Living in Houston, we see and use cars almost every day. They are one of the main types of transportation used in our community. However, every time we drive our car to a different place, we are actually emitting hazardous greenhouse gasses that are causing global warming and ozone depletion. Not only are these pollutants affecting the planet, they are hurting the people living in it, too. Some air pollutants affect the respiratory, immune, reproductive, and neurological systems of animals. Other pollutants are major contributors to acid rain, which harm the soil, the waterways, and the organisms that live in them. In some cities where cars are constantly used, you can see the effect of air pollution just by looking at the sky at night. Smog is apparent in many big cities and is a result of air pollution.
However, cars do not only pollute when they are in use, but also while they are being made and disposed. When cars are being made, hundreds of gallons of gasoline are put in to the process. That is not even the worst part. The reason the manufacture of cars is so environmentally harmful is because of the individual parts of the car that are needed. The environmental impact begins with mineral extraction and go on to the air pollution from the machines that process them. There is also a release of toxic substances when the car is distributed.
Cars also harm the Earth while they are being disposed. Many cars are left in scrap yards and “cherry-picked” for important parts that can still be used then left to rot. Others are crushed without being depolluted first, causing lead, nickel, and other toxic chemicals to leak into the Earth and cause significant environmental damage. We can all prevent this from happening by carpooling or taking public transportation, causing less emission. You can also recycle your car and prevent it from rotting and harming the soil around it. We all have a responsibility to do this because this is our planet and we will be living and driving in it.