In groups of two, see the UNEP shared report on the class-material page and write an over all critique of it. Focus on the indicated pages as they correspond to class material and focus. You may use the following questions as g guide:
- In couple of lines describe your understanding of the UN in general and UNEP in particular in protecting the environment.
- In your views: What are the SDGs that relate directly to the environment and do they cover all aspects of the environment?
- The report suggests 10 recommendations, according to earlier lectures and class material, which of those is more important and significant for the environment and why?
- The report addresses several topics such as climate, ecosystem, urbanization,…etc. What is the most significant one that can be addressed globally via the international organizations (UNEP or other)? And Why?
- The report connects the environment and health (our well-being), give an example from a case you know or from your daily life showing this relationship.
- What are the suggested policies/ government strategies to maintain healthy environments, and what is your assessment of such policies.
UNEP Report Analysis
By Frank Delgado and Sara Tuz
The United Nations as I understand it is a worldwide organization created after the failure of an international regulatory agency after World War II, tasked with overseeing conflicts between nations of the world and promoting peaceful resolutions. The United Nations, just as its predecessor the League of Nations, has limited power, but does have some sway over international politics. The UN was created after World War II to avoid situations such as a nother world war and de-escalate existing conflicts. That said, the UN branches off to other non-military causes, such as social welfare, disease prevention, and disaster relief. The UN essentially has an army that fights for no side which is made up of soldiers from throughout the world.
The United Nations Environmental Program is a regulatory committee which essentially pressures nations into adopting environmental policy to improve the standard of living for not only developing countries, but the entire world. In the section where UNEP introduces its reason for existence it details the typical problems of environmental health and wellbeing in all countries. It details the illnesses that have been prevented by action already taken by UNEP, and action that remains to be implemented. UNEP is a committee overseen by the United Nations that seeks to improve the life and wellbeing of all of humanity by showing the obvious links between health and the environment.
This policy deals largely with the United Nations sustainable development goals, a set of lofty goals which seek to benefit humanity and improve the lives of all people. There are several SDG’s that relate directly to the environment, which is promising because this shows that the United Nations shows initiative to work towards environmental change. It is true that are several that are obviously related to the environment, but upon dissecting the SDG’s further, you can make an argument that all of them end up having an environmental impact. The reason that environmental science is so all encompassing is that it is not simply a physical or life science- it is a social science, a science that has to do with people.
All said, there are some SDG’s that are clearly in place to benefit the environment, clearest to me being “Protect the Planet.” This one essentially speaks for itself and seeks to protect the Earth through environmental advocacy and mainly seeks to solve the problem of climate change. As we know, the Earth is warming up. Any person who decides to take their evidence from science knows this. Although the argument that Earth goes through natural heating and cooling trends is always made, it is impossible to argue when looking at the numbers that humans have not made an enormous difference. The amount of particulate CO2 in the atmosphere is the highest it has been in millenia, and it peaks just as the industrial revolution happens. This is no coincidence.
There is another SDG which relates directly to the environment- clean water and sanitation. UNEP estimates that “by 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water.” This is far too large a number for a country that currently has over seven billion people. Water is our most important resource and is also the one which we most grossly overuse. It is time for water change as well.
In my opinion of the conclusion that UNEP draws on the matter of sustainability, the most important is investment in our future. As UNEP puts it, “ invest in environmental sustainability and genetic diversity which can serve as an insurance policy for current and future health and
human well-being.” Nobody has to be a genius to realize that in this world, money gets things done. The number one most important priority to lawmakers and governments is the cost effectiveness of policy. The people that fight the fight to get environmental policy passed on the basis of morality and ethics are fools. Money makes things happen in this world. As soon as environmental policy becomes profitable for the private sector, change will happen and when this change happens we can look to the future. For that reason, the number one most potentially effective policy from a realistic standpoint is monetary investment in the future.
There is another goal which resonated with me, but was far more unrealistic. This was the goal regarding proactiveness versus reactiveness. This is the holy grail of environmental policy. If we could start getting governments and people to be proactive in stopping damage to the environment, that would be all we need. Instead, we wait for the disasters to happen and react to them, often poorly. Superfund, a very famous and powerful environmental law was created in order to clean up existing toxic waste sites that could affect human health. The entire policy was created as a reaction to Love Canal, which was an environmental disaster in which a suburban neighborhood was built on top of a toxic waste site and resulted in resident women and children suffering from illness and defects. This is a classic example of a United States environmental policy being purely reactionary instead of passing this law as soon as people create toxic waste sites. Again, something that should be an ethical no-brainer is overlooked, because cleaning up waste is expensive.
