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20 Current Environmental Issues Affecting Life On Earth

We need to protect the environment on planet Earth

The environment on planet Earth is constantly affected by the reckless human activity, which is responsible for the heavy pollution of the air, soil and water, and the extinction of many species of plants and animals every year.

Besides the reckless human activity that affects nature, the environment is also affected by an increased number of natural disasters, waves of extreme heat during the summer and extremely cold temperatures during the winter, droughts and floods, and an accentuated change of the weather patterns produced by global warming.

Many small ecosystems on the planet are very affected by the weather changes because some of them are already gone while others have become endangered.

The large ecosystems of the planet still resist, but their future is sealed if we fail to stop the polluting activities, which are affecting both the environment and the people.

The Human Impact on the Environment

The biggest environmental problems of today are mostly created by three major sectors of the world economy, such as: the energy sector, the industrial sector and the transportation sector.

We can add here the people, which do not recycle waste, people forgetting to clean their own garbage after sitting in nature (they contaminate the ground and the water this way), and people using the natural resources in a reckless way.

1. Air Pollution

The highest level of air pollution on the planet is generated by the three major sectors of the world economy.

The energy sector is responsible for a large part of the air pollution on the planet produced during the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity and heat.

The industrial sector is a major producer of carbon emissions due to the production processes that are taking place every day and which release a high volume of greenhouse gas emissions.

The transportation sector is also a major polluter in the world due to the large number of air, water and ground vehicles that are using fossil fuels to power their engines.

The number of vehicles on the road has been increased very much in the last decade due to the fact that almost all the banks in the world have granted auto loans with ease to almost anyone.

The roads have been filled this way with a large number of vehicles that are creating traffic jams and a major air pollution in all the major cities of the world.

2. Global Warming

Global warming is caused by the increased volume of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere produced by human activities such as burning fossil fuels to produce energy and heat or to power vehicles and due to the massive destruction of the forest that takes place all over the planet.

The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere creates a blanket of gases that retains the Sun’s heat and warms the surface of the planet (both soil and water) above the normal levels of temperature, which leads to global warming.

3. Climate Change

Climate change is a consequence of the global warming and is responsible for the change in the weather patterns.

This change has lead to an increased intensity of the tropical storms, extreme heat waves during the summer and extremely low temperatures during the winter, droughts and floods, the melting of polar ice, and the extinction of many natural habitats every year.

4. Overconsumption of Natural Resources

The today’s society consumes much more resources than in the past because the living standards have been increased in most countries of the world.

The developed countries of the world are producing a large quantity of food every day, which is transformed at the end of the day in food waste because a part of it remains unconsumed.

Wood is another natural resource that is consumed today on a large scale in the furniture industry, in the construction sector, and for heating during the winter.

Drinking water is another resource that is consumed today on a large scale by the developed and the developing countries.

This intensive consumption would not be a problem if these resources would not be limited.

Another issue with the large consumption of resources in the developed and developing countries is created by the fact that many third world countries in Africa and Asia suffer due to famine and the lack of drinking water even today.

Until we are not doing something to help these poor countries to get rid of famine, we cannot consider ourselves as an evolved society.

5. Waste Disposal is Done Worldwide on a Small Scale

Overconsumption generates huge amounts of waste (garbage) every day, which is not disposed properly by a very large number of people on the planet.

In fact, a pretty small number of people are aware of the fact that waste can be disposed properly (they are educated on this matter), while others don’t care that much that the waste produced by them daily will be stored in landfills, where in time they will pollute the soil and water present there.

6. Loss of a Large Number of Flora and Fauna Species Every Year

The human activity involving deforestation and pollution of soil and water lead to the loss of several species of plants and animals every year.

Deforestation in Amazonia (the Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world) produces not only a loss of plants and trees, but also the loss of human life (indigenous tribes), which disappear if their habitat is destroyed.

7. Massive Deforestation

Even if the uncontrolled deforestation is mostly done in third world countries or in developing countries, the problem creates a massive impact on the environment.

When the forest disappears, it is harder to fight against the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because there are no trees to consume the CO2 and release oxygen.

In addition, deforestation produces a massive loss in animal and bird species in the area.

8. Ozone Layer Depletion

Ozone is a colourless gas that can be found in the upper atmosphere (stratosphere) and one of its roles is to block the harmful UV (ultraviolet) radiations produced by the Sun.

The release of CFCs into the atmosphere (during the manufacture of aerosols, plastic foam and refrigerants) causes the destruction of the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere.

