Term Paper: Poisoning Our Planet

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Poisoning Our Planet

If it is the air we breathe, the land we use, or the water we drink, we do not pay any heed to the indiscriminate use of the resources of our planet. Nevertheless we are dependent on these resources for innumerable part of our present and future welfare. Similar to as we human beings are dependent on the planet Earth, every part of the ecosystem depends on the other. This feature of co-relatedness is obviously palpable when the situation becomes out of control. (Preserve Planet Earth Program) Lack of awareness of threats to the environment is the reason which lies behind many destructive activities combined with man's greed for wealth and short-term gains. For the bygone 4 billion years, our planet has got along its own matters through the operation of its bio-geophysical systems.

However, that systematic pattern has come to an end. In present era, our planet regulates itself for the most part through the choices made by humans and the influence exerted by humans over physics, chemistry and biology of the planet. Until the present, we are not faring well. We are exhibiting a culturally desperate temperament towards biocide - the devastation of life systems of Earth- and geocide- the desolation of the systems of the planet on which every life is dependent upon. The harm we have already unleashed can be evaluated only with the huge annihilation 65 million years ago, which obliterated maybe 50% of every species, together with the dinosaurs. We are losing more species at a rapid rate unprecedented since then. (the Whole World in Our Hands) Through this paper we shall take a look at the ways in which our planet is being destructed and the efforts required to save our planet.

Pollution of our waterways

Water contamination is indicated to be a variation in the chemical, physical and biological state of waterway as a result of the human interference. The means by which humans have disturbed the quality of the Great Lakes water over the period involves sewage clearance, toxic contamination with heavy metals, insect repellents, overgrowth of the water edge, overflow from agriculture and urban wastes and air pollutions. Taking into account the fact of dilution of any mater by water, the industries and individuals during the 18th and 19th centuries mostly use rivers and lakes as garbage cans. The industrial mess, raw sewage and animal remains would sometimes be discarded into the waterways without much consideration to the pollution and downstream users. However, such practices began to change during the 20th Century while people became able to understand the significance of clean water to heath. But with movement of more and more people into the Great Lakes region, the more and more pollutions have resulted in the rivers and lakes. (Water pollution in the Great Lakes)

Presently, the effluents find their ways to the Great Lakes in several ways. However, the main three vents of effluents are seen at the point source, non-point source and atmospheric pollution. The point source pollution occurs when the effluents come to the waterway by means of a particular entry point like a drainpipe draining directly into a river; it is known as point source pollution. The Industrial water wastes and sewage treatment mechanisms are considered to be the significant offenders of such type of contamination. Contrary to the point source pollution, non-point source or NPS pollution stems from many different dispersed sources and is quite difficult to standardize and manage; hence many experts consider that NPS pollution is the most hazardous confronting the Great Lakes today. (Water pollution in the Great Lakes)

NPS pollution is primarily resulted by overflow, when rain and snowmelt transit over the land picking up pollutants along the way and ultimately throwing away the pollutants into rivers and lakes. Some of the general NPS pollutants involve fertilizers and pesticides run off from agricultural lands and homeowners; oil, grease and salt from highways; residue from building sites and wearing away shorelines; and animal and human waste. Atmospheric contamination is the other kind of non-point source of pollution, irrespective of the fact of effluents occurring out of runoff, the pollutions also showers from the sky. The most common illustration of the atmospheric pollution is acid rain. Like the virtual 'canaries in a gold mine', the reducing health of fish and wildlife tells of volumes about the need to clean up the Great Lakes.

Heavier metals such as mercury and lead, and man made raw chemicals like pesticides, bio magnify while they are moving up the food chain, giving rise to the tumors and death for predatory animals like lake trout, herring gulls, and also humans. The toxic effluents are also capable of varying the genetic structure of an organism, giving rise to either death or extreme deformities. Individuals taking frequently a lot of fish will have larger levels of toxic chemicals in their bodies than those who only eat fish occasionally. Analysis has been prescribed that toxic chemicals can give rise to reproductive problems, cancer and neurological ailment. The consumption of contaminated fish results in health difficulties such as weak immune systems among children, expecting women and the elderly people. (Water pollution in the Great Lakes)

Loss of rainforests

The rainforests at a moment was covering about 14% of the land surface of the earth. Presently they constitute only 6% and it has been estimated that the residue rain forests will be totally consumed within less than 40 years. The continuing deforestation at the existing rates will result in destruction of tropical rainforests to the extent of 80 to 90% at the end of the year 2020. Such destruction is prime force behind a species extinction rate highest during the last 65 million years. About 90% of the forests of North America are turned into firewood, shingles, furniture, railroad ties and paper. About 400,000 acres of Minnesota White Pine have been destroyed by the 1930s and now people are ready to cut redwoods in the Sequoia parks. (Rainforest Facts)

About 10 million species of plants animals and micro-organisms are estimated to be destroyed or severely affected during the quarter century as a result of rain forest deforestation. It has been estimated by experts that about 137 plants, animal and insect species are being lost every single day as a result of rainforest deforestation. This equals to about 50,000 species per annum. Reduction in the existence of rainforests implies less rain, less oxygen to breathe, and an enhanced threat from global warming. Destruction of our rainforests is not only resulting in the extinction of plant and animal species but it is also mopping up the native people those reside in the rainforest. Commercial logging is considered to be the sole significant cause of rain forest reduction directly as well as indirectly.

Other activities resulting in the rainforest, involves opening of land for grazing animals and farming for livelihood. In underdeveloped countries the wood of rainforest is being utilized for fuel wood and charcoal along with commercial logging. While the demand in the Western world for cheap meat is going on more and more rainforests are ruined so as to make available the grazing land for animals. The governments and their unrestrained, unplanned and uncoordinated development of natural resources are considered as increasing threats to the rainforests. According to the World Resources Report of 2000-2001 of the United Nations the government expenditure globally estimates to about $700 billion dollars a year safeguarding and subsidizing environmentally unsound practices in the use of water, agriculture, energy and transportation. (Rainforest Facts)

Decimation of forests

Each of the forest is a blending of several types of plants, animals and micro-organisms taken together in apparently endless webs and competitive and cooperative relationships. It is such biological variations hat generates a healthy ecosystem, a self assembled inspiration that forms clean water and fresh air without human intervention and free of charge. Each genus of a forest, or any other natural ecosystem, is a masterwork of evolution elegantly well adapted to the environment it inhabits. The flora and fauna of in the earth constitute the basis of the humanity to which at least till their balance of the life period are symbiotically attached so as to attain their physical and psychological requirements. Each of the species and its descendant species sustains their life and almost naturally, prior to one million years suffering natural extinction. The elements of habitat destruction, invasive species, pollution and unsustainable logging worldwide have enhanced the rate of extinction by as much to the multitude of one thousand times thereby reducing the life span of the species by the equivalent amount. (Endangered Forests: Endangered Freedoms)

At the minimum, one percent of the native plant of America and animal species has already been disappeared within the past one hundred years and one third are delineated as susceptible and endangered. Most of the local species along with those comparatively safer have undergone large decline in abundance, geographic range and most likely to have genetic diversity. Much of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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