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Environmental Problems

Our environment is constantly changing. There is no denying that. However, as our environment changes, so does the need to become
increasingly aware of the problems that surround it. With a massive influx of natural disasters, warming and cooling periods, different types of
weather patterns and much more, people need to be aware of what types of environmental problems our planet is facing.
Global warming has become an undisputed fact about our current livelihoods; our planet is warming up and we are definitely part of the problem.
However, this isnt the only environmental problem that we should be concerned about. All across the world, people are facing a wealth of new
and challenging environmental problems every day. Some of them are small and only affect a few ecosystems, but others are drastically changing
the landscape of what we already know.
Our planet is poised at the brink of a severe environmental crisis. Current environmental problems make us vulnerable to disasters and tragedies,
now and in the future. We are in a state of planetary emergency, with environmental problems piling up high around us. Unless we address the
various issues prudently and seriously we are surely doomed for disaster. Current environmental problems require urgent attention.

15 Major Current Environmental Problems


1. Pollution: Pollution of air, water and soil require millions of years to recoup. Industry and motor vehicle exhaust are the number one
pollutants. Heavy metals, nitrates and plastic are toxins responsible for pollution. While water pollution is caused by oil spill, acid rain, urban
runoff; air pollution is caused by various gases and toxins released by industries and factories and combustion of fossil fuels; soil pollution is
majorly caused by industrial waste that deprives soil from essential nutrients.
2. Global Warming: Climate changes like global warming is the result of human practices like emission of Greenhouse gases. Global warming
leads to rising temperatures of the oceans and the earth surface causing melting of polar ice caps, rise in sea levels and also unnatural patterns of
precipitation such as flash floods, excessive snow or desertification.
3. Overpopulation: The population of the planet is reaching unsustainable levels as it faces shortage of resources like water, fuel and food.
Population explosion in less developed and developing countries is straining the already scarce resources. Intensive agriculture practiced to
produce food damages the environment through use of chemical fertilizer, pesticides and insecticides. Overpopulation is one of the crucial current
environmental problem.
4. Natural Resource Depletion: Natural resource depletion is another crucial current environmental problems. Fossil fuel consumption results in
emission of Greenhouse gases, which is responsible for global warming and climate change. Globally, people are taking efforts to shift to
renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, biogas and geothermal energy. The cost of installing the infrastructure and maintaining these
sources has plummeted in the recent years.
5. Waste Disposal: The over consumption of resources and creation of plastics are creating a global crisis of waste disposal. Developed countries
are notorious for producing an excessive amount of waste or garbage and dumping their waste in the oceans and, less developed countries.
Nuclear waste disposal has tremendous health hazards associated with it. Plastic, fast food, packaging and cheap electronic wastes threaten the
well being of humans. Waste disposal is one of urgent current environmental problem.
6. Climate Change: Climate change is yet another environmental problem that has surfaced in last couple of decades. It occurs due to rise in
global warming which occurs due to increase in temperature of atmosphere by burning of fossil fuels and release of harmful gases by industries.
Climate change has various harmful effects but not limited to melting of polar ice, change in seasons, occurrence of new diseases, frequent
occurrence of floods and change in overall weather scenario.

7. Loss of Biodiversity: Human activity is leading to the extinction of species and habitats and and loss of bio-diversity. Eco systems, which took
millions of years to perfect, are in danger when any species population is decimating. Balance of natural processes like pollination is crucial to
the survival of the eco-system and human activity threatens the same. Another example is the destruction of coral reefs in the various oceans,
which support the rich marine life.
8. Deforestation: Our forests are natural sinks of carbon dioxide and produce fresh oxygen as well as helps in regulating temperature and rainfall.
At present forests cover 30% of the land but every year tree cover is lost amounting to the country of Panama due to growing population demand
for more food, shelter and cloth. Deforestation simply means clearing of green cover and make that land available for residential, industrial or
commercial purpose.
9. Ocean Acidification: It is a direct impact of excessive production of CO2. 25% of CO2 produced by humans. The ocean acidity has increased
by the last 250 years but by 2100, it may shoot up by 150%. The main impact is on shellfish and plankton in the same way as human
osteoporosis.
10. Ozone Layer Depletion: The ozone layer is an invisible layer of protection around the planet that protects us from the suns harmful rays.
Depletion of the crucial Ozone layer of the atmosphere is attributed to pollution caused by Chlorine and Bromide found in Chloro-floro carbons
(CFCs). Once these toxic gases reach the upper atmosphere, they cause a hole in the ozone layer, the biggest of which is above the Antarctic. The
CFCs are banned in many industries and consumer products. Ozone layer is valuable because it prevents harmful UV radiation from reaching the
earth. This is one of the most important current environmental problem.

