Every year, there are about half a million pre-mature deaths attributed to air pollution with other estimates showing higher rates of 1.6 million by Berkeley Earth in California and a 1.4 million estimate from the Max Planck Institute in Germany. How does pollution affect our lives? Since we share everything on Earth, happens in one area affects everything too, no matter how far away. Pollution or the introduction of waste materials in our surroundings has adverse effects on the ecosystem at large. I believe you are all aware that there are many kinds of pollution, but the ones that have the most impact on us are Air and Water pollution. We will enumerate the consequences of emitting pollutants in the environment. We do cause most of the pollution, and we will suffer the consequences if we do not stop. We already see its effects in the form of global warming, contaminated seafood, increased cases of lung diseases and more CITATION Ber17 \l 1033 (Bernstein and Tarlo).
Pollution and How It Is Affecting Us
Each one of us needs air to survive and what we breathe has a direct impact on our health. Air pollution is one of the significant problems of recent decades, which has a severe toxicological impact on our health and environment. The sources of pollution vary from small unit of cigarettes to a large volume of emission from motor engines of automobiles and industrial activities. Air pollution affects our health more than we think. Breathing polluted air puts you at a higher risk for asthma and other respiratory infect. Air pollutants are mostly carcinogens, and living in a polluted area can put people at risk of deadly cancer disease. Coughing and wheezing are common symptoms observed on city forks due to air pollution by the high number of motor vehicles as well as industrial activities. High levels of particle pollution have been associated with higher incidents of heart disorders. When one is exposed to ground ozone for 6 to 7 hours, scientific evidence shows that people’s healthy lung functioning decreased and they suffered from respiratory inflammation (Chen).
Moreover, the toxic chemicals emitted into the air settle into plants and water sources. Animals drink contaminated water and consume those plants. The poison then travels up the food chain to us. Last but not least, the burning of fossil fuels and the release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are causing the Earth to become warmer than before. From all corners of the globe, from the North to the South Pole and all the areas in between, the signs are showing our planet is warming up. Our global temperature has increased by 1degree Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius). Most of the increase happened over the past three decades (Chen).
Water pollution affects us just like the air we breathe; water is vital to our survival. We need clean water to drink, to irrigate our crops and the fish we consume live in these waters. We play in lakes and streams – we live near water bodies. Thus, it is a precious resource that can be easily polluted, and in turn, the contamination can be transferred to us and our healthy lifestyle. First, diseases such as amoebiasis, typhoid and hookworm are as a result of drinking contaminated water. A polluted beach causes rashes, hepatitis, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, encephalitis, stomachaches, and vomiting. Water polluted by chemicals such as heavy metals, lead, pesticides, and hydrocarbon can cause hormonal and reproductive problems, damage to the nervous system, liver and kidney damage, and cancer – to mention a few. Being exposed to mercury causes Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and indeed death (Chen). Water pollution affects marine life which is one of our sources of food. Remember the stories of contaminated shellfish and how those who ate them died?
Creative and Interesting Ways Through Which Pollution Is Being Handled
The days of pollution are numbered, and it’s all thanks to these innovative and creative global projects. Various discoveries have been made in the field of Science, Energy, and Engineering to quash rampant increase in our environmental pollution.
Problem: Fossil fuel is one of the significant waters and air pollutants as it is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and acid rain. It is harmful to people as discussed previously. To avoid pollution, the emphasis is on reducing dependence on fossil fuels for energy and transportation habits. Globally, people countries are switching from fossils fuels to clean energy for heating and cooking. Moreover, clean energy sources are advantageous since they are also renewable, do not deplete natural resources or cause environmental harm in the production phase. Some of them include wind, hydroelectricity, solar, thermal and geothermal energy.
