Can carpooling help save the earth?

Carpooling is an important element in the drive towards saving the earth for future generations.

New Zealand - A man is surfing a big wave

Effects of air pollution

As it is, the vagaries of weather involving typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes and cyclones cause untold misery (including deaths) to people living in the areas affected by such weather conditions. Further, other natural disasters and calamities such as landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and floods take a toll on the earth’s natural resources again affecting human and animal life. Added to this is the destruction of the natural resources of air, land and sea caused by man-made air-pollution and its cascading effects on the earth’s environment.

Man-made air pollution inflicts heavy damage to the earth’s environment. Chief among the deleterious effects of air pollution is global warming which in turn causes melting of glaciers, widening the range of extreme temperatures, weather changes and the rise of sea level. Besides, the toxic materials released by the burning of fossil fuels affect water and plants and animals and in turn affect human beings.

Causes of air pollution

The main cause of air pollution is the transportation industry which uses fossil fuels. When more vehicles ply on the roads, they become the main source of greenhouse gas emissions. Road transport contributes 30-50% of particulate emission. Road transport is also responsible for producing ground -level ozone. Ozone is a double -edged sword. In the naturally occurring atmosphere 6 miles above the earth, it protects life on earth from the sun’s UV rays. However, at ground-level, the harmful pollutants released by vehicles, chemical plants, boilers, refineries and power plants react with sunlight as a catalyst to form ozone which is harmful to human health. Ground- level ozone affects functions and structures of the ecosystem that endangers the soil.

How carpooling can contribute to reducing emissions

Since running vehicles are the main source of air pollution, their contribution is humongous when viewed in the context of vehicle population in the world, which stands at 1.32 billion cars at the end of 2016.

To explain how carpooling can help to reduce air pollution, assume 50% of all cars are single occupancy cars. Thus, 0.66 billion single occupancy cars contribute to 50% of air pollution caused by all cars. Through carpooling, if 0.33 billion cars can come off the roads, then the total air pollution can reduce by 25% (50% of 50%). This is an achievable target because the benefits of carpooling include not only saving the environment but also reducing the costs of travel, gaining more personal time for other activities and leading a less stressful life.

Carpooling is an important element in the drive towards saving the earth for future generations. While only carpooling may not save the earth, it is a huge contributor to reducing unwanted gas emissions.