Custom «Neighborhood Air Quality» Essay Paper Sample

Neighborhood Air Quality

The article "Neighborhood Air Quality, Respiratory Health and Vulnerable Populations in Compact and Sprawled Regions" was written first on the 4th of June, 2010 by Schweitzer Lisa and Zhou Jiangping.  The article is behind the sensitization of how the issue of getting and encourage American out of their cars has now become a joint endeavor between he environmental department and the health department (Schweitzer and Zhou 363). In the recent past, a lot of emphasis has been put on the impact industrious activities on the health of the individuals inhabiting the regions where these activities are concentrated. From the article it is clear that research that has been carried out by various specialists indicates that a reduction in the sprawl and development of the infill has a positive improvement on the respiratory systems of the people especially those found living in the urban areas. 

From the study, the only way this could be a realized goal would be through the reduction in the number of vehicles that are roaming our streets and thus having a control on the attendants and the amount of emission.  Schweitzer and Zhou have a strong believe that all this can become a reality if the Americans are educated and sensitized on the benefits of public transport systems. Infill has been identified as a way in which a large number of residents are exposed to air that is of low quality especially within the city centers.  All this can entirely be blamed on the city planners who are said to have little or know information regarding the various activities that tend to be taking place within their areas of jurisdictions. 

According to the article, there is a believe that if people are encourage to walk and take cycling will have a greater impact on the level of emissions and the level of air pollution will thus reduce greatly. This can be considered as a way of killing two birds with one stone since the level of pollution will reduce and tat the same time, the people's health will have a great boost in term of improvement (Schweitzer and Zhou 363).  The article claims that there is a connection between the amount of ozone level and sprawl and for those cities that are still ragging behind on the meeting and satisfying the ozone standards that have been set, it is believed that they would still meet them if they became a little compact.  The relocation of people to other regions seems logic as it will contribute to a decrease in the compactness of the people.

Lisa Schweitzer and Jiagping Zou under the aegis of the American Planning Association in this case draws the existence of a standard conceptual link that exists between respiratory health effects emanating from pollutants and the pattern of the urban life form. This claim, Schweitzer and Zou support by exhibiting the research activities and results which have been accrued from investigations on the sprawl and respiratory health and geographical referencing.  For instance, Schweitzer and Zou in their population link population density with the lower levels of vehicular travel which results to lower levels of emissions. This approach and perspective draws out a very relevant nexus that exists between a region's ozone concentration for the 80 American metropolitans regions and the aforementioned sprawl index. These studies by Schweitzer and Zou assume that lower vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and lower emissions give out lower ambient concentration of the ozone.

Schweitzer and Zou maintain that compact development and exposures also go hand in glove with human inhalation of pollutants, given that pollutants are higher in compact cities. To this effect, both Schweitzer and Zou postulate that density's net effect on health has a negative denotation or relevance, given that the marginal emissions which are caused by increased density become low. This is due to the increase that is produced in the human intake emissions. The introduction of greater levels of transit patronage is seen to have a different impact on the same. This is due to the findings by the same that microsimulation observations indicate that as pedestrian friendly surroundings increase physical activity, human exposure to particulates are also significantly increased.

According to the data collected and compile by the author of the article, there are more than 5000 monitors who contribute to the pollution. The population data is received from the population and Housing conducted in the year 2000. The area residents are defined as thse people who live in a radius of half a mile from the monitor location. For the analysis of the population causes as result of air traffic, data on various land uses is brought together to make a meaningful conclusion. The land use here is divided into two categories; the industrial land use and the residential land. There various problems that arise as a result of using the air quality data. One of the problem that compromise the quality of data collected is that there are few sites where this data are collected and that the sites are not distributed randomly thus there is an element of biasness. For the data to be representative, it should be distributed randomly and thus depict the characteristic of the whole population.

It is not possible to analyze the whole population of data. In our case the whole population refers to the participants in air transport who causes population. As stated earlier, there are more than 5000 monitors that are analyzed; due to this high numbers of monitor the researcher cannot analyzed the whole population but would be required to analyze the sample of the population; the size and the cost limit one to collect data on the whole population. The sample size is determined by the size of the location and the representative the sample is to the whole population. For the sample to be representative, the sample to be analyzed should be randomly identified using some scientific methods and thus eliminate some element of biasness. Monitors are used to keep records of the emitters and to determine whether the transport facilities and the other emitters in the region have complied with the regulation standards set by the authority to curtail the pollution in the area under review. The EPA does not ensure that all locations are monitored equal or it does not choose the sites that ensure that the sample chosen are representative of whole population however it ensures that all places are monitored; both the suburban and urban locations throughout the country are monitored.

