Around the world, environmental issues have harmful consequences. For this, it is therefore essential to identify them and find the appropriate solutions to overcome them.
Find out below the main environmental issues and their solutions.
1. Environmental issues; Air pollution
Carbon monoxide, nitrogen and sulfur oxides, fine particles, VOCs, heavy metals, radioactivity …
The acidification of soils (resulting in particular from acid rain) results in a decrease in natural environments and crops’ fertility.
The ability of certain species to reproduce or feed is impaired by the disruption of pheromones, hormones, and odors.
In humans, pollution increases the frequency of certain cancers, respiratory diseases, and associated mortality, and disrupts reproduction.
According to estimations, air pollution was responsible for more than 500,000 premature deaths in Europe in 2014.
1.1 Main causes
Outdoors: thermal power plants, heating, industries, and transport
Indoors: paints, glues, chipboard furniture, solvents, home fragrances (including candles and incense), cleaning products.
- Develop renewable energies, promote energy efficiency and sobriety (limit heating and air conditioning of buildings, light advertising, night lighting, etc.)
- Energy renovation of buildings
- Filters leaving the factory
- Develop public transport, carpooling, car-sharing, piggyback, river, biking, walking, etc.
- Public information, a ban on dangerous substances, and the development of alternatives.
2. Environmental issues; Global warming
One of the serious environmental issues is global warming, which is characterized by an increase in temperatures resulting from industrial activities and greenhouse gases. This climate change is due to the burning of coal, oil, and gas, the disappearance of forests, increased cattle and sheep farming, and the use of fluorinated gases. Several consequences are notable such as the melting of the ice, especially in the coldest regions, the rise in sea level, the transformation of the landscapes resulting in the disappearance of certain animal and plant species. Faced with this climate change, there is a resurgence of diseases due to heatwaves and floods.
2.1 Main causes
- Greenhouse gas production: CO2 from combustion of fuel oil, coal or natural gas
- Methane produced by mining activities or through agriculture
- Nitrous oxide (N2O) produced through agriculture.
- Conversion of the most emitting energies (coal, oil, gas) to renewable energies
- Carbon tax
- Rational management of forests, protection of natural areas
- The orientation of agriculture towards agroecology, agroforestry
- Slow down meat production
- Energy renovation of buildings
- Produce better (more durable, repairable products better designed) and less
3. Environmental issues; Degradation of the ozone layer
The ozone layer protects the globe from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Scientists discovered in 1974 that there is a direct association of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). One of the greenhouse gases with the phenomenon of ozone depletion in the cover weather and the arrival of ultraviolet rays to the globe results in a lack of plant production and many diseases that affect human immunodeficiency diseases, skin cancer, cataracts…
Waste from the nuclear industry, arms production, research or medicine, harm people and nature.
3.2 Solutions and measures to take
In 1987, to deal with the destruction of the ozone layer, the international community adopted the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer. This protocol was the first international treaty signed by all the countries of the world. It is considered to be the greatest environmental protection achievement in the history of the United Nations.
Its objective is to reduce the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), so as to reduce their presence in the atmosphere and thereby protect the ozone layer.
4. Environmental issues; Pollution of rivers, lakes, oceans, and groundwater
- Many human activities directly or indirectly pollute water.
- Pollution with nitrates, heavy metals, PCBs, hydrocarbons, plastics, etc.
- Certain pollutants are found in our food (bioaccumulation) or in the water we consume
4.1 Main causes
- Agriculture (pesticides, nitrogen fertilizers, etc.) and animal husbandry, industries, transport, medicinal substances.
- Gaps in wastewater treatment.
- Waste (especially plastics) in nature
- In agriculture, limit the use of phytosanitary products (improve targeting, favor natural amendments).
- Improve industrial processes and pollutant recovery.
- Generalize wastewater treatment (mainly in developing countries, especially in Asia) and improve their efficiency.
5. Environmental issues; The destruction of biodiversity
Pollution, the non-responsible exploitation of human resources, and climate change have, of course, disastrous repercussions on flora and fauna.
As the forest is the largest reservoir of terrestrial biodiversity, deforestation also plays a sinister role in the extinction of animal and plant species. Despite this finding, WWF explains that from 1990 to 2015, deforestation amounted to more than 240 million hectares and that 170 million hectares are still likely to disappear by 2030.
5.1 Main causes
- Habitat conversion: natural areas mainly transformed into agricultural land (deforestation, etc.), communication routes, commercial or residential areas.
- Invasive species
- Climate change and pollution
- Protection of key areas: biodiversity hotspots, breeding areas.
- Carefully define fishing quotas, promote artisanal fishing.
- Slow down meat production (estimation of 1/3 of the cereals produced in the world intended to feed animals).
- Sustainable forest management, enhancement of biodiversity (ecotourism, protection against the patenting of living organisms).
- Fight against climate change and pollution.
6. Overexploitation of renewable resources
- 77% of the species are exploited to their maximum, over-exploited, or exhausted.
- 37% of the catch is reduced to flour or oil for aquaculture (with a yield loss of 50%: the production of one kg of farmed fish requires twice as much wild fish)
- 25% bycatch (directly rejected)
6.1 Main causes
- Industrial fishing
- Aquaculture of large fish fed on “forage fish” (small fish reduced to flour or oil)
- Promote artisanal fishing
- Establish and enforce quotas
- Protect breeding areas
Those were the most important environmental issues; we all have to take measures to preserve and protect our environment for a better living.
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Originally published on Live Positively.