Environmental Problems & Solutions

Environmental Media Association Sustainable Earth Month Celebration
Two environmental activists promoting awareness at an event. (Image: David Buchan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

The planet faces a variety of troubling issues that stem from man-made contamination. Many of these lead to environmental problems that are causing long-term damage to the earth’s ecosystem. The Global Issues website explains that the only way to control current environmental issues is to create sustainable development strategies and continue to instill conservation methods.

Environmental Accidents

Some man-made accidents threaten wildlife and the ecosystem. Although these accidents are relatively rare because of increased safety procedures, accidents still occur, sometimes with devastating effects. Examples include oil spills, radioactive leaks, tanker spills, pipeline bursts and drilling accidents. The best solution for accidental spills and leaks is to create additional safety protocol using both computerized and human detection systems.

Water Pollution

Water pollution is a growing problem globally. According to the Thinkquest website, large industries including those that make chemicals and plastics dump a large amount of waste into the water. Human waste and rubbish also ends up in the oceans and lakes. The Clean Water Act of 1972 allows the U.S. government to enforce restrictions on those who dump trash and waste. To address the problem, individuals can improve recycling and waste disposal, and they can volunteer to clean up shorelines and nearby public locations. Businesses should develop ongoing protocols to reduce the amount of chemicals and other waste they put into the water supply.

Hazardous Waste

According to the Learner website, the mishandling of hazardous waste materials poses immediate and long-term risks to plants, animals, humans and the environment. Hazardous waste is any liquid or solid that contains carcinogenic or teratogenic compounds, including pesticides, paint strippers, solvents, paint, gasoline, bleach, ammonia, industrial cleaning agents and drain cleaners. Individuals and businesses should make sure that hazardous-waste disposal experts handle all hazardous waste, and should never dump hazardous waste with regular trash or into rivers or ditches.

Ozone Depletion

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, there are several airborne materials that can lead to ozone pollution. Ground-level ozone, particulate matter, lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide are all dangerous when released into the air. These pollutants can cause human health problems and damage to plants and animals. The EPA enforces laws controlling the release of these substances into the atmosphere. Controlled air quality leads to less stress on the outer ozone layer of the planet that helps protect us from the sun.

Soil Contamination

According to the Science Daily website, man-made chemicals released into the dirt either by accident or through poor disposal techniques cause soil contamination. Rupture of underground storage tanks, acid rain, leaching of hazardous waste from a landfill, pesticides and herbicides, and discharge from industrial chemical wastes all can contaminate the soil in which farmers grow crops or graze livestock that people eventually eat. Laws against such contamination need to be stringent, and the appropriate agencies have to be tough in the enforcement of those laws to help keep soil safer for humans and animals.

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