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You Can Make a Difference in Preventing Marine Engine Pollution

Essay by review  •  October 2, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  4,115 Words (17 Pages)  •  1,764 Views

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You Can Make a Difference In Preventing Marine Engine Pollution

Currently 12 million marine engines are operated in the United States. These marine engines are among the highest contributors of hydrocarbons (HC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions in many areas of the country. HC and NOx produce ground-level ozone, which irritates the respiratory system causing chest pain and lung inflammation. Ozone can also aggravate existing respiratory conditions such as asthma. Boaters can join many others who are working to make a difference in preventing pollution from marine engines.

Improving the Marine Engine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to develop and implement emission standards for commercial and recreational marine engines. The marine industry has been working to develop technology for a new generation of low emission, high performance engines. Recreational boaters will begin seeing this new generation of engines in coming years.

Boaters Can Prevent Pollution

Even with the new technology, the cooperation of individual boaters is essential in the effort to improve air quality and prevent pollution. Boaters can make a difference that will help protect the environment now and in the future by adopting the following practices:

 Limit engine operation at full throttle.

 Eliminate unnecessary idling.

 Avoid spilling gasoline.

 Use a gasoline container you can handle easily and hold securely.

 Pour slowly and smoothly.

 Use a funnel or a spout with an automatic stop device to prevent overfilling the gas tank.

 Close the vent on portable gas tanks when the engine is not in use or when the tank is stored.

 Transport and store gasoline out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry place.

 Use caution when pumping gasoline into a container at the gas station.

 Carefully measure the proper amounts of gasoline and oil when refueling.

 Follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule.

 Prepare engines properly for winter storage.

 Buy new, cleaner marine engines.

By combining these strategies, boaters can reduce pollution from marine engines and help improve air quality across the nation and protect public health.

What are the human health and welfare effects of these pollutants?

The engines that are covered by this proposal contribute to ozone formation and ambient PM and CO levels. These pollutants are subject to our National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), and states that exceed NAAQS levels are required to take measures to reduce emissions. In addition, these engines also emit Mobile Source Air Toxics.

 Ozone. Ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, is formed by complex chemical reactions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and NOx in the presence of heat and sunlight. Ozone forms readily in the lower atmosphere, usually during hot summer weather. Volatile organic compounds are emitted from a variety of sources, including motor vehicles, chemical plants, refineries, factories, consumer and commercial products, and other industrial sources. Volatile organic compounds also are emitted by natural sources such as vegetation. Oxides of nitrogen are emitted largely from motor vehicles, off-highway equipment, power plants, and other sources of combustion. Hydrocarbons (HC) are a large subset of VOC, and to reduce mobile source VOC levels we set maximum emissions limits for hydrocarbon as well as particulate matter emissions.

Elevated ozone concentrations remain a serious public health concern throughout the nation. In 1999, 90.8 million people lived in 31 areas designated nonattainment under the 1-hour ozone NAAQS. Increases in ozone concentrations in the air have been associated with increases in hospitalization for respiratory causes for individuals with asthma, worsening of symptoms, decrements in lung function, and increased medication use, and chronic exposure may cause permanent lung damage. The risk of suffering these effects is particularly high for children and for people with compromised respiratory systems. There is strong and convincing evidence that exposure to ozone is associated with exacerbation of asthma-related symptoms.

 Carbon Monoxide. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced through the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels. Carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream through the lungs and reduces the delivery of oxygen to the body's organs and tissues. The health threat from CO is most serious for those who suffer from cardiovascular disease, particularly those with angina or peripheral vascular disease. Healthy individuals also are affected, but only at higher CO levels. Exposure to elevated CO levels is associated with impairment of visual perception, work capacity, manual dexterity, learning ability and performance of complex tasks.

In 1999, 30.5 million people lived in 17 areas designated nonattainment under the CO NAAQS. High concentrations of CO generally occur in areas with elevated mobile-source emissions. Peak concentrations typically occur during the colder months of the year when mobile-source CO emissions are greater and nighttime inversion conditions are more frequent. Snowmobiles, which have relatively high per engine CO emissions, contribute to ambient CO levels in CO nonattainment areas.

 Particulate Matter. Particulate matter represents a broad class of chemically and physically diverse substances. It can be principally characterized as discrete particles that exist in the condensed (liquid or solid) phase spanning several orders of magnitude in size. All particles equal to and less than 10 microns are called PM10. Fine particles can be generally defined as those particles with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 microns or less (also known as PM2.5), and coarse fraction particles are those particles with an aerodynamic diameter greater than 2.5 microns, but equal to or less than a nominal 10 microns.

Particulate matter, like ozone, has been linked to a range of serious respiratory health problems, including premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory

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