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Environmental Issues Today

plastic waste in the ocean water

In the XXI century, Earth still faces many environmental concerns mostly produced and maintained by the intense human activity on the planet.

Every day, we have to produce a huge amount of energy and heat to ensure a good and continuous development of the human society, but because we still rely on fossil fuels to produce our energy, we are polluting the environment on a massive scale (air, water and soil) and we are destroying habitats, species and the natural resources of the planet. Let’s see what are environmental issues today.

Environmental Concerns

All environmental issues affecting our planet are mainly created by the human activity.

1. Pollution

Pollution is one of the worst side effects of the human society development on the planet because instead of protecting the natural habitat, we are destroying the air, the water and the soil, which turns the natural environment into a nightmare for both people, animals and birds.

Air Pollution

is produced when harmful chemicals and particulates are released into the atmosphere, producing different types of allergies and diseases that can lead to the death of people, birds and animals.

Air pollution is produced when we burn fossil fuels to generate electricity and heat, and also when we use a car based on fossil fuels such as gasoline or diesel.

Air pollution is also produced by the industry and the manufacturing processes of different goods, but also by agricultural processes and household activities.

Air pollution can be also generated by natural processes such as active volcanoes, tropical storms, dust that is lifted from the ground and carried by the wind, methane produced by humans and animals and smoke produced by wild fires.

Soil and Land Pollution

The number of landfills increases every year in the U.S. because more trash is produced by the growing population and due to the fact that only a small number of products are recycled, the landfills are heavily polluting the soil and the ground water with dangerous chemicals.

Land degradation or land pollution is produced when human activities such as mining, littering, deforestation, construction, industrial and agricultural activities are taking place without taking into account that we are destroying the natural habitats and a large number of species.

Water Pollution

Freshwater and seawater is polluted when we spill dangerous chemical substances into streams, rivers, seas and oceans.

Environmental accidents are produced by the sinking oil tankers, by spilling dangerous chemicals into the water and by depositing barrels filled with nuclear waste on the bottom of the sea.

2. Global Warming

The increased human activity on the planet generates greenhouse gases such as water vapor, carbon oxides (COx), nitrous oxides (NOx), methane (CH4), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other gases, which are increasing the “greenhouse effect” on the planet that leads to global warming.

Global warming increases the average temperature on planet Earth, which melts the glaciers at the pole, and leads to rising sea levels.

Global warming also produces extreme heat during the summer season and extreme cold during the winter.

The extreme heat during the summer can kill many people, produces droughts, which affects crops and animals, and could lead to famine in many countries.

3. Climate Change

Climate change is another major environmental issue on planet Earth that in the last decades has raised many concerns among scientists over the future of the human civilization on the planet.

Raising average temperatures on planet Earth leads to global warming, which is responsible for the change in the climate paths.

4. Overpopulation

The number of people on the planet increases every year mostly due to the fact that the number of people in the undeveloped or developing countries increases at alarming levels.

The increased number of people on the planet would not be an environmental issue if the natural resources would be unlimited.

Sadly, the technology is not capable today to create more natural resources or to create human colonies on other planets.

Planet Earth has limited resources and if the place gets very crowded, we will face very harsh living conditions.

5. Deforestation

The forests on planet Earth are considered the lungs of the planet because the large number of trees and plants in these forests consume the carbon dioxide produced by people, animals and birds, but also by the power plants that burn fossil fuels to generate electricity and heat.

Carbon dioxide is considered a greenhouse gas that increases the “greenhouse effect” on the planet, which raises the average temperatures and produces droughts.

If you want to fight climate change in real life you need to start by planting a tree because only trees and green plants are capable to reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the effects of global warming.

6. Genetically Modified Crops and Foods

Genetic engineering is used today to produce genetically modified crops and foods, which is good for farmers because creates a better and healthier, but also a more useful product.

At the same time, genetically modified crops are bad for the environment because it changes the landscape of croplands, is not capable of providing an economic benefit, and can cause allergic reactions and other health issues including deadly diseases such as cancer.

7. A Large Carbon Footprint

An increased carbon footprint shows that people still don’t understand that fossil fuels are not the answer in terms of electricity and heat generation, there are other cleaner and more reliable energy sources available on the planet such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass etc. that can be used to produce electricity and heat generating less emissions.

If you want to decrease your carbon footprint you need to replace at least one energy or heat source used at home.

By replacing your old and heavily polluting vehicle with a newer one that produces less emissions, by replacing your old appliances with newer and greener ones, and by starting to recycle, you can say that you have decreased your carbon footprint and you have become a protector of the environment.

8. Natural Sources Depletion

Mankind has already used many of the natural resources of the planet and needs to learn to use the other resources (which are cleaner), and which were not used very much in the past.

Fossil fuels are close to depletion, the forests of the planet need to be protected not used in the industry or in the energy sector (forests are the lungs of the planet).

Mankind will need to use in the future other natural resources available on the planet such as: solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, etc. because only such resources, are capable of keeping the atmosphere, the soil and the water in clean and protected from any type of pollution.

9. Waste Disposal

Many people are not capable of understanding that the garbage produced by them every day needs to be properly disposed (recycled), in order to allow the energy and the industry sector to reuse the natural resources contained by these products.

Recycling can save many natural resources, which otherwise would be consumed faster to satisfy the increased demand of energy and new products of the today’s society.

