Pollution can generally be defined as the introduction of harmful substances into a given body. There are various forms of pollution. These include water pollution, soil pollution, and air pollution amongst many others. Borrowing from the definition of pollution generally, water pollution refers to the introduction of harmful substances into water bodies. Similarly, soil pollution refers to the introduction of harmful substances into the surface of the earth. While all the three forms of pollution exist, air pollution is more prevalent than the both water and soil pollution. Indeed, it is the most prevalent form of pollution in the world. Furthermore, air pollution has far much significant effects than both soil and water pollution combined. This is because while the effects of both soil and water pollution are usually localized; the effects of air pollution are felt on a much wider scale. In some instances, the scale is usually global. This is arguably illustrated by the ever increasing concern about global warming. It must not be forgotten that air pollution is what is single handedly responsible for this phenomenon. At this juncture, it would be essential to provide a definition of air pollution. This is the definition that will guide this submission. Once again, the definition of air pollution flows from the definition of pollution generally. Air pollution refers to the introduction of harmful substances into the air or the atmosphere. Such substances may include chemicals, dust or even biological materials. This submission will thus focus on air pollution and will be guided by the thesis statement that to reduce air pollution, people should be required to purchase hybrid cars.
One of the most significant sources of air pollution is the emission of gases by motor vehicles. The problem is further compounded by the ever increasing number of motor vehicles on the roads. Indeed, as far as pollution of the air through emission of motor vehicle gases is concerned, almost every country is guilty. It is increasingly clear that motor vehicles are a necessity for many people across the world. To that extent, they cannot be banned in totality. Subsequently, efforts are being made to reduce the amount of air pollution that is directly attributable to emissions from motor vehicles. One such effort is through the development of hybrid cars. The rationale behind the use of hybrid cars is that they do not emit any harmful gases into the atmosphere. In essence, hybrid cars do not cause any air pollution. Various motor vehicle manufacturers have been undertaking research towards the development of hybrid cars. While the success recorded in the development of hybrid cars has not been phenomenal, this submission contends that this is a step in the right direction. This is because it is only through such efforts that there will come a time in the future when all the motor vehicles on the road will be hybrid cars. It goes without saying that such an achievement would significantly reduce air pollution. To hasten this process, there is a need for putting in place the necessary mechanisms that will ensure people shift from petroleum fueled cars to hybrid cars. This should be done with the ultimate aim of reducing or even eliminating air pollution that it caused by motor vehicles.
Before delving deeper into the discourse on hybrid cars, it would be important to highlight the concern that this submission seeks to address. In that regard, this submission is guided by a study question. It is a question around which all that is discussed in this submission rotates. This submission will be guided by the following study question:
Study Question: Should minimizing air pollution be a requirement in our society?
The study question may appear to be obvious but it is in seeking to answer it that one appreciates the challenges that are associated with making minimizing air pollution a requirement in our society. This is because minimizing air pollution will entail a profound change in the way a number of activities are undertaken. Industries will have to redesign their operations. Similarly, sectors of the economy may be completely shut down or may be forced to adopt new practices so as to ensure that they contribute to minimize air pollution. In a nutshell, efforts to minimize air pollution may necessitate monumental changes in the way numerous activities which affect everyday life are undertaken.
The need for minimizing air pollution is informed by a number of reasons. Indeed, one need not look any further than the effects of air pollution. Air pollution has both health environmental effects. It is widely acknowledged that air pollution through the emission of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) is largely to blame for global warming. The increasing global temperatures and melting polar ice caps in return have adversely affected both individuals and the environment at large. Air pollution also has health effects. Research has shown that people who are exposed to various air pollutants for long durations of time are usually severely affected by this exposure. The effects of this exposure may be as adverse as contracting certain types of terminal illnesses such as cancer. For instances, gases such as Sulphur (II) Oxide and Nitrogen (II) Oxide have been found to cause lung irritations. It must be remembered that these are among the gases that are emitted by motor vehicles. In addition, carbon monoxide, also one of the gases that are emitted by motor vehicles inhibits the absorption of oxygen by the blood, a situation which may eventually result in death. Air pollution also has numerous effects on the environment. These include causing the formation of acid rain which is highly destructive to plants, animals and property, depletion of the ozone layer which leaves human beings exposed to harmful ultra-violet rays from the sun and damaging of crops and forests. All these effects of air pollution are extremely costly to rectify once they have occurred. Indeed, in some instances, it is actually impossible to reverse some of the effects of air pollution. It is this significant difficulty in correcting the effects of air pollution that informed the study question. It would be better to minimize and possibly eliminate air pollution rather than having to deal with its effects. The costs of minimizing air pollution should thus be weighed against the cost of dealing with the effects of air pollution. This submission contends that such a cost benefit analysis will reveal that in the long run, it would be cheaper to take all the necessary measures to minimize air pollution rather than waiting to deal with its effects. Common sense demands that one does not create a bigger problem where there already exists one. This common sense should prevail when it comes to dealing with issues to do with air pollution.
