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Los Angeles International Airport’s Environmental Impacts Essay

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Updated: Jul 12th, 2021

In the industrial sector, special programs for the reorganization of production are proposed to minimize environmental damage. However, in the aviation sphere, less attention is paid to this problem (Bachmann, Hidalgo & Bricout, 2017). Recently, the competent boards promoting ecological protection have begun to address this issue more closely. Damage to ecology caused by the aviation industry is imperceptible, but ultimately, the consequences may be extremely dangerous (Stacey, 2018). The Los Angeles International Airport will be involved as the object that has global significance. Such topics will be covered as the effects of the airport on the environment, the ways of reducing damage, in particular, designing spatial maps and installing noise sensors, as well as these measures effectiveness. The economic and safety implications of introducing certain principles will be discussed. The key concepts will include using the contemporary methods of reducing harmful effects, in particular, the control of emissions, as well as the practices of monitoring these mechanisms. The actions of the management of the Los Angeles International Airport are effective enough, and implementing such tools as digital monitoring and noise sensors to identify and minimize environmental damage is reasonably justified.

Effects of the Airport’s Operation on the Environment

The role of the Los Angeles International Airport as a major transport node in the west of the country is significant since numerous flights take place on its territory daily. Accordingly, the risk of environmental safety increases because emissions are colossal not only in the territory of the runways but also beyond them. Although, as Ceccato and Masci (2017) argue, the perception of this airport by passengers is positive due to high-quality services, the problem of environmental impacts exists. Since the size of the terminals is large, the runways take on air transport of various sizes, including both small technical aircraft and massive passenger vehicles. As a result, not only the air is contaminated but also soil and water nearby (Tessum et al., 2018). According to Benosa, Zhu, Mac Kinnon, and Dabdub (2018), because the Los Angeles International Airport is the third-largest in the country by traffic, its work is consistently intense, and the high level of noise is a severe problem. Therefore, in the context of impact on ecology, the airport’s activity affects air, water, and soil pollution and creates too many noise vibrations.

Main Environmental Impacts

The greatest threat to the environment created by air transport is harmful emissions from the combustion of fuel. In particular, they are called ultrafine particles that accumulate in the atmosphere and are a side effect of increased traffic. Hudda and Fruin (2016) note that the concentration of the particle number in the vicinity of the Los Angeles International Airport is about twice the standard rate during normal weather. Such an effect is detrimental to many living organisms, and the harm is done to city residents and neighboring settlements is also significant. The degradation of air quality is a serious hazard to public health due to the ability of particles to enter living cells (Shirmohammadi et al., 2017; Hudda & Fruin, 2016). However, Shirmohammadi et al. (2017) remark that not only air transport has a detrimental effect on human health and the environment but also ground vehicles that are in large numbers at the airport. According to Moore et al. (2017), emissions are synthesized, forming a dangerous mixture of gases in a radius of about sixteen kilometers. Therefore, environmental impacts generated by the activities of the airport in question are dangerous.

Implications of Environmental Impacts

The consequences of environmental impacts of human-made activities at the Los Angeles International Airport have a proven detrimental effect on public health. In the study conducted by Habre et al. (2018), the scholars assess the relationship between the increased concentration of ultrafine particles in the air and a tendency to pulmonary diseases. As a result, inflammatory processes in organisms and oxidative stress are more likely to occur in people who spend much time at the airport (Habre et al., 2018). Salah (2014) mentions another problem that is the consequence of increased aviation traffic – noise pollution. Frequent anxiety and unsatisfactory well-being are the factors that are manifested as a result of spending much time near the airport, which, in turn, is fraught with attendant health problems (Ozkurt, Sari, Akdag, Kutukoglu & Gurarslan, 2014). The situation with flying at night when people need silence is particularly tense (Salah, 2014; Ozkurt et al., 2014). Thus, air and noise pollution cause the greatest concern when assessing impacts on the environment and human health.

