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Tuesday, September 20, 2011
It does not take a genius to realize what is happening in the environment. Animal species are becoming extinct. The rainforests are slowly being destroyed. The air quality is getting worse. The hurricanes are becoming more frequent and stronger. (Bryan Walsh 1) Flashfloods all over the world are becoming more often. More people are getting sick and dying from lung diseases. These are events that we must all take seriously because they all affect us. We cannot say that the destruction of our environment does not affect us because we all breathe the same air. We all enjoy the same beaches. We all drink the same water. We all step on the same land mass.
We may not be aware but all the things we do have an impact in the environment. When we travel from one place to another by plane we consume energy which affects the environment. Once we throw empty bottles of water and other garbage on the streets we pollute our environment. When we neglect to turn off the lights and other appliances we consume energy which also affects the environment. When we fail to segregate and recycle our garbage we become direct participants in the killing of our environment.
The point is that we can do something to save the environment. Yet, we do nothing about it. There is only one Earth. We cannot allow it to slowly die. We cannot continue to become indifferent and expect to drink clear water or to breathe clean air.
We can all do our share in helping the environment. Saving the environment can start even while we are in our own homes. In my family, we practice this at home by turning off the lights, televisions, radios, personal computers, air conditioner when they are not in use. We also try to make it a point to conserve water by constantly checking for leaks and not allowing it to run while washing our face, taking short showers, and avoiding flushing the toilet very often. We also practice segregation and recycling of garbage so that our family does not add to the tons of garbage being thrown everyday. When we buy new appliances to check whether they are energy efficient and whether the new air conditioner and refrigerator contains Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) instead of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC).
Norman Cousins once said “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” (Michael Schellen Berger & Ted Nordhaus, 8) For me, the worst thing than death is to see someone or something dying and not doing something about it.
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Friday, September 16, 2011
Nowadays, one cannot dismiss the fact that as the world ages, its environment also suffers from all the interaction being made within it. Because people experience the negative effects, a lot tries to find ways to combat or lessen it. One innovative way that they have found is building green buildings. This does not necessarily mean that the building is colored green but that it is a building that is environment friendly. This is a new concept that is why making an essay on green buildings is necessary. This essay on green building would be about informing the general public about what green building is and why one should adapt to using it when building their infrastructures.
As this is a new concept, the positive and negative advantages of green buildings could also be useful to be put on writing; on an essay on green buildings. One can also include putting pictures on their essay on green buildings to make it more appealing to the reader. He or she could better visualize it and appreciate green buildings if he or she sees examples. He or she might even be persuaded to have one if he or she reads an essay on green buildings with pictures.
There are standards that are being followed when making a green building. Each country has their own system that makes these standards. Making an essay on green buildings that discuss these standards could help the public understand. This essay on green buildings should enumerate first the standards and then discuss each and why that specific standard became part of the roster.
An essay on green buildings could also discuss why a specific country or a region decides to adapt the policy on green buildings. This could include information on how many are constructed green buildings in the country and how long have they had it. One could also on an essay on green buildings with focus on a specific one and discussing its history.
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Tehran is the capital city and the largest urban area of the Islamic republic of Iran with a population of 8,429,807 (Tehran, 2011). Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ranks 56th around the world (World's largest urban…, n.d.); thus, the city is the least expensive capital city in the world based on the Cost-of-living index in 2008, and it presents the best value of currency globally (Tehran remains least, n.d.; Top 10 Cheapest cities, n.d.). The primary language in Tehran is the Persian dialect, with 98% native speakers (Tehran, 2011) and locals identify themselves as Persians (Tehran, 2011).
The city also ranks as one of the largest cities in Western Asia and 19th in the whole world (Tehran Urbanization, 2010). At the beginning of the 20th century, Tehran’s population was estimated to be around 700,000 but the Iran-Iraq war in 1986 brought the population to 6 million (Tehran Urbanization, 2010). The migration has been the key reason for the explosive growth, which is “more than the sum of the country’s next five major metropolitan cities combined” (Tehran Urbanization, 2010). Presently, Tehran is the most populated city in Iran with a population of more than 12 million. Most of the Iranians are living in densely populated urban areas.
The concentration of the population in urban areas creates a number of problems for the City of Tehran. One of these problems is the air pollution. The severe air pollution in Tehran is considered the primary reason why the number of individuals who are suffering from pulmonary illnesses has increased in the past years.
The research seeks to gather information regarding the population movement in Tehran, Iran and its impact on the environment, particularly the rise in the level of air pollution. It also seeks to collect data regarding the economy of the city and how this contributes to the air pollution. It also seeks to gather data regarding the transportation sector of Tehran, Iran and how it contributes to air pollution. It also seeks to collect information about the environmental conditions in the city.