This submission proposes the use of hybrid cars as one of the ways of minimizing air pollution. While various other methods could be adopted so as to minimize air pollution, the use of hybrid cars is perhaps what would have the greatest impact as far as reducing air pollution is concerned. This is because motor vehicles are the largest producers of gases that are responsible for air pollution. The problem is further compounded by the fact that the number of cars in the world is unlikely to decrease any time in the future. On the contrary, the number of cars in the world has kept on increasing year after year. This has equally been accompanied with a corresponding increase in the amount of harmful gases that are emitted into the atmosphere. While various measures have been adopted to try and minimize the amount of air pollution that is caused by cars, such measures have hardly been sufficient. A good example was the ban of lead based fuels in motor vehicles. While this was a step in the right direction, it was hardly sufficient. Furthermore, air pollution was a secondary rather than a primary concern when this measure was proposed and eventually adopted. The use of hybrid cars presents all who are concerned about the environment with a new opportunity of beginning on a clean slate. It is an opportunity which must not be lost.
A hybrid car is car that runs on both gasoline and electricity, usually provided by a rechargeable battery. It is a car which unlike conventional cars, does not rely solely on gasoline for the function of its engine. The hybrid car leverages on the energy provided by the electricity stored in the rechargeable battery to use the same or even less amount of fuel and yet travel longer distances than the conventional car. In the long run, the hybrid car emits lower amounts of harmful gases into the atmosphere as compared to conventional cars. This is essence is the function of the hybrid car; it is a car that was intended to control the amount of emissions released by motor vehicles. The hybrid car is car that was built will environmental conservation in mind. There are two essential types of hybrid cars. These are the series hybrid car and the parallel hybrid car. The two pronged classification is based on the mechanism that is used to start the car. In the series hybrid car, only the gas engine is used to start the car while in the parallel hybrid car, both the electric motor and gas engine are engaged in starting the car and in bringing in to a stop.
There are various arguments which have been advanced in support of hybrid cars. Key among these is the fact that hybrid cars cause lower air pollution as compared to conventional cars. This because they have smaller engines and can travel longer distances using the same amount of fuel as conventional cars. Hybrid cars also emit lower amounts of greenhouse gases as compared to conventional cars. Adoption of hybrid cars in place of conventional cars on a global scale would lead to reduced amount of air pollution globally as the cars will be producing lower amounts of greenhouses gases when compared to conventional cars. This will arguably translate into a reduction in the effects of air pollution. The shift towards the use of hybrid cars is a plausible option to tackle air pollution. This is because individuals will still be able to own and utilize motor vehicles but at the same time take part in activities that help to minimize air pollution. Other arguments that have been advanced in support of hybrid cars largely dwell on aspects of their mechanical superiority to conventional cars. These include a lower fuel consumption rate, better speed and performance compared to conventional cars, a reduction of the wear and tear on breaks thus lower maintenance costs and tax incentives from various governments to persons who purchase hybrid cars. Therefore, in some respects, it can be argued that by purchasing a hybrid car, one actually gets a more superior car to the conventional cars and also takes part in efforts to minimize air pollution.
There are equally those who advanced arguments against the use of hybrid cars. The principal arguments that they have advanced is that hybrid cars are more costly than conventional cars and that there is a lack of adequate skilled personnel that can fix the cars once they develop mechanical problems or require servicing. While these are genuine concerns, they are not sufficient to warrant any opposition to the shift to hybrid cars. First and foremost, it is an uncontested fact that hybrid cars greatly aid in reducing air pollution when compared to conventional cars. To that extent, as far as minimizing air pollution is concerned, adoption of hybrid cars in place of conventional cars would be the ideal approach to take. The cost of hybrid cars has remained relatively high because the uptake of such cars has been low. However, once people are sensitized on the benefits of hybrid cars and shift their allegiance from conventional to hybrid cars, these costs are likely to come down due to the availability of a wider market which will provide car manufacturers with an opportunity to recover their investment. Secondly, it must not be lost that the technology used to develop hybrid cars is not as developed and as readily available as the technology used to develop conventional cars. This has contributed to the relatively high cost of hybrid cars. However, one this technology is fully developed, the cost of hybrid cars should come down tremendously. On the issue of lack of mechanics to repair hybrid cars, this is a factor which will be corrected by the market itself once the demand for hybrid cars picks up. Manufacturers will seek to ensure that their customers have access to after sales service and will thus train more personnel who will in turn train others. This was what happened when the first motor vehicle was manufactured. Skills are bound to diffuse and be spread and this will be no exception in the case of hybrid cars.
In conclusion, this submission contends that although it may be a difficult step, the adoption of hybrid cars would be the right step to take if the world seriously seeks to minimize air pollution. The challenges that are associated with hybrid cars must not be viewed as obstacles to the adoption of this technology. On the contrary, they must be viewed as stepping stones; as opportunities to refine this technology and make it better so as to reduce air pollution even more. This is an opportunity which must not be wasted. This is because it is the cardinal responsibility of everyone to ensure that they leave the environment a better place than they found it. Any failure to adopt the use of hybrid cars may ultimately leave as blaming ourselves in future when the amount of air pollution will have reached hitherto unheard of levels. The time to take action is now, and it starts with the adoption of hybrid cars.
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