The Chinese government announced to-day that they will start to report pollution levles more accurately: if you thought Los Angeles or Denver were bad, you should see Beijing! The explosive 10%+ per year growth combined with 20 million inhabitants and antiquated technologies is producing one of the world’s worst large City health hazzards. We know about pollution all too well in New York.
The GOOD NEWS: By 2030, pollution levels in New York will be vastly improved, and they have improved noticeably over the past few years already. Here are TEN reasons why we can expect an even cleaner City in our future:
1) There is more awareness now than ever before about the health risks of pollution. That usually fuels change.
2) One of the worst polluters in New York is…..oil fired boilers, especially the old kind burning # 6 oil. By 2030, all will have to be converted to # 2 oil by law. Already many buildings have converted to clean-burning natural gas. And many more are planning to do so.
3) Electric and Hybrid vehicles: the growth of this classification of transportation will not only improve air pollution, but also noise pollution. Most busses run on
4) Public transportation will improve: Every day, each person who chooses to travel by bus or train contributes to a cleaner environment. That translates into approximately 700,000 cars kept out of New York City’s central business district daily. It also means 400 million fewer pounds of soot, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and other toxic substances released each year into the city’s air. NYC Transit is a leader in the field of alternative fuel sources and new technologies for cleaner buses.
5) New building codes: LEED certification has become a status symbol in New York new construction. Cook + Fox have won global accolades for their hugely successful (and green) One Bryant Park commercial building. Not only are these buildings good for the city: more importantly they are also good for profits, thereby motivating developers to think beyond the pennies. Many buildings are retro-fitting to make them more efficient: new windows, added insulation and energy management systems add up to huge pollution improvements collectively.
6) Bicycles have taken off and soon the new Paris-style bike sharing program will fuel this trend. The new Nissan NV 200 cabs will also be significantly more fuel efficient (25mpg) and lighter on pollutants. The number of hybrid cabs has grown from 375 in 2007 to over 4,000 to-day.
7) New York’s MILLION TREES program is the ultimate air cleanser: Even NASA has said the most effective air cleanser is a live plant. While Central Park has been the official LUNGS OF MANHATTAN, multiple newly planted parks have added significantly to the power of plants.
8) SOLAR and WIND power are two areas that are slowly gaining popularity in New York: With newer technologies that are more easily and cost-effectively applied to buildings, we will see more of this clean energy source.
9) FEWER SMOKERS: now if only we could clear them off the streets altogether! I propose fully enlcosed bubble helmets to fully contain the smoke: Maybe if smokers experienced what their lungs are experiencing (not to mention the rest of us who have to breath in the 80% of smoke they are not inhaling) they may re-consider this filthy, very un-fashionable habit.
10) FEWER GAS STATIONS: yes, the convenience factor is a bit of a nightmare: then again, maybe all new buildings should have electrical charging stations and bicycle racks to compensate?