Congested Plague

August 9, 2013
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The thick particles clog her nostrils – they stick to her hairs and make it difficult to breathe. Growing like a plague, the pollution had become unstoppable. Surrounding her are thousands of cars cluttering the highways which warp around what was once grassy planes. The cars sit around, mostly stationary as the sheer mass of metal only congests the roads even further. Of course, this only allows the invisible toxic to augment even further and force the azure sky to submit into caliginous smoke. The noise the disorder emitted is maniacal; violent honks are exchanged and the tumult ever proliferating.
The young teen examines the chaos feeling feeble and frail – unable to fight the industrial tumour which has afflicted itself upon the land. She is overwhelmed. Her humble home was once a pleasant stretch of farmland. Sheep and their little lambs had clustered together amongst the greenery. Her swing set was placed not far from where she currently stood. The image of her cousins’ gummy smiles as they played in the meadow still engraved into her mind – illustrating more peaceful days.
However, the demands for more roads became immense. The expansion and construction of them ultimately lead to the invasion of the concrete highways as more and more cars complied themselves into peoples’ garages.
Sure, this is a fictional piece of writing at this moment but it is evident that this story is becoming ever more of a reality. In 2011 alone nearly 60,000,000 cars were produced worldwide and car use is increasing every year. Ultimately more roads will have to be built to cope with the ever increase of automobiles. With more cars, you will expect more air pollution. That means more carbon dioxide and more than a dozen types of carcinogens being unleashed into our air. This includes tiny particles of solids, such as metal and soot making their way into our lungs and causing deterioration of our health.
Hybrid vehicles which get energy from batteries or petrol are available and are an improvement to our current mode of transport; however, they have not yet made it to the mainstream market and are still very much uncommon. Work is being done to improve the efficiency of cars. So, in the meantime, how can we make a difference?
Firstly, you can simply start off by walking instead of driving small distances. We can all try using our cars more responsibly by not using them for unnecessary trips. If it is your parents that drive, why not convince them to step away from the wheel? Bikes are also a noteworthy alternative as it is quicker than walking yet has the same fitness benefits. Any attempt to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels that ultimately aid the destruction of our atmosphere will help tremendously, no matter how ‘insignificant’ it may seem.
We can no longer hold the ‘out of sight, out of mind attitude’ any longer. Try recalling the last time you went outside. How many vehicles did you see? You probably didn’t even notice and the amount is probably impossible to start to even recall. Maybe you were even in a car. Cars are so integrated into our modern lives that we don’t even give it a second thought and this is exactly what we should be preventing.
So, join the communal effort – go for a walk! We have the opportunity make a difference today and it is an opportunity not to be wasted.

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