Few people think about the impact of air pollution. Most of the consequences of abusing the environment by engaging in tasks such as pouring cooking oil in the kitchen sink or toilet, can lead to long-term damage to public health. The disposal of oil down the drain of your kitchen sink or toilet can clog the sewer pipes of your home and if left unhandled by the plumber, could ultimately lead to your city’s sewer mains being clogged up as well. All harmful chemicals that go into the world’s sewer pipes eventually become air pollutants that effect global warming. Global warming is the rise of the climate’s temperature and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Air pollution is when harmful chemicals or substances become present in the air. Automobiles have a tremendous environmental impact on air pollution because of the large amounts of fuel consumption everyone consumes each day. Air pollution and pesticides are having catastrophic effects on the world’s wildlife. Three potential ways to improve air quality would be to reduce the amount of chemicals used each day, limit driving by carpooling, and to conserve energy.
Gaseous Pollutants in the atmosphere can impact the world’s water habitat. The harmful chemicals that are being released from burning gases from vehicles, power plants, and many other assets are affecting the water that flow in our lakes and rivers. When it rains the gaseous chemicals are mixed with the rain and then released into the ocean. This leads to acid rain which occurs when water particles mix with chemicals such as carbon dioxide, creating a weak acid. When this water falls from the sky it goes into the oceans and many living organisms die from the poisonous mixture that is present. Animals such as fish, sea turtles, and sea snakes become exposed to the harmful chemicals and many of these animals suffer heart deformities as a result. Every aquatic animal and human being is influenced by the substances that are released into the air by human activity.
Scientists are discovering that combinations of chemicals on our environment are toxic. Pesticides that mix with other pesticides are not regulated. Researchers have determined that out of four hundred commercially used chemicals in the United States, four percent have been analyzed while seventy five percent have not been studied. There is a greater chance that most of the unstudied chemicals are mixed substances. Mixings of pesticides are common in the production of food (Science Daily). Pesticide residue which forms on food can lead to bioaccumulation, which can impact all living organisms as well as the environment. Bioaccumulation is the buildup of toxic chemicals in living bodies that contribute to illnesses such as cancer. Individuals can be exposed to pesticides in many obvious ways including by eating food or beverages that are contaminated. They can also be affected through Inhalation exposure which consists of inhaling any forms of pesticides through the nose and by contact with the skin or eyes (“Potential Health Effects of Pesticides”). This means that pesticides are dangerous even to people that are not near the site where they were sprayed.
Pesticides also have an extensive impact on the Wildlife of the world. Wild animals, from small mammals such as hedgehogs and moles to larger mammals like deer, cows, horses, or whales, all survive from drinking water from the world’s rivers, oceans, and ponds. The water supply from these water streams are being affected by harmful pollution that forms in the environment, causing adverse changes to their health. Animals that rely on fresh water are finding themselves having to drink from habitats that have been contaminated with particles such as dirt, detergent, plastics, and other matter. Oil from motor vehicles also travels to the seas. Detergent and plastic make their way to the sea through urban runoff. These chemicals combined are life threatening to Wildlife.
Water Pollution is producing algae in the oceans and poisonous toxins are forming affecting organisms such as fish, seabirds and aquatic mammals. Algae are a diverse group of aquatic organisms that can conduct photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants and similar organisms use sunlight to combine foods from carbon dioxide and water. Algae are forming in oceans around the world killing tons of marine life each day. According to Mallory Pickett, on August 14, 2018, Florida experienced toxic “Red Tide” Algae occurrence that left 267 tons of marine life, including goliath groupers washed up on the gulf coast. This occurrence impacted the living conditions in Florida for quite some time since many Americans could not catch fish while out on the pier since most of them were dead. People need to understand the importance of reducing the number of nutrients that make it into the water.
