Pollution problem

Why we should be concerned

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The effects of air pollution are devastating.

Isabella Harrop, Staff Writer

We pollute the earth in many different ways whether it’s air, water, land, noise, or light pollution. We cause all of these things and they each have a different effect on us as human and our ecosystem. This is why it’s important to learn more about it what it does and how we can help change that or at least limit our use. There is an air quality index that is used green means good, yellow is moderate, orange means unhealthy for sensitive people like elderly and children, red is unhealthy, purple is very unhealthy, and maroon is hazardous.

 

Air pollution is when we release particles into the air from burning fuels which create soot, which is black powdery substance like in the image above. We also have gases like sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, chemical vapors, and nitrogen oxides. These are what create smog and acid rain. Air pollution actually kills about 2 million people each year. Air pollution is caused by factories, power plants, cars, airplanes, chemicals, gas, and fumes from spray cans. The most common we know of is fossil fuels which include coal, oil and gases.

 

Land pollution is caused by garbage from households and industries. In 2014 Americans produced 258 million tons of solid waste. Just over half of that was gathered into landfills and only 34% was actually recycled or composted. Paper accounted for more than 26%, food was 15%, yard trimmings was 13%. The rest was all inorganic matter such as plastic, rubber, leather, textiles, metals, wood, glass and miscellaneous materials contributed for 45% of the waste. Americans generate 30 billion foam cups and 220 million tires each year which don’t break down and end up in our landfills

 

Water pollution is when chemicals or other dangerous foreign substances are released into the water. This could include pesticides, herbage, sewage, fertilizers, runoff or even metals. 64% of lakes, 30% of bay and estuarine, and 44% of streams are not clean enough for swimming or fishing. The most common contaminants are mercury, bacteria, phosphorus and nitrogen. This problem is not just in the United States; 783 million people in the world do not have access to clean water. 80% of pollution in marine environment comes from runoff.

 

Noise and light pollution are also problematic. Noise pollution can cause stress, headaches, irritability, and hearing and sleep loss. Oil drills, vessels and submarines also hurt animals like whales by their excessive noise which can result in injury or death. Too much light can cause eye strain and stress. Light pollution also  interferes with animals’ natural behaviors and cycles.  Lighting near the shores causes sea turtle hatchlings to sometimes become disoriented and wander inland and they often die because of predators or dehydration.

 

Pollution can cause human health problems.  Long term expose to air pollution can cause chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer and other diseases. It can also put you at a higher risk of asthma and reproductive system defects. Although animals are also at risk because they can consume toxins like mercury that settle onto plants and go into our water and then it gets consumed by animals. They are poisonous so it goes up the food chain if another animal eats another who has consumed it. Water pollution causes issues because we need clean drinking water and we need to irrigate crops.

 

Overall, they have great effects on the human life and our ecosystems so we should prevent them from happening as much as we can. It is destroying the environment causing harm to us and animals and  destroying the air we breathe in. We need to decrease waste, recycle more, ban dangerous agricultural chemicals and use more safe and renewable energy. Some choices of renewable energy that you can use start using is wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower.