We live off the Earth…
Since we share everything on Earth with every living thing on the planet, what happens in one area affects everything too, no matter how far away. Pollution or the introduction of different forms of waste materials in our environment has negative effects to the ecosystem we rely on.
There are many kinds of pollution, but the ones that have the most impact to us are Air and Water pollution.
The Consequences of Pollution
How does pollution affect humans? In the following paragraphs, we will enumerate the consequences of releasing pollutants in the environment. We cause most of the pollution and we will suffer the consequences if we don’t stop. We are already seeing its effects in the form of global warming, contaminated seafood, increased cases of lung diseases and more.
More: Global Climate Change Facts
Air Pollution Effects
We release a variety of chemicals into the atmosphere when we burn the fossil fuels we use every day. We breathe air to live and what we breathe has a direct impact on our health.
- Breathing polluted air puts you at a higher risk for asthma and other respiratory diseases.
- When exposed to ground ozone for 6 to 7 hours, scientific evidence show that healthy people’s lung function decreased and they suffered from respiratory inflammation.
- Air pollutants are mostly carcinogens and living in a polluted area can put people at risk of Cancer.
- Coughing and wheezing are common symptoms observed on city folks.
- Damages the immune system, endocrine and reproductive systems.
- High levels of particle pollution have been associated with higher incidents of heart problems.
- The burning of fossil fuels and the release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are causing the Earth to become warmer. Read about the effects of Global Warming here.
- The toxic chemicals released into the air settle into plants and water sources. Animals eat the contaminated plants and drink the water. The poison then travels up the food chain – to us.
More: How Pollution Affects the Environment
Water Pollution EffectsJust like the air we breathe, water is vital to our survival. We need clean water to drink, to irrigate our crops and the fish we eat live in the waters. We play in rivers, lakes and streams – we live near bodies of water. It’s a precious resource that can easily be polluted and the contamination can be transferred to us and affect our health.
- Diseases such as amoebiasis, typhoid and hookworm are caused by polluted drinking water.
- Water polluted by chemicals such as heavy metals, lead, pesticides and hydrocarbon can cause hormonal and reproductive problems, damage to the nervous system, liver and kidney damage and cancer – to name a few. Being exposed to mercury causes Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and death.
- A polluted beach causes rashes, hepatitis, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, encephalitis, stomach aches and vomiting.
- Water pollution affects marine life which is one of our food sources. Remember the stories of contaminated shellfish and how those who ate them died?
We live in an ecosystem where the action of one has the potential to affect the many. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on what the action is. Our mistakes has polluted the environment that we live in and we are waking up and owning to the fact. We are trying to reverse the damage. The good news is that every positive action counts. The small effort you make towards a greener environment can start a healing ripple effect. We may still save what is left of our natural resources and make the world a better place to live in for our future generation.
If you’d like to know more about today’s environmental issues and what you can do to help, visit The World Counts: Stories.
Know the stories behind the everyday products that you buy, and find green products and ethical companies at Firmhugger.
Knowing is the first step to change.
- US Environmental Protection Agency: Health Effects of Air Pollution
- Wikipedia: Pollution
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More
Discover your world
The world is full of challenges. And the first step to change is to become aware!
Get more facts here
US$ income for e-waste worker
So far, this year
Tons of waste from households
Globally, this year
Be the change
The world is full of challenges. But each one of us has the potential to make a difference ... and inspire others!
Get motivated here
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“This entire planet is our home. We are the only species that systematically destroy our own habitat.”- Marianne Williamson
“One person alone cannot save the planet’s biodiversity, but each individual’s effort to encourage nature’s wealth must not be underestimated.”- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Pollution prevention is a major global concern because of the harmful effects of pollution on a person’s health and on the environment. Environmental pollution comes in various forms, such as: air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, etc.
Everyone is a stakeholder as we are all inhabitants of this one and only mother earth. Each person can contribute something to advance environmental pollution mitigation measures. Environmental protection means caring for our resources and subsequently for ourselves and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come will have a better environment.
“If we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.” – Wangari Maathai
You and I should therefore accept personal responsibility for the success of the environmental protection programs of our respective community by cooperating and actively participating in making the atmosphere pollution free. Help stop pollution today. Although on an individual basis, we can help combat pollution in our own immediate environment, efficient control can be best institutionalized through legislation. Thus, most countries have already addressed the issue by passing some form of pollution prevention measures.
