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The Damage caused to the Environment by Humans.

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The Damage caused to the Environment by Humans Introduction The atmosphere shelters the Earth from ultraviolet radiation and allows life to exist. It is a mixture of gases: nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, water vapour and dust particles. Heated by the Sun and by energy from the Earth, the atmosphere circulates about the planet and controlling temperature differences. The Earth's water is, 97 per cent ocean, 2 per cent ice, and 1 per cent fresh water in rivers, lakes, groundwater, and soil moisture. Soil is the thin layer of material that supports life. It is the product of climate, and material such as glacial till and sedimentary rocks, and vegetation. The Earth's living organisms, including human beings depend on all these. Plants use water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight to convert raw materials into carbohydrates through photosynthesis; animal life, in turn depends on plants. Smoke Billowing from Industrial Smokestacks Carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and other types of chemicals pouring from industrial smokestacks contribute to worldwide atmospheric pollution. Carbon dioxide has a great affect on global warming, while sulphur dioxide is the main cause of acid rain in parts of Europe and North America. Other problems caused by these emissions are respiratory diseases, poisoned lakes and streams, and damaged forests and crops. Carbon Dioxide One impact that the burning of fossil fuels has had on the Earth's environment has been the increase of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. ...read more.


Despite known dangers, the problem is not diminishing. In a recent 15-year period, more than 70,000 new synthetic chemicals were manufactured, and new ones are being created at the rate of 500 to 1,000 each year. The pollution of rivers and streams with chemicals has become one of the most worrying problems of the 20th century. Chemical pollution entering rivers and streams comes from two major sources: those which can be easily identified, such as factories, refineries or outfall pipes and those from sources that cannot be precisely identified; such as runoff from agricultural or mining sites or seepage from septic tanks or sewage drain fields. It is thought that each year 10 million people worldwide die from drinking contaminated water. Loss of Wild Lands Increasing numbers of human beings are intruding on remaining wild lands-even in those remote places thought relatively safe from human invasion. Continual demands for energy are forcing the development of Arctic regions for oil and gas and threatening there's plant and wildlife. Tropical forests, especially in southeastern Asia and the Amazon River Basin, are being destroyed at an alarming rate for timber, the land is then used for crops, grazing lands, pine plantations, and settlements. It was estimated at one point in the 1980s that such forest lands were being cleared or converted at the rate of 20 hectares a minute; another estimate put the rate at more than 200,000 sq km a year. ...read more.


In spite of economic and political changes, interest and concern about the environment remains high. Air quality has improved in some areas in the developed world but has deteriorated in many developing countries, and problems of acid rain, CFC's and ozone reduction, and heavy air pollution in Eastern Europe still need solutions and action. Until acid rain is under control, loss of the life in northern lakes and streams will continue, and forest growth will be affected. Water pollution will remain a growing problem as increasing human populations put additional pressure on the environment. Seepage of toxic wastes into underground water sources and the passage of salt water into coastal freshwater reserves have not been stopped. Exhaustion of natural water supplies in many parts of the world and growing demand for water will bring severe problems to agriculture, industry, and cities. This shortage will force water-usage restrictions and will increase the cost of water consumption. Water could become the "energy crisis" of the early 2000s. Pollution of coastal and fresh water along with over-harvesting has so reduced the fish population, that five to ten years of little or no fishing will be required for stocks to recover. Without a lot of effort to save habitats and stop poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, many wildlife species will become extinct. In spite of our knowledge of how to reduce soil erosion, it is still a worldwide problem, because too many farmers and developers show little interest in controlling it. Finally, the destruction of wild lands, could result in massive extinctions of animal and plant life. 9 ...read more.

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