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Econ 366 - Chapter 15

Econ 366 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 15 Pollution and...

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Chapter 15 Pollution and Environmental Quality
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A. Introduction: Before World War II, only small groups were concerned with pollution. Now it is a major public concern and many federal and state laws have been passed to abate pollution. Reasons for the increasing concern: a. huge increase in GDP (4.5 times in 1991 compared to 1961) has led to higher waste generation (though not proportionately) and some particularly harmful wastes produced by modern technology. a. Prosperity led to rising expectation regarding the environment . People also became more aware of the effects of pollution on health and mortality and more concerned with these and enjoyment of the environment (camping, swimming etc) when concerns about poverty and unemployment abated a. Urbanization had led to greater concentrations of people and economic activity leading to greater stress on the environment (although pollution is by no means exclusively an urban problem)
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B. Facts Institutions and Basic Economics 1. What is pollution Commonly quite broad : air, water, littering with solid wastes, noise, social and aesthetic Here : Economic Activity requires withdrawal of materials from environment and eventually returning them to the environment. Pollution will be used to describe impairment of environment by return or discharge of materials. Includes, air. Water and solid waste pollution
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2. Materials Balance Production involves application of capital and labor etc to materials extracted from the environment in order to transform them into useful products. Some of the materials are returned to the environment after the process of extraction. Completed commodities are also returned to the environment after they lose economic value Materials Balance : Materials extracted during the Year = Those in the system at the end of the year + those returned to the environment Additions to stock of materials in economic system = capital accumulation Thus Extraction = Discharge + Capital Accumulation (10-15%)
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a. 70 pounds per person per day b. half is fuels, rest divided between minerals and agricultural and forestry c. 1990 would be 125 pounds per person per day Materials Millions of tons Agriculture 389.5 Forestry 216 Mineral Fuels 1448 Other minerals 585 TOTAL 2638.5 1965 Weight of Basic Materials Production + Net Imports
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Forms of discharges Materials balance indicates about 85% is returned to the
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