Bioethical Essay: Air Pollution in the U.S.


The Clean Air Act is apart in the environmental laws in the U.S, this is a good thing because it gives the government the power to regulate the number of harmful pollutants in the air. The earth's environment consists of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil we grow our food in, and the habitats that billions of species that live on this earth. With that being said, we need to do everything we can to protect the environment at all costs. The pollution that factories are producing can have harmful effects on our health and environment. Opponents may argue that it is too much of a hindrance to a big business and giving reluctant upgrades can make the plant less, not safer for the environment, or some may say they do not want to abolish the rule and just have it clarified. I personally stand for The Clean Air Act because pollution effects many people and can cause serious health problems and risks, it needs to decrease significantly. 

Problem  

The problem with this is that these harmful air pollutants contain sulfur dioxide, which is one of the main ingredients for acid rain. This contaminates water and harms wildlife. Another thing that facilities produce is nitrogen oxide with volatile organic compounds which both combine to make up ozone. When the ozone layer is at low altitudes it is one of the main components of smog. This causes breathing problems. All these things are just the beginning of what facilities release into the air, but the Clean Air act regulates these harmful pollutants. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulates particulate matter. This is the term that makes up what is called soot. It can pass through people's lungs and cause problems with breathing. Carbon monoxide is also regulated by the act that can crowd oxygen out of blood and can develop problems in children, also is harmful to wildlife.  

Viewpoint #1 

Opposing viewpoints may argue that it is too much of a hindrance to a big business. An argument for this is plants operators do not want to make big upgrades to the company so they can stay profitable. Making upgrades can make it tougher on oil refineries to keep up production. Also fears needed to make improvements can cause economic repercussions. Secondly, giving reluctant upgrades can make the plant less, not safer for the environment. According to the critic's upgrades can have the effect of making a plant less, and not more environmentally friendly. The installation of new things would lead to costly renovation. Leaving plants alone is more likely to make it environmentally cleaner they say. Lastly, another argument might state that they do not seek to abolish the rule, but have it clarified. Plants are unsure of how long it would take the review process to take. So, they just do not upgrade at all. “a burdensome and time-consuming process” American petroleum Institute states. An upgrade to a facility is worth trying to help the environment. 

Viewpoint #2 

Protecting public health and the environment is what we need to focus on rather than making it worse for people. Lean Air Task Force (environmental group) estimated that in 2001 operations at 51 of the plants were accused of violating new source review is decreasing life spans of people who are exposed to these pollutants. In addition, new source review helps keep other forms of life safe. The Sierra Club states, “ozone pollution can stunt growth in pants as well as animals.”  We are not only affecting humans, but plants and animals as well. More than 20% of NOx comes from power plants. Controlling these emissions would benefit the environment. Lastly, the Clean Air Act makes it clear that the law applies to CO2 just as it does to other harmful pollutants. The act requires the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to regulate the emissions that cause or contribute to pollution, which endangers public health. CO2 also influences weather and climate. Supporters find fault in the Bush Administration for enforcing the rule, they believe the Clinton administration has reversed its crackdown on violators. There is already a set of global warming cases working their way through court. 

Conclusion. 

Some may say it is difficult for big businesses to make upgrades to their company to fix pollution because they will lose money, or it simply would make it worse, but I feel like companies should invest in trying to fix those issues to protect the environment around them. It would benefit our people, wildlife, water, air, and plants. So many of which things we need on an everyday basis. Companies should try harder to make an eco-friendly pollutant possible. 

References 

Issues & Controversies: Energy and Environment URL 

Citation: "Clean Air Act's Source Review Clause: Is the Clean Air Act's New Source Review clause necessary to keep factories from polluting?" Issues & Controversies, November 17, 2006. Accessed August 21, 2021. https://icof.infobaselearning.com/recordurl.aspx?ID=2075 

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