The Automobile and the Environment

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The Automobile and the Environment

In today’s society, the automobile is often stereotyped as the environmentalist’s infamous enemy. While the bases of many of these stereotypes are accurate, it is also true that the development of the auto industry has helped to improve certain conditions in our environment. With each progression of automobile technology and industry brings new and equal concerns in the realms of public safety, public health, the economy and the environment. Consequently, engineers and activists are constantly searching for a medium that will satisfy the human need for speed and will keep in tact the fragile world around us.

Nearly one hundred years ago the concept of a car was still waiting to be born. The idea of transportation, however, had been around for thousands of years. By the turn of the 20th century, the quickest and most efficient method of moving was still

by horseback. As urbanization crowded more and more people into tighter vacinaties, so were more horses found on city streets. The increase of horseback riders and horses resulted in a large increase of manure. Fred L. Smith, former senior policy analyst for the Environmental Protection Agency reported that the average horse produced 45 pounds of manure a day. This contributed to enormous waste problems many years ago. As the manure accumulated, it required constant collection and disposal. Stagnant waste led to flies, dried dung dust, and the stench of urine. Further, people often-developed lung complications and disease due to the lack of proper sanitation. Even more problems resulted from the disposal of dead horses. New York City reported the disposal of 15,000 corpses each year during 1890’s. Often body...

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