Economic Impact of Current Approaches
As it is known, the U. S. government struggles to reduce environmental pollution in order to ensure safe and healthy life conditions to American citizens. In particular, it is critically important to clean the air and prevent it from further contamination. Even though the effects of rapid population growth and urbanization complicate the fulfillment of the target task, pollution reduction presumes the occurrence of certain social and financial benefits for the communities in which it takes place. For instance, the struggle for clean environment leads to healthier nations, and it causes the decrease of the costs for medical assistance. Another example is that the implementation of eco-friendly approaches in manufacturing lessens the expenses for the present processes making the goods more affordable. Considering the economic and other benefits, it goes without saying that providing clean surroundings is the major task of today’s government. The given paper will present, evaluate and discuss the main governmental programs aiming to reduce air pollution.
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Clean Air Act Assessment
Probably the most famous current government program is the Clean Air Act, which effectively continues to decrease the level of atmospheric pollution. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the given state policy has obvious positive impact on the health and prosperity of the American citizens. In fact, the Clean Air Act assures “fewer premature deaths and illnesses means Americans experience longer lives, better quality of life, lower medical expenses, fewer school absences, and better worker productivity” (the U. S. EPA, 2013). Principally, the drastic positive tendencies became possible thanks to the creation of new favorable market opportunities. To be more specific, the Act encouraged the development of the innovation in cleansing techniques. In the contemporary world, the United Sates is known to be the global leader in the field of the profound use of clean technologies.
Observing the statistics that proves the above-mentioned assertion, one may refer to the peer-reviewed survey of the EPA for 2011, which states that the application of the Clean Air Act led to significant decrease of ozone contamination. As a result, it became possible to avoid “more than 160,000 premature deaths, 130,000 heart attacks, millions of cases of respiratory problems such as acute bronchitis and asthma attacks, and 86,000 hospital admissions” (the U. S. EPA, 2013). Besides, the general improvement of employees’ health condition prevented about 13 million individuals from taking ill days. Undoubtedly, the favorable health change increased the overall productivity of the workforce that impacted the economy of the United States in a positive way. In addition, other essential achievement of the Act includes the improvement of children’s health that helped to avoid 3.2 million skipped school classes by reason of respiratory illness and other health issues caused or exaggerated by air contamination.
Economic Benefits of Clean Air Act
Moreover, the EPA reports that for American people such government program has become an advantageous economic investment. For example, the results of the EPA’s study emphasize “the economic welfare of American households is better with post-1990 clean air programs than without them” (the U. S. EPA, 2013). The EPA’s experts believe that it happens due to efficient air purification, which implies fewer air-contamination-related health problems. Therefore, it presumes less finances spent on treatment and decreased absenteeism among employees.
In addition, it was noticed that the Clean Air Act used to encourage further technology investments. The financial trend is highly beneficial for American economy because it is connected with the decrease of the unemployment rate. In other words, thanks to sufficient funding, further development of eco-friendly industrial, agricultural and manufacturing approaches becomes possible, which means the increased demand for labor force (the U. S. EPA, 2013).
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Another advantageous consequence of adequate financing is the environmental technologies’ studies, which are known to become a great and fast expanding area of the American industry. As evidenced by a U.S. Department of Commerce, the USA is considered to be the main global consumer and producer of environmental conservation and preservation techniques (the U. S. EPA, 2013). Therefore, in 2008, the development of the U. S. environmental eco-friendly technologies provided jobs for 1.7 million unemployed citizens. Besides, “air pollution control equipment alone generated revenues of $18 billion in 2008, including exports of approximately $3 billion” (the U. S. EPA, 2013). Moreover, the equipment manufacturing sector of industry produced about $300 billion in revenues; also, it exported commodities and services valued at $44 billion, which obviously helped to enhance the international trade. In addition, in the U. S., roughly 119,000 businesses are being involved in the environmental technology affair (the U. S. EPA, 2013).
Moreover, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency of Air and Radiation reveals the statistics accentuating the rapid and enormous growth of annual economic benefits, which is a phenomenon that was triggered by the implementation of the Act (the U. S. EPA of Air and Radiation, 2011). In 2000, the amount of total benefits was $14 billion; among them the residential benefits contained $11 billion, whereas the recreational benefits comprised $ 3.3. In ten years, the overall amount of benefits grew by $ 20 billion and reached $ 34 billion ($25 residential and $ 8.6 recreational benefits). Finally, the expected benefits for 2020 presume $67 total benefits with $48 residential and $19 recreational ones (the U. S. EPA of Air and Radiation, 2011).
Apart from the Clean Air Act, environmental government policy that is targeted to eliminate atmospheric contamination is revealed in the Pollution Prevention Act. It is a set of governmental pollution prevention regulations that was enacted in 1990 and since then is known to endure several amendments. In the present time, the state policies provide significant economic benefits to the entire American society by helping businesses to implement cheaper eco-friendly modern technologies. To be more specific, the Pollution Prevention Act educates businesses to utilize more effective production techniques and encourages the companies to implement the equipment, which eliminates environmental contamination, in particular, air pollution. Such equipment is used as a means to prevent compliance costs. Simply put, “state pollution prevention programs helped industry recognize the economic benefits of source reduction” (the U. S. EPA of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, 1996). For instance, the companies assisted by Kentucky Partners managed to save about $3 each year thanks to the implementation of pollution prevention remedies. Another example of successful use of pollution prevention techniques is Florida’s Waste Reduction Assistance Program (WRAP) that is known to reduce the businesses’ costs for $3.7 million. Besides, the businesses, which were assisted by Alabama’s Waste Reduction and Technology Transfer (WRATT) program, on average, managed to decrease their related to the production expenses for $160,000 each. Finally, every year Iowa WRAP used to help companies in Iowa to lessen their costs roughly for $1.5 million (the U. S. EPA of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, 1996).
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Summing up the above-mentioned, it is appropriate to state that American government has elaborated numerous programs and policies that were targeted to eliminate environmental contamination including air pollution. At the first sights, one may assume that the initial state’s purpose did not presume financial advancement, but rather was aimed to deal with environmental issues. Nonetheless, the Clean Air and Pollution Prevention Acts (as well as other relevant regulations) made a considerable input in the improvement of societal and economic situation of the United States. The implementation of today’s eco-friendly techniques is aimed to preserve and conserve natural resources. For example, in practice it means that air (water, land and so on) purification is combined with decreased production costs and enhanced domestic and international economy of the United States. Undoubtedly, such approach is highly beneficial for every American citizen as well as for the entire humanity.