The Irony of Air Pollution and the Quest for Life on Mars

air pollution

There is constantly much debate surrounding the issue of air pollution and what can or cannot be done about it. A new study was just released stating that rotting of the brain could potentially be caused by city air pollution, an extremely unnerving and some feel disturbing statement. However, given the use air pollution has in regards to discovering/creating life on Mars, one cannot ignore the irony of the situation overall when it comes to the battle environmentalists and the like have been fighting to deal with the problem of air pollution.

Air pollution has been proven to have quite damaging effects on the health of individuals exposed to it on a regular basis. Health problems endured from said exposure can include such short-term inflictions as bronchitis and pneumonia (as well as eye, nose and throat irritation and potential allergic reactions), while long-term effects can range between chronic respiratory disease and fatal lung cancer/heart disease. The possibility of irreversible brain damage has, as was previously mentioned, also been brought up.

Even though these dangers have been proven to occur in humans following prolonged exposure to air pollution, it seems to have recently come in handy regarding the aforementioned quest for life on Mars. In that, researchers are said to have been using the pollution to melt the planet’s frozen matter in order to both give the planet more potential to be lived on, and also to better discover what may or may not be living there or what may have lived there previously.

Air pollution is also incredibly deadly for Earth overall. A poisonous gas ozone (O3) is a common chemical reaction due to said pollutants. This can not only create problems in terms of human health, but also holds potential for both animal life risk and vegetation damage. Algae growth in lakes and water bodies is caused by a process called Eutrophication, which is the carrying and depositing of Nitrogen found in some pollutants by the rain, which ends up on both rivers and soils. This growth is potentially harmful for any given living organism inhabiting these lakes.

The irony of the matter lies with the fact that while so much is being done to inform the public of the dangers this pollution causes and to rally the population in terms of fighting back against the reasons behind it (heavy engine use in cars and trucks, as well as emissions from non-environment friendly transportation vehicles such as buses, etc), this danger is being used to potentially create another planet on which for humans to live. In essence, researchers are already preparing another planet for use after the one humans are currently inhabiting becomes destroyed due to the dangers of air pollution. Instead of truly committing to the cause of diminishing air pollution and its adverse affects on the planet people already live on, scientists are using this problem to create new life on a currently uninhabited planet by way of making use of the existing problem on Earth.

Although researcher’s use of air pollution to discover and/or create new life on Mars is certainly ironic, no breakthroughs have been made in terms of progress on the matter. The pollutant problem down here on Earth, however, is still a very pressing issue that has yet to be solved.

Opinion by Rebecca Grace


Toronto Sun

Conserve Energy Future

European Environmental Bureau

Photo by V.T. Polywoda – Creativecommons Flickr License

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