Environmental science

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Introduction

The common variety of wastes that are produced in dry cleaning facilities include spent solvent, empty solvent containers, used filter cartridges, powder residue and water contaminated with cleaning solvents. Most of the dry cleaning facilities produce a lot of hazardous waste due to the nature of the solvents used in the process of dry cleaning. The volume of the hazardous waste that is produced categorizes these facilities as generators of small quantities of hazardous waste. The treatment and disposal of this kind of waste is quite costly for the company and can be quite costly to the environment. The same case applies to hydraulic fracturing industries. They are seen as a major cause of air pollution and as a result there is need to control pollution from the source.

Discussion

The article The Viability of Professional Wet Cleaning as a Pollution Prevention Alternative to Perchloroethylene (PCE) Dry Cleaning indicates that most of the dry cleaners worldwide use toxic chemical perchloroethylene (PCE) in their operations. The chemical is associated with some very detrimental effects on the environment and human health. Professional wet cleaning methods were developed as a non-toxic alternative to PCE dry cleaning but are yet to be adopted as a worldwide technology (Sinshelmer et al, 2007). The technology was showcased in a project set up in Los Angeles to demonstrate the viability of showcasing seven dry PCE dry cleaning to wet cleaning. The site cleaners were able to switch to professional cleaning and at the same time maintaining a level service.

Perchloroethylene (PCE) has been used as a cleaning agent since the 1950s and of the 30,000 dry cleaners in operation, 85% of them use this product. Evidence of the adverse effects that this product has on the environment began to emerge in the 1970s. Chronic exposure to perchloroethylene (PCE) leads to dizziness, liver and kidney damage as well as respiratory diseases. Some of the other risks include neurotoxicity and reproductive and developmental toxicity (Sinshelmer et al, 2007). The chemical has also been proved to cause cancer. To understand the difficulty that is experienced in the conversion of professional wet cleaning, various questions were posed in order to identify the concerns raised prior to the project. The issues of concern were mainly on the degree of difficulty in conversion as well as technical training. Data was collected through structured interviews with each of the seven cleaners. The performance of each of the three cleaners was used to determine whether each one of them was able to maintain a certain degree of quality and the level of cleanliness after switching to wet cleaning (Sinshelmer et al, 2007). Switching to professional wet cleaning did not have any impact on the quality of the cleaning or the perceived customer satisfaction.

The second article FRACKING SAFER AND GREENER? Reports on the technological developments that have been realized in the oil and gas industry and in particular the production of shale gas. From the data obtained from the EIA, the total recoverable natural gas reserves worldwide rose by a margin of approximately 40%. Most of these reserves are found in North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific (Heywood, 2012). The main drawback in the use of shale gas is hydraulic fracturing that is used in the production of the gas. This is because it is regarded as a serious threat to human health and the environment in general. If shale gas is to be used as a source of energy, then hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling is used in the creation of fissures with tight shale rocks. Other options are administrative whereby the authorities will be required to keep the risk posed by hydraulic cracking under control through proper monitoring and best practice (Heywood, 2012).

The third article Opportunities for pollution prevention and energy efficiency enabled by the carbon dioxide technology platform focuses on the various applications that have been developed using CO2 in the last decade. As the manufacturing industries attempts to avoid the production, use and release of contaminated water and CFCs, there is need to have innovative approaches to these traditional processes of manufacturing and elimination of pollution (Taylor, Carbonell & Desimone, 2010). Refining of petroleum is one of the most energy intensive sectors in the economy and accounts for about 23% of the total amount of energy that was consumed in 1994. There is need to develop an energy efficient solvent technology whose platform is paramount. This is where Carbon (IV) oxide comes in.

There is a possibility that the CO2 technology could emerge and eventually be used as a solvent in the 21st century. This technology platform has a potential of improving the efficiency of energy, reducing the emissions and also eliminating the safety and health hazards. This technology will improve the manufacturing throughput. There are a number of concepts available for use in this approach, but still there are a number of barriers that are experienced in attempts to adopt the CO2 based applications (Taylor, Carbonell & Desimone, 2010).). CO2 technology can be applied in metal extractions, CO2 swellable supports, dispersion polymerization and the dry cleaning and degreasing industry.

Summary

From the discussions above and the information provided in the articles, pollution prevention is critical in drying facilities. It has been made apparently clear that these facilities use PCE which has some adverse health effects on both the health of human beings as well as the environment. Wet professional cleaning is an alternative to the use of PCE and offers the same quality of services as the PCE dry cleaning and in addition it is safer and environmentally friendly.

Hydraulic fracturing of shale gas produces lot contaminants that affect the surroundings. Green chemicals could be a good alternative to the current methods being used by shale operators which have been proved to be very contaminative. However, one drawback is that this can only be applicable in certain conditions especially when it comes to the determination of the soil type. CO2 technologies are good alternatives to pollution prevention. They are reasonable, cost effective and environmentally friendly therefore making them a good strategy for reducing the impact of CO2 to the environment.

References

Heywood, P. (2012, April). Fracking safer and greener? TCE: The Chemical Engineer, 850, 42-45.

Sinshelmer, P., Grout, C., Namkoong, A., Gottlieb, R., & Latif, A. (2007). The viability of professional wet cleaning as a pollution prevention alternative to perchloroethylene dry cleaning. Air and Waste Management Association, 57,172-178.

Taylor, D. K., Carbonell, R., & Desimone, J. M. (2010). Opportunities for pollution prevention and energy efficiency enabled by the carbon dioxide technology platform. Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 25(1),115-148.

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