmosphere, protect soil from erosion and absorb carbon dioxide. Rain forests cover 4.5 billion acres and accounts for 7 percent of the earth's land. The Amazon in Brazil is the largest rain forest (2 million acres). The fate of today's rain forest is in trouble. A process called deforestation is the leading problem. Deforestation is the process of cutting down forests to use the land for farming and grazing cattle. Farmers "slash and burn" forest turning them into desert land. Brazil promised to implement laws that were tougher to protect the Amazon. These laws cut deforestation in half. By 1994, the burning started again and in 1996 the burning was at it's worst. The ozone layer blocks harmful ultraviolet rays, that comes from the sun. Chemicals released from the earth are depleting the ozone layer. Skin cancer is on the rise as a result of the depletion of the ozone layer. Scientist states that every 1 percent of depletion of the ozone layer, the rate of skin cancer will rise 5

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Pollution from Oil refineries:

Oil refineries pollute our air, water, and land. Oil refineries cause smog and air pollution. Almost all refineries in every country currently pollute at unacceptable, unhealthy levels. Oil refineries emit about 100 chemicals everyday. These include metals like lead which makes it hard for children to learn. They also include very smaller size dust particles that get deep into our lungs and harm our ability to breathe. Finally, refineries emit many gases like sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NO2), carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, dioxins, hydrogen fluoride, chlorine, benzene and others.

Many of the gases emitted by refineries are harmful to humans, and can cause permanent damage and even death.They can cause respiratory problems (such as asthma, coughing, chest pain, choking, bronchitis), skin irritations, nausea, eye problems, headaches, birth defects, leukemia, and cancers.Young children and the elderly are the worst affected.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2): Crude oil and coal both contain relatively high quantities of sulfur.(Natural gases contain much less sulfur and therefore are safer.)When crude oil or coal is heated at the refinery to produce fuel, the sulfur is converted into a gas called sulfur dioxide.This is a colorless gas with a very strong smell, like rotten eggs.

Bad effects of Sulfur dioxide: Exposure to very high concentrations of SO2 can result in painful irritation of the eyes, nose, mouth and throat, difficulty in breathing, nausea, vomiting, headaches and even death. Some of the health effects from daily exposure to outdoor levels of SO2 are tight chests, worsening of asthma and lung disease, and narrowing of air passages in the throat and chest.People with asthma are more sensitive to SO2.Exposure to SO2 can provoke asthma attacks. SO2 mixes easily in water, including moisture in the air to form an acid. Acid rain and early morning dew causes much damage to metals, stones, and the environment.

Fugitive emissions are the air pollution which escapes through leaks in the equipment.Very often the amount of pollution coming from fugitive emissions is higher than the amount coming out of the stacks.

Many of the refineries often use low quality crude oil that has high levels of sulfur. When this is refined it produces higher levels of SO2 pollution.

Accidental fires, explosions, and chemical and gas leaks are common at refineries.Such accidents cause higher than usual amounts of pollution, which may result in more acute exposure to pollutants and greater health impacts.

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