Issues regarding the environment are more prominent than ever, and people hear everywhere about greenhouse effect and climate change. Those are two globally known problems caused by several factors, such as pollution, deforestation, large use of fossil fuels, and improper use of natural resources.
Although we cannot make a global change alone, we, The E Party, want to make the population of our country more aware of these issues and what each of us can do to help our environment.
Pollution is the contamination of air, water, or soil by substances that are harmful to living organisms.
Regarding air pollutants, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of six common pollutants that can harm both the environment and our health. And they can also cause property damage. They are:
- Ground-level ozone: sources are motor vehicles, gasoline vapors, electric utilities, chemical solvents, and industrial facilities. It can cause respiratory issues and harm plants during growing season;
- Particulate matter: it can cause respiratory problems and contribute to acid rain;
- Carbon monoxide: sources are all vehicles and machinery that burns fossil fuels. It is odorless and colorless and extremely harmful if inhaled in large amounts;
- Lead: sources are metal processing, utilities, waste incinerators, and lead-acid battery manufacturers. It can cause nervous, immune, reproductive, and cardiovascular problems, and also contaminate soil and water;
- Sulfur dioxide: released by burning of fossil fuels by power plants and industrial facilities. It causes respiratory problems and contributes to acid rain;
- Nitrogen dioxide: emitted by fuel burning. It aggravates respiratory problems, and contributes to acid rain;
Acid rain includes rain, snow, fog, hail, or even dust that is acidic. It affects aquatic environment significantly, since most aquatic species are not tolerant to a lower water pH. It also affects the soil ad therefore plants, and the animals that drink the water and feed on the plants. Besides that, it damages surfaces of buildings and other manmade structures.
Solid pollution consists of nonhazardous items thrown away by the population. In 2013, each person produced an average of 4.4 pounds of trash per day (total of 254 million tons of trash). Of this, 53% was placed in landfills, 25% was recycled, 13% was burned for energy, and 9% was composted.
When it comes to hazardous waste, which is the one capable of harming human health and the environment, it is usually the byproduct of industrial processes. The EPA has strict regulations for hazardous waste, including full documentation, transportation, recycling, treatment, storage, and disposal.
We, from the E Party, want to work with the EPA to implement monitoring of industries in order to diminish the production of pollutants, sanctioning those that do not meet the requirements and decreasing taxes for the ones that meet or exceed them.
This will work as an incentive for the industries to improve their waste management protocols, also helping with several of the environmental issues regarding pollution and improving the quality of our environment, since it is so important for our quality of life and our economy.
Regarding nonhazardous waste, we will work on improving recycling systems and initiatives. Our goal is to at least double the recycling percentage (currently 25%), therefore reducing disposed items in landfills and incinerators, and diminishing the amount of natural resources necessary to manufacture new products.
By reducing pollution, we are also helping with climate change issues. One of the most important causes and aggravators of climate change is the Greenhouse Effect. Certain gases accumulate in our atmosphere and block heat from escaping Earth towards the space, increasing the temperature on Earth’s surface.
The rise in temperature will then warm oceans and melt glaciers, contributing to sea level rise, and also cause the extinction of several animal and plant species that are sensitive to temperature change or depend on a specific temperature range to grow.
Other consequences of climate change, according to NASA, are:
- change in precipitation patterns
- more droughts and heat waves
- hurricanes will become more intense
- sea level will rise 1-4 feet until 2100
Another proposal from the E Party is to begin the process of switching nonrenewable energy sources for clean, sustainable, and renewable ones, such as hydroelectricity, solar energy, wind energy, wave power, geothermal energy, tidal power, and bioenergy, and also invest in technologies designed to improve energy efficiency.
Our position regarding the environment is tied to education. Our children will be taught all about environment, climate change, and energy sources in depth at school, so they will be more aware of the issues we face regarding those subjects. They will also be able to be proactive in the fight against climate change.
The environment is extremely important for the world’s economy. By adopting measures to save it, we will be improving economy on a local and maybe even global scale, and that will potentially improve the quality of life of our citizens.