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Waste serious problems.

In the UK much is buried in landfill sites – holes in

The old saying out of sight, out of mind definitely does not apply when the ground, sometimes old quarries, sometimes specially dug. Some

it comes to getting rid of personal waste. waste will eventually rot, but not all, and in the process it may smell or

For many people, though, sending old items including electronics made generate methane gas, which is explosive and contributes to the

with potentially harmful metals to the garbage bin is done without greenhouse effect. Leachate produced as waste decomposes may cause

thought for what impact the trash will have on the environment. pollution. Badly-managed landfill sites may attract vermin or cause

Here at Gorilla Bins, we dispose of waste in an environmentally friendly litter.

manner by separating and sorting out recyclable materials like paper, Incinerating waste also causes problems, because plastics tend to

cardboard, metals and wood after receiving a delivery. produce toxic substances, such as dioxins, when they are burnt. Gases

And we do this for a reason. from incineration may cause air pollution and contribute to acid rain,

Garbage, though unseen, can have real impacts on the environment while the ash from incinerators may contain heavy metals and other

when it is not properly disposed of. toxins. Because of these problems there are active campaigns against

Chemicals contaminating soil waste incineration. Greenpeace actively worked on these issues and

When waste ends up at the landfill, chemicals in the trash can leech out some information, including a map of UK waste incinerators, can be

into the soil, contaminating it. This will hurt plants, along with animals found by searching the Greenpeace website for waste incineration.

and even humans who come into contact with the soil. However, burning waste can generate energy and there are operational

Once polluted, contaminated soil can be very hard to clean, and will schemes. The Renewable Energy Association website provides more

likely have to be dug up to clear the area. information including a map of biomass and energy from waste

Surface water projects.

Chemicals don’t just run from garbage into the soil. They can also reach Throwing away things wastes resources. It wastes the raw materials and

nearby surface water, such as rivers and lakes. This will change the energy used in making the items and it wastes money. Reducing

levels of chemicals in the water for the worse. The result? The waste means less environmental impact, less resources and energy used

ecosystems such as fish habitats in the water get hurt, as do any and saves money.

creatures that drink from the water source. Not good.

Air pollution

Garbage can create air pollution due to gasses and chemicals

evaporating from the waste. This air pollution can occur in open-air

dumps, where a lot of our waste and electronic trash goes, and through

incinerators used at garbage disposal sites. The air pollution from

incineration can be so bad, in fact, that it can even release toxic

substances that can contribute to acid rain.

Other garbage will release methane as it wastes away, and methane is

one of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming – and

can also be ignited to cause an explosion. Water

Remember, much of our stuff these days is made with chemicals. These The increasing demands placed on the global water supply threaten

chemicals don’t just disappear when they end up in the dump – they biodiversity and the supply of water for food production and other vital

will continue to exist and cause environmental problems for a long human needs. Water shortages already exist in many regions, with more

time. Getting rid of your trash in an environmentally sustainable way is than one billion people without adequate drinking water. In addition,

one of the best things we can do for the earth! 90% of the infectious diseases in developing countries are transmitted

Disposing of waste has huge environmental impacts and can cause from polluted water. Agriculture consumes about 70% of fresh water

and 43. and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere are projected to lead to global climate change. as projected. recycling. (Pimentel et al. Air pollutants can originate from natural or anthropogenic (man-made) The predicted global warming. Canada in the 21st century. Their Sources. forestry. climate research has linked certain compounds long may decline by about 10% (Myers and Kent 2001). IPCC 2002). Some sources of pollution. We list climate at the top of the list to mountain snowpack because of global warming. including the water needed for chemical species. and improved water-use efficiency rather than from large development projects. 2004). Examples of natural sources of pollution include requirements. On the temperatures in the US Corn Belt rise by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius. For example. the physiology of plants. (Parry and Carter 1989. can be related biodiversity and increases in deforestation. such changes may alter precipitation and Emissions temperature patterns throughout the world (Downing and Parry Air pollutants are substances that adversely affect the environment by 1994. methane gas. along with increased human food sources. and known or chemical wastes thrown into the water in search of gold. can be expected to alter the amount of irrigation needed volcanic eruptions or wind erosion. 2003). Mining and fracking are one of the most shocking examples of water Table 1 pollution.000 L to produce 1 kg of beef. compounds and secondary air pollutants that may be more harmful This is the Dagua River. probably increasing it by 30% (Doll combustion engines are an exemplary source of anthropogenic 2002). this will change both the timing and intensity of the most important environmental challenges to be faced by humanity seasonal surface water flow (Pimentel et al. dying: than their precursors. and soil to both natural phenomena and human activities. erosion. for example. in Colombia. approximately 1000 liters (L) of water are required to produce 1 kilogram (kg) of cereal grain. especially in developing countries. which equals to mercury. their sources. suspected environmental effects are listed in Table 1 (after [Sher 1998]). 2004). animal species. entire agriculture. Effects of climate and environmental change on water availability Estimates of water resources and their future availability can only be based on present world climate patterns. Pollutant Natural Anthropogenic Environment . biodiversity. cyanide and other The world’s most important air pollutants. These reactions can produce both harmless crop and forest production (Root et al. if California experiences a 50% decrease in crops or man-made structures. as well as with human property in the form of agricultural affected. In this context certain climate forcing agents—the most might benefit from the extended growing seasons caused by global important one being carbon dioxide—which otherwise cause no harm warming. With major shifts in water availability. thus providing one more reason for their control. rainfall other hand. In contrast. limiting corn production in the future of climate. All of these major changes are likely to reduce water availability Atmospheric reactions can transform primary pollutants into different for humans and other living organisms. as projected (Knowles reflect the fact that global climate change has been recognized as one of and Cayan 2002). New water supplies are likely to result from conservation. but even this region eventually could face water shortages to living organisms. and Effects mills. should be added to the list of “classic” pollutants. future interfering with climate. Other serious impacts of global warming could include loss of pollution.worldwide. and evaporation recognized as air pollutants (for instance black carbon) to the warming rates from the soil may increase. The continued loss of forests and other vegetation and the accumulation of carbon dioxide. The cause: Mining. Over time. such as forest fires. desertification. or both. Emissions from internal worldwide to ensure food security. and diverse human activities will be ecosystems. If. IPCC 2002). but you can also see the damages made by tanneries or paper Air Pollutants. the annual along with such compounds as oxides of nitrogen or sulfur.

Secondary standards protect the al reactions produced in and public welfare from any known or anticipated adverse effects associated in the photochemical man-made with the presence of a pollutant in the ambient air. crops. High temperature Primary motor vehicles (NO + NO2) soil bacteria fuel pollutants that combustion—mot produce Carbon dioxide Animal Fossil fuel and Most common or vehicles. Non-methane Biological Incomplete Primary Destruction of hydrocarbons processes combustion. and smog. oil volcanic fuels such as coal Human health wells eruption or diesel impact. deterioration of property. weather. health effects of criteria air pollutants. pollutants that stratospheric (VOC) solvent utilization produce ozone. stratospheric particulates refrigerants ozone contribute to Governments and international organizations have been taking actions global to protect the quality of air. An and decay petroleum impact. Primary standards Ozone Lightning. Carbon monoxide Unnoticeable Rich & Human health Trees stoichiometric impact . diesel Quality Standards (NAAQS) adopted by the Environmental Protection engines burning Agency (EPA). example of such legislation is set by the US National Ambient Air refineries. photochemical Human health smog impact. wildlife. mainly from Nitrogen oxides Lightnings. and combustion gas wind biofuels such as atmospheric cud-chewing erosion. Ambient air quality Sulfur dioxide Volcanic Coal combustion. Human health animals. Acid rain. crops. issued by environmental protection eruptions ore smelters. Black Chlorofluorocarbo None Solvents. standards and guidelines. photochemical respiration. include effects on soils. Secondary Damage to protect sensitive members of the human population from adverse photochemic pollutant plants. aerosol Destruction of carbon ns (CFC) propellants. and release from nitrate oceans particulates. hazards to transportation. damage to and impact. as well as—in more recent years—to warming. Welfare effects troposphere smog products. Human health authorities. wood combustion greenhouse industrial. Combustion of Reduced decay. visibility. gas utility rain. Source Source al Effect combustion. vegetation. control emissions of climate forcing agents. The NAAQS apply to both human health (primary high-sulfur fuels standard) and public welfare (secondary standard). climate. Methane Anaerobic Natural gas leak Greenhouse Particulates Forest fires. wood. as well as effects on economic values and personal comfort and well-being. manmade materials. acid decay. water. are instrumental in achieving the air quality objective. and fossil visibility. animals.

Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as state vapor to the atmosphere. TOXIC WASTE IN PRACTICE Trees also play a critical role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that A common hazardous waste facility is one that stores the waste in fuel global warming. Not all deforestation is intentional. such as mercury. . and supplies drinking water. Forest soils are moist. and plants if they encounter most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. The waste may be liquid. used computer EFFECTS OF DEFORESTATION equipment. The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. or other toxins. hospitals. of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere—and increased speed like soil with lead. Katrina. which designated facilities located throughout the United States. in stream runoff. Some toxins. is sometimes allowed to remain in place under the and severity of global warming. Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. ground and then be sealed with a cap of hard clay. The cutting that does occur should be Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale. laboratories. animals. as happened after Hurricane many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes. also cut countless trees each year. EPA requires that hazardous former forest lands can quickly become barren deserts. and leftover paints or pesticides. harmful to plants and animals. or sludge and contain chemicals.MODERN-DAY PLAGUE environments remain intact. Often. which provide the world’s wood and paper products. radiation. Forests are also Hazardous wastes are poisonous byproducts of manufacturing. by the out. which may prevent the growth of young trees. in groundwater that Eighty percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests. small farmers will clear a few acres by cutting down trees and burning them in a process known as slash and burnagriculture. Humans or animals often absorb them when they eat fish. of human and natural factors like wildfires and subsequent dangerous pathogens. Deforestation can have a negative impact on the environment. but swaths half the size of still equals a tiny fraction of the Earth’s forested land. and holds in heat at night. This for their services. many departments of environmental protection. these toxins buried in the ground. Some is caused by a combination solid. but accumulate. or in floodwaters. hazardous waste from items such as batteries. but their total 30 percent of the world’s land area. which charge blocks the sun’s rays during the day. The resulting in damage to the quality of the land. The The waste can harm humans. persist in the environment and Deforestation also drives climate change. waste be handled with special precautions and be disposed of in Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy. Even households generate overgrazing. Many towns have special collection days for disruption leads to more extreme temperature swings that can be household hazardous waste. also build roads to access more and more Toxic and Substances remote forests—which lead to further deforestation. often balanced by planting young trees to replace older trees felled. without protection from sun-blocking tree cover. England are lost each year. dwellings.S. Forests still cover about number of new tree plantations is growing each year. they quickly dry The rules surrounding hazardous waste are overseen in the U. Less toxic waste is unlikely to migrate. Fewer forests mean larger amounts sealed containers in the ground. construction. heavy metals. suitable for commercial or industrial uses. and other industries. Communities may The most feasible solution to deforestation is to carefully manage eventually decide to use these sites for golf courses or parks. Logging operations. Without trees to fill these roles. automotive garages. The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation. Loggers. some of them acting illegally. cut as a result of growing urban sprawl as land is developed for farming. or to label forest resources by eliminating clear-cutting to make sure forest them “brownfields” sites. city septic systems.

Substances that are not And as food production decreases worldwide. dumping. having the money and technology to ward off the health impacts of a changing climate are yet another daily struggle. It also lists some but not associated with our warming planet such as more frequent droughts. Communities and environmentalists have long complained about lax Human Health enforcement of hazardous waste regulations.Violations. The Superfund Act contains rules about cleaning up phenomenon are those with the smallest share of the economy and hazardous waste that was dumped illegally. with the poorest individuals and nations seeing the argue the regulations are too strict and lobby Congress to soften or most disheartening results. The UN has already recognized reductions in yields of The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulate how crops such as wheat and maize. diarrhea and heat stress. For individuals already pressed for resources. Food Scarcity EPA began regulating hazardous waste in 1976. many corporations climate change. result in hefty fines. Our . Viruses like Ebola and the sludge. Meanwhile. where individuals are exposed to worsening air quality from wind One EPA rule that has proved very controversial governs industrial sweeping across ever-expanding deserts. Environmental and other organizations say dangerous levels of A warming planet may also increase parasitic infections in people. This is very much an issue for anyone that cares about people and the future of humankind. malaria. public. all of the wastes that EPA considers hazardous. food prices will rise. may growing problem in too many ways. Decreased hygiene and water availability could potentially result in the additional deaths of 48. People Climate Change – Changing Life for People We are rapidly realizing that fighting climate change isn’t just for the tree-huggers and animal lovers amongst us. with particularly negative effects on children. Many toxic waste Food production abilities are predicted to take a hit as climate shifts.000 children under 15 by the year 2030 as well due to diarrheal illnesses. In a chemical accident in Hungary. the people standing to be hit hardest by this to EPA’s rules. Asthma has increased in parts of Africa remove certain rules. EPA allows sludge containing heavy metals to be included in West Nile virus stand to increase their infection rates as a changing fertilizers that are used by farmers on food crops or sold directly to the climate alters the environment in their favor. both by the federal Human health is also expected to be on the decline under the impact of government and state governments.000 deaths per year caused by health problems including malnutrition. The World Health people. and a movement of agriculturally valuable lands and conditions towards REGULATIONS the poles. on the list but are toxic are also considered hazardous waste and subject Understandably. Other waste sites are the result of more recent illegal change include higher temperatures. changing precipitation patterns. dumps that pose a threat to communities today are holdovers from the Some of the key threats to food production resulting from climate era prior to 1976. toxic waste reached a nearby river. most likely resulting from the issues hazardous waste must be handled and stored. available resources to spend on food. Organization believes climate change will result in an additional 250. the metals are taken up by some plants and subsequently eaten by especially for those that are food-borne. like dumping hazardous waste in town dumps to avoid fellow humans are actually planted right in the crosshairs of this paying the fees charged by waste transporters and waste facilities.

and major corporations are bracing for the call to meet growing restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. Residents of low-lying Pacific islands already have to face the reality of this threat. world powers still need to outline if and how they will respond to the climate refugees that may arise in the coming decades. hurricanes. The term “climate refugee” has recently entered the vocabulary of many scientists and human aid organizations as a manner in which to refer to individuals that become displaced from their homes due to climate change. Just as with food and medical care. Natural disasters under climate change are expected to increase and intensify which puts more people. guaranteeing proper and safe shelter will be more difficult for the more impoverished individuals we share this planet with. World leaders are talking about it. organizations. more often. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/ Flickr Climate Refugees Safe and permanent shelter for people all over the globe is expected to become more of a luxury for many as a changing climate makes our world a more dangerous place to call home. Standing Up for the Planet Means Standing Up for People Climate change is a problem that world powers are wringing their hands over. as are world-renowned scientists and international . You have the power to help. Sea-level rise alone may force tens of millions of people to relocate to higher ground and build new homes. Governments are looking at ways to reduce their own country’s contributions. Powerful bodies such as the UN Refugee Agency are starting to publicly acknowledge the ability of climate change to cause a mass refugee crisis given the harsh environmental conditions our planet is beginning to experience. This is obviously a massive problem with global implications. Although. at the threat of destructive events like cyclones. Yet it’s important to remember this is also an issue that can be addressed at the individual level. flooding and drought.