Identification of the Problem and the Determinants of the Problem
Globalization has helped in the urbanization of many cities in the world. In Tehran, globalization helped in the growth of the city of Tehran. However, the government of Tehran has failed in urban management and was unable to meet the demands of globalization (Peter Hall, p.31). As a result, it is now faced with a serious problem of air pollution.
The severe air pollution has made breathing very difficult for the residents of Tehran. The smog from the city makes its citizens’ breathing difficult and is the cause of lung cancer and cardiopulmonary diseases. It has been studied that 27 people die daily from ailments caused by the air pollution and 3,600 people have been dead in a single month due to difficulty in breathing and suffocation (Iran smog, 2007).
In order to address the problem of air pollution, it is necessary to identify the first the possible causes of the problem. There are two basic sources of air emission sources in Tehran. The first is from stationary sources which are the factories, businesses and even residential areas. According to the Environmental Software and Services, the air pollution is brought about by the over-concentration of factories in Tehran. Since Tehran is the most populated city in Iran, a number of businesses have established themselves in the main capital hoping to generate sales for their businesses.
The second source is the mobile sources which are cars. According to a study conducted by Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization (IEPO), the origin of the problem of air pollution in Tehran is the cars that flood the city main streets on a daily basis (Energyboom.com, 2010, p.1). The Tehran way of life “relies heavily on private cars, buses, motorcycles, and taxis, and is one of the most car dependent cities in the world” (Tehran, 2011). According to the Tehran Municipality Environment and Sustainable Development Office, the city has a capacity for 700,000 registered cars yet 3 million roam its streets on a daily basis (Tehran’s overpopulation, n.d.). According to the IEPO, 80% of the pollution emissions come from the cars (Energyboom.com, 2010, p.1). The problem of air pollution is even made worse by the continued use of old and aging cars which fail to meet the emission regulations.
Blaming car owners for the city’s air pollution problems is, however, not the solution to the problem. In fact, car owners have no choice but to use their cars on a daily basis considering the “poor public transportation network” in Iran (Environmental Software Services, 2011, p.1). Since buses and other public transport systems do not reach the major areas in the city where people either work or reside, many Iranians are forced to use their private cars or hire taxis.
Compounding Tehran’s air pollution problem is its geographical location. Tehran is bounded by a mountain range that stops the flow of the humid wind to the main capital. The mountain range also prevents the polluted air from being carried away from the city. Thus, during winter, the lack of wind and cold air causes the polluted air to be trapped within the city.
Assessment of the Impact of the Problem
Air pollution is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. One reason is that it can cause illness or even death to a significant number of Iranians residing in Iran. In fact, in 2007, Hadi Heydarzadeh, the director of Tehran’s Clear Air Committee, has reported that air pollution is directly or indirectly responsible for the death of 3,600 individuals in just a month in Tehran (Terradaily.com, 2007, p.1).
Aside from the respiratory and cardiac illness-related deaths, the problem of air pollution should also not be taken for granted in view of the obligation of the government of Iran to provide its population with a clear and safe air to breathe. It has the duty to protect the general welfare by taking action at the alarming air pollution levels in Tehran. It is therefore, primarily responsible for controlling the level of air pollution in Tehran. Moreover, protecting the health of its people has economic impact considering that a sick population deprives the city of the manpower and workforce needed by the city.
From a macro-prospective, poor urban development planning is the primary reason for the air pollution problems faced by Iran. Tehran’s thrust towards suburbanization resulted in the physical deterioration of the city’s urban landscape. “The expansion of businesses into residential areas, an increase in traffic regulations, changes to the city’s administrative boundaries, a buoyant development industry, the availability of land and cheap fuel, rising social polarization, and citizens’ expectation for higher standards of living all combined to encourage a process of suburbanization that precipitated the decline in the physical fabric of the city’s centermost areas” (Rezai & Esmaeily, 2010).
The Iranian government understands the impact of the air pollution problem to the health of its people and its economy. The Tehran Comprehensive Plan (TCP) was enacted as early as 1968 to identify problems of density in the city centre, pollution, commercial activities, transportation, unemployment, and migration into the city (Kazemipour & Mirzaie, 2005). While TCP has been given with enough attention, the solutions have “extended the city limits to reduce concentration in built-up spaces, and established ten districts of 500,000 people, each with its commercial, industrial and high-rise buildings” (Kazemipour & Mirzaie, 2005). The ten districts have been subdivided into neighborhoods of 15-30,000 people, complete with their own amenities. Through the new system in urban planning and soaring oil prices, land appropriation and acquisition have been the most lucrative industry in Tehran. It has resulted in construction of embassies, cultural and recreational centers, built on 554 hectares of Tehran land and employment for 189,000 people.
