Air Pollution Regulations

657 words | 3 page(s)


The control and command system as applied to the environment has provided different solutions to the prevention and eliminating of air pollution. Despite providing these solutions the mechanism has various shortcomings which have provided setbacks in understanding and implementation. Air pollution continues to have negative health effects which make citizens, companies and even states incur huge costs in treatment of infects and diseases which come about as a result of air pollution.

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Control and command mechanisms as per the clean air act normally operate under three main aspects; ambient standards, source specific emissions and technological requirements. The command and control regulations mainly focus on reducing environmental pollution by outlining specific guidelines on how companies will manage pollution. A review of these three aspects however illustrates the shortcomings of applying the command and control in the prevention and control of environmental pollution (Bailey 2008).

First the approach has been accused of increasing operational costs to companies due to the numerous regulations that have been put forward by the approach. The intensive litigation also makes command and control ineffective especially during implementation.
Another shortcoming in the application of the command and control would be that the approach is static, rigid and has a narrow scope in the enforcement. This can be attributed to the fact that the act focuses on displacing waste example disposing solid waste to the water, rather than focusing on elimination of the waste right from the roots.

Air pollution can cause both long term and short term negative health effects to individuals. The most affected are children and the elderly. Short term effects include allergic reactions, nose and throat irritation, mild headache or upper respiratory infections. The long term and most serious effects include cancer especially of lungs, brain damage, heart disease, respiratory diseases and even death. In addition air pollution can have negative impact on the quality of life preventing people from carrying out their daily activities example going to school or work or even social gatherings (Vallero 2008).

According to Washington State Department of Ecology Air Quality Program December 2009 direct health costs on the citizens, organizations and the state due to air pollution was estimated to be $190M.Theleading costs was on heart attacks which amounted to $70M while all other cardio vascular related diseases minus heart attack amounted to $ 17M.Pnemonia costs amounted to $5M while costs of treating lung disease was estimated to be $2M.The cost treating asthma was around $1.2M while that of treating bronchitis was estimated to be $0.8M.In general the cost incurred as a result of loss of working days was estimated to be $31M while the cost of minor restricted activity days was around $64M.

An AQCR is an acronym that stands for Air Quality Control Region .This defines an area in a state which as a result of the existing air quality growth rates has potential to go beyond the standard and national air pollution emission. An area is classified as non attainment if the concentration of one or more of the criteria pollutants is found to have exceeded the threshold level that is set by NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards).On the other hand areas whose concentration levels of criteria pollutants fall below the threshold levels of NAAQS are considered as attainment areas (Vallero 2008).

A non attainment area therefore means that the pollution levels in that area are beyond those that are generally accepted y the state. Such areas experience high levels of pollution in the environment .This areas have a negative impact on tourism, investment or even settlement. The environment in attainment areas is least polluted therefore such areas experience high levels of investment and have many organizations and companies doing business in these areas.

  • Bailey, C. J. (2008). Congress and air pollution: Environmental policies in the USA. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.
  • Vallero, D. A. (2008). Fundamentals of air pollution. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • Washington State Department of Ecology Air Quality Program December 2009

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