Position on driving restriction programs.
After hours of research, I am of the opinion that driving restrictions programs are not enough to make an impact on reducing air pollution. Reducing air pollution through control measures may be possible but there must be stringent policies for this work. Let look at Mexico City, driving restrictions were put in place for years but the air quality has not improved. This is due because there were loop holes which enabled persons to own more than one vehicle and allowed them to drive each day of the week though they were restricted for one week day and one Saturday per month. This clearly shows that the quantity of pollutant remained the same or even increased even with a policy in place (Davis, 2017).
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The Mexico City Policy can be compared with the city of Milan’s driving policy of vehicle owner paying to drive in a driving zone termed Area C. If drivers wanted to enter this area, they had to pay a fairly high fine to enter this zone. For this to work, the country of Italy and the city of Milan ensured there was a great network of public transportation. The pay to drive policy was validated in 2012 when there was a suspension of payments and persons were allowed to drive freely in Area C. Gibson & Carnovale, 2015 did a study in which they concluded that the restrictions were helping the City of Milan. The study showed that during the suspension period, there was a 14.5% increase in the number of vehicles that entered the Area C ZONE. The study showed that the city of Milan was able to reduce its air pollution between 6-17%. This is considered significant since Milan is only 5% of Italy’s landmass. It also showed that a 1% increase in the price reduced the number of vehicles by 0.3%, which was significant (Gibson & Carnovale, 2015).
With the evidence obtained, one can conclude that driving restrictions is not the best method used to help reduce air pollution, however thee are alternative methods which has proven to be more successful. Two of these alternative policies that can be implemented are: a. upgrading to cleaner and more efficient fuel methods by companies as was done in Mie Prefecture, Japan and b. Tree Planting and reduction in number of vehicle lanes
Mie Prefecture in Japan is one of the cities that has had a successful outcome with the reduction of air pollution for many years; especially SO2. They got all parties involved and did a lot of education with companies and their population. People were motivated to get involved in the change process which would improve the lives of everyone. Companies were given incentives to acquire more environmentally friendly equipment and increase the length of end of pipe technologies (de Oliveira, 2011). Population were encouraged to recycle 4 household appliances (refrigerator, AC, televisions and washers); it was mandated that manufactures accept and recycle them also (Nakano et al, 2007). To achieve this reduction, Japan involved every person in its hierarchy from the people to the leaders. Governments can take a look at this policy and use some of it to create and implement policies to reduce air pollution.
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Trees are natural users of CO2 and SO2. Trees are meant to be used as a symbiotic system with human population. Tree planting can be used to reduce many effects of climate change and air pollution. Trees use carbon dioxide to process their food in a process called photosynthesis. More trees there are in polluted areas, the lower the quantity of carbon dioxide in the air. According to a study done by Morani et al, 2011 it showed that trees help greatly in reducing gas pollutants along with particulate matter. The study also showed that trees with leaves that had larger surface areas are better to plant since they can absorb more. One of the issues with planting trees is that in the short term the reduction will be minimal but if the trees chosen are selected carefully it will have greater long-term benefits. Comparisons were made between the old city and new city of Beijing (Morani et al, 2011).
- Davis, L. W. (2017). Saturday driving restrictions fail to improve air quality in Mexico City. Scientific Reports, 7(2), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep41652
- Matthew Gibson, Maria Carnovale. The effects of road pricing on driver behavior and air pollution. Journal of Urban Economics, 2015, 89, pp.62-73. ff10.1016/j.jue.2015.06.005ff. ffhal-01589743f
- Hulvey, K. B., Hobbs, R. J., Standish, R. J., Lindenmayer, D. B., Lach, L., & Perring, M. P. (2013). Benefits of tree mixes in carbon plantings. Nature Climate Change, 3(10), 869–874. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1862
- Nakano, K., Aoki, R., Yagita, H., & Narita, N. (2007). Evaluating the Reduction in Green House Gas Emissions Achieved by the Implementation of the Household Appliance Recycling in Japan. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 12(5), 289–298. https://doi.org/10.1065/lca2006.11.281
- de Oliveira JAP. Why an air pollution achiever lags on climate policy? The case of local policy implementation in Mie, Japan. Environment & Planning A. 2011;43(8):1894-1909. doi:10.1068/a43240.
- Morani, A., Nowak, D. J., Hirabayashi, S., & Calfapietra, C. (2011). How to select the best tree planting locations to enhance air pollution removal in the MillionTreesNYC initiative. Environmental Pollution, 159(5), 1040–1047. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2010.11.022
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