People in communities can make decisions that protect and improve the natural environment. Which ONE of the following three actions is MOST useful for people to do if they want to help the environment in their local community? Why?
社区中的人们可以做出保护和改善自然环境的决策。 如果他们想要帮助当地社区的环境，那么以下三项行动中的哪一项对人们来说最有用? 为什么?
1) Plant trees and create parks;
2) Persuade local shops to stop providing plastic bags to customers;
3) Increase access to public transportation (for example, buses or trains) to reduce the number of automobiles on local roads
As the natural environment is on the verge ofbreakdown, people are making every effort to save it. Some communities vigorously develop afforested zones, and some attempt to reduce the use of plastic bags. Although the two approaches are not ineffective since plants reduce pollutants and cleanse air, and non-degradable pollutants can be cut with the reduced use of plastic bags, there is a better way, which is to develop public transportation.
The effectiveness of afforestation is undeniable yet slow and limited. When tree roots hold soil firmly, floating dust, one of the major culprits responsible for the poor air quality ,is unlikely. In addition, trees with large leafs are particularly useful in improving air quality. Those palm-sized leafs absorb toxic gases and produce Oxygen. However, planting trees and building parks takes time. At least three to five years is needed for a tree to grow up and to become robust and prosperous to serve as theshield against air pollutants. In addition, the urban land is so scarce that not enough parks can be built. For example, it is often idealistic that cities like Beijing or Shanghai have as many parks as possible, and as a matter of fact, parks are sparsely located in such cities, and thus many residents have no easy access to them.
In terms of putting a cap on using plastic bags, this idea has a good intent but often fails. First, local shops can hardly stop providing plastic bags unless their customers stop asking. However, shoppers always need these bags to contain their groceries or other items. In addition, there is no proper alternative to plastic bags. The common alternatives, bags made of cardboard paper or of cloth,are actually less environmental friendly. Although they are degradable or more durable, they are manufactured at greater cost of the environment. Also, people dispose of paper bags carelessly and often reuse plastic bags. Therefore, the use of plastic bags should continue for realistic reasons.
A better measure is to improve the accessibility of public transit. First, increasing bus routes and frequencies is easy. As long as there are existing roads, the job is as simple as directing buses to designated roads and stops. Although building a subway line is more complicated, it does not take as long as three or more years. In addition, unlike parks, which have to be on the ground, an underground railway network, because it is under the ground, occupies little of a city’s horizontal space. Second, it is easier to persuade a person to switch from private motor vehicles to public transportation than to dissuade the person from using plastic bags, because taking public transportation is directly beneficial as it saves time and money immediately, while using no plastic bags may create nuisances.
To conclude, making public transportation more accessible is most useful among the three propositions. Its higher efficiency in terms of time and space and practicality are the primary advantages over the other twoproposed methods.