Examples Of Air Pollution As A Tragedy Of Commons

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Air Pollution as a Tragedy of Commons
Zachary Preston
October 22, 2017

Air Pollution as a Tragedy of Commons
The Tragedy of the Commons can be described as the depletion of shared resources by people acting rationally and independently, according to their self-interest despite being aware that abusing the common resource contrary to their long-term best interests. The Tragedy serves as a model of a myriad of current resource-based problems affecting the society. It applies to the discussion concerning environmental issues. A general view reveals that all the six billion people inhabiting the earth have incentives of avoiding the costs to control the emission of pollutants. In particular, air pollution is a result of strong economic
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Air pollution presents a reversal of the Tragedy of the Common as it involves releasing of harmful substances in the air which is a publicly shared resource. According to Lloyd, the Tragedy of Commons involves depletion of scarce resources to benefit individuals. He describes this using the illustration of herdsmen who share the same pasture field. The addition of a single animal by a herdsman will result in increased proceeds arising from the sale of the livestock. However, the impact of the additional animal to the pasture ground will be overgrazing, a situation that depletes the pasture field which is a shared resource (Hardin, 1968). Air pollution on the hand does not involve depletion of air but the addition of dangerous toxic fumes which not only affect people’s health but also causes increased effects of global warming. Garett Hardin describes this …show more content…
In the 2014 Asia-pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, China agreed to cut Beijing's air pollution by 40% temporarily. The nation had recognized air as a common which needed protection (Gilbert, 2014). The policy affected a large number of Chinese as they could not continue with some practices that were beneficial to them. For instance, the number vehicles on the road in various cities was limited by odd/even license plate driving days, delivery trucks could only enter Beijing for just three hours at night, and the tradition of using firecrackers during the wedding had to stop (Gilbert, 2014). Residents felt that the cutbacks were an overreaction as commuting without their vehicles would be a tremendous inconvenience. Individual businesses complained of fewer customers and having less to sell, thus affecting both sides of demand and supply. It is evident that the concept of private property blurs the vision of the individuals who benefit from the Tragedy of Commons. They are unable to see how such laws are meant for the greater good. China is one of the leading nations in air pollution, a situation that is attributed to its growing electricity generation, its heavy industries, and the massive use of coal. Furthermore, there is also the individual contribution of its citizen through wedding fireworks, commuting, and giving of burnt offerings. In 2014, February was the month that saw

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