How Alternative Transportation Helps the Environment
Perhaps the best way to understand how alternate transportation methods help the environment is to look at the heavy toll taken by driving. It impacts our air, our water and our land. And it’s not just bad for our environment—it’s bad for our health too. Every year, the average passenger car in the United States emits:
- 80 pounds of hydrocarbons, which creates smog and toxic air.
- 606 pounds of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas.
- 41 pounds of nitrogen oxides, which causes smog and acid rain.
- 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas and major contributor to global warming.
The statistics for the average SUV are even worse; they annually emit:
- 114 pounds of hydrocarbons
- 894 pounds of carbon monoxide
- 59 pounds of nitrogen oxides
- 16,800 pounds of carbon dioxide
Automobiles also produce soot, sulphur oxides, ash and lead.
Smog threatens our environment and our public health. It can cause or aggravate health problems such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory problems. It’s also known to reduce resistance to colds and lung infections. And its effects on the environment are just as serious. Smog inhibits plant growth, increases the susceptibility of plants to disease and pests and can cause widespread damage to crops and forests.
Emissions from road vehicles are the largest contributors to smog. More than 200 million passenger cars and light trucks that travel American roads every year account for about 50 percent of air pollution nationwide.
As the number of cars on the road increases, so does the need for new highway and road development. Smart transit choices play a major role in helping to decrease traffic congestion and lessen the need for road development and other associated land usage.
In addition to creating pollution, cars drain our natural resources. It took over 200 million years for the earth’s oil resources to form. In just 200 years, we have used half of it. And at the present rate, the earth’s oil reserves will be used up in 40 years.
Any Way You Travel Green, You Make a Difference
Whether you carpool, use public transit, ride a bike or walk to work, you’re helping to contribute to a healthier environment: