By Karis and Jasmine
There has been a drastic change in the world’s environmental state over a number of years. The state has affected animals, their food and habitat. Some believe that the change is natural and was meant to happen even if humans weren’t involved. However some people believe that the alteration is manmade and we have polluted the earth with our cars and factories. There are many different views and opinions on this topic that can be backed up with scientific evidence.
What has pollution done to our world?
The definition of pollution from the Oxford dictionary is: “The presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance which has harmful or poisonous effects.” There are over 200 million people in the world that toxic pollution has affected. In some of the worst polluted countries children are born with defects, appear to be less intelligent, and the life expectancy has been lowered to 45 years as people are more prone to diseases. Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant that inflames the lungs, stunts growth and increases the probability of asthma and lung cancer per day an average person creates 4.3 pounds of waste that is discarded food, newspapers, bottles, sweet wrappers and solid wastes - this is 1.6 pounds more waste than produced in 1960. Negative manmade effects are also shown in that Britain produces 727 billion pounds and the world produces 2.6 trillion pounds of waste.
Pollution enters the Earth’s atmosphere in many different ways. The pollution made by people are taking the form of emissions from factories, cars, planes, cigarette smoke and more. Theses manmade sources are called anthropogenic sources. Other types of air pollution are smoke from wildfires or ash from volcanoes these occur naturally, these being natural sources.
Air pollution particles in the air will eventually fall back to earth contaminating water, soil and crops. Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide particles in the air will create acid rain when mixed. Theses pollutants come from coal fired sources and motor vehicles. When acid rain falls to Earth it damages plants by changing soil composition and degrades water quality in rivers, it can also make monuments to decay. Global warming is caused by natural and anthropogenic air pollution. It refers to rising air and ocean temperatures around the world because of the amount of greenhouse gases that trap energy in the Earth’s atmosphere such as carbon dioxide. They are emitted into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gasoline and natural gases. There are different types of greenhouse gases such as Methane, Nitrous oxide and Fluorinate. Fluorinated gases such as hydrofluorocarbons are emitted by industry and are used instead of other gases that deplete the ozone layer. This is an active solution that industry can make to help the environment.
In a survey conducted, students in Year 9 believe pollution was manmade; however 30% said the changes of the environment were natural, 20% said it was man made, and 50% said it was a mixture of both.
Bees are very important to the health of the earth. There are more than 30,000 species of bees around the world and are one of the most important pollinators for farming. However the population of these precious creatures are declining drastically due to human development, pesticides, disease and climate change. If there are flowers but no bees to pollinate them this will cause an issue of crops and plants.
Ultimately it is evident that the environment is damaged greatly humans, but also by natural causes. To slow down the destruction of the world we need to take drastic actions: trying to cut down the amount of waste we produce, recycling more, preserving bees and animals on the risk of extinction and using gases that don’t pollute to the extent of fossil fuels. This may improve the quality of the air and the health of people and animals.