The ‘holes’ created this way in the ozone layer allow the UV radiations to reach the surface of the planet, causing cancer and other serious diseases to animals and people.

9. Rising Acidity in the Planetary Ocean

The rising level of the acids in the seawater is caused by an increased presence of the CO2 in the atmosphere.

The heavy pollution produced by the human activity on the planet releases huge amounts of carbon emissions in the atmosphere, which increases the acidity of the seawater and can produce a catastrophic event for the marine life.

10. Acid Rains

Acid rain is a result of the presence of harmful pollutants in the atmosphere.

The release of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) into the atmosphere due to the human activity or due to the eruption of a volcano can lead to acid rain.

Acid rain can seriously harm people, animals, plants and aquatic life.

11. Urban Sprawl

Urban sprawl is caused by the migration of the urban population to rural areas or at the outskirts of the city.

The reasons that cause the migration are somehow obvious (cleaner air, less crowded area, a quiet area, and many others).

However, the fact that people move to the outskirts of the cities affects the wildlife in the area, which is bound to move further from civilization.

This is how the wild territory occupied by animals and birds gets smaller every year.

12. Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering or genetic modification represents the direct manipulation of the genome of an organism using a set of technologies (biotechnology) that can change the genetic makeup of the cells.

The new organism with a new DNA obtained this way is considered a genetically modified organism (GMO).

Genetically modified food (crops) can affect wildlife and biodiversity, and can produce serious environmental issues.

13. Water Pollution

The drinking water is a limited resource on Earth, which must be protected because life depends on it very much.

Water pollution occurs when the industrial sector is releasing toxic pollutants into our rivers, seas and oceans affecting the aquatic and the marine life.

Plastic waste pollutes the oceans, and all this polluted water is killing fished and birds and represents a big issue for the human health.

14. Soil Pollution

Soil pollution occurs when toxic chemicals (pollutants and other contaminants) enter the soil and start harming the ecosystem in the area and can pose a threat to human health.

As a general rule, any soil (polluted or clean) consists of many naturally present contaminants (a variety of compounds such as metals, inorganic ions, salts and organic compounds).

A large part of these compounds are produced through microbial activity in the soil and through decomposition of organisms (plants and animals).

Soil pollution begins when the soil contaminants exceed the natural levels.

15. General Health Issues

The level of pollution the environment is currently facing affects not only the plants and the animals, but also the human health.

The pollution of the water affects both aquatic and marine life, and the pollution of the drinking water affects human and animal health.

Soil pollution harms the ecosystems in the soil, and air pollution produced on a large scale on the planet causes respiratory diseases, neurobehavioral disorders, cardiovascular problems, liver and other types of cancer, birth defects and immune system defects etc.

16. Overpopulation

Overpopulation is considered one of the most important environmental concerns of today because the number of people on the planet reaches levels, which are becoming more and more difficult to sustain due to the fact that the natural resources are limited.

17. Mining and Extraction

The mining process on the planet is made to extract the precious resources in the soil, which are then used to produce energy and heat (fossil fuels) or in the manufacturing industry.

The problem for the environment appears when the landscape is flattened and when harmful chemicals are used in the extraction process.

These chemicals will enter deep inside the earth where they will contaminate the soil and the underground water sources.

18. Light and Noise Pollution

The presence of civilization brings light and noise pollution that affects both the people and the wildlife.

People that live close to an extraction rig can hear a continuous noise generated by the extraction process and that can affect their sleep and daily activity.

19. Agricultural Pollution

Today, we are using several chemical products (pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers) to deal with local problems (weeds and pests) and to enhance the production.

The problem appears when these products enter the ground and contaminate both the water and the soil.

20. Environmental Degradation

Environmental degradation is produced when a natural habitat is affected by the human activity and can no longer sustain the species present there.

Organisms living in that habitat will be permanently displaced or entirely destroyed, leading to a reduction of the biodiversity.

The presence of the invasive species is also a concern because they damage the local ecosystems, the human economy and even the human health.

Final thoughts

The environment on planet Earth is very affected by our daily activities that are made without any respect for nature.

It seems that we are not yet aware of the fact that planet Earth is the cradle of the human civilization and we can’t afford to lose it because there is no other place where we can go and find similar life conditions as we have here on Earth.

Article written by:

I am a writer and reporter for the clean energy sector, I cover climate change issues, new clean technologies, sustainability and green cars. Danny Ovy


  1. Dems Sobanjo

    Thanks Danny,

    Reading through this list can be quite disheartening. What gives me hope is that the news is getting out gradually and some people are taking action. I hope more articles like this will keep getting out there. Thanks

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