One of the major issues in American society today is the reliance of everyone on a personal automobile and the impact thereof. With cities increasing in population, more vehicles are hitting the streets, causing a tremendous spike in traffic congestion and pollution release.
With traffic levels as high as they are, getting any place is a daunting (and dangerous) task, with traffic zooming recklessly all over the road. Drivers are focused with getting from point A to point B, fast, without delay. Cars, trucks, and especially those big SUV's that swerve all over, pose a threat not only to pedestrians, bikers, and rollerbladers, but fellow motorists.
The pollution caused by motor vehicles is amazing (in a bad, "holy cripes!" kind of way). According to an analysis by the Clean Car Campaign, over 18,000 pounds of mercury pollution was released last year alone. That's only mercury, that's not even taking in to account hydrocarbons (cause of smog and cancer), carbon monoxide (impairs oxygen uptake throughout the body), nitrogen oxides (cause respiratory problems both directly and indirectly, cause smog and acid rain, and damages aquatic environments), fine airborne particulate matter (causes shortness of breath, worsening of respiratory diseases and heart conditions, causes cancer)... The list goes on and on. All of this is only concerned with emissions as well. According to various estimates (my info comes from the Clean Car Campaign), over 30,000 pounds of waste is created from the production of only one automobile.
The solution? Well, that's a pretty optimistic statement, and it's a lot easier said than done. More people taking advantage of public transportation would be key, but the real problem is how to accomplish that. Simplifying bus routes, increasing awareness about the ease of public transit, and making locations of bus stations may help. Being from a small town, I'm definitely not a bus expert. Heck, we only had one taxi cab, and that only came about a couple years ago. But that doesn't matter: seeing as a car is impractical in this overly clustered city, I'll start taking advantage of it myself before too long.
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