Student’s Corner

When I was a teen girl in high school, I would get home to my family and we would watch the national news over dinner. The environmental movement was at the forefront of political discourse, and I remember hearing about many regulations that were said to be implemented by 2015. 2015 seemed to be a big date, but the year’s reality was foreign, unknown, and far out of sight. Now that year has arrived, bringing fewer flying cars then I had previously imagined. But what of those sustainability goals? What was promised to occur by 2015? And what will happen to environmental regulations after the 2015 deadline? I decided to take to the computer to help find out some answers to these questions.

Below are nine sustainability goals that had deadlines of 2015 :

1. In terms of pollution prevention, according to the International Maritime Organization, designated Emission Controlled Areas (ECA’s) must reduce Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and particulate matter emissions by 1.4 m/m%. (Regulation 14)

2.Establishment of new regulations for medium and heavy duty vehicles by March, 2015, with their implementations by 2016, saving a “projected 530 million barrels of oil.”

3. Reductions of Light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

4. Improved air quality through the reduction of concentrations of smog from 0.078 ppm in 2009 to 0.073 ppm.

5. The reduction of nitrogen oxides from 19.4 million tons(2009) to 14.7 million tons.

6.  Increase in the number of community water systems that provide drinking water that meets health-based water standards from 89% (2009) to 90% by using effective treatment and preventing water contamination.

7.  Improved water quality standards for more than 3,360 water bodies that were without them.

8. Increased number of wetlands nationwide, especially coastal wetlands. 

9. Reduced of municipal solid waste by 2.5 billion pounds through reducing, reusing, and recycling.

More generally, 3 of the 8 United Nation’s Millennium Goals  to be fulfilled by 2015 have been completed. (More information about specific goals can be found here.) As for after 2015, UNEP or United Nations Environment Program has developed an official post 2015 agenda with new goals as well as continuing to work on the remaining millennium goals. Click here for information. Hopefully by continuing to set goals and working towards them, we can achieve more and more progress to making the world a bit brighter.

Written by Julie Elliot, Class of 2015