Friday, May 13, 2011

The environment and infrastructure

A few days ago I was driving my car and starting thinking that all these roads and highways, bridges and tunnels would have a hard time being built now with all the environmental concerns and community activism. I know that everybody would want to have road or a bridge somewhere but when it comes to their communities; they do not want it in their backyard. Plus the environmental costs are always taken into account when the first proposal of a project is presented. If it is not safe for the environment, it would either not be built or the project would have to be changed to accommodate all the environmental concerns.

Similarly, community activists want to make sure that the infrastructure should not be built in their neighborhoods because it will affect the quality of life there. Most of the infrastructure you have seen now built was during the era when there were less environmental concerns. Although I can understand some of the concerns but in order to protect the environment we may be blocking progress. A few decades ago, the impact of environment was not an issue since fewer studies were conducted to study the impact of different chemicals and other man made materials. But now there are so many studies that by the time the impact on environment is done, the cost of building the infrastructure has increase manifold. I don’t know how we can progress like this and how a particular infrastructure can be build when so many interests are involved in scrutinizing a single project. If we are going to build or maintain some infrastructure, we would have to see how the benefits outweigh the costs of the project, otherwise we will never be able to maintain our infrastructure at present levels.

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