Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Beseri, Perlis

Dynamic & Endangered Ecosystem
Biology Folio

Lukman Hakim A. Rahman 4 Glorious | 2010

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With great advancements in the medical field. therefore. arise between the need to meet the immediate human demands in the short term and the need to protect and conserve ecosystems from long term damage. the world s population has grown to over 6 billion today. Conflicts. the greenhouse effect. These problems bring about negative effects that increasingly threaten the economic resources. modern farming techniques and better infrastructure. global warming and the depletion of natural resources. unplanned development and the mismanagement of the ecosystems result in various environmental problems such as air and water pollution.Introduction Human activities often affect the whole ecosystem. The negative effects of hasty. Many of the problems related to the environment are the result of human activities and human interference with the ecosystems. health and survival of ecosystems. .

in domestic and industrial boilers. 1. Fossil fuels are burnt in power stations using coal.1 The impact of human activities on the ecosystem. sulphur dioxide (SO2). oxides of nitrogen (NO2 and NO) and fine particulate matter.1 Air Pollution Burning of fossil fuels is the main source of air pollution. It is the result of harmful substances or energy released through human activities.1. chemical or biological characteristics of the natural environment. 1. a shortness of breath and coughing y Causes asmathic attacks Climate: y Combines with rainwater to form acid rain Agriculture: y Contributes to acid rain which damages photosynthetic tissues y Acid rain lowers pH of soil. When fossil fuels are burnt. . forming various air pollutants.1 Pollution Pollution can be defined as any undesirable change in the physical. and in the internal combustion engines of vehicles. water. and destroys buildings. Volcanic gases Large industrial boilers Factories y y Use low sulphur content fuels Clean up emissions from power stations and factories with scrubbers. These include carbon dioxide (CO2). the elements in the fossil fuels are oxidized. y y Oxides of nitrogen (NO and NO2) y y Vehicle exhausts Action of bacteria on fertilisers Combustion of fossil fuels Factories Clean up emissions from car exhausts by installing catalytic converters to turn oxides of nitrogen into harmless nitrogen gas. throat and eyes y Cause respiratory infections y Cause bronchitis Climate: y Dissolved in rainwater to form acid rain Agriculture: y Contributes to acid rain which lowers pH of soil. making it unsuitable for cultivation of crops y Damages leaves and roots Buildings: y Acid rain corrodes metal and destroy stonework on Solutions Carbon monoxide (CO) y y y Sulphur dioxide (SO2) y y y Combustion of fossil fuels. Pollutants y Sources Incomplete combustion of fossil fuels The exhausts of vehicles Factories Effects Health: y Combines readily with haemoglobin and affects the transport of oxygen to body cells y Impairs alertness. rivers and lakes Building: y Acid rain corrodes iron. Health: y Irritate lungs. thermal and noise poluution. causes fatigue and headaches Health: y Irritates the eyes y Damages respiratory passages y Causes bronchitis y Causes wheezing. nose. limestone and stonework. particularly in heat and power generation facilities. petroleum and natural gas. There are four types of pollution : air.

Both sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen combine with water vapour in the atmosphere to form sulphuric acid and nitric acid respectively. Aquatic ecosystem y Acid rain causes insoluble aluminium ions to accumulate in lakes and rivers. b. the pH of acid rain is less than 5.0. d. However. and lead to bronchitis y Dust from quarries.buildings y Lead (Pb) y Combustion of fossil fuels Vehicle exhaust fumes Open burning Combustion of fossil fuels Incomplete combustion of fossil fuels Exhaust fumes Quarries. d. Then they fall to earth as acid rain. e. Agriculture y The soil becomes very acidic and unsuitable for the cultivation of crops. c. b. sawmills and asbestos factories Health: y Retards mental development and damages the liver y Can result in coma or death Health: y Affects respiration Climate: y Leads to greenhouse effect and global warming y Results in an increase in the atmospheric temperature y Climate changes Health: y Irritates the eyes. sawmills.6. asthma. Health y Acidic soil releases the ions of certain heavy metals such as cadmium. with a pH of about 5. Carbon dioxide (CO2) y y Reduce the use of fossil fuels. sore throats. lead and mercury which may contaminate the supply of drinking water. Plant leaves turn yellow and fall off. Rain is naturally acidic. nose and lungs y Damage the respiratory passages and lungs y Haze can cause conjunctivitis. Effects of acid rain a. calcium and magnesium. y . Buildings y Metal railings and bridges corrode. This affects the growth of crops. This acidity is due to the carbon dioxide in the air. The combustion of fossil fuels (coal. y y Fine particulate matter y y y More efficient burning of fuels in welldesigned furnaces Stop open burning Acid Rain y Causes of acid rain a. which dissolves in rain to form carbonic acid. The roots are damaged and cannot absorb minerals. c. domestic boilers and internal combustion engines releases large quantities of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NO and NO2). influenza. air and gas) in power stations. y Acid rain causes the leaching of minerals such as potassium. y Photosynthetic tissues are destroyed. and asbestos factories can cause lung diseases y Haze leads to reduced visibility Use unleaded petrol. The concentration of aluminium ions eventually reaches a toxic level which can kill aquatic organisms such as fish and invertebrates. y Increased acidity in the aquatic ecosystems also kills phytoplankton which changes the food chain. factories.

The pollutants react with one another in the catalytic converter to produce less harmful products. Cleaning up emissions from power stations and industrial plants with scrubbers. Acid rain can be reduced by a. Cleaning up emissions from vehicle exhausts through the use of catalytic converters. This process involves the spraying of water to trap pollutants. stonework and marble monuments are eroded due to chemical weathering.y y Limestone. . b.

Water sources are the most easily polluted as they are most affected by human activities. Reducing the usage of excess nitrates from fertilisers and ammonia y Use biodegradable pesticides y Use biological pest control methods y Plant genetically modified crops that resist pest attacks. 2. there is a significant increase in respiratory problems. y y Treat sewage before it enters rivers. Untreated sewage Domestic waste Herbicide and pesticide residues y Accumulation of pesticides and herbicides may have toxic effects on organisms in the water and humans if the water is used as drinking water. Air pollution levels are divided into five bands as shown below: API Descriptor 0 50 Good 51 100 Moderate 101 200 Unhealthy 201 300 Very unhealthy >300 Hazardous 4. Applying only when crops are growing b. Industrial. Sources Agricultural runoffs and waste from oil palm and rubber processing mills Components/pollutants and their effects Nitrates and phosphates (in fertilisers) y Excess nitrates and phosphates lead to eutrophication Solutions Control the use of fertilisers by a. 1.1. y The pesticide levels accumulate as they pass through the food chains. Prevent farm slurry from enetering rivers and ponds y Use biodegradable detergents with low phosphate content. Nitrates and phosphates y Lead to eutrophication Detergents y Hard detergents create foam which reduces the supply of oxygen to organisms living in water. domestic and agricultural activities produce waste which pollutes water. such as wheezing and a shortness of breath in people with asthma. When the API reading is between 201 300. Not disposing of them into rivers and ponds e. 2.Air pollutant index 1. they can be decomposed by microorganisms and this process requires a high demand for oxygen. This index is calculated based on the concentrations of several major air pollutants. 3. Not applying in empty fields c.2 Water pollution 1. The air quality is measured by the air pollutant index (API). The health of patients with heart and lung conditions worsens. Suspended solids y Reduced light penetration y If suspended solids are biodegradable. Not spraying when there is a forecast of rain d. y Soft detergents can also lead to eutrophication. . y High concentration of pesticides may accumulate in the tissues of final consumers which are mainly carnivores.

Eutrophication Eutrophication is the artificial nutrient enrichment of an aquatic system with organic material or inorganic nutrients. y Ways to prevent thermal pollution y y Control the amount of hot water discharged by industrial facilities. . a sudden increase in temperature can lead to instant death because many aquatic species can only survive within a certain range of temperature. Control the amount of hot water or industrial effluents discharged into still or slow moving rivers. causing an excessive growth of aquatic plant life. from agricultural lands. 1.The death of these species may have a negative effect on the food chain. for example. in turn.1. y Oil. For other species. leads to a higher oxygen demand (BOD) value. y Heavy metals which is highly toxic. algae. When the temperature of water increases. grease and suspended solids y Waste water that contains numerous contaminants Lead y Lead is a highly toxic heavy metal y Can impair the mental ability y y y y Drink properly treated and boiled water. Effects of thermal pollution y y Water temperature can affect the level of dissolved oxygen. Run-offs containing animal wastes from pastures and farmlands into lakes. The excess heat that is released into the environment leads to thermal pollution. The leaching of inorganic fertilisers. Thermal pollution causes the temperature in a body of water to rise above the normal value.3 Thermal pollution Causes of thermal pollution y y y Hot water is discharged into nearby lakes and rivers from the effluents of industrial processes. especially nitrates and phosphates. causing the entire ecosystem to collapse. . The increase in temperature can be between 5o C and 10o C. . Eutrophication can be caused by: a. b.For some species.Animal waste Effluents from industries Underground pipes Microorganisms such as bacteria and protozoa y Can cause water-borne diseases such as cholera. rivers or ponds. The input of untreated sewage as well as discharge from sewage treatment plants c. oxygen becomes less soluble in water. an increase in temperature actually encourages their rapid growth which. Treat effluents before discharged Take legal action Use copper pipes instead of lead pipes in plumbing.