Assessment of Government Interventions
A number of strategies have been implemented to address the problem of air pollution. The Iranian government has attempted to impose traffic restrictions on the streets by limiting the number of cars and closing of schools, colleges, universities and government offices in an effort to reduce the traffic congestion. It has also sprayed water on the city to help reduce the public’s suffering from air pollution. However, these efforts have not been very effective considering that these are short-term solutions which do not address the heart of the problem.
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bager Qalibaf said that traffic restrictions are temporary measures which will not aid in reducing air pollution in Tehran. He said that people will continue to use their private cars unless the public transport system actually improves. If the reason why there are so many cars on the streets is the insufficient public transport system then improving the public transport system may help convince the public to use it and rely on it more often.
In line with the goal of improving the public transport system, the Iranian government has completed the construction of the first metro system which carries thousands of commuters everyday to their destinations. In addition, the development of the bus rapid transit (BRT) system has also helped lessen the air pollution. As of 2011, the BRT has a network of 100 kilometers and can transport 1.8 million passengers on a daily basis.
Moreover, Tehran has also established bicycle lanes which bicycle users can traverse giving them a comfortable alternative to using their cars. The construction of parks full of trees where people can meet and talk is also a good solution.
In addition to the government’s efforts, it has also tapped the private sector to participate in controlling the air pollution. It has encouraged vehicle owners to use natural compressed gas instead of petrol engines. The government has also raised people’s awareness regarding the dangers of air pollution. It has installed the Pollution Indicator Boards around the city to monitor the level of particulate matter PM 10, nitrogen oxide (NO2), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO) (Rezai & Esmaeily, 2010). The city has also established the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI), a general indicator of air quality based on the measurements of the abovementioned pollutants (Rezai & Esmaeily, 2010).
The efforts of the government have started to bear fruit. In January 2011, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has commended Iran for its efforts by nominating Tehran for 2011 Sustainable Transport Award. Though the city is known for its traffic and air pollution, the recent moves by Tehran has been recognized. According to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, Tehran “stands out as a model city in the region.” The said body acknowledged the efforts made “improve quality of life by having an integrated, available, safe, easy, comfortable, and clear transportation system, delivered within limited sources” (Jennifer Hattam, 2011, p.1). However, there are still so many things to be done to reduce the air pollution in Tehran to acceptable levels.
Comprehensive Policy to Control Air Pollution
There are still many things that needed to be done by Iranian government to finally control the air pollution to manageable levels. With the problems caused by population and lack of urban planning, Tehran will have to catch up its years of neglect. The goals will never be easy to achieve and the efforts will take years before the goals can be realized. However, the effort by Iranian government to control air pollution is receiving positive reports from the international community.
Though urbanization is being viewed as the primary reason for the rise of the air pollution levels in Iran, it could have been avoided with the proper urban planning in Tehran. As of now, the future seems to be bright insofar as controlling air pollution is concerned. The government has proven that it is willing to take the initiative to make the air clean and safe for the people of Iran. However, it is necessary to establish a comprehensive policy so that these initiatives will be effective.
First, establish an air quality standard. The environment officials in Tehran should collect data about its present air quality. It should make an effort to improve the air quality by reducing the level of toxic chemicals in the air. Even if slow steps shall be taken what is important is that every year an effort is made to improve the air quality.
Second, the action plan to improve air quality standard should be comprehensive. Meaning the initiative should not only come from the government but the active participation of the different businesses and private citizens should be encouraged. The task of making the air clean and safe is an enormous task and it will require the joint effort and cooperation of the different sectors in Tehran.
Third, the government should set aside political bickering and work together to combat air pollution. The subway may plan an integral part in reducing the air pollution. If existing lines can be extended or if new lines can be constructed to other locations in Tehran then the public transport system can significantly improved. However, the parliament has refused to release the necessary funding that will help fast track the improvement in Tehran’s public transport system (Maryam Sinaiee, 2010, p.1).
Fourth, it should impose economic sanctions against the car producers and car buyers. Slightly higher taxes should be imposed on individuals who buy new cars. At the same time, penalty should be imposed on individuals who are driving cars beyond 15 years. There should also be incentives given to individuals so they could be encouraged to buy cars and to use fuel which are environment-friendly.
Fifth, continue the construction of bicycle lanes and parks so the people may be encouraged to walk or to use bicycles in traveling short distances. The current bike rental program being implemented is also a good move. The construction of parks with trees helps having clean air.