The Clean Air Act is another piece of policy which has been proactive in improving air quality throughout the world, but was made when people began to notice toxic smog floating over their cities. People began to notice these problems and passed a law. The problem with the mindset regarding environmental policy is that we do not think ahead to the problems of the future because usually we are not the ones who end up having to clean up the messes.
The topic that can be addressed globally by the UNEP is that climate change will bring forth health effects and investing in a clean environment will bring forth better health for all people. Particularly focusing on air pollution and how that is attributing to health in the world. The idea of climate and the changing climate should be presented globally because it affects all the inhabitants of earth and it also affects other aspects in there plan.
The UN analyzed statistics of human deaths in 2016 and came to a conclusion that a lot of people are dying because of the poor environment. Poor environment meaning air quality and chemical exposure, where the deaths are no longer coming from bacterial or viral or other pathogenic sources, but the sources are human made. This becomes an issue because the death rate is rising due to things that humans due with this land, so there could be a way to stop the deaths if people started paying attention and regulating the waste that they are producing. If air quality had standards worldwide, that would drastically reduce the amounts of deaths of lung type dieses that arise from bad air quality.
Air pollution should be addressed at the global level because its effecting 7 million people globally. There needs to be information on both out door and indoor air pollution. There should definitely be a part of the presentation where the UN talks about even the dangers of cooking indoors, and address how dangerous it is to cook indoors if an improper stove or a closed room is presented, which could ultimately lead to death.
The pollution to the air is the main factor that is affecting lung health besides infectious dieses, and there should be responsibility put on big oil companies to monitor the way that they produce and the way that they produce waste. Big oil is the leading polluters of air and if they continue to produce the types of air pollution they produce without any consequences or regulations the UN estimates that the deaths of people will more that double by 2050 due to this issue alone.
This type of air pollution can be seen in America as well. Were big oil companies put there businesses in low income communities and the low income communities don’t see that the are being affected by the situation they are in, until they get asthma or other lung dieses that they had never had before.
An example of the types of injustice that is happening in America now, is that oil companies sometimes get a way out of regulations and the EPA does not regulate the companies like they should due to budget cuts in the system. Usually the correct way to address an oil company that has been breaking the emission standard laws would to be sue the company, to help them or push them towards a right direction. With budget cuts and a pro-oil system it’s hard to push or sue big oil, because the money and motivation is not there in essence.
To have the EPA address an emission standard fault there needs to be a report on the fault, or there needs to be evidence that there is some sort of emission leak or big oil companies are producing more then they are disclosing. This can not happen if no body reports on these issues, this issues can be ignored in low income communities because people in these communities might not know the types of pollution that they are getting into. This leads to a feed lap loop where the big oil in a way are attacking the under privileged communities.
Working on the air pollution would help attain the sustainable development goals, not just in one aspect but also in multiple aspects. With cleaner air there could be room to grow better crop and help with the hunger problem. Then with cleaner air the pollution that the chemicals are producing affects the ocean and water systems wont. With cleaner air life on the land becomes livable and not a health concern. With cleaner air comes justice for the poor communities that have been dealing with the dirtiest air and have been developing sever health problems.
The UN should implement laws on air quality, something similar to the Paris agreement, but emphasizing human health and how beneficial it would be for the world as a whole to try to achieve this goal. The UN can push another aspect of their sustainable development goals and push towards affordable clean energy. Making the world globally get this type of energy will lead away from oil companies and would reduce air pollution drastically, this would make health better for all inhabitants of this planet. The push towards this type of energy would also cause more equality in the world since the world would all be using the same form of energy, and shifting together in the same direction causing decent work and a partnership between all the countries.
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The UN stands for United Nations, this is an intergovernmental organization established on October 24, 1945 for the purpose to promote international cooperation and to create harmony among nations. The UN consists of six different organs: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Secretariat, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Trusteeship Council. All of these organs work together to protect the vision of the UN which is to solve issues such as peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, gender equality, food production, and many more. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is one of the leading global environmental authoritative advocate within the UN that serves to promote the coherent implementation of the environmental sector of sustainable development. Its mission is to provide leadership and encouragement for partners that are caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and its citizens to improve the quality of their lives without having to compromise with a clean and healthy future of next generations.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was introduced on September 25th of 2015 by the UN in order to replace the older Millenium Development Goals. SDGs are sets of goals that are agreed on adoption by countries to end poverty, protect the planet, and to ensure prosperity for all nations. There are 17 goals in particular that are targeted to be achieved by the agreeing countries within the time frame of 15 years. The 17 SDGs are as follows: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-Being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry-Innovation-and-Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Peace-Justice-and-Strong Institutions, and Partnerships of the Goal. Among these SDGs, we think that goals such as clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, and life on land relate directly to the environment and they cover most of the aspects of the environmental protection.