2.1. Excessive exposure to high levels of noise is considered a health risk because it can lead to stressrelated problems. landslides and flash floods y Without proper development and planning. 4. y When there are many heavy rains for a long period of time. . Soil erosion is the removal and thinning of the soil layer due to physical and climatic processes. y Rainforests regulate climate by influencing wind. such as high rainfalls. y They contain many unique species which provide food. Despite their importance. y Rainforests are also called the carbon sink of the earth because they absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and at the same time release oxygen into the atmosphere. A person s heartbeat rate. deforestation results in: y Soil erosion y Flash floods y Landslides y Disruption to the carbon and nitrogen cycles y Severe climatic changes y The loss of biodiversity 1. 6. medicine and other biological products. Noise from cars. humidity and temperature patterns. 2. y This. Loud noise can cause an arousal response in which series of reactions occurs in the body. The noise level of residential areas should not exceed 55 decibels (dB). 1. rainfall. together with the depletion of water catchment areas. prolonged exposure to noise levels at or above 80 dB can lead to deafness. y The absence of plant root systems makes the soil structure unstable. it has been estimated that more than 50 million acres of rainforests are destroyed or seriously degraded every year.2 Deforestation and its effects The rapid destruction of woodlands or the removal of trees from forests is known as deforestation.4 Noise pollution 1.1. It is possible that constant exposure to noise can be harmful to health. vast areas of forests are cleared to make way for agriculture and development. aeroplanes. Tropical rainforests have important ecological roles: y Rainforests are the oldest ecosystem on Earth and house almost half of the flora and fauna of the world. In general. blood pressure. According to WHO. motorcycles. y They also serve as water catchment areas. the top layer of the soil crumbles and this leads to landslides on steep hillsides. Every year. 5. construction sites. a land stripped of its vegetation is subject to soil erosion. The blood vessels constrict and the muscles become tense. and respiration rate are likely to increase. agricultural and industrial machinery can be a form of pollution. Adrenaline is released into the bloodstream. y The eroded soil is then carried by moving water and deposited at the bottom of rivers.1 Soil erosion. causes flash floods furing the rainy seasons. 3.

1. nitrous oxide. most of the greenhouse gases occur normally.3 y y y Climatic changes y y Deforestation disrupts the normal weather patterns. chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). y y y y y Carbon dioxide. y The extinction of countless species and varieties of plants and animals. Biodiversity can be a rich source of food and priceless medicines to mankind. The extinction of flora and fauna species reduces the biodiversity. 1. drier weather and causing global climatic changes. low level ozone. rainfall and the rate at which plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis. With the exception of CFCs. As these gases increases. The destruction of millions of hectares of forests by human activities means: y The removal of the bases of numerous food webs. all of them are also the results of human activities.3 The greenhouse effect The greenhouse effect is an effect in the atmosphere as a result of the presence of certain gases.1. methane. and water vapour make up the greenhouse gases. Burning of trees in the tropics adds about 25% more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.2. called the greenhouse gases. y The loss of habitats of many species of flora and fauna. High level of carbon dioxide prevent heat from escaping from the atmosphere. they trap more heat in the atmosphere and raising the average temperature on earth. This leads to an increase in the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere. . Forest clearing and burning of wood result in air pollution and release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.2 The loss of biodiversity Deforestation has a devastating effect on the biodiversity in tropical rainforests. However.2. creating hotter. Scientists believe that the combustion of fossil fuels and other human activities are the primary reasons for the increased concentration of atmospheric CO2. The removal of trees reduces transpiration. This is known as the greenhouse effect which is believed to lead to global warming. This overall rise in the average temperature of the atmosphere is known as global warming.

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