Also Read: Phytoremediation- Solution to Contaminated Environment
Averting the onset of pollution in any area; i.e. be it on air, water or land, could be a start and the simplest preventive solution to the problem. This calls for a conscientious effort to adopt good practices or habits by the people, the passage and the proper implementation of appropriate government laws and strict compliance especially by potential industrial pollutants.
If there are no pollutants, there will be no pollution. And yet, this is easier said than done. Certain bad habits are entrenched and industrial development somehow carries with it the concomitant burden of pollution. The cost to business and its commercial ramifications make this rather simple preventive approach quite complicated and more difficult to implement.
Everyone can help by self education and by adopting good and healthy practices. It is also important that we help raise awareness about the significance of environmental issues, their dire consequences and what can be done.
Also Read:Bioremediation- The New Age Cleansing Technology of the Environment
Every action or inaction of any person in regard to her or his surroundings has an effect- be it good, neutral or bad- on the environment. Nature already provides for our needs. Whatever we do to it gets back to us. If we are friends of the earth, it will also be friendly to us. By becoming aware and doing the right action, we choose to be part of the solution. What comes to mind now to serve as reminders include the following:
- Stop smoking or at least follow the “No Smoking” sign.
- Use unleaded gasoline in your cars.
- Keep your car properly maintained to keep it in good running condition to avoid smoke emissions.
- Share a ride or engage in car pooling.
- Instead of using your cars, choose to walk or ride a bicycle whenever possible. With this eco-friendly practice, you will also be healthier and happier by staying fit.
- Never use open fires to dispose of wastes.
- Adopt the 3Rs of solid waste management: reduce, reuse and recycle. Inorganic materials such as metals, glass and plastic; also organic materials like paper, can be reclaimed and recycled. This takes into account that the proven solution to the problem of proper waste management (especially in third world countries) is proper disposal (in waste bins for collection and not in the street where it could fall into drains), waste segregation and collection, and recycling.
- Start composting brown leaves in your yard and green scraps from your kitchen. It will reduce waste while improving your yard and garden soils.
- Reconnect with nature. Live green by using green power supplied abundantly and freely by wind and the sun. Hang your laundry to dry to minimize use of gas or electricity from your dryers. Enjoy fresh air from open windows to lessen the use of air conditioning system.
- Patronize local foods and goods. In this manner, transporting goods and foods prepared with GMOs which uses fuel from conventional energy sources will be minimized.
- Use eco-friendly or biodegradable materials instead of plastic which are made up of highly toxic substances injurious to your health.
- Create your green space. Value your garden. Plant more trees and put indoor plants in your homes. They clean the air, provide oxygen and beautify your surroundings. Thus, care for them and by protecting them, especially the big trees around and in the forest, you protect yourself and your family, too.
- Have a proper waste disposal system especially for toxic wastes
- Take very good care of your pets and their wastes.
- Never throw, run or drain or dispose into the water, air, or land any substance in solid, liquid or gaseous form that shall cause pollution.
- Do not cause loud noises and unwanted sounds to avoid noise pollution.
- Do not litter in public places. Anti-litter campaigns can educate the populace.
- Industries should use fuel with lower sulphur content.
- Industries should monitor their air emissions regularly and take measures to ensure compliance with the prescribed emission standards.
- Industries should strictly follow applicable government regulations on pollution control.
- Organic waste should be dumped in places far from residential areas.
- Say a big “NO” to GMOs or genetically modified organisms. Genetically engineered crops are not only bad for the environment since they require massive amount of fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides; but GMO altered foods are also health risks and negatively impact farmers’ livelihood.
Breathing is life. We know that we will survive without food for several weeks and without water for few days, but without oxygen, we will die in a matter of minutes. The oxygen, the air we breathe sustains us. So, let us make today and everyday a good day for everyone. Allow the earth to have more clean air. Help control pollution.
Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn’t have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven’t got the humility to try. We’ve been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we are gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
We must help fight Global Warming by doing the following steps:
- Plant more trees
- Don’t waste water
- Use cloth bag and don’t burn plastic
Also Read: Importance of National Ambient Air Quality Standards
Mr. Laxmi Prasad Boda is a B.com (Hons) third year student in the Indian Institute of Management and Commerce (IIMC), Hyderabad, India. He can be contacted at laxmiprasad330[at]gmail[dot]com.
Do you have a flair for writing? Interested in environmental issues? Why don’t you submit an article for the GreenCleanGuide 2013 contest? For contest rules, please visit thislink.
Read more articles on Sustainable living from here.
Why AAP Government’s Odd-Even Car Formula is Good for the Environment
Air Pollution Levels at Delhi