The problem of environmental protection is one of the most important challenges of modern society. Among different components of ecological crisis (exhaustion of raw resources, the shortage of clean freshwater, possible climatic catastrophes) the most threatening characteristic is the problem of the pollution of irreplaceable natural resources – air, water, and soil by the waste of industry, transport, and agriculture. The primary danger among the aforementioned is air pollution. This essay analyzes the air pollution effects and regulations based on a simple observation of smoke coming from a large smokestack.
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Air pollution in industrialized countries has taken over the last 15-20 years so threatening that the governments of these countries were forced to resort to the most serious measures, aimed at protecting nature. First of all, it affected the legal aspects of environmental protection. Currently, in countries such as the USA, England, Germany, Sweden, and others, the legislation is aimed at safeguarding the external environment, including the air.
In the example mentioned in the current case, a specific procedure should be conducted that is called “Environmental Impact Assessment”. In general, this term could be explained as the procedure of making a decision on whether some subject, in our case- the smokestack, has a negative effect on the environment. This procedure in the US was first established with the release of the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969. This act requires legal activities that in our case could be simplified to basic procedures to assess the selected object.
These procedures will be divided between the information gathered from the owners and the analysis and risk estimation that should be evaluated by a responsible authority. Two main steps should be taken in order to identify the type of area that could be affected and the source of the impact which in this case the source of the smoke that could be identified from the owners. That could be implemented in a checklist questionnaire that will cover all the aspects that are vital for the case.
Identifying the risk is another procedure that should be taken into consideration in assessing the impact of the smoke. This process can be divided into four steps as it is described by the National Academy of Sciences.
- Identifying Hazard: This is an estimation of each toxic component dose to “toxic endpoints”, i.e. cancer, damage to vital organs or the immune system, etc.
- Assessing the dose-response: this step identifies the degree and the area of impact with the increase of the toxic dose.
- Assessing exposure: This step is an analysis of the amount of the chemical that is absorbed from all the sources, in this case, all the material that results in a specific chemical.
- Characterization of risk: This is a combination of the previous steps and the characteristics of the surrounded area and its population.
According to the overall procedures that took place certain decisions have to be made which include either removing the possible causes of the aforementioned impact or reducing the effects on the environment.
After reviewing the previous analysis it should be stated that any possible conclusions and recommendations are due within certain standards and regulatory acts that should follow and be implemented. The assessing of the air pollution is merely an indication of the state in which certain object affects the surrounding area.
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The Global Development Research Center. Environmental Impact Assessment. 2008. Web.