Studies have shown that by reducing the amount of chemicals used each day one can potentially improve the air quality of the environment, and therefore would protect both humans and animals. The government in Canada is striving to improve air quality by eliminating the use of chemicals that are regulated by several laws, including the Canadian Protection Act, 1999, the Hazardous Products Act, the Food and Drugs Act, and the Pest Control Products Act. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act is the primary piece of legislation used to protect the environment from harmful chemicals (“Chemicals and Our Environment”). Under these acts, the government can determine and evaluate the health risks associated with chemical use, along with ways to reduce exposure to these chemicals. There are several safe alternatives for many harmful chemicals that are better for the environment such as Safer Choice products that consist of Seventh Generation Laundry or Dish Detergents. The ingredients in these household products are much safer and when washing your laundry or washing the dishes you will be less likely vulnerable to substances such as 1, 4-Dioxane which can cause kidney and liver damage.( Health Effects of 1,4-Dioxane Exposure).
In addition to reducing the amount of chemical usage each day, individuals should limit driving by carpooling or walking for the improvement of the environment. Fossil Fuels such as coal and natural gas are the world’s primary energy source. This means they have been around for a long time and have been used for the past 100 years for heating, transportation, electricity, and by other means. A person walking short or long distances instead of being transported in cars, buses, and planes helps reduce the toxins from gasoline that comes from most moving vehicles. Making sure one’s vehicles are operating at peak efficiency also helps reduce gas consumption since fewer toxins are released into the air. Similarly, carpooling instead of each person riding in their own vehicle is a smarter option since several individuals can be transported in the same car thus consuming less gasoline. Carpool services such as Uber, Lyft, Buses, and even Trains are excellent sources for transportation all over the world. Using carpool services reduces the amount of pollutants that encounter wildlife.
The third way to protect the environment is by conserving energy. An individual might not understand how important it is to conserve natural energy sources by turning off lights that are not in use, and other appliances. Children are the most prone to leaving on lights or televisions once they are done using them. Adults often find themselves having to teach their children about the importance of not using so much electricity. Electricity must be conserved or the consequence would result in power outages throughout cities.
Conserving electricity is the most effective way to protect the environment. Doing so will help benefit one’s life in many ways. Using fewer electricity by turning off lights, reducing the amount of time watching television, or spending less time on the computer are all ways of improving the environment. Saving electricity comes with many benefits that include saving your own money, reducing transportation costs, and even improving your own health. It is important one makes sure all electronics are turned off if they are not being consumed. This saves the individual money, and they would not be wasting unnecessary amounts of money each month on their electricity bills. Reducing one’s use of electricity also impacts transportation costs they have to pay each week. For example, driving a car for thirty minutes instead of one hour to work each day will reduce one’s transportation costs for that day. Conserving energy will also lead to improved health in individuals and they will become optimistic to engage in tasks such as going outside to play at the playground, or going to the movie theater with friends. Taking the necessary steps to improve the environment such as consuming less gasoline, using less harmful chemical products, and reducing use of electricity benefits not only air quality but every living organism on the earth.
Works Cited Page
- “Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy Technologies.” Union of Concerned Scientists, www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/renewable-energy/environmental-impacts.
- Cdpr.ca.gov. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/dept/comguide/effects_excerpt.pdf [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019].
- Chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca. (2019). Chemicals and Our Environment – Chemical Substances Website. [online] Available at: http://www.chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca/fact-fait/chem-chim_environ-eng.php [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019].
- SeaWeb. “Chemicals In Our Waters Are Affecting Humans And Aquatic Life In Unanticipated Ways.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2008. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080216095740.htm.
- Pickett, M. (2019). Toxic ‘red tide’ algae bloom is killing Florida wildlife and menacing tourism. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/13/florida-gulf-coast-red-tide-toxic-algae-bloom-killing-florida-wildlife [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019].
- Des.nh.gov. (2019). What Can I Do to Help Reduce Air Pollution? – Air Quality Monitoring and Data Program – NH Department of Environmental Services. [online] Available at: https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/tsb/ams/aqmdp/share.htm [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019].
- Wilbur, Sharon. “HEALTH ADVISORY.” Toxicological Profile for 1,4-Dioxane., U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK153666/.
- Purification of Cooking Oil
- EPA: Air Pollution from Transportation
- NRDC: Air Pollution – Everything You Need to Know
- NASA: Climate Change – How Do We Know
- National Geographic: Global Warming – Effects on Wildlife and Ecosystems
- EPA: Acid Rain
- National Geographic: The Greenhouse Effect
- Time for Change: Causes of Global Warming