Changes to Address Environmental Effects

Ignoring the problem of disastrous environmental effects could have serious consequences for the management of the Los Angeles International Airport and the operation of this facility. Today, much attention is paid to protecting ecology and human health from human-made activities, and when evaluating the results of the review of academic resources, it can be noted that the problem is extremely urgent. The situation is complicated by the fact that about half of the harmful emissions occur during aircraft takeoff and landing, which exacerbates the problem and increases the danger to the residents of the airport area (Penn, Arunachalam, Tripodis, Heiger-Bernays & Levy, 2015). Thus, to reduce hazardous effects, the airport management would need to take concrete measures aimed at minimizing the threat of pollution since it is hardly possible to eliminate environmental effects. As Shirmohammadi et al. (2018) state, applying the innovative methods of fuel filtration and control of its combustion is the principle of intervention that modern airlines promote. Therefore, the participation of the Los Angeles International Airport in the program to reduce harmful effects on the environment is mandatory.

Specific Actions to Mitigate Environmental Impacts

To address the problem of environmental impacts successfully, the management of the airport under consideration decided to relocate some objects of the territory. According to Ryerson and Woodburn (2014), in particular, the changes affected the runways and their size to control the number of emissions entering the atmosphere during landings and take-offs. For noise pollution, appropriate interventions were also performed after corresponding analytical activities. Measuring the maximum and minimum sound levels that a person can perceive was carried out, and on its basis, conclusions were made concerning the need to equip aircraft with noise-canceling elements (Wolfe et al., 2014). Regarding the issue of too many harmful emissions, non-standard steps were taken. As Barnett et al. (2015) note, the reduced congestion policy was proposed to make the departure zone freer and, as a result, to reduce the concentration of harmful combustion products. These measures were implemented based on preliminary assessment work. Since the Los Angeles International Airport is one of the three busiest in the country, restructuring its departure control system may be valuable for improving the situation with excess emissions in the air.

Economic and Safety Considerations for Addressing Specific Impacts

When assessing the effectiveness and significance of the measures taken to minimize airborne and noise pollution at the Los Angeles International Airport, it is worth noting that its management has done sufficiently much. Ashok, Balakrishnan, and Barrett (2017) argue that from the entire list of aviation organizations involved in combating climate pollution, the airport in question has taken the most relevant measures in the ratio of economic investments and the results achieved.

In general, the costs allocated to reducing the number of harmful emissions into the atmosphere exceeded the funds spent on minimizing noise impacts (Wolfe et al., 2014). This fact is logical since the issue of passenger safety and, in particular, the negative impact on health is an essential factor. The environmental effect of human-made activity has become one of the main topics for discussion and intervention (Campagna et al., 2016; Nahlik, Chester, Ryerson & Fraser, 2016). In addition, Nahlik et al. (2016) note that the meteorological features of the territory in which the airport is located are the cause of additional concern due to the increased risk of emissions rapid spread. Thus, appropriate measures have been taken, and the fact that stakeholders’ addressed this issue is the evidence of a competent approach to ensuring public health safety.

Effectiveness of the Changes Implemented

Actions aimed at reducing the negative environmental effects of the two types of pollution under consideration were successful enough, to sum up, and evaluate these steps. In addition to addressing environmental issues, the Los Angeles International Airport has also developed an appropriate plan aimed at creating optimal conditions for the functioning of the entire complex and its parts (Yang & Al-Qadi, 2017). The official title of this document package is “Sustainable Airport Planning, Design and Construction Guidelines” (Yang & Al-Qadi, 2017, p. 89). This program has helped the organization’s management to rule the airport’s activities in such a way that a sufficient number of innovations could be implemented. Creating a fundamentally new control system both over passenger safety during transportation and ensuring an ecologically safe environment throughout the entire complex allowed for several significant improvements. In particular, the operations of all the structures and their participation in solving topical issues were addressed (Yang & Al-Qadi, 2017; Setiawan & Sadewa, 2018). As a result, despite some omissions, the volume of work done allows speaking about the effectiveness of the measures taken.

Results of Minimising Problems

One of the main benefits achieved due to the competent work of analysts and specialists in assessing the negative impact of human-made activities was introducing special monitoring equipment. Tessum et al. (2018) mention spatial maps as a special principle of tracking the spread and concentration of harmful emissions on the territory of the airport under consideration and beyond it. The authors note that mobile control used in such air pollution management helps identify potentially dangerous areas of the accumulation of ultrafine particles and eliminate them by utilizing special cleaning equipment (Tessum et al., 2018). He, Shirmohammadi, Gerlofs-Nijland, Sioutas, and Cassee (2018) confirm this finding and complement it by mentioning the importance of using innovative applications in assessing and eliminating dangerous clusters.

