Research Paper: Combating Environmental Pollution

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[. . .] There are air purifiers that can be used indoors, such as HEPA filters and other types of filtration options, but these are not always successful in removing everything from the air (Truffer, et al., 2003). Some types of particles and other pollutants are simply too small to get rid of, as they pass through even the best of filters. On an outdoor level, there are no filters that can be used to remove naturally occurring elements from the air that is breathed. Human elements and chemical compounds provide more opportunities for governance, of course, because they are more easily identified. If human beings are polluting the air, they can be made to stop or to reduce their level of pollution in some cases, since they have control over whether they are creating pollution with their activities.

Modes of Governance

There are a number of disastrous effects of air pollution, but there are ways to mitigate these effects and avert the crisis that may be coming as urban areas see ever-increasing pollution levels. Scientists, environmentalists, and governments are currently testing a number of methods that will work to eliminate air pollution in urban settings (U.S., 2009). There are two basic types of controls when it comes to air pollution. These are output control and input control (Evans, 2012). Controlling the input is often easier and less expensive for both the governments and the companies and industries that cause the largest amounts of pollution (Evans, 2012). The taxpayers also generally prefer input controls for pollution, because it means fewer tax dollars going to the issue and more being accomplished with the tax dollars that are sent to keep pollution under control in urban environments (Evans, 2012). That does not mean that output controls should not be used, however, as they can and do make more sense in some specific circumstances.

When input control is used, the problem that could lead to pollution is averted prior to it actually occurring, and this also helps to lessen any aftereffects that could be seen. There are five chief controls for input when it comes to pollution and these are population control, an increase in energy efficiency, a lower consumption of energy, less waste, and a move to more viable forms of energy production, such as renewables (Evans, 2012). In urban areas, vehicle pollution is one of the main problems, and when it is lessened there can be a significant effect seen on the health of the people who live in that area (Evans, 2012). The more pollution is controlled and stopped before it can get started, the better off people will be when it comes to handling the potentially devastating effects of that pollution. Additionally, they will save more money over the utilization of output control.

Networks

Networks are one of the best modes of governance for pollution control (Evans, 2012). These are designed on a number of scales, and the organizations and individuals that belong to these networks follow guidelines and help to hold one another accountable (Keller, 2010). They can be local, regional, national, or even international in nature, and they can allow for a high level of value when it comes to making sure they are avoiding and/or mitigating pollution as much as possible (Keller, 2010). While networks are not a perfect solution to issues such as urban air pollution, they can certainly help affect change and encourage cities and even specific organizations to literally and figuratively clean up their acts in order to protect the people who live in urban areas. If even a few organizations dedicate themselves to reducing pollution in the city or town in which they are based, a substantial difference could be seen in the air pollution levels in that setting (Keller, 2010).

However, one of the ways in which networks are not effective is in the fact that individuals generally do not join them and often do not even know of their existence (Keller, 2010). In other words, the person who is driving his or her car to work instead of taking public transportation may decide he or she no longer wants to do that in an effort to protect the environment, but it is unlikely that the person in that scenario would join any type of formal network on a large enough scale to affect pollution levels within the city (Keller, 2010). People doing their part is important, though, despite the fact that individuals generally do not see significant gain from making changes in the level of air pollution to which they contribute. If enough people were committed to reducing pollution, though, they could form a network of individuals in their city or town and perhaps make a difference, over time, in the level of air pollution seen there.

Markets

The idea of market-based instruments is a type of governance that is very different from what is typically seen with a network. The laws that are in effect are environmental ones, and they focus on issues such as price and economic factors (Keller, 2010). The idea behind these kinds of laws and guidelines is to create and provide incentives to the population when they make choices that avoid pollution (Mba, 2004). The laws show the cost of production based on creating something that would cause pollution as a byproduct, and provide lower costs for production if a lower level of pollution (or none at all) is created. This helps companies make the decision to mitigate the level of pollution they are putting into the atmosphere, and also provides them a financial incentive to do so. That is a winning proposition for the company and for the people who live and work in the urban area where that company is located. Governments and regulatory bodies also benefit.

This method of governance seems as though it would be the best choice, but it does have a downside. It is extremely expensive to create and maintain, because it is essentially paying big companies not to pollute (Keller, 2010). The changes many of these companies must make to their operations in order to reduce pollution to more acceptable levels can be very costly, so the payments or other incentives they receive from the government or other regulatory body have to reflect that (Scholz & Stiftel, 2005). There are three methods that are used to help manipulate companies into using methods that create less pollution. These are taxes, charges on emissions, and permits in the market (Keller, 2010). Governments that set up tax breaks for companies that do not pollute can find that they are reducing emissions because companies want the break on their taxes. They can also provide these same companies with benchmarks to meet for emissions. Companies that are successful will save even more.

Transition Management

Transition management is one of the most important ways to reduce air pollution in urban areas, but it does take time in order for it to be successful. It is a contrast to many of the other ways a governmental entity would attempt to get companies and even individuals to reduce their levels of pollution. Essentially, the biggest concern in this particular type of governance is to direct a gradual process that looks at transforming the political, social, and technical landscapes of society with respect to its overall character (Harris, 2004). The idea is to lessen the issues society has that cause it to create air pollution, and create a more favorable outcome for the entire society as a whole. There are a number of stakeholders in this particular endeavor, and utilizing what they have to offer can help the transition be as smooth as possible. Additionally, the shared goals and visions can be excellent choices for cities and other urban areas where a high level of pollution is being seen and where there are many things that can be done in order to make sure less pollution is created in the future (Hughes, 2007).

While this type of transition takes time, the changes are often more lasting because of the ways in which they have been created and implemented. The importance of transition management lies in its participation, though. If there are a number of companies and individuals who do not participate in the transition, it can be much more difficult to see any degree of success (Harris, 2004). That is something that has to be carefully noted, because a long-term perspective for society is only successful if the majority of society embraces the transition and keeps moving forward with it over the long-term. Not doing that can mean that the transition is essentially pointless, and that it will not be of value to the city or other urban area where air pollution reduction has been deemed important (Harris, 2004). The more society values the change, the more likely it will be to take place.

Adaptive Governance

Adaptive governance is based on the changes that are required in order to keep the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Combating Environmental Pollution.  (2014, May 3).  Retrieved June 15, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/combating-environmental-pollution/423877

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"Combating Environmental Pollution."  Essaytown.com.  May 3, 2014.  Accessed June 15, 2019.
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