Posted on February 9, by Scott Alexander I. Tyler Cowen writes about cost disease.
Concern for environment has increased and spread over recent years. Pollution-a major environmental concern. Types and sources and effects of pollution. Causes and associated problems. Remedial measures-existent and suggested.
Plato lamented the destruction of soils and forests in ancient Greece. Dickens and Engels wrote eloquently of the wretched conditions spawned by the Industrial Revolution. But the surge in concern about environmental quality over the last three decades has been uniquely widespread and impassioned.
Appreciation of the material and spiritual importance of a healthy natural environment has spread. Perhaps the most dramatic intellectual shifts are occurring in the Third World, where understanding of the ecological under spinning of human life-largely lost in the post-war dreams of industrialisation is on the rise.
The new interest in environmental quality complements recent shifts in thought among development theorists, many of whom now stress the need to address the basic needs of the poor directly rather than hope that the benefits of growth will trickle down to them.
Improving the lot of the under-class and protecting environmental quality can be mutually-supportive goals. Both internationally and within nations, the new appreciation of our bonds with nature has spawned new institutions and policies-new UN and governmental agencies, new laws, altered aid programmes, new international treaties.
Yet for the most part, responses remain inadequate to the needs. For the most urgent need today is to protect and preserve what remains of the environment.
To do that one has to understand the meaning of pollution and consider ways of tackling it. It takes place through changes in energy patterns, radiation levels, chemical and physical constitutions, and abundance of organisms.
It includes release of materials into atmosphere which make the air unsuitable for breathing, harm the quality of water and soil, and damage the health of human beings, plants and animals. Air pollution in one form or another has accompanied human society from the beginning.
In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many cities of Europe and the US were covered with black shrouds of smoke. Despite the successes registered against smoke, the pollution of city air by other products of coal combustion above all, Sulphur dioxide and by nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, petroleum wastes, and carbon mon oxide continues to worsen in most of the countries.
Strong evidence indicates that prevailing levels of air pollution contribute to the development of chronic respiratory diseases emphysema, asthma, and chronic bronchitis besides short-term respiratory afflictions as well. And those living near smelters and refineries often face increased cancer risks because of the toxic substances spewing from smoke-stacks.
Over the last 25 years, many countries have begun trying to regulate the flow of pollutants in the air, Air pollution can no longer be addressed as simply a local urban problem. Thermal pollution of water.
In general, pollution from so-called point sources like sewage pipes and factories is under progressively better control. But the contamination of waterways from diffuse sources-run-off from farmlands which tends to carry fertilizers, pesticides, and organic matter, and from urban areas, which often carries oil, metals, and other pollutants-remains largely uncontrolled and is on the increase in most countries.
Acids and heavy metals falling with the rain constitute additional sources of water degradation. The problem of water pollution is growing day-by-day; today a great many people are deprived of disease-free potable water, as almost all the sources of water-from seas to wells-are increasingly being infested with different kinds of pollutants.
Soil pollution usually results from the disposal of solid and semi-solid wastes from agricultural practices and from insanitary habits.
Fallouts from atmospheric pollution also contribute to soil pollution.JUST WAR AND IRAQ: I said below that I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer on why a quick war with Iraq would not be more just than the status quo of immiserating sanctions.
Now Glenn Reynolds links to a Michael Walzer essay on a war with Iraq that provides one response. The key grafs: "Defending the embargo, the American overflights, and the UN inspections: this is the right way to oppose.
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