Is North Carolina A Suffocating Polluted State?

North Carolina is a city in the United States’ south-eastern area. Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia are the states with which it shares land boundaries. It also boasts a long stretch of Atlantic Ocean shoreline. The state capital is Raleigh, while Charlotte is the biggest city. In 2019, the state’s population was about 10.5 million, making it the ninth most populous in the United States.

Looking at data from 2020 for the state capital, it could be seen which North Carolina’s Air & water quality was within the World Health Organization’s target range for 8 months of the year (WHO). The target concentration is 10 g/m3 or less. The value rose significantly to between 10 & 12 g/m3 in March, July, and August, putting it in the “Good” category. The result for December showed a tiny increase, but it was enough to push it into the “Moderate” category, which includes figures between 12.1 & 35.4 g/m3.

Looking back to prior years’ statistics, 8.7 g/m3 was recorded in 2017, while 8.3 g/m3 was recorded in 2018. The figure unexpectedly increased to 12.2 g/m3 in 2019, before declining to 9.5 g/m3 in 2020.

How Is North Carolina’s Air Quality Assessed?

In the 1970s, six major pollutants were identified as the most harmful to the environment & human health. These six contaminants are still utilized as a standard. Ozone (O3), particulate pollution (PM2.5 & PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and lead are the pollutants in question (Pb). These six pollutants have the potential to harm human health (including premature death) as well as the environment & property. Coal-fired power plants, industrial production sources, and on- and off-road vehicles are also common producers of these pollutants.

What Are The Sources Of North Carolina’s Air Pollution?

Ground-level ozone (the major ingredient in “smog”) & particle pollution PM2.5 & PM10 are the two most serious Air quality issues in North Carolina. Both pollutants are mostly created by emissions from cars and coal-fired power plants that generate electricity. Even with cleaner cars  & other modern technology, as the population rises, the air quality may deteriorate, putting people’s health at risk and lowering their quality of life.

On a more uncommon note, North Carolina now had more tones of manure every acre of agriculture than any other state, thanks to the rise of intense pig, chicken, & turkey farms.

Because of the intensive nature of “factory farming,” there is frequently an excess of trash that cannot be appropriately controlled. Pig farming is predicted to create 10 billion gallons of water per year. This slurry is stored in cess pits till it is used as fertilizer on crops. However, due to the current volume of production, there is more created than the land can absorb.

North Carolina is home to 9 million pigs, 776,000 cattle, 161 million chickens, and 16 million turkeys, according to estimates. Each day, these animals and birds produce around 147.5 million pound of manure. This is far more than can be adequately dealt with.

Ammonia, a gaseous form of nitrogen, is emitted by animal waste products. It pollutes the water & causes dead zones in waterway  where no life can exist by leaking into the ground. In humans, it aggravates asthma.