Fifth, get active participation of the private sector and even the private citizens. Coercing them to comply with the air quality standard will not be effective unless they understand what it means to help promote clean air. Thus, the imposition of traffic restrictions, spraying of water in Tehran, and the declaration of holidays are merely short-term fixes which have no long-term impact unless the people truly understand what it means to have a clean air and the consequences of having a high air pollution concentration in the atmosphere.
Tehran as the capital city and the largest urban area of Iran has been faced with difficulties regarding urban planning and development. Proper urban planning and management could have avoided the situation it is faced today. Though the government is showing that it is doing its best to combat air pollution, there is a need to adopt a comprehensive policy so that its efforts should be integrated under one policy. In this case, it is not enough that temporary solutions are adopted. Instead, the government should establish an air quality standard and set goals based on that standards to reduce the harmful chemicals in the air, improve the public transport system, inform the private sector and the private individuals about the harmful effects of air pollution on health and the strategies that they could use to help reduce air pollution.
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In general, the El Nino and the La Nina phenomena are terms given to changes in the patterns in the atmosphere and winds that takes place in the Pacific Ocean. They both regularly occur in the environment as such they are not generally considered as abnormalities in the environment. What is alarming is that the El Nino and the La Nina effects are now occurring with greater frequency and intensity which affects the rest of the world.
The El Nino Phenomenon refers to an abnormal weather pattern that is caused by the warming of the Pacific Ocean. It is so-called because the term was coined by Peruvian fishermen who noticed the warming of the currents near the coasts of Peru and Ecuador appearing regularly around Christmas and lasting for a few months thereafter. As a result, there were lesser fish than usual. The El Nino Phenomenon now refers to the large-scale warming of surface waters of the Pacific Ocean which takes place regularly every 3-6 years and lasts for 9-12 months. One of the impact of the El Nino is that causes the collapse of the planktons, the basic source of food for fish, which affects the supply of fish in the Pacific Ocean.
The La Nina Phenomenon, in contrast, refers to the cooling of water in the Pacific Ocean. This causes the air pressure to drop in certain countries followed by a rise in precipitation in levels of these countries. The net effect is extreme and heavy rains and flooding in different countries. Just recently, Australia has felt Mother Nature’s fury as more than 50 suburbs and 2,100 roads were flooded. The massive flooding which lasted for several days in Australia has resulted in the death of 16 people. In addition, there were reports that almost a hundred people are missing. The NASA has stated that the particularly strong La Nina is fueling the heavy rains and floods in Australia.
Currently, El Nino and La Nina are the two most powerful phenomena on the surface of the Earth. It can cause significant effect and alter the climate of half the planet Earth. For example, the La Nino can cause serious rain and flooding along the Pacific Coast. It can also cause unusually war weather on different parts of the globe disrupting the food chain of different specie of animals. It can cause tornadoes and thunderstorms in the different parts of the United States. The La Nina, on the other hand, can cause unusual amount of snow and rain on the west coast, unusually cold weather in Alaska, and unusually war weather in different parts of the USA
The sudden changes in the weather patterns all over the world such as the El Nino and the La Nina phenomena are all indicators that Global Warming is changing the world. It is time for the entire country to start acting to reduce the release of harmful chemicals in the air. The countries should join hands and start imposing stricter measures before it becomes too late. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol are only the first steps towards addressing the worsening problem of climate change. Stricter measures should be implemented.
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Global warming is an ecological issue that has a lot of negative effects on the environment. Scientifically, global warming is defined as an increase in the average temperature of the earth’s surface air and oceans. This increase in the atmosphere’s temperature harms the environment. Thus, doing an essay on global warming is timely. An essay on global warming could focus on a number of ideas.
People know the term global warming but not everyone understands what really it is. Making an essay on global warming to help them understand global warming would be beneficial. This should entail them to know what causes it, how long has it been happening and why it is happening. If this proves to be long reading for some or if it is too general, one could choose one from those mentioned above and expound on it as an essay on global warming.
Another interesting topic for an essay on global warming would be what the population can do to help diminish its adverse effect. One can do an essay on global warming that enumerates what people can do to save earth against its negative effects. Or, the essay on global warming may discuss about the El Nino an La Nina phenomena. One can also focus on just discussing expounding one or two; an essay on global warming that focus on which the general population can easily do to combat global warming. The fight against diminishing the negative effects of global warming is not a fight of the government or scientist alone; it is a fight of everyone. That is why doing an essay on global warming that makes the ordinary people that they need to do something about it should be stressed out.
Some did not realize right away that global warming is a great concern because of some problems that seem to be immediately demanding. However, the effects that we are experiencing now show how dismissing it had made it worse. An essay on global warming that makes the reader understand as well as make him or her make an action about the issue would be rewarding and is very much needed nowadays.
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