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Proposal for reducing air pollution
by William Edo
2007-09-02 09:29:23
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Air pollution is a threat to human health and to the ecosystem. It results in global warming, the greenhouse effect, ocean acidification and respiratory diseases that can sometimes can lead to human death. There are a few steps men can do to reduce air pollution. Here’s how.

In Beijing, one year ahead of the Olympics scheduled there, a test was made to see whether air pollution would be reduced if people were ordered not to drive their cars. In consequence, one third of the Chinese capital city’s cars were removed during specific days for one week. The results were concluding: carbon monoxide and other air-borne pollutants were reduced by between 15 to 20 percent.

In 2001, the world emitted a total of 23,899 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is responsible for 3 million deaths every year. It is therefore a serious issue to be dealt with, since it is a matter of life or death. To help prevent useless loss of lives, there are steps that can be taken, like the Beijing initiative, to reduce air pollution.

Since energy consumption is one of the main causes of air pollution, small steps like using florescent light bulbs can help reduce air pollution. Also, plastic bags and other wastes being a source of air pollution, you can make sure that you recycle.

One of the main source of air pollution being cars, there are a few steps that can be taken to reduce pollution. If you own a car, your country might not take as radical measures as the Chinese government by prohibiting its use. Yet, there are a few things that you could do instead, such as carpooling, walking or using public transportation is a good way of contributing to the reduction of air pollution. Using such methods can also avoid you all those traffic jams and save you gas money. If you have to drive, you can drive slowly, and avoid revving your engine.

Yet the best way to reduce air pollution is innovation. Since innovation policies are rather slow in finding ways to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse effect gases, countries should adopt enhanced innovation policies to create environment friendly everyday products. Those could range from electronic cars to use of non-polluting energy in factories.

Countries like Japan, Germany and the United States, where air pollution is a constant issue, the emission of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, both responsible for air pollution, have been under control through the use of newly designed technological equipment which uses electricity. Solar power is one of the explored possibilities, as research has positively concluded that solar power can effectively reduce air pollution.

And if oil producing countries were to worry about their exports, they should have nothing to worry about because they themselves have plenty of solar energy. Therefore, only major Western oil companies should worry about the change, yet, given the slow pace of innovation, oil should be an extinct product by the time solar energy is widely used. The question remains how fast we can innovate to save those three million lives each year.

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Emanuel Paparella2007-09-02 10:37:49
There is a conundrum here that is worth reflecting upon: Beijng has to dictatorially impose restriction on the use of cars in order to reduce air pollution, further sustainable development, and be responsible toward future generations. All worthy goals; one is even tempted to accept Machiavelli’s dictum that the end justifies the means. However, considering the break-neck speed of the so called People’s Republic of China’s economy desperately trying to catch up to the West and in some ways surpassing it in pollution, one has to ask: is this a change of heart or is a short term strategy merely for the the staging of its upcoming Olympic games? The conundrum is this: Beijng’s injunction to its motorists suggests 2 things: 1)its skepticism that sustainable development can be achieved democratically by consensus of all the people, 2) that Aristotle’s advice in the Nicomechean Ethics to distinguish needs from wants really does not work in a so called “free market” based on advertisement creating ever new wants under the guise of needs. Hence Plato’s wise saying that poverty has little to do with how much we have and much to do with how big our desires are. A careful reading of The Republic suggests that he was rather skeptical of democracy’s ability, that is to say, the people’s ability, to solve that conundrum. The crucial question then is this: is dictatorship a better tool? Or have we perhaps misunderstood the very essence of democracy?

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