Term Paper: Pollution in the Environment

Pages: 10 (4058 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] (pp: 1, 151)

Several researchers have termed the environment in which we live today as a 'risk society', and the reason for this is, according to them, the fact that we are today living in a world that is full of unseen and unknown risks like nuclear radiation and the harmful effects it may have on today's as well as tomorrow's generations, the harmful effects of soil and water and air pollution, and so on. (Mergen, 107)

As far as water pollution is concerned, since it is more often caused by man rather than of any natural causes, the risk is infinitely more to the environment. For example, the Mississippi river, the huge and vast water body in the United States of America, which at any particular given moment, has about 555 trillion gallons of water flowing across its depths, has juts about 1% of its total water flowing across down to the Gulf of Mexico, while the rest of the water, that is, 99%, is lying trapped and hidden beneath the bottom, under the massive strata of rocks and sand. It is in the same way that most of the earth's freshwater is stored, under deep-seated strata and rock formations. When this freshwater gets polluted then there will be no drinking water for any living being on earth. This is what has been happening over the latter half of the last century, when the global population grew and there was more and more demand for food as well as water, and as a result, the rivers and lakes and freshwater sources of the