The 10 recommendations that the report by UNEP suggested were to: 1) Deliver more effective Agenda for Sustainable Development on 2030 by using the environment-health nexus as a cross-cutting solution thorough international, regional, national, and local cooperation, 2) Invest in environmental sustainability and genetic diversity that can serve as an insurance policy for current and future health and human well-being, 3) Address the environment health nexus on efficiency grounds, but also for distributive justice and to address the ethical and legal obligations of States, 4) Move from a reactive to a proactive policy approach, 5) Involve the public and private sectors, researchers, relevant stakeholders and citizens to participate in partnerships, 6) Take actions at all the level of governance in order to detoxify the environment and enhance the ecosystem resiliency, 7) Strengthen the evidence base through better measurement and monitoring frameworks, 8) Raise awareness on major environmental and health risks and exposure, 9) Strengthen multilevel environmental governance develop and implement integrated policies, and 10) Call upon Governments at all levels and development and financial partners to scale up investment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. All of these points would be incredible for an economy of future that is linked to ecosystem resilience, a healthy environment, and humans good health and well-being. However, according to our earlier class material, we think the most effective and significant recommendation out of the 10 would be to take action at all levels of the governance. Decarbonizing the economy, decoupling economic activity from current levels of resource use and ecosystem degradation could also affect environment positively. Changing the unhealthy lifestyle of people would be the best recommendation in order to enhance the resiliency of our ecosystem strengthening the sustainability of healthy environment.
One of the most significant topics that can be addressed at a global level would be Urbanization, including demographic trends and lifestyle. It is estimated that by the year 2050 more than half of the world’s population will live in cities. This can be dangerous because urbanization leads to dietary change, which can result in an increased risk of obesity and disease in those who live in city environments. Around 39 percent of the global population is already considered to be obese or overweight and that number will only increase with the rapid urbanization of our world. It is important that steps are being taken in order to improve sustainability in these ever crowding conditions in order to maintain a high quality of life. UNEP is well equipped to take on the challenge of urbanization, many issues that come with urbanization and development are already apart of their 17 sustainable development goals. Goal 11 of UNEP’s sustainable development plan is one of sustainable cities and communities. This goals aims replace unsustainable consumption and production with more sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods that benefit all. It is key to understand that a healthy and well-functioning environment is crucial for us to prosper as a whole.
There is a strong correlation between the environment in which we live in, and the condition of our overall health. Before moving to San Francisco in 2016, I used to live in a small suburban city with a vast open landscape sounding it. In my time spent there I seldom became ill and was active outdoors frequently, enjoying the natural environment. The lifestyle of the area was that of a much slower paced and family oriented way of life, many children were active in community sports or activities and most of the community members would opt for home cooked meals. Since I have moved to San Francisco i have noticed some changes in my well-being. Due to more crowded (and less sanitary) conditions of the city, i have gotten sick more frequently and have found it harder to recover when i do. In addition i don’t find myself being as active when it comes to outdoor activities, many times because of how long it might take to reach the destination on public transportation and also because of the lack of public park spaces due to urbanization. My eating habits have also changed since being in a more fast paced environment. I find that i no longer prioritize making well balanced home cooked meals, instead i opt for the more fast and convenient options while i am going back and forth between school and work. Living in an urban environment has made me realize the importance of taking care of my health that i didn’t fully understand before, and i believe that it’s critical that the people who live in cities fully realize just how much where they are living can affect their health.
