Air pollution is currently one of the policy problems that affect several countries across the globe. Air pollution refers to the introduction of harmful substances into the air. As more countries become industrialized, the level of air pollution (Vaahtoranta, 1990). Air pollution has adverse effects on the environment and humans. For instance, air pollution is responsible for wearing out the ozone layer, which consequently leads to global warming.
Additionally, the polluted air is harmful to human beings and other animals that breathe from the atmosphere (Karimi & Shokrinezhad, 2021). Air pollution becomes an international policy problem since no definite policies govern how different countries manage air pollution. The indivisible nature of the atmosphere makes it impossible for one country to effectively manage its air pollution and reap the benefits of clean air. One country can have policies that effectively manage air pollution but have them nullified by their neighboring countries. Furthermore, the implications of polluted air can be felt across different countries regardless of their national policies on air pollution.
The major cause of air pollution is using fossil fuels for combustion. For instance, motor vehicles that use fossil fuels emit polluting smoke into the environment. Additionally, factories that use fossil fuels to operate harmful release gases into the atmosphere. The second cause of air pollution is harmful pesticides in agricultural activities (Newton, 1998). The chemicals farmers use to spray their crops are poisonous and pollute the air. As a result, the pollutant kills the intended and unintended organisms in the air. Furthermore, some natural activities, like volcanic eruptions, pollute the air by releasing huge clouds of dust into the air. Additionally, wildfires fill the atmosphere with clouds of smoke which are harmful to the environment hence polluting it.
Countries can implement several solutions to mitigate air pollution. For effective control of air pollution, international policies that every country adheres to are necessary. If other countries implement the policies whereas others do not, the efforts of those implementing them get nullified. Therefore, it is prudent for countries to implement the solutions in unison to ensure the results are effective. Besides, failure to take part in mitigating air pollution leads to a scenario whereby everyone faces the consequences of air pollution.
Encouraging emission-free mobility is one of the solutions to reducing air pollution. Vehicles that use internal combustion emit harmful gases to the environment, increasing air pollution (Jacobson, 2009). However, the innovation of electric vehicles has created a solution to the issue of harmful emissions. Fully electric vehicles have zero emissions, making them favorable for eliminating air pollution from internal combustion engines. However, the expensive nature of electric vehicles makes it challenging for many countries to use electric vehicles solely. Therefore, a transitional solution toward implementing electric vehicles is encouraging public modes of transport. Instead of twenty people traveling with one vehicle each, they should use one bus, reducing their carbon footprint. A collective effort between all countries will ensure air pollution reduces significantly. Therefore, an international policy on eliminating vehicles using fossil fuels within a certain period will help mitigate air pollution.
The governments can encourage using clean energies like electric vehicles and powering homes and industries with renewable energies like solar energy. Policies that will stimulate the use of clean energies include tax subsidies on the equipment necessary for renewable energy, like solar panels, making it affordable to purchase, install and use (Robinson, 2005). On the other hand, governments can discourage the consumption of unclean energy that pollutes the environment by introducing a carbon tax. A carbon tax is a form of tax that is charged for forms of energy that have carbon emissions. The purpose of the tax is to make the purchase and use of fossil fuels more expensive compared to cleaner energies, making people switch to the latter (Jacobson et al., 2022). The tax can also be charged on vehicles on purchase and manufacture and purchase of internal combustion vehicles, which make up for the biggest percentage of air pollution.
The second solution entails using natural pest control methods. Natural pest control methods include introducing a predator that eats the targeted pest or using mechanical traps. Unlike chemical pesticides, natural pest control methods do not pollute the air. Therefore, to prevent air pollution, all countries that participate in farming should devise a policy to ban the use of chemical pesticides. However, for the solution to be effective, the countries involved must unanimously agree to the policy.
Coupled with the different methods of stopping air pollution, afforestation aids in reversing the damage done. Trees inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen during the day. Therefore, they help clean the air by reducing carbon from pollutants like fossil fuels (Domke et al., 2020). Furthermore, trees help create a microclimate in an area by bringing rain through transpiration. As a result, they reverse global warming, which results from air pollution. Planting more trees to cover the earth’s surface helps restore the atmosphere to the condition before air pollution. Consequently, afforestation acts as a solution to the problem of air pollution. Therefore, countries should develop policies that encourage extensive planting of trees on their land.
In conclusion, the international society lacks policies that regulate air pollution. Air pollution has a spillover effect whereby the polluting activities of one country can have effects across different countries, making it an international issue. Therefore, countries must collectively implement policies that will mitigate the current state of air pollution.
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Vaahtoranta, T. (1990). Atmospheric Pollution as a Global Policy Problem. Journal of Peace Research, 27(2), 169–176. http://www.jstor.org/stable/423574