UN experts have discovered what pollutes the environment the most. According to them, the following areas of human activity affect air quality:
Agriculture. During the process of digesting food, animals release methane and ammonia. These substances increase climate change and also increase the concentration of ozone in the surface layer of the atmosphere, which contributes to the development of respiratory diseases in humans.
Transport. In Moscow and other major cities, cars are responsible for 90% of all emissions.
Industry. Businesses poison the air with soot, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen, heavy metals and other harmful substances. Many wastewater treatment plants can not filter chemical pollutants or are not used at all for energy saving.
Waste. One of the consequences of the decomposition of garbage in landfills and landfills is the entry into the atmosphere of a landfill gas with a strong, unpleasant odor. Its main components are methane and carbon dioxide, which accelerate global warming.
Household – the use of heating stoves that run on wood, coal and other solid fuels, burning garbage in the yards.
All types of environmental pollution are dangerous, but degradation of air quality is recognized as one of the main threats to human health. Thus, in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Kemerovo and other industrial areas of Russia, the “black sky” function is introduced regularly, when breathing outside without a ventilator becomes harmful to health.
In 2019, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources conducted a large-scale soil study. Primorsky Krai became the leader in counter-scoring, where more than 48% of the samples taken did not meet the standards. In addition, high levels of soil pollution were recorded in the Novgorod region (32.8%), St. Petersburg (30%), North Ossetia-Alanya (23.2%) and elsewhere.
Chemicals can enter the soil as a result of oil spills or wetting of decomposed waste in landfills with rainwater. Thus, in 2021, Rosselkhoznadzor recorded 39 cases of damage to agricultural land from petroleum products.
The particles contained in the air emissions also precipitate on the surface of the earth over time. Railway repairers, for example, emit more than 380,000 tons of heavy metal dust into the air each year. Most of these pollutants end up in the soil. Another source of metal dust is train brake pads. In the process of rubbing against the rails, about 200 thousand tons of pollutants enter the environment.
The use of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides is also dangerous. According to Mikhail Karpukhin, head of the Department of Vegetables and Fruits at Ural State Agrarian University, it will take at least 100 years for soil that has lost its fertility due to excess pesticides to recover.
UN soil expert Abdelkader Bensada noted that soil pollution can not only disrupt the natural balance of ecosystems, but also lead to the emergence of new diseases and pests, as well as the extinction of certain animal species. And it is also a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria and viruses that are resistant to existing drugs.
In addition, declining soil fertility threatens the world’s population with hunger. The reason for the lack of food is not only the deterioration of yields, but also the increased concentration of toxic substances in crops. These products are dangerous to consume. For example, cadmium, arsenic and lead can accumulate in the body, destroying internal organs and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Harmful substances are introduced into water bodies in several ways:
During rains and tides, manure and fertilizers enter the water. This accelerates the growth of toxic phytoplankton and other algae and also leads to oxygen starvation of aquatic inhabitants.
Plastic accumulations in the oceans form huge garbage islands. Another part of the waste settles to the bottom, breaking down into microparticles. They enter the stomachs of birds, animals, fish and even humans. By 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Sewage from some companies contains arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, zinc and nickel. About 50,000 tonnes of heavy metals enter the North Sea alone each year.
Due to the washing of tanker depots, between 8 and 20 million barrels of oil are dumped into the ocean each year.
2.2 billion people suffer from a lack of clean drinking water. 1.2 billion of them are forced to use water from sources contaminated with feces. Poor hygiene leads to outbreaks of diarrhea, which kills 1.5 million children under the age of five each year in developing countries.
These are undesirable and unpleasant to living organisms sounds of man-made origin. The main sources of noise pollution:
operation of businesses, heat and power plants
construction and repair
alarm, home appliances
The report of the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that the adverse effects of noise have deprived the people of Western Europe of 1 million years of healthy living. Lost time refers to the disability period.
The association of noise with an increased risk of developing hypertension, heart attack and other cardiovascular pathologies, deterioration of cognitive functions and the occurrence of psychological distress has been proven. Children may have developmental delays, problems with memory and concentration. Under the influence of noise, sleep becomes superficial – after waking up, people do not feel rested.
The world’s oceans have long been a source of radioactive waste. Such waste arrived there during atomic weapons and hydrogen tests (until its ban in 1963), as well as during waste disposal. For example, between 1964 and 1986, the Soviet Union disposed of 11,000 containers of radioactive waste in this way. The meat of certain species of fish, such as tuna, may contain significant concentrations of these elements.
Radionuclides also accumulate in the soil. Over 40 years of nuclear energy development in the world, more than 150 accidents have occurred. Wind currents carry radioactive particles over long distances and are impossible to completely remove from the ecosystem.
Radiation increases the risk of organ damage and oncological diseases, as well as the birth of children with developmental pathologies. Smaller doses of radiation disrupt the function of the immune and reproductive systems, leading to hormonal disorders and allergic reactions. Radionuclides damage the structure of DNA, so the damage caused by them can be passed on to the next generation.
The intensity of artificial lighting increases by 2% per year, so the problem of light pollution is becoming more and more urgent. When it is light at night as well as during the day, the biological rhythms of living beings are disturbed, for example:
Ports, ships and other sources of artificial light confuse the newly hatched sea turtles. They try to swim towards them in shallow water, instead of hiding in the ocean, where it is more difficult for predators to catch them.
Ornithologists at Cornell University have found that darkening half the windows will save 59% of migratory birds hitting buildings.
Clown fish populations may be declining as their knees need darkness to hatch.
Due to the artificial lighting, the birds that live on the shore can not calmly raise chicks. They often become prey to predators or abandon their usual habitats.
Light pollution is also dangerous to humans; 80% of the world’s population is exposed to it. Abnormal light levels reduce the synthesis of enzymes that are necessary for the production of melatonin. This hormone not only fights insomnia, but also participates in maintaining physical health. Melatonin stimulates the brain, strengthens the immune system, prolongs youth and prevents the development of malignancies.
Occurs when heated water enters the natural environment. The causes of thermal pollution are business wastewater. This type of environmental damage is also caused by large hydropower plants (HPPs).
In heated water, anaerobic bacteria begin to multiply actively. They consume a lot of oxygen, worsening the living conditions of other inhabitants of the ocean. It also reduces the concentration of carbon dioxide and nitrogen in the water, which are necessary for the growth of algae.
Thermal pollution adversely affects the trout’s reproductive capacity. The caviar and semen of these fish only mature at a certain temperature. When hot water is released, spawning may not start. And if the tank is heated to 25-26 ° C, the adults will also die.
Environmental pollution is a global problem that should not be ignored. The fact that environmental degradation has reached a critical level is demonstrated by the following facts:
More than 50 species of fish, including mackerel and striped sea bass, swallow plastic debris floating in the ocean. Because of this, toxic compounds accumulate in their meat.
Air pollution kills 7 million people every year.
The radioactive substances in the ocean at this time would be enough for 30 Chernobyl exclusion zones.
Every third person can not see the Galaxy due to the artificial lighting of cities.
But the main threat is global warming caused by emissions from industrial, agricultural, energy and transport industries. Since the end of the 19th century, global temperatures have risen by 1.1 ° C. If the situation does not change, it will be impossible to stop the melting of the Greenland glaciers. Dozens of islands could fall under water, hot areas would be turned into lifeless deserts and surviving countries would face a food crisis and a series of environmental disasters.
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