What are the negative impacts of transportation on individuals and society?


Quick answer:

Some negative impacts of transportation on individuals and society include noise, air, and water pollution. Transportation is generally loud and drives back wildlife, while the air and water pollution from gasoline, diesel, and coal engines creates a catastrophic and nearly irreversible affect on the environment.

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While the ease and speed of mass transportation in the twenty-first century has brought great benefits to individuals and societies, there are also significant costs. Probably the greatest negative impact is air pollution and, in particular, carbon monoxide, lead, and carbon dioxide emissions. Both land and air transportation are major sources of pollution, significantly lowering air quality and causing millions of early deaths worldwide. An analysis by the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that air pollution is responsible for 200,000 early deaths a year in the United States alone, with the most significant contributor to this total being road transportation (details attached below). At the same time, carbon dioxide emissions have serious long term environmental effects and are a major contributor to climate change.

Transportation also causes other types of pollution, most obviously from the noise it creates. However, it also plays a significant part in water pollution when oil, rubber particles, and other pollutants are washed off the road by rain to adulterate surrounding lakes and rivers. Farmers, fishing fleets, and other local producers are also often adversely affected by the way in which supermarkets use mass transportation to bring cheap produce from thousands of miles away. This also has an impact on consumers, who are only offered frozen food at the point of retail, without the option of fresh, local produce.

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