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Local Pollution Problem

In: Business and Management

Submitted By scassidy
Words 1011
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A local pollution problem
This report will look into the air pollution in Melbourne due to car emissions and the way to develop a system of controls to best deal with this problem.
Definition of the problem how it effects the environment
Air pollution is a problem that no major city in the world has avoided. Air pollution from industry, from the large numbers of homes clustered together in and around the cities and the widespread use of motor vehicles means that the quality of the air in cities suffers.
The findings of the EPA1 show that motor vehicles are the major source of urban air pollution. In Melbourne in 2006, motor vehicle emissions contributed the following levels of pollutants to the overall air quality: * 72 per cent of all carbon monoxide (CO) emissions * 70 per cent of all nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions * 28 per cent of all volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions * 31 per cent of all emissions of particles smaller than 2.5 microns(PM2.5) * 27 per cent of all emissions of particles smaller than 10 microns(PM10) * 6 per cent of all sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions
Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can combine to form ozone (summer smog). Particle emissions can build up in the air to form autumn/winter smog in the cooler months. Both diesel and petrol vehicles emit particles into the air.

The economic consequences
The economic consequences of motor vehicle emissions in Melbourne are; * Health issues – In economic terms, noxious vehicle emissions are externalities which lead to significant health impacts on people. * Congestion – The large number of vehicles in the CBD causes delays to transportation and the workforce with a flow on effect to the economy in lost productivity. * Lost productivity – The health and congestion issues directly impact our economy. * Population density – With an increase of residential living within the CBD, if not addressed the issues will continue to get worse.
Measures currently being taken to control the problem
Local government have introduced programs to address this issue. Melbourne City Council2 have set targets for: * Transport and freight – Increase the percentage of all trips using low emissions transport from 51 per cent in 2009 to 60 per cent in 2018. * Green Transport – Melbourne has an extensive network of dedicated bike lanes and streets closed to car traffic.
Automobiles and other mobile sources are primarily responsible for carbon monoxide emissions and are major contributors to emissions linked to smog formation. Under Australian government policies4, when old cars are retired they are replaced by new cars meeting tighter standards. As a consequence pollution from motor vehicles has decreased over the past 10 years, despite an increase in the number of vehicles on the road.
The state government has assisted by imposing a congestion levy in 2005, and have provided individuals with some helpful advice4 to help car owners and drivers to self-regulate in controlling emissions.
Vehicle Maintenance
A vehicle regularly tuned and maintained can reduce emissions by up to 25 per cent. Keeping tyres inflated to the upper limit of the manufacturer’s specification will have a positive effect on fuel consumption and emissions.
Driving Habits
Consider options – Walk, ride a bike or take public transport.
Smooth driving techniques save on fuel and as a result reduce emissions.
Smoky vehicles
Smoky vehicles contribute disproportionately to the pollutants from motor vehicles. EPA operates a program that allows the community to report offending vehicles. When they receive a report, EPA will advise the owner to check their vehicle and, if necessary, get it fixed.

The possible solutions / controls that could be implemented to resolve / offset the problem
The Australian government standards relating to motor vehicles emissions to be achieved are command and control in nature (specifies a pollution limit to be achieved) and these are significant assistance to the local government. Local and state governments tend to have market based solutions (eg. congestion tax), and I believe this approach is better suited to the local issues because it’s impossible for local governments to introduce national policies.
The controls that could be used to control / offset the problem are; * Increase the congestion tax * Import tariff on higher polluting vehicles * Tax credits for consumers purchasing low emission cars * Tax credits for manufacturers investing to continue to address and improve this pollution problem for each successive model year. * Set up body aimed at investigating a variety of initiatives aimed at developing alternative fuels.
Recommendations /Conclusions
Market based economic incentives provide a system that will discourage drivers bring cars into the CBD. However people will still rely on cars for transport so there will always be cars coming into the CBD, so it’s up to local government to mitigate the effect. To date they have done so by providing alternatives for commuters through public transport and bike lanes. They also lead by example by setting their own green transport targets. In conclusion the local government are doing a number of the right things to address this issue, however more is needed.
In addition to existing policies, the local government could lobby the Federal government to introduce; * Tax credits for consumers purchasing low emission cars * Tax credits for manufacturers investing to continue to address and improve this pollution problem for each successive model year. * Set up body aimed at investigating a variety of initiatives aimed at developing alternative fuels.

Bibliography

1. 2013 ‘EPA Regulatory Impact Statement – Environment Protection (Vehicle Emission) Regulations’, 2013, http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/~/media/Publications/1543.pdf, (Accessed: April 20, 2014) 2. 2014 ‘Sustainability overview’, 2014, http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/Sustainability/Pages/Overview.aspx, (Accessed: April 20, 2014) 3. 2008, ‘State of the Environment Report Victoria’, 2008, http://www.ces.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/124326/4.1.3AirQuality.pdf (Accessed: April 9, 2014) 4. 2013,’Vehicle emissions and air quality’, 2013, http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/your-environment/air/vehicle-emissions-and-air-quality, (Accessed: April 10, 2014) 5. Callan, S.J. and Thomas, J.M. 2013, Environmental Economics & Management 6e, South-Western, Mason, OH, USA.…...

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