The giant carbon footprint indelibly imprinted on the environment by aviation is unmistakable and has increased rapidly courtesy of the expansion of air travel in the past decade alone. Considering that there are over 80,000 planes in the air every day in the United States, it is understandable that environmentalists are calling for measures to reduce the damage to the ecology created in the field of aviation alone. It is staggering when you consider how many fuel-filled aircraft pollute the air all over the world every day, a situation that must have a tremendous impact on the atmosphere in which we live.
Air travel is of course a necessity in our modern world and many of us rely on it for business, vacation and as a means to visit friends and relatives in other cities, countries or continents. The impact of aviation on the environment has become a hot issue though in recent years as the green movement focus on the potential damage to the atmosphere around us, not to mention the noise pollution issue. Aviation authorities have not turned a blind eye to these concerns and have produced data to show that the carbon footprint left by the aviation industry is not as extensive as some would have us believe. It should also be noted that modern aircraft is more fuel efficient now with tremendous advances in technology.
The effect of air transportation on the environment is of course not limited to the fuel emission problem but also impacts on the environment in another way. As an example of this, the planned expansion of Heathrow Airport in London has raised the hackles of many local residents and environmentalists who are outraged at the destruction of greenbelt areas to make way for another runway. Destroying the countryside to make way for a new runway at Heathrow is viewed by a many as an example of the British government pandering to big business.
It is hard to argue against the fact that the aviation industry has impacted the environment in more ways than one. Even the most hardened traveler would admit that air and noise pollution are real issues that will not go away. The issue of noise pollution is one that has gathered pace again with airports planning expansion that will result in passenger airliners passing over homes on take-off and landing. Some would say that this is the price you pay for choosing to live near an airport but for some residents, it is the expansion of the airport that causes the problem for them.
Considering the number of planes in the sky on any given day, it is a fact of modern life that air pollution will result to some extent in the same way that the increases use of cars on the road will do the same. The effect of aviation on the environment cannot be ignored but there has to be some reasonableness in the discussions on the subject. Calls to ban air travel or restrict traveling does not solve the problem. The solution is more likely to lie in the aviation industry working to further improve their technology and their methods, taking steps that are designed to reduce the impact of air travel on the environment. There is no easy answer.