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The government both at the state and federal level has the responsibility to monitor pollution in the country. In about 80 metropolitan locations that the research was carried out, there are about 539 monitors installed for monitoring ozone and another 423 monitors installed for monitoring fine particulates. It should be noted that it is expensive to install the monitors and thus it account for considerable share of the state and federal budget to install the monitors and ensure they are running effectively. Due to the cost involved in installations of the monitors, some of the 80 locations under reviewed had about 5 to 10 monitors with only a handful with over 20 monitors. From the outcome research carried out it was identified that the regions that are habited by the poor are have high affinity for pollution as they tend to cluster around the industries since the cost of housing is low and at the same time there is availability of employment opportunities in those areas. The question that people tend to ask is whether the development of the industries in the region is a threat to human health as result of the pollution that those industries cause in an area.


The article is only geared on ways through which respiratory health can be improved by reducing the amount of vehicles on the roads. It is perturbing that it is only the vehicles that are being emphasized on and not the many factories and industries that contribute the largest and highest percentage of the air emissions. Emissions refer to the substances that are released to the environment and good examples are smokestacks and tailpipes. It is indisputable that despite the vehicles contributing to these emissions, the factories too play a role that should not be ignored. Therefore, the respiratory health improvement can not be attained if only the compact urban life is dealt with alone without taking into consideration the other crucial factors that play a role in increasing the level of air pollution.

Schweitzer and Zhou (364) believe that despite the issue of relocation sounding logical, there are defects that may arise from such an action.  For instance, the may be a relocation of the people to regions that have poor quality air may proof detrimental. This is not only to their health but also to the area in general as it will be replenished of factors and resources that are essential to the people and the environment as a whole and the general health conditions of the person as a whole and not only the respirratory health.  Relocating and settling people indifferent region by the use of the same criteria is very unfair since all areas can not be judged the same. An example has been given of New York and Los Angeles, in New York, a singe person in the highway only contributes o.28% of emissions into the atmosphere whereas his counterpart in Los Angeles contributes a pound of emission per year. It sounds unfair to rank the two cities as the worst pollutants of air.

Credence can be rightly accorded to the findings and postulations that have been advanced by Schweitzer and Zou. This is because, it is an obvious fact that very densely populated areas have been seen to be having a very high affinity to respiratory illnesses and complications such as  Tuberculosis and Meningitis. This helps underscore the advancements being made by Schweitzer and Zou that highly populated urban areas are susceptible to leaving their occupants vulnerable to the inhalation of the high levels of particulates.

Despite the fact that Schweitzer and Zou under the auspices of the American Planning Association draw out the dire need for proper planning as a value that is totally and closely concomitant with public health, yet it remains a fact that in their dexterity, they fail to account for several manifestations of inconsistencies. These inconsistencies leave several lacunas unfilled. For instance, Schweitzer and Zou do not account for the way in which the low income earners living in estates that are devoid of planning are seen to have longer longevity and better health, compared to the high income earning counterparts. The latter are always susceptible to lifestyle illnesses which may be underpinned by diet and tobacco smoking for instance. It is a fact that these low income earning estates are poorly planned, are more densely populated, being graced with poorly constructed houses and inadequate amenities. This fact punches a hole in Schweitzer and Zou's work.  

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At the same time, Schweitzer and Zou do not address the fact that poorly constructed, designed and planned areas and occupations are almost always mutually exclusive to good road networks, being mainly reliant on footpaths. This locks away the ability of vehicular penetration of these areas. The inability of vehicles and machines to penetrate these low income earning estates and domicile, leave the same with relatively clean air, bereft of particulates which are mainly preponderant in urban areas that are well planned but are more populated. The lucidity behind this standpoint is well confirmed by the fact that illness and medical conditions that are in densely populated areas that are populated by low income earners are mostly pertinent to malnutrition and diet, in lieu of inhalation and exposure to particulates.

Conversely, the American Planning Association, particularly in the persons of Schweitzer and Zou in this article fails to address the economic dynamics that exist between industries and housing. That industries and factories always construct houses for their personnel within the proximity of their factories as workstations is a matter that is beyond repudiation. This is mainly carried out as an artifice to ensuring the proximity of workstation and the curtailing of additional transport expenses. Schweitzer and Zou fail to address this construct, in terms of respiratory health and dense population. Dense population comes herein, given that shanties and informal settlements are likely to crop up, next to factory estates as the search for menial and temporary jobs by unskilled laborers remains unabated.     

From the research carried out, the author confirms that the monitors installed to monitor pollution are not randomly distributed in the 80 locations that were under review. As a rule of thumb, for the data collected to be representative of the whole population, the data should be collected from the samples that are randomly distributed following some scientific methods. Thus we tend to believe that the outcome of the research would be biased since the data collected and analyzed is not representative as the sampling techniques were not applied in determining the samples of the population to be analyzed. The researcher should have applied sampling techniques that include random sampling, cluster sampling and the stratified sampling among other methods of sampling. Sampling technique helps to ensure that the sample chosen is the representative of the whole population and thus eliminate the element of biasness.

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