Problem: Motor engine automobiles emissions. Since people cannot do without cars and mobility, there are new clean and alternative technologies already available on the market that are replacing diesel and petroleum-fueled cars. These new cars all have the advantage of having zero or reduced emissions. Vehicles using alternative technologies prevent damage to the environment and people CITATION Kin02 \l 1033 (Kinhal). Electric cars are powered exclusively by electricity instead of gasoline which is stored in the car’s rechargeable batteries. Hybrid Vehicles use a combination of electricity and gas. These have an electric motor as well as an internal combustion engine, which cuts gas consumption. There are cars, vans, and trucks that run on this technology. Solar powered cars have been on the roads since 2014. They run 500 miles on a single charge and are made for daily use. Falling prices could make this car of the future (Rich). Hydrogen fuel cell cars are based on a new technology that uses chemical energy from hydrogen fuel. Lastly, compressed air cars already have prototypes tested where vehicles run entirely on compressed air or as hybrids with bioethanol or diesel.
Problem: Global Warming is a complex problem dealt with at levels of governments, industries, communities, and individuals. Cutting down on fossil fuel uses by using clean energy and using alternate technologies has been widely embraced as producing and burning these are the most significant cause of emissions globally. People are now shifting chemical production and making use of organic manure as nitrous oxide is produced from nitrogen fertilizers which produce nitrous oxide that is more effective at trapping heat 300 times and carbon dioxide ten times (Rich). Additionally, governments have already imposed policies that regulate industrial processes which emit gases that can be harmful to the environment and people, with the help of laws and cooperation by industries.
Problem: Poisoning of water bodies which are food sources for marine life. Governments globally have imposed regulation of industries, preventing water disposal and landfill amounts, and eco-friendly treatment of sewage and wastewater can control ocean pollution. The emerging use of advocacy and spread awareness of the problem of ocean pollution to get local communities on seashore involved.
What Can we Do to Mitigate Our Pollution Footprint?
Fact that we thoroughly understand the various forms of pollution, how it is created and the hazardous impact upon us and the environment. Let us ask ourselves these vital questions; Are we aware of our responsibility towards conserving our surroundings? Do we play a role in reducing pollution? How do we contribute as an individual to mitigate pollution level especially while undertaking routine chores at our homes?
Firstly, when it comes to mitigating the problem of pollution, we should use biodegradable products instead of chemical ones, like green household cleaners and laundry detergents, since this can end up in household sewage and waste and become a pollutant. Moreover, lets us not dump hazardous materials, such as paint, motor oil, discarded cooking oil, antifreeze, unused medicines, and lawn fertilizers responsibly. We should avoid plastics by reducing, reusing and recycling as much as possible. It promotes organic farming that does not rely on chemical fertilizers to prevent air, water, and soil. We should Eat sustainable organic food. It supports agriculture that does not rely on chemical fertilizers to avoid the pollution of air, water, and soil (Mercola).
Secondly, to address the issue of global warming at individual levels, we should shift from heavily relying upon and using artificially made fertilizers to organic fertilizers such as green manure and farmyard manure. Last but not least, let us avoid using fuels such as paraffin oil when it comes to cooking and lighting our homes. We should embrace the use of clean energy such as bioenergy from organic material, solar power produced from the energy from the sun where fuel is not burned among others.
In conclusion, we are living in an ecosystem where the actions of one have the potential to affect many. It can be a good or bad thing, depending on what your action is. Our mistakes have polluted the environment that we live in, and we are walking up and owing to the fact. We are trying to reverse the damage. The good news is that every positive action count. The smaller effort you make towards a healthy environment can start healing ripple effect. We may still save what is left of our natural resources and make the world a better place to live in our future generation. Thank you!
- Bernstein , Jonathan Andre and Susan M Tarlo. “Health effects of air pollution.” International Journal of Environment and Pollution (2017): 67-71.
- Chen , Gray K. “National Geographic: Effects of Global Warming.” Journal of Rearch Environmental Sciences (2014): 45-52.
- Kinhal, Vijayalami W. Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Chicago: Independent Publishing Group, 2002.
- Mercola, Darlis N. “How organic Farming could Release Us From the cursse of Fertilizer.” Journal of Take Care of Your Health (2013): 20-26.
- Rich, Lory K. “Ways to Prevent and Reduce Air, Water and Land Pollution.” Journal of Pollution Effects and Control (2017): 110-113.