Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Surface water acidification. (...and air pollution as well.)

Surface water acidification can be prevented.

Q. Yes way? No way?

A. Yes way.

It’s funny how sometimes your mind isn’t programmed to register what’s presented in front your eyes. Like most people I had seen television reports and read articles on the evil of factory smoke stacks and their negative and destructive effect on clean air and water but they had only managed to make me aware of the situation rather than to make me concerned about the negative results that they generate on nature around us, our nature. I must however admit that air pollution paints a very abstract picture that, for many of us, can’t be caught on the first throw. If it were colored black, dark green or bright red, I’m convinced that the majority of the population would have readily noticed it and would have immediately been concerned about it, as you’ll be able to realize a little further. In my case, grey was the awakening color.

The smoke emitted from factories isn’t, of course, the only factor that contributes to air pollution although it’s easily identifiable as one of the culprits and besides that it’s one of the main contributors responsible for the acidification and eventual killing of our beautiful lakes and, in some years, of our oceans. Carbon dioxide found in the smoke plus rain water = carbonic acid (acid rain).

On a warm and sunny summer afternoon, last year, I was driving on a country road towards a highway. Nearing my goal I noticed a factory located at the crossroads and stopped the car on the side of the road for a few minutes.

The reason that made me stop was the amount of smoke coming out of the smoke stack adjacent to the factory, it fascinated me. The structure must have measured one hundred or one hundred and ten feet and a fair estimate of the size of its mouth, from where I was, could be around five feet in diameter. Very thick grey smoke was shot in the air at a rapid rate of speed and at about five or six feet above it, was blown to one side by a strong wind, in the direction of a major size city located perhaps five miles down the road.

On that day air pollution ceased to be an abstraction for me because the spectacle that was unfolding in front of my eyes was the pure and harsh reality of it and it also has an identifiable color for me now, grey. I also thought of the millions of similar situations happening all around the world every day and I finally realized as to how enormous the problem really is. I then recalled the television images that I had seen and couldn’t help but think that the real image is worth one thousand television representations of the situation.

After a while I turner my head to the left side of the road where I noticed a farm and all its buildings, including two circular grain silos attached to a well painted large barn. At that moment a flash hit me as it sometimes happens, perhaps ounce and rarely twice in a person’s life, the type of flash that you just can’t ignore.

In my imagination I moved the smoke stack away from its base and replaced it with one of the silos, increased its diameter and its height, installed a water sprinkler system on its ceiling and directed the smoke from the factory furnace into it. Bingo, problem solved.

At this point some of you are wondering: why has this crazy blogger installed water sprinklers on the ceiling and I’ll gladly explain. Many of us live next to a large city and we’ve often looked at it on a sunny summer morning only to notice that there was a grey smog cloud sitting right on top of it. Later in the day clouds moved over it and there was a rain shower. After the clouds had gone away and the sun had come back, the smog cloud was gone. Where did it go? It went on top of the buildings and houses, on the streets, the grass areas, the trees and, whatever else you find in a city. That’s where it went. Hence, the sprinkler system would eliminate part of the air and water pollution problem at the source and what’s encouraging about the idea is that the conversion from smoke stack to silo wouldn’t cost companies a fortune.

I’ve chosen a farm type silo as an example but it could as well be a square or rectangular building varying in size in accordance with the amount of smoke that is spewed by different size furnaces and what’s also nice about this type of operation is that the water at the bottom of the silo can be reused again and again. If desired, of course, acid in the water and gases that might not have been brought down by the water and are floating in the air, in the silo, can be destroyed but I’ll let chemists deal with that, because a chemist I’m not.

I feel that it’s very important to deal with air pollution and the death of our lakes and eventually our oceans now if we love our children and want to leave them with a planet that they can enjoy as much as we do, in our lifetime. I realize that factory smoke isn’t the only air polluting factor but it could easily be the first positive action taken in order to accomplish our goal of having clean air and to prevent the eventual death of our lakes and oceans by acid rain.

If you’re concerned as I am and honestly think that this solution makes sense, now is the time to write or talk to your elected government representative and to rattle his/her cage a little, if you have to, so that he or she takes the proper action in other to head in the right direction. Your children will thank and love you for having taken this decision. Good luck to all of us.

© 2012 Jean-Paul Gosselin
What do you think?

Whether you agree with or have an objection to my blog, leave a comment. I’m open to favorable or unfavorable criticism and what you write might enlighten other readers or myself. Thank you.

Take this with you.

There are three things that an old guy like me should never do.

1- Never walk past a toilet without stopping.

2- Never overlook an erection, and

3- Never underestimate a fart.

Have a swell day, stay relaxed, have a beer and don’t forget: keep smiling. Life is good. Buena la vida. La vie est belle.

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