There are many suggested green policies that can help shape our environments to be more healthy overall. In the transportation sector, it is suggested that we eliminate high-emitting diesel vehicles. The health benefits for this policy include the reduction of air pollution, diseases related to pollution, and greater energy efficiency. In developed countries i believe that this policy would be a great help in reducing pollution and would overall be an easy transition. In countries that are still developing it is not as clear cut of a choice. These countries might lack the resources necessary to produce more energy efficient vehicles, and they cannot abandon using diesel vehicles since it plays such a large role in helping their communities to function. Another green policy that is proposed is the replacement of traditional biomass cookstoves and instead cooking and heating with clean-burning biomass stoves. The switch from traditional cooking appliances to ones that are more green would be a lower average cost to use this appliance. It would also assist in reducing air pollution related diseases, as well as lowing the injury risk attached to the collection of the fuels that are necessary for the appliance. This residential policy is set to be one of the most effective plans in the reduction of warming by 2050, however i think it will be one of the most difficult plans to complete. Not everyone will be able to afford a cleaner burning and more energy efficient stove for their home. Governments will most likely have to include some sort of money incentive for those to do choose to use a modern cook stove versus a traditional one. Even is most individuals can afford it, some might not want to make the switch over because of personal preferences or just a resistance in change in general. It is going to take a long time to get everyone on the same page of being sustainable and eco-friendly, but with the right strategy and incentives it can be a much more smooth transition.
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Seles Tong and Victoria Mitchell
The term the United Nations was first used by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942 in the document the Declaration of Nations. The UN was formally founded in 1945 during World War II to fight the axis of evil. Currently the UN has launched several initiatives in an effort to combat sustainability and conservation within our environment. The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEP) has launched an initiative called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). These 17 goals will help the world exist without diminishing our environment at our current rate while alleviating poverty and lack of education. There are a little over 200 countries that have agreed to meet these goals. The sustainability aspect of the goals cover climate change to having clean water globally.
Every SDG is applicable to the health of our environment. When an area is stricken with poverty there are no resources to be sustainable. Most conservation comes from necessity. For example reusing shoes and clothes by passing them down to family members its reduces the waste in the environment (an issue (waste) that the Industrialized nations will need to address due to the upward trend of “fast fashion”). On the other hand, historically private industries have exploited impoverished societies for their natural resources. The mindset is from corporate standpoint is that the people did not have much anyway and without us here that will continue to not have much. The citizens living in poverty may feel like that have to choose between the opportunity to provide for loved ones or save the plant. Most people in disadvantaged situations would rather see their family survive than the environment. Yet, they fail to realize if the environment is not kept neither will the family be. Although, poverty is not directly related to the environmental aspect of the SDG’s it does have an adverse impact on our environment. When we began to address extreme poverty correctly we will see an increase of environmental sustainability in those same areas. An obvious relation with SDG’s and the environment is clean and affordable energy. Clean energy in a place where poverty is rampant is a luxury. Using fossil fuels such as coal or non sanitary methods such as burning cow dung are extremely harmful to humans and the environment. In industrialized countries policies towards conservation of fossil fuels along with incentives for electric car usage can help control climate change which is another SDG. The approach of the UNEP is a full circle approach. Taking care of people through employment, education and healthcare, who in turn can take care and improve their environment. The SDG’s give a good map to navigate these hefty tasks.
The tenth recommendation to, “call upon Governments at all levels and development and financial partners to scale up investments in platforms, initiatives and programmes that address the environment and health nexus to spearhead the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals” is a very vital piece. Action can be called for until infinity but if there are no laws or policies put in place ensuring a clean sustainable environment then the status quo will remain. Moreover, having the funds and the bureaucratic infrastructure in place that can oversee the execution of sustainable initiatives is just as vital to its success. Without checks and balances that hold leaders accountable it is easier for private interest to influence and sabotage any environmental sustainability projects if it benefits their bottom line. Recommendation number eight, “Raise awareness on major environmental and health risks and exposure, putting into place adequate communication and education strategies and policies” helps people take action. Educating people on how their polluted environment is harming them will have a major impact on how they respect their environment. When situations become personal people tend to become more engaged in a solution. Additionally, by educating people on the dangers of an unhealthy environment gives them an option to have a say in how their environment works and can be improved. Inclusion and innovation go hand in hand. By including citizens who would have normally been excluding in planning decisions has the possibility to uncover new ideas for sustainability at a faster rate. To conclude, all the recommendations tie into each other. It is almost impossible to have a sustainable environment if people are not educated and included. Furthermore, it is also up to governments to ensure the safety of the environment by implementing policies and initiatives that will be enforced. Encouraging corporations and its citizens to remain sustainable.