11. Acid Rain: Acid rain occurs due to the presence of certain pollutants in the atmosphere. Acid rain can be caused due to combustion of fossil
fuels or erupting volcanoes or rotting vegetation which release sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. Acid rain is a known
environmental problem that can have serious effect on human health, wildlife and aquatic species.

dia faces an increasing threat from acid rain earlier believed to be the scourge of
the West. The large-scale industrial growth and reliance on the use of coal and crude oil
distillates like diesel have led to acidification of the atmosphere. The burning of fossil
fuels is mainly responsible for creation of sulphur dioxide ( so 2) and oxides of nitrogen
( no x ) which lead to the formation of acid rain. Automobile exhaust fumes are partly
to blame, but the worst culprits are coal-burning thermal power plants and the steel
industry. Already, a low pH has been observed at Chembur, Maharashtra and Delhi.
This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Manju Mohan and Sanjay Kumar of the
Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (iit), New Delhi.
The phenomenon of rain is caused when heat from the Suns rays on the surface of seas,
lakes and rivers induces evaporation. The water vapour formed in the process rises to a
height where it condenses into moisture. If ambient conditions prevail it comes down as
rain. But in the case of acid rain, water vapour reaches the atmosphere, condenses,
and reacts with atmospheric gases like so 2 and no x . When it rains, these atmospheric
pollutants are deposited on the soil, vegetation, surface water or reservoirs. The
deposition ultimately results in damage because of the acidity of the pollutants.

The problem is very real in the sub-continent. India enjoys the dubious distinction
of releasing the maximum pollutants in the atmosphere after China. It is, therefore, not surprising that low pH
levels have been reported from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh,
Tamil Nadu and even the Andaman Islands. While this will not result in acid rain, the
stage has been set for it and if conditions worsen like the setting up of a highly polluting
thermal power plant in the vicinity or an industrial estate there may be acid rain.
After analyzing data from 10 Indian Background Air Pollution Monitoring Stations
(bapmons), scientists have confirmed that rain in and around these cities is getting
increasingly acidic in nature.

12. Water Pollution: Clean drinking water is becoming a rare commodity. Water is becoming an economic and political issue as the human
population fights for this resource. One of the options suggested is using the process of desalinization. Industrial development is filling our rivers
seas and oceans with toxic pollutants which are a major threat to human health.
13. Urban Sprawl: Urban sprawl refers to migration of population from high density urban areas to low density rural areas which results in
spreading of city over more and more rural land. Urban sprawl results in land degradation, increased traffic, environmental issues and health
issues. The ever growing demand of land displaces natural environment consisting of flora and fauna instead of being replaced.
14: Public Health Issues: The current environmental problems pose a lot of risk to health of humans, and animals. Dirty water is the biggest
health risk of the world and poses threat to the quality of life and public health. Run-off to rivers carries along toxins, chemicals and disease
carrying organisms. Pollutants cause respiratory disease like Asthma and cardiac-vascular problems. High temperatures encourage the spread of
infectious diseases like Dengue.
15. Genetic Engineering: Genetic modification of food using biotechnology is called genetic engineering. Genetic modification of food results
in increased toxins and diseases as genes from an allergic plant can transfer to target plant. Genetically modified crops can cause serious
environmental problems as an engineered gene may prove toxic to wildlife. Another drawback is that increased use of toxins to make insect
resistant plant can cause resultant organisms to become resistant to antibiotics.

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The need for change in our daily lives and the movements of our government is growing. Because so many different factors come into play;
voting, governmental issues, the desire to stick to routine, many people dont consider that what they do will affect future generations. If humans
continue moving forward in such a harmful way towards the future, then there will be no future to consider. Although its true that we cannot
physically stop our ozone layer from thinning (and scientists are still having trouble figuring out what is causing it exactly,) there are still so many
things we can do to try and put a dent in what we already know. By raising awareness in your local community and within your families about
these issues, you can help contribute to a more environmentally conscious and friendly place for you to live.
Image credit:
retinalfetish , 36747988

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Rinkesh
Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy
related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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