Saturday, September 1, 2012
The effects of the increased use of motor vehicles
In the year 1913, Henry Ford introduced the assembly line in car manufacturing. Rapidly, other strong nations emulated the process and soon, cars were being churned out by the thousands each day all over the globe, from Japan to Malaysia to Europe and America. The car was invented in the first place to make travelling faster, more efficient and more comfortable as compared to the older modes of transportation like the horse-drawn carriage, the bullock cart or the elephant in India. Today however, this original purpose of the car may not be so accurate anymore. In Central London for instance, it can tale as long to cross a street as it did in 1900 for a while back then, horse drawn carriages were doing 8 mph, the cars in a traffic jam in London today will not be doing much more. The situation is similar in major cities in the world such as New York, Paris, Brisbane and Lagos in Nigeria. Besides traffic jam and its various consequences, the increased usage of motor vehicles on the roads today has also had an impact on the environment that we live in. Much has been said about the greenhouse effect. It has been defined as the progressive heating up of the earth’s surface due to the blanketing effect of man-made gases in the atmosphere. These gases are emitted from a variety of sources one of which is the motor vehicle. Smoke containing harmful substances and gaseous oxides are constantly fed into the the earth’s atmosphere. When oil is burnt, the sulphur found in it transforms into sulphur dioxide which is released into the atmosphere. It then reacts with the water droplets in the air to form sulphuric acid. Similarly, nitrogen found in the air and in the fuels burn to form an oxide which combines with water droplets in the air to form nitric acid. These then fall as acid rain. The increased usage of motor vehicles all over the world has contributed to the creation of massive, nerve wracking jams. In New York, rush hour jams can bring traffic to a standstill for hours. Jams in Hong Kong can stretch so long, that one might as well just walk. This congestion on roads today has also contributed to more serious accidents that can involve many vehicles piling up one against another. Apart from that, people stuck in their vehicles in a serious jam every single day of their working lives, can be expected to suffer from stress and anxiety. The quality of life as they would perceive it then is bound to be negatively affected. The increase of motor vehicles has caused complicated problems to man. Unless its use is curbed, we can expect environmental and traffic related problems to increase and worsen in the future. Atmospheric pollution has always existed. Such pollution may come from volcanoes, the planktons in the ocean and the swamps. But scientists have discovered that over the past 200 years, the level of atmospheric pollution has increased sharply. It is a fact that pollution of this sort recognizes no boundaries. Winds carry such pollution to places miles and miles away from its original source. Acid rain brings ruin to buildings, causes crop failures and poisons fish in rivers and lakes.
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