Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Problem and The Solution

One of the major issues in Florida is water pollution. With car exhaust contributing to acid rain, and industrial businesses dumping toxic waste illegally into waterways (or BP’s oil spill of yesteryear), water pollution has become a major environmental issue. We come in contact with water every day and if it contains harmful substances then the heath of this community is in jeopardy.
My family thinks that it’s extremely important that water should safe and clean so harmful bacteria and chemicals won’t damage our body.
This issue affects households and local Florida residents as harmful substances enter the water, households and citizens are at risk of long term health effects of drinking, bathing, and touching polluted water. Not only are the citizens going to be affected by the water but indigenous animals as well, including fish that we eat.(#1)
Water pollution affects local Florida businesses. Since one of Florida’s major industry is farming, farmers would not be able to use the polluted water for safety reasons. This in turn, increases costs to import water or install water filters and makes them less competitive. Because of BP’s oil spill tourism took a huge dive southward. Fish markets were affected and so were the businesses near the beach that mostly rely on tourism.(#2)
This problem also affects our government at the local, state and national levels. Water pollution will cause diseases to spread and, much like the swine flu and bird flu, the population will be affected turning into a serious national health hazard. With many people being sick healthcare would go up and productivity will go down. This will decrease the GDP. The government will have to put special regulations on the use of water and make sure certain businesses aren’t dumping waste into useable water.(#3)
Governments across the world will have to spend extra money to clean and import better water.(#4)
Resources, finances, services etc. are affected as well, since governments will be putting more money into cleaning water (or the oil spill), productive projects, like building roads and hospitals, will end up being underfunded. Opportunity cost will rise as well.(#5)

Evaluating Solutions and Calculating Consequences

  1. What are the necessary conditions for any possible solution to work?
  2. Are there budget or labor concerns?
  3. Does the public need to be aware of and support the solution?
  4. What challenges are there to implementing each solution?
  5. How else might you judge possible solutions against each other?
  6. What do your parents say about the issue?
  7. Should possible externalities factor into the chosen solution?
1.      Conditions would have to include proven cases of people getting sick from the water and a sudden decrease in the population of fish or other native animals to grab the attention of the population and motivate them to want to do something.
2.      Yes. People would be needed to help clean the water and the government would have to pay them to do it.
3.      Yes. To clean the water and prevent any further pollution of it is a team effort. The people would need to help spread awareness of the problem.
4.      Some challenges include getting that people’s attention and getting the government involved. If there are not enough people getting sick or animals going extinct everyone would assume that there is no problem to fix.
5.      Getting the people’s attention is the most important solution because then they would most likely write letters to the government and get their attention and thus pass bills preventing the pollution of water. Whereas if we did not get the people’s attention how would the government know that there was a water pollution problem to begin with?
6.      They say that water is very important to live, without it we would die. So it is very important to get everyone involved especially the government to help stop this problem.
7.      Externalities should most definitely be factored into the solution. If an industrial business dumps all of its toxic waste into local rivers and lakes because it is cheaper, the population, both human and animal with suffer deteriorating health. But if the government outlaws businesses dumping waste into local waters the business will have to spend money getting rid of the waste the safe way which turns becomes a loss of profit for the business and could lay off many workers and increase the unemployment rate. These are all factors that must be considered when making the decision.
  1. Give three possible solutions to the environmental issue you are investigating.
  2. Why would some people oppose the solutions you have chosen?
1.      A) Limit fertilizers and pesticides to garden businesses.
B) reestablish the wetlands and stop deforestation
C) Put restrictions on waste dumping for industrial businesses
2.      Most people would be opposed to solution A because it’s taking away their freedom to take care of their own garden. They would have to call a garden specialist and spend money to have them do the fertilizers and pesticides for them.
  1. What positive or negative externalities does this issue present at each sector of the economy? Refer to your circular-flow diagram.
  2. What incentives do individuals, businesses, and government have to act on each possible solution?
  3. What are the externalities, both positive and negative that could result from each possible solution?
1.      Since people can no longer use fertilizers and pesticides, they would have to call a garden specialist to come a do it for them, this in turn creates more jobs for the high demand in garden specialists.
Jobs are created in restoring the wetlands but in preventing deforestation farmers would lose land and profit.
Putting restriction on industrial dumping would make businesses lose profit because they would have to pay extra money in getting rid of their waste the safe way. But this protects local water ways from pollution and thus protecting the health of both the human and animal population.
2.      For individuals the incentive of better health would motivate them to support the solutions. The incentive of creating jobs and earning profit motivates businesses. The opportunity to gain the public’s favor and increase its legitimacy is incentive enough for a government to enact these solutions.
3.      A) Cons: limiting people’s rights
pros: creating jobs, gain in profit, safer amount of fertilizers enter the ground which equals safer water.
B) Cons: loss of profit for Farmer’s
pros: creating jobs to restore wetlands, protecting native animals, preventing animal extinction, creating a buffer to prevent runoff from occurring, and building a natural filter for pollutants
C) cons: loss of profit for business, potential loss of jobs for workers.
Pros: prevent waste from entering water ways, protection of the health of the human and animal population, safer water.

Choosing a Solution

1. Solution A meets the requirements by cutting the amount of harmful fertilizers seeping into underground aquifers in half, thus decreasing water pollution. But solution A fails the meet the support of the people because it restricts the rights as a citizen to buy their own fertilizer.
                Solution B meets the requirements because rebuilding the wetlands adds barriers to prevent runoff from occurring. But farmers lose land and therefore profit.
    Solution C meets the requirements by preventing toxic waste of industrial businesses from entering important water sources but fails to protect workers from potential unemployment because of loss of profit to the business.
2. I think the best solution for the water pollution problem would be Solution B, rebuilding the wetlands and stopping deforestation. It prevents runoffs, creates new jobs, protects animals from becoming endangered and provides a natural filter for pollutants. the loss of profit for farmers is a small cost compared to the many benefits Solution B offers.

(Mod. 6 Economics Project with 6.01, 6.02, and 6.03 by A. Pearson)


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