10. Ozone Depletion

Chemicals contained in spray aerosols have been responsible in the past for the destruction of the ozone layer, but luckily, these harmful chemicals have been already banned.

However, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) released today, by refrigerants, aircraft halon and aerosols are still producing damage in the ozone layer.

11. Public Health Issues

Air, water and soil pollution are responsible for public health issues because a polluted atmosphere will produce cardiovascular and lung diseases among the population, polluted rivers and underground waters are toxic for people that are using them for drinking and cooking, and a polluted soil will produce toxic crops and veggies.

12. Biodiversity Loss

The expansion of the human civilization is destroying habitats (urban sprawl, deforestation, pollution, global warming, climate change, etc.), which leads to the loss of species (animals and birds).

More people on the planet will occupy a larger territory (to the detriment of the wild environment), which will lead to a larger number of lost species.

13. Invasive Species

Plants, fungus and animal species that are not native to a specific location are considered an invasive species that are harming the environment, the economy, and even the human health in the area.

These invasive species can modify the habitat of the area by killing the native species.

14. Effects of Ocean Pollution on Marine Life

30% of the carbon emissions produced by the human activity on the planet is absorbed by the oceans, plastic, waste substances, nuclear waste are all disposed in the world’s oceans, which creates dead zones, which kills fishes and other forms of marine life.

15. Urban Sprawl

People tend to move to peripheral areas of the city or even in rural areas where the air is cleaner and the place is more silent because is pretty far away from the crowded city.

This trend is healthy and relaxing for people, but harmful for the environment because animals and birds will move away from the human settlements and their habitat will be restrained even more.

16. Mining Activities

Mining activity is required to extract metals and minerals from the earth, which is very useful for the economy of any nation, but isn’t useful for the environment.

Almost all extraction processes require large forest areas to be cleared (which leads to deforestation), harmful chemicals are used in the process and get into water bodies affecting the underwater life.

These harmful chemicals used in the mining process are often poisoning the groundwater sources, which affects the people and the environment close to the mining site.

17. Loss of Endangered Species

Overpopulation and people that move from a crowded city at the boundaries of the city where the air is cleaner and full of wildlife can lead to the loss of numerous species of plants and animals.

Endangered species are often killed by poachers, which are ruthless and can kill even the rangers that protect the habitat where those animals and birds are living.

18. Acid Rain

Acid rain is a side effect of air pollution.

Coal and oil products often contain sulfur compounds, which are released during burning of these fossil fuels.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) released during the burning of fossil fuels will react with oxygen, water and other chemical substances in the atmosphere and will form nitric acid (HNO3) and sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and will lead to the formation of acid rain.

19. Noise and Light Pollution

The presence of human settlements creates light pollution that harm the wildlife in the area.

Human activities such as construction, mining, industrial process, etc. are all creating noise pollution, which affects both other people and the environment (wildlife).

20. Littering and the Lack of Respect for Nature

People that have no respect for other people and for the environment are often polluting the visited place in nature with plastics and other types of waste products.

These people can also produce unauthorized fires in the forest that spread fast and destroy a large number of plants and trees and also wild animals.

21. Medical Waste

All types of waste produced by hospitals and medical centers, dental clinics, medical research centers, etc. are considered harmful products for the environment.

Medical waste is often disposed in landfills (like regular trash) and can affect people and animals with which they come into contact.

22. Agricultural Pollution

Products used in agricultural processes such as fertilizers and pesticides are used to destroy local pests, but they also affect the environment in the area (plants and crops and also the microorganisms in the soil).

These chemical substances can also pollute water bodies, which can be used by farmers to irrigate the land where they have planted new crops.

23. Pollution with Nuclear Waste

Mankind relies on nuclear power that produces not only carbon free energy, but also radioactive waste that is hazardous for the environment and for any living being.

Disposing nuclear waste in the environment creates a very dangerous threat in the area.

Disposing nuclear waste in the world’s oceans is another harmful activity for the environment because creates dead zones in the ocean.

24. Nuclear Disasters

The first commercial nuclear power plant was built in the ’50s, and since then, a large number of nuclear power plants were built in many developed and developing countries to produce “clean” energy using the power of the atom.

Sadly, the technology used to generate electricity in nuclear reactors is pretty new, so the the accidents were not very far away.

Several major nuclear disasters in the history of mankind have severely affected a large number of people and the environment.

25. Ocean Acidification

The ongoing decrease of the pH of the Earth’s oceans is called ocean acidification (OA) and is caused by the fact that the ocean water uptakes the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

By producing more CO2 due to our activity on the planet (energy and heat generation) the pH of the planetary ocean will decrease even more and will have an impact on marine life.

Final conclusion

Mankind doesn’t seem to be aware yet of the fact that planet Earth is the cradle of our civilization and if we continue to destroy our natural habitat, life on the planet will become a nightmare for us and the future generations.

Keeping the planet clean is not a very difficult task, producing energy without polluting and recycling trash will keep the place clean and will make life easier for all nations.

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 Comment

  1. Jes Beard

    THE number one environmental problem of 2018 is the same top problem we have had for more than 100 years — communism. It is the problem of treating scarce resources, including air, water and soil, as if they were communal resources. It is a problem addressed by Ty Hardin in “The Tragedy of the Commons,” and the fundamental lack of understanding of the problem by those who proclaim themselves as “environmentalists,” while calling for more of the same, only exacerbates things.

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