Concerning noise pollution, some significant steps were also taken by responsible boards. In particular, according to Offenhuber, Auinger, Seitinger, and Muijs (2018), special sensors were installed at the airport to identify the amplitude of sound vibrations and the frequency of those noises that exceeded a permissible threshold. Therefore, based on the analysis of these implementations, it is possible to note enhanced work in minimizing the consequences of increased aviation traffic at the Los Angeles International Airport. Nonetheless, it cannot be argued that the problem has been eliminated and the harmful effects have been completely stopped. The effects of human-made activities are suspended, but there are still many interventions to be done to eliminate any manifestations of pollution.

Potentially Effective Actions

Based on the results of the analysis of academic sources, some additional steps could have been taken by the leadership of the airport to address the issue of minimizing harmful impacts on the environment. As Grampella, Martini, Scotti, Tassan, and Zambon (2017) note, one of the rational principles of competent intervention is comparing several models to select the optimal mechanisms for controlling the levels of air and noise pollution. However, there is no evidence that the leaders of the organization under review conducted appropriate analysis and provided objective reasons for using specific strategies.

Also, more detailed information could have been given regarding bans on using certain operational conditions since this could help to establish certain noise boundaries (Postorino & Mantecchini, 2016). If all the stakeholders had conducted a comparative analysis of air, soil, and water samples at other major airports, this would have helped to obtain valuable data and compare the figures received. In addition, useful steps taken by other organizations could also have been evaluated for possible use at the Los Angeles Airport. This would not be a violation of ethical standards since the ultimate goal was socially important. However, in general, the measures taken helped to identify the areas of intervention and the directions of work.

Related Problems

In the process of working to eliminate the dangerous effects of pollution by aviation transport, the responsible authorities of the Los Angeles International Airport faced some attendant problems. In particular, temperature differences during cold and warm seasons required the additional analysis of the concentration of ultrafine particles (Stacey, 2018). Another issue that emerged was the procedure of determining the level of noise generated. According to Clark and Paunovic (2018), the sound effect of air transport requires evaluating at different sites, including both the territory of airports and adjacent areas. In addition, difficulties arose in determining the level of soil contamination. Since Los Angeles is a city with a highly developed infrastructure, large areas of land both near the airport and in the distance might have potentially high levels of pollution. As a result, samples taken in the areas of technogenic activity could contain various impurities, which would violate the research principles (Özkan, Özkan, Sungur & Birses, 2017). Therefore, all the measurements were complicated by comparing these indicators and increased requirements for monitoring and assessing the results obtained.

Honesty and Accuracy of Promoting Relevant Mitigation Actions

The approaches utilized by the management of the Los Angeles International Airport to minimize pollution were sufficiently reasonable and did not contradict the objectivity of implementation and the ethics of information dissemination. Zheng and Weng (2019) argue that the accuracy of advancing a relevant strategy in the organization in question was at an appropriate level since responsible persons substantiated the principle of spatial analysis. When evaluating the integrity of the intervention program, no obvious violations were hidden, and real facts and figures were made public (Moore et al., 2017). Therefore, despite some gaps in assessing and selecting programs and models, the promotion of the measures taken did not contradict any norms of ethics and law.

Conclusion

When summarising the actions taken by the management of the Los Angeles International Airport to minimize the effects of air and noise pollution, it can be noted that all the steps were reasonable, and the relevance of intervention strategies was justified. The need to work in this direction was determined by analyzing the harmful effects of human-made activities on the environment. Harmful emissions produced in the process of burning aviation fuel are deposited in the form of ultrafine particles whose high concentration is dangerous to ecology and human health. In addition, the high level of noise generated during the takeoffs and landings of flights is also an urgent problem since the airport in question is the third busiest in the country. The approach involving the spatial analysis and monitoring the situation helped to reduce emissions. The installation of special noise sensors made it possible to determine the limits of noise for their subsequent adjustment. The gaps allowed when selecting intervention strategies are an omission, but in general, the work done proves the concern of the airport management about the current environmental situation and shows interest in addressing urgent issues.

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