The stationary contributors to the pollution of air are buildings. Commercial, industrial, and residential buildings are all contributors to the pollution of air. Air pollution that come from stationary sources localize air pollution more than vehicles do. Cities have more visible air pollution than most areas because they are economic centers of commerce and industry. Participants in commerce and industry also live there, so their residences also pollute.
Commercial and residential buildings produce similar air pollution. Both of these buildings release pollutants into the air through their HVAC systems. Houses with fireplaces release particulate matter into the air that can exacerbate one’s case of asthma.
Building construction and demolition is also a big contributor of particulate air pollution. Air conditioning systems used a great many chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to aid in the compression of air. CFCs were later discovered to contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer of the atmosphere that filters most of the Sun’s harmful rays. Compressing air is what cools the air in air conditioning. A different chemical is used to today to do the same task.
Today, air conditioners still use chlorofluorocarbons but they use much less than they had in the past. Heaters burn diesel fuel or or natural gas to keep buildings warm. The burning of these types of fuel release air pollutants like nitrogen oxide. They are also implicated in connection to anthropogenic global warming.
Industrial buildings and facilities are the most visible polluters of air. Power plants, factories, and other types of production facilities are infamous for their gas belching smokestacks.
Beginning in the 1970s, the government created legislation to combat industrial air pollution more than anything else. Many industrial facilities are subject to quarterly environmental inspection and are required to use specific filters and equipment to mitigate pollution. Industrial pollution has the closest connections to chronic respiratory illnesses and laws have been made to decrease the rates at which people are getting sick. Industrial pollution of air presents an economic as well as ethical dilemma.
It is ethical to save as many lives from air pollution from industry. However, many of the people who are getting sick are employees of the polluting industries. This is essentially the story of coal mining in West Virginia. Countless West Virginians have chronic respiratory illnesses as a result of their robust and lucrative coal industry.
Whenever federal measures are put on the table to mitigate the air pollution from the coal processing plants, they are voted down because West Virginia’s economy affords little other economic opportunities. Air pollution regulations go as far as to reduce instead eliminate because industrial civilization has yielded countless benefits. Sometimes the benefits outweigh costs.
Tragically, the opposite is also true and are perpetuated for mere economic reasons. Pollution laws are all based on cost-benefit analysis and laws are changed when the factors that contributed to the original cost-benefit analysis err on the side of tragic costs. Sometimes this reaction is delayed and people lose their lives instead of their livelihoods.