The report addresses several topics such as climate, ecosystem, urbanization,…etc. In my opinion, urbanization is the most significant one that can be addressed globally via the international organizations because it is a cause of other problem like climate change, environmental degradation and collapse of the ecosystem. Back to the industrial revolution, the British invented machines and turned the primary industry into secondary and tertiary industry later on. It turned the rural area to urban area. At that time, the concept of urbanization spread all over the world, especially the developed countries nowadays like Germany and the US. At that time, no one cared about the environment which made a major impact on the environment nowadays. Extracting fossil fuel, burning fossil fuel, deforestation, logging and so on all started with the help of machinery and the reason of starting all these is because of urbanization. Those activities are the reason that caused environmental degradation, ecosystem collapsed and climate change. According to the United Nation report on major environmental policies page 7, climate change is and will be major health risk multiplier. World Health Organization also projected that there will be 250,000 death between 2030 and 2050 just because of climate change. Therefore, I think urbanization is the most significant one as it is a root problem of climate change.
The report connects the environment and health. The first thing it talked about is the problem of air pollution. It said that poor air quality is a reason for 7 million people in the world die each year. Poor indoor air quality, lack of clean water, poor sanitation climate change and environmental degradation are also the reason leading health problem. The quality of the environment does matter to human health. Take an example of Accra, a district from Ghana, there are a lot of electronic waste from the developed countries like Germany, the UK, and the US are dumped there. Heavy metal and toxic smoke from the electronic waste expose to the environment without any protection. Scientists from Greenpeace tested the water and soil and found that lead, cadmium, dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls and other toxic substances in the extracted samples were seriously exceeded. With living in a toxic environment like that, drinking and eating all the toxic materials every day, health will surely be affected. According to WHO, children there are likely to have problems with “their bodies’ functioning systems such as the central nervous, immune, reproductive and digestive system.”
There are a few suggested policies or government strategies to maintain a healthy environment. They are detoxify, decarbonize, decouple resource use and change lifestyle and enhance ecosystem resilience and protection of the planet’s natural system. It suggested to remove harmful substance, reduce the use of fossil fuel, restore and protect degraded ecosystems and so on. I think they can just apply to developed countries but not all over the world. In my opinion, developed countries started to care about the relationship between environment and health. They have the capital to reverse the situation but not the poor countries. The suggested strategies did not provide some strategies that the poorer countries can address too. Take an example of ewaste disposal, even though there are laws protecting international ewaste disposal, there are still a lot of loopholes and it affects the developing countries or the undeveloped countries like India, China, or Africa. They cannot just remove the harmful substance like the suggestion said because they are poor and they do not have a choice. However, there is only one environment, they are all connected all over the world. Therefore, I think the suggestions are useful for some countries to make the environment in their area better but not the environment of the whole world.
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The United Nations (UN) is an international organization made up of 193 Member States. The organization was founded in 1945, as a result of the horrifying climate of the Second World War. The main mission that drives the UN is to maintain an international environment of peace and security; therefore, some of its main actions concerns about issues that confronting humanity, such as climate change, human rights, sustainable development, demilitarization, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, and more.
The United Nations is arranged by different agencies that each responsible to resolve the focus matters. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya is an agency that coordinate the UN environmental activities by assisting developing countries to implement comprehensive environmental policies and practices that promote sustainable peace. Some of the main focuses of UNEP are to promote protections of ecosystems and the livelihoods of communities who depend on them from those who destruct and exploit natural resources, and combat climate change. Some examples of UNEP achievements are sponsoring the Marshland project in the Middle East, which focuses on protecting marshlands from further destruction; and the 2012 Minamata Convention – a treaty to limit toxic mercury.
In order to ensure a progressive process of environmental protection, UNEP developed the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, which replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that ended in 2015. The SDGs are collection of 17 international goals set by the United Nations, which cover a wide range of social and economic development issues, such as hunger, poverty, education, health, gender equality, climate change, water, sanitation, energy supply, urbanization, and social justice. From the 2030 list of goals, the one that directly relates to the environment are mainly climate change – water availability, relocation of populations due to environmental catastrophes and lack of basic natural resources, and general pollutants of air, water, and land.
Many research indicates that as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and inhumane agricultural practices we experience a rapid climate change. Even though scientist acknowledge that climate change occurred several times since the initial cooling of our planet, it seems like this time it could have been prevented and or controlled by humanity. If our societies continue to follow the same industrial and social practices, within few decades many people on our planet will be forced to relocate and find new homes. The increase in temperature will influence an unstable climate pattern that will be hard to predict. And because the world population is drastically growing, the change in temperature will influence death of many people.
The recommendations from the Thematic Report by the Ministerial policy review session, Second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme that more important and significant for the environment are (1) Invest in environmental sustainability and genetic diversity. This will ensure a prosperity and healthy living of future generations. (2) Strengthen multilevel environmental governance, develop and implement integrated policies, international and national legislation and actions with an emphasis on city-level interventions incorporating specific measures targeting the most vulnerable (3) Address the environment health nexus on efficiency grounds, but also for distributive justice and to address the ethical and legal obligations of States.
Environmental sustainability and planning is done through The UN Environment Programme. They assess situations and act in a way that will be both sustainable and environmentally progressive. Environmental issues often affect areas in a unique way that don’t always pertain to others. However, there are issues that affect different environments the same globally. Air pollution is an issue that currently affects some areas more intensely than others but is demonstrating exponential growth for the future. With increased numbers of production and growing industries, the levels of toxic gases being released into the atmosphere will continue to grow and worsen conditions for many people. UNEP has stated that air pollution is the single biggest environmental health risk. Deaths total to about 7 million annually and affect the health of others as well. Air pollution not only affects the health of the population by increasing illnesses like ,chronic respiratory disease and lung cancer, but also alters our climate and causes a shift in the environment. Pollution is also an issue that society thinks of in terms of big industries fault, but under UNEP initiatives they state that individuals can do their part to reduce air pollution by decreasing their use of cars and cookstoves. In low income countries cooking is particularly an issue because of the air pollution that is generated through cooking with solid fuels. 4.3 million deaths are linked to household air pollution and have been projected to double by 2050. Not only do these solid fuels affect health and increase air pollution but also the demand for fuel wood, is harvested in an unsustainable practice and results in deforestation, further affecting the environmental in other ways.
Iran is one of the most polluted countries in the world. Pollution has been affected its citizens for many years. Worsening conditions only lead to the claiming of more lives through illness caused by air pollution. About 2 people an hour die due to the quality of the air in Iran. As production has increased so has the number of cars in the country. This has largely contributed to the increasing levels of pollution. Non standard and unregulated imported gas contains many pollutants but is used in the country. Due to lack of amenities in surrounding areas, there has also been an influx of generated immigration and the increase of pollution can als be attributed to that. More people means more air pollution being generated by society. This is why the government has started to prohibited the importation of these gas. These are efforts towards cleaner air but still remains a huge problem. The air quality gets increasingly worse during the winter months and this has resulted in numerous days of no school and work. The level of pollution puts people at risk and instead they are forced to stay home. Corruption and mismanagement within the Iranian government has only lead to worsening conditions. Life expectancy has dropped to 79 years and in cities like Tehran is roughly 49 years. Genetic engineer, Qassem Ahangari, states that air pollution could be affecting people in a neurological way and can lead to increased aggression throughout the population. Other effects that air pollution could have on individuals could be obesity, cancer, mental disabilities, and gastrointestinal issues. There is also the possibility of negatively affecting people’s genes and this could lead to a weaker populations in the future. These low-income cities are the ones being affected the most and shows no signs of slowing down because of lack of regulation and continued increase of factors such as personal vehicle usage.
One of the most air polluted cities in Iran is Tehran. In 2016 , 4800 people died due to air pollution. Their levels of pollution surpass those of UN regulations. The Tehran municipality has sought solutions in decreased vehicle use. 79% of air pollution comes from vehicles so they result of shutting down schools and setting up traffic restrictions to decrease vehicle usage. On occasions cars are banned from the city according to plate numbers and daily permits. Discussion about electric motorcycles has been incorporated into the solutions because it would significantly decrease the usage of imported gas that increase the air pollution with its contaminants. This could also encourage the use of electric motorcycles as opposed to cars and lead to a less congested city and lowered level of pollution. However lack of funds and loans this is an expensive investment not everyone is willing to make. Throughout the years this issue has been pushed aside and neglected to some degree. Temperature inversion happens annually and this decreases the temperature during the winter months and the cold air underpins warm air at higher altitude which confines the pollutants in a concentrated area and causes an increase in smog. The lack of policies and political action towards environmental issues like pollution only helps worsen conditions. In Iran there is a lack of engagement in such issues and is leading to an environmental issue that will only get harder to fix. The proper approach would be to decrease corruption and set aside other self gaining political agendas and focus on an issue that is not only affecting Iran but also the countries surrounding it.
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