The Environmental Impacts of Transportation
There are number of relationships between the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the lithosphere and the ecosphere and some noted impacts.
Atmosphere
  • Large scale diffusion of pollutants.
  • High growth on a short term basis of the concentration of pollutants because of local conditions (e.g. smog).
  • Photochemical reactions caused by ultraviolet rays, notably over ozone, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
  • Climatic changes.
  • Acid rain.
  • Synergetic and cumulative effects when pollutants are combined (e.g. smog and greenhouse gases).
Hydrosphere
  • Diffusion of pollutants in a dissolved or colloidal state.
  • Acidification and loss of neutralizing potential of ground and underground water.
  • Drops of pH following snow melting (aquatic organism are particularly vulnerable).
  • Growth in the solubility of several metals because of acidification.
  • Additions of organic compounds, aluminum, manganese, calcium, magnesium and potassium by runoffs.
  • Contamination of ground and underground water by nitrates.
  • Modifications of hydrological systems by the construction and maintenance of infrastructure.
Lithosphere
  • Acid depositions.
  • Liberation of toxic metallic ions (aluminum, cadmium, etc.) through acidification.
  • Loss of nutrients, notably calcium and magnesium.
  • Inhibition of the mineralization of nitrogen.
  • Modifications in the compositions and the depth of decomposition gradient.
  • Inhibition of decomposition.
  • Loss of the soil flora and fauna.
  • Fixation by plants of heavy metals (e.g. lead) and contamination.
  • Removal and consumption of land.
  • Extraction of raw materials like mineral products and energy.
Ecosphere
  • AQUATIC ECOSPHERE
    • Alteration of ecosystems in unforeseeable ways.
    • Disappearance of vulnerable species and proliferation of tolerant ones.
    • Reduction of bacterial treatment of organic matter by nitrification.
    • Reduction of available nutrients to aquatic species.
    • Reproductive impediments.
  • LAND ECOSPHERE
    • Damages over the vegetation modifying: hydric cycles, the level of underground water resources, soil erosion, air purification capacity of the ecosphere, food sources (agriculture) and entertainment and tourism potential.
    • Reduction of the vital space.
    • Reduction of the genetic potential of species.
    • Reduction of the food supply and alteration of the food chain.
    • Consumption of resources.
  • HUMAN ECOSPHERE
    • Odors.
    • Noise.
    • Cardiovascular and respiratory problems.
    • Susceptibility to infection.
    • Drops in life expectancy.
    • Injuries, incapacity, hospitalization, death.
    • Damage to structures: loss of useful life. (amortization) loss of property values, corrosion of metal structures (bronze, steel, etc.) destruction of historical and cultural monuments.