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Road haulage is one of the major sources of environmental pollution


I’m taking TLMT311 Introduction to transportation management the paper has to be on a topic discussed
in the class . It has to be 5 pgs with a cover sheet, course title and name title of paper table of contents

and reference page with 5 references


Road haulage is one of the major sources of environmental pollution. The effects are far
worse since most means of transportation can only be made by road. The road haulage industry
has, therefore, had to undergo higher levels of taxations, alongside other policies, which are
meant to try and curb these effects. Companies have also gone ahead to try to reduce the number
of journeys their trucks, hence reducing the impact on the environment. The impacts can be
categorized into three categories: direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts. These effects also
include negative results on the human life. The World Health Organization estimated the number
of deaths in 2007 worldwide to stand at 865 thousand per year, and in 2005, the European
Commission estimated the number of premature deaths as a result of the effects of road haulage
to be 370 thousand per year (McKinnon, 2007). This paper analyses the various effects of road
haulage on the environment, which include poor air quality, noise disturbance, congestions, and
climate change among others.

Effects of Road Haulage on the Environment

Climate Change
Each year, million tons of gases are expelled into the air as a result of road haulage
activities. These gases include lead (Pb), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2; not a
pollutant), methane (CH4), nitrogen oxides (NOx), nitrous oxide (N2O), chlorofluorocarbons
(CFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), silicon tetraflouride (SF6), benzene and volatile components
(BTX), heavy metals (zinc, chrome, copper and cadmium) and particulate matters (ash, dust)
(Bergqvist & Behrends, 2011). Controversy still exists on the extent that such emissions have
contributed to climatic changes, and on the role played by anthropogenic factors. Some of the
gases have been noted to play an active role in the depletion of the stratospheric ozone (O3)
layer. This is the layer that naturally offers screening of the ultraviolent radiation from reaching
the earth. An example of such a gas is the nitrous oxide. Climate change eventually affects the
transportation systems such as infrastructure.
Air Quality
The vehicles involved in the road haulage industry are feared to be one of the major
sources of pollution, either in form of gas emissions, or particulate matters expulsion. These

matters affect the quality of air, thereafter resulting to the negative effects on the health of human
beings. These toxic air pollutants have been closely linked with cancer, cardiovascular diseases,
respiratory conditions, and also other neurological disorders (Thompson & Visser, 2002). For
instance, when a human being inhales carbon monoxide (CO) released from trucks, the
bloodstream becomes affected negatively, such that oxygen availability is reduced, hence the
body cells are deprived of it. This can be fatal to the human being. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), on
the other hand, has been seen to result to a reduction in lung function, the strength of the
respiratory immune defense system, and it increases an individual’s risk to the development of
respiratory problems. Acid rain is also another occurrence from poor air quality as a result of
road haulage. This usually happens when sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from
transportation vehicles mix with cloud water. This is one example of a cumulative impact of road
haulage. Over time, the presence of acid precipitation will destroy the buildings in the
environment, reduce agricultural productions, and result in drying up of trees in forests. The
effects on buildings and other materials from these air pollutants can be categorized into two:
Surfaces become soiled primarily as a result of particles and dusts emitted from trucks. Second,
the building roofs and materials may be corroded from the acid rain. Another resulting factor
from road haulage is smog. This reduces visibility to other road users, and reduces the
attractiveness of various sites since it becomes difficult to actually see the attractions. Dust
particles that are expelled into the air from vehicle exhaust, and from the vehicle and road
abrasion also results to poor air quality. Its physical and chemical properties pose a great risk to
the health of exposed individuals. These may feature respiratory diseases, eye irritations and
inflammations, skin irritations, and they may also trigger allergies.
Noise Disturbance
When the transportation vehicle produces irregular and chaotic sounds, noise is said to
have taken place. Noise produced from road haulage trucks can traumatize the hearing organ,
and hence affect the health of many people. When the hearing organ is exposed to noise levels of
above 75dB, over a long period, the individual’s hearing as well as physical and psychological
well being is hampered (Medar, Papić, Manojlović & Filipović, 2014). Transportation vehicles
usually produce noise from their movement, and this affects the health of exposed individuals by
making them vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases. When there is an increasing level of noise in
an environment, a negative effect is produced. This is usually reflected on the reducing land
values and the use of productive land.
Water Quality
Road haulage activities have also been noted to affect hydrological conditions. As these
trucks move, fuel, chemicals and other hazardous particulates leak onto the land. At times, the
trucks may need to be empties of fuel so as to carry out maintenance practices. These particulates
eventually find a way onto the rivers, lakes, wetlands, and oceans as they can flow, or be carried
down by rain water (Bergqvist & Behrends, 2011). Effects on water quality are, however, not a
major result of road haulage, as the extent is very minimal. However, when these particulates
find their way into water bodies, the marine life is put at risk. This is because fuel settles above
the water and hence prevents oxygen from getting in. The marine life will therefore exhaust all
oxygen available and suffocate to death. When the chemicals from trucks get into the water, they
change the acidity and result into a contamination that makes the water body unsuitable for life.
Therefore, the marine environment is affected negatively since the inhabitants of the water
bodies will no longer be present. This also affects the attractiveness of the water masses as the
dead water creatures will pollute the air and float to the beaches.

Soil Quality
Soil erosion and contamination are some of the environmental impacts of road haulage.
The transportation vehicles are usually very heavy; therefore, as they move on a road that is not
tarmacked, the result is that the surfaces become loosened. Over time, these loosened particles
will become blown away by the wind, or be carried away by rain water. Road haulage is also the
reason why earth’s surface is constantly removed almost everywhere so as to give room for the
construction of highways. This is a step that affects the presence of fertile and productive soils
since the top soil is removed. Contamination of soils also occurs since the transport industry use
toxic materials in the making of highways, and in fuels (Obuzor, Kinuthia & Robinson, 2012).
Therefore, when oil and fuel from vehicles drip on the roads, they will be washed onto the
roadsides where unaltered soils are.
soil. Chemicals used for the preservation of railroad ties may enter into the soil. Accidents of
these trucks usually result in the contamination of soils with metals, and other products used in
the manufacturing of the vehicles.
Most road haulage companies fail to acknowledge the fact that these activities also
influence natural vegetation. This is usually indirectly since the need for roads and bridges to be
used by these trucks triggers deforestation. The trees are then used to produce construction
materials to be used for that purpose. The creation of transportation routes to be used by these
trucks has required wet lands to be drained. This affects the environment as the beauty is
destroyed, and animal life killed. Stabilizing slopes has resulted in the restriction of plant growth
or introduction of new species into a foreign land while it was being moved. Animal species are
also affected in the same way since they may be forced to flee in search of a safe place away
from all the commotion resulting from road construction.

Road haulage results into many effects on the environment. Some are direct, such as air
pollution, and others are indirect, such as the death of marine life. Cumulative impacts are those
that take time to start happening, such as the destruction of buildings from acid rain. These
effects need to be avoided at all costs, and both the industry members and the government need
to play a role in curbing them.


Bergqvist, R., & Behrends, S. (2011). Assessing the Effects of Longer Vehicles: The Case of
Pre- and Post-haulage in Intermodal Transport Chains. Transport Reviews, 31(5), 591-

McKinnon, A. C. (2007). Decoupling of Road Freight Transport and Economic Growth Trends
in the UK: An Exploratory Analysis. Transport Reviews, 27(1), 37-64.
Medar, O. M., Papić, V. D., Manojlović, A. V., & Filipović, S. M. (2014). Assessing The Impact
Of Transport Policy Instruments On Road Haulage Energy Efficiency. Thermal Science,
18(1), 323-337.
Obuzor, G. N., Kinuthia, J. M., & Robinson, R. B. (2012). Soil stabilisation with lime-activated-
GGBS—A mitigation to flooding effects on road structural layers/embankments
constructed on floodplains. Engineering Geology, 151112-119.

Thompson, R. J., & Visser, A. T. (2002). Benchmarking and management of fugitive dust
emissions from surface-mine haul roads. Mining Technology, 111(1), A28.

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