Oct 3, 2018 in Case Studies

The population of Phoenix city is growing rapidly, resulting into an increased pressure on the natural resources and infrastructures, which in return is causing the environmental degradation. As the city expands, more environmental problems such as; loss of wetlands, water, and air pollution, and loss of biological habitats continue to emerge. The volume of various types of oxides emitted in the air is increasing as the number of automobiles, factories, and commercial enterprises increase. The City Council of Phoenix city is worried that this pattern of population is beginning to cause a number of economic and social problems, which include traffic congestion, loss of open space, and declining water and air quality.

The recommendations that Phoenix’s city council should consider implementing in order to solve the pollution problem are, to encourage the city dwellers to utilize alternative transportation methods as opposed to vehicles, promote the use of fuel-efficient cars, establish green spaces or urban forestry, and improve roads. The costs to be incurred in implementation of these recommendations are US$4.4, 3.3, 4.2, and 4.7 million for the aforementioned recommendations respectively. This will total to US$ 16.6 million. The selection criteria applied in selection of the aforementioned recommendations is popularity of the recommendation in terms of the mass acceptance, its ability to reduce pollution, and the economic implication of the recommendation (cost incurred to implement the recommendation). The total cost of implementing the recommendations is within the budget constraint of US$ 18 million, thus making it economically feasible.

Studies indicate that motor vehicles are one of the largest sources of pollution in the urban areas due to their emission of carbon dioxide (Reducing Pollution in General, 2011). The recommendation to encourage members of the public to use alternative means of transportation can result into less driving. By driving less, and utilizing others modes of transport such as walking and bicycles, the amount of carbon emission in the air can be drastically reduced, hence increasing the quality of air in the city. Similarly, by promoting use of fuel-efficient vehicles, the amount of carbon emission from every vehicle can be reduced by 50 percent, hence reducing the total carbon emission by 50 percent (Reducing Pollution in General, 2011). This is a feasible recommendation, because owners of motor vehicles can easily sell their SUVs vehicles and purchase vehicles, which consume less fuel, thus causing the less pollution.      

Urban forestry and green spaces are also good methods of reducing pollution in the urban areas. An urban forest is a collection of trees, which grow within a city or a town. Green spaces are collection of open spaces left within a city, where no structures are erected. Urban trees reduce pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide in the air, thus reducing the air pollution, preventing storm-water runoff, and providing shade over buildings thus contributing in reduction of energy costs (McPherson & Simpson, 1999). Similarly, green spaces reduce pollution in urban areas by allowing free flow of air in the city, thus allowing removal of emissions and particulates from the city, which results into improvement of the air quality (McPherson & Simpson, 1999). Poor urban roads contribute to the traffic congestion. By improving urban roads, traffic congestion in the urban areas is likely to be reduced. Less urban traffic means less air pollution and reduction of energy costs (Reducing Pollution in General, 2011).

However, some trade-offs exist in implementation of some of the given recommendations. For instance, implementing the use of fuel-efficient vehicles is a good method of reducing air pollution, but it is likely to be met by a lot of opposition from business operators in the energy sector. In addition, the use of alternative transport modes is likely to be viable during summer seasons, with people preferring the use of motor vehicles for transport during winter and spring seasons.

“Decision-making about environmental issues necessitates the maintenance of a fine balance between the effectiveness of measures and the public reaction towards them.” This statement means that every decision concerning environmental issues should address the concerns of all stakeholders, as well as meet as many current environmental objectives as possible. Otherwise, an environmental decision may fail to meet its objective if the opinions of the concerned stakeholders are not addressed. In addition, despite the adequate support from the stakeholders, an environmental decision may fail to achieve the current environmental objectives if it is not feasible.

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