Sample Ethics Case Studies Paper on Engineering and the Environment

Engineering and the Environment

What were the causes of the incident?

Investigators discovered that the accident was caused as a result of poor maneuvering and to some extent human factor through stress and fatigue. This is because a staff on duty was not given a mandatory rest before starting duty. Stress and added workload may have made the worker to work inefficiently and was unable to keep watch of the proceedings. Consequently, despite the ship having autopilot, radar had malfunctioned and was not working even before the ship left the terminal. Moreover, investigations claimed that masters who were in the ship operated under the influence of alcohol making maneuvering practically impossible through critical areas. Oil spill from the accident left behind a track of death bodies of birds and animals and destroyed the environment through contamination. It is significant to point out that Exxon Valdez is the worst maritime accident in history and raised a lot of questions on the impact human activities on the environment.

What regulations were passed as a result of this incident?

Exxon had to pay for damages brought by federal and state government in bid to recover natural environment that was damaged by the accident. The accident paved way for tighter and stricter environmental regulations that have been imposed and reinforced on many business enterprises. Despite the company operating under a different name and carrying on with oil transportation it has not been allowed to enter Alaskan waters, regulations are meant to protect against direct and indirect impacts of similar accidents. The regulations passed as a result of the accident include The 1990 Oil Pollution Act that has been vital in ensuring that tankers are safer globally. The act has added standard regulation of double hull so that even if the outer layer is damaged, oil does not spill to contaminate and destroy the environment. Moreover, structures were put in place to ensure that funds from the company were effectively used in restoring the environment, and notably funds were also used to purchase more land to be added to Kenai Fjords National Park.

Describe how LCA helps in developing environmental friendly products?

It helps in quantifying the environmental impacts of products during entire lifecycle through examining raw materials used in manufacture, transport, all through to usage and waste processing. Through this concept, inventory is kept at every stage of consumption and to ascertain whether there are emissions to the environment. It is important because it makes it possible to effectively identify improvement that can be made to ensure that products are environmentally friendly and thus benefits the environment. Ensuring that products are environmental friendly is important both in the short and long-term, consumers have become more aware and are environment conscious and will consume ‘green’ products.

What is sustainability? Discuss how considerations of ethics might enter into the collaborative efforts of centers and institutes for sustainability.

Sustainability can be described as simply living on the environment without potentially ruining it by optimally using resources in a way that do not deplete scarce resources. The concept ensures that human being live in the society within the carrying capacity of ecosystem that is, living and operating on basis of comfortable accommodation by the environment.

Ethical discourse is important in ensuring sustainability of the environment by initiating measures to add on to collaborative efforts of ensuring the same. Ethical considerations may enter into collaborative efforts to ensure sustainability because humans are part of ecosystem as well as other inhabitants like plants and animals. It is essential for humans to consider environment as functional part of human life and it is essential to respect and honor this and use morals and ethics when dealing with the ecosystem. This can be achieved through reducing emission affecting other living creatures through disrupting normal life.