Published On: Mon, Nov 4th, 2019

Recollecting 1990 Clean Air Act amid deadly Delhi pollution

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The Clean Air Act, which was passed by the US Senate in 1990, was a strategically engineered law that actually got people excited about minimizing pollution. The act was preceded by the Clean Air Act of 1977, which had been largely unsuccessful in limiting sulphur dioxide emission – even though compliance to the Act was guaranteed through stringent monitoring. The Clean Air Act of 1990 provided incentive for limiting pollution and it gave power plant operators (for whom the law was primarily intended) the flexibility to adopt any means of limiting sulphur emission. The act also spurred the development of cheap and effective ways for minimizing emission.

How was the Act Conceptualized?

In the United States, the concern for environment was initiated by the discovery that plant and animal life in forests and water bodies of Eastern United States was declining. A report by the National Academy of Sciences blamed Sulphur Dioxide emissions from power production plants for the cause of the catastrophe. Excessive quantities of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere were causing acid rain, which led to poisoning of water bodies.

The Clean Air Act of 1977 was an initiative by the government to correct the environmental balance. The law required that all power production units install scrubbers to pull out sulphur from emissions. The installation and maintenance of scrubber units added plenty of bulk to the operational cost and even despite compliance no reduction in sulphur dioxide emission was noticed.

The idea for the Clean Air Act of 1990 came from the Environment Defense fund, which laid the proposal for the “emission cap and trading system” to the Bush Administration. The system allowed each power plant a certain amount of emission and if their emission exceeded the allotted amount they had to buy the rights to produce more emission. Plants which succeeded in keeping their emissions under control could sell the leftover emission rights to other power plants. Additionally, the system encouraged plant owners to devise their own means of emission control.

The Outcome of the Clean Air Act

Recollecting 1990 Clean Air Act amid deadly Delhi pollution

The Clean Air Act of 1990 created a positive outlook for environmental conservation. By providing incentives for minimizing emissions and giving industrial units the freedom to devise their own means of emission control, the act fostered active participation of people. Taking advantage of this, General Electric designed an efficient scrubber that converted sulphur into gypsum. This innovation helped in reducing maintenance cost and since gypsum is a marketable commodity, it made emission control a profitable enterprise. Thus the act was beneficial to the economy on all quarters, it made air cleaner, electricity cheaper and created new entrepreneurial opportunities.

About the Author

- I am an internet marketing expert with an experience of 8 years.My hobbies are SEO,Content services and reading ebooks.I am founder of SRJ News andTech Preview.

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