People all over the world have adapted to a life reliant on convenience. These conveniences are produced at the high cost of greenhouse gas emissions and toxic chemicals in our air. The impact that industrial growth has on the environment is seldom noticed in the present. Our air and water quality has been steadily deteriorating, since as early as the first industrial revolution, due to heavy pollution that has endangered public health and wildlife worldwide. Everyday conveniences, such as burning fossil fuels to run our automobiles, running air conditioners and refrigerators, using hairspray, or even owning products that are manufactured in industrial factories all contribute to the destruction of our ozone layer. This has led to the entrapment of greenhouse gases which led to global warming and the present day climate change crisis we currently face. Society at large must make serious lifestyle changes in order to prevent further damage. The question is; is society willing to care more about the stability of our environment than the presence of everyday conveniences?
The industrial revolution pioneered large scale industrialization of manufacturing and agricultural processes in America, and increased pollution significantly. The transition into an industrialized world was the catalyst to major environmental issues. The American government took action to preserve nature and administer environmental public policy in response to the increasing presence of water pollution, smog, and extinct wildlife . The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was released in the 1970’s, and required local government and industry to monitor projects and provide a Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to communicate the environmental impacts. The Clean Air Acts provided two categories, primary and secondary, standards of pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created to set the standards for the levels of pollution that impact public health and safety, based on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Environmental public policy reform was essential to keep up with the rapid increase of air pollutants and ozone destruction throughout history. Today in the year 2017 we can see the destructive effects of air toxicity more than ever, yet the manufacturing of greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere are only increasing.
The American Lung Association has concluded that New Jersey may be the most polluted state in America. New Jersey is a small, densely populated state that houses many industrial parks and manufacturing businesses. High levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, ozone and particulates are found in overpopulated New Jersey, resulting in “bad” air with a majority of the state receiving F grades in air quality. New Jersey isn’t the only state in crisis; many other states in the US have extremely poor air quality as well. The city of Philadelphia alone emits more pollution than the entire state of Pennsylvania. The constant poor habit of choosing convenience over environmental sustainability is not just limited to America. Toxicity and gas emissions is an international problem. The decision to put economic viability and industry advancement ahead of environmental sustainability has led to an international public health emergency. Global warming due to greenhouse gases is causing climate change, and that is a fact supported by tangible evidence. Sea levels are rising, polar ice caps are melting, and entire ecosystems are being wiped out by the unnatural warmth that is trapped inside our atmosphere. The damage is irreversible, and all we can do now is prevent further damage.
There is a massive public health crisis occurring right now in New Delhi, India. Air quality deterioration is often steady and not paid attention to. That is not the case for India, because a thick toxic haze that when breathed is “equivalent to smoking over two packs of cigarettes a day” has arrived in New Delhi. The dark smog is a result of mass pollution and it has shut down the city of New Delhi. India is an industrialized, densely populated country. The massive amounts of air pollution that caused the smog stem from concentrated emissions from car exhausts and crop burning. The government should take immediate action to set higher standards in environmental policy to reduce external pollutants. Pollution tax, alternative solutions for farmers to rid of the old crops, and sustainable methods of transportation and manufacturing can help reduce the amount of pollution that is occurring in densely populated India. The public health emergency occurring in New Delhi, India should sound the alarm for worldwide action in reducing air pollution.
(Image from The New York Times – dark smog in New Delhi, India)
The pollution from the entire world as a whole has created one large, irreversible problem for our planet. The hole in our ozone layer affects everyone, everywhere. The future of our planet doesn’t just depend on environmental preservation action from New Jersey, or India, but rather, the entire world. All nations need to get on board with a worldwide environmental protection action plan to save what is left of fragile earth. Global warming due to greenhouse gases has caused climate change throughout the world. Climate change has caused radical weather systems and natural disasters. Air toxicity and pollution has gotten to be too much for our atmosphere and lungs to handle, and there is a worldwide public health crisis afoot. Modern society’s constant need for convenience is at the cost of the earth’s current lifespan. Environmental sustainability needs to be the topic of conversation, and a new international environmental public policy reform is in order. Everyday convenience will always be preferred, but it’s the road less traveled that will make all the difference.
“Choking Air in New Delhi .” The New York Times, 12 Nov. 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/12/opinion/air-pollution-smog-india-delhi.html.
Davis, Tom. “NJ Has Among Nation’s Worst Air, American Lung Association Study Says.”Montclair, NJ Patch, Patch, 20 Apr. 2017, patch.com/new-jersey/montclair/n-j-has-among-nations-worst-air-american-lung-association-study-says.
Levy, John M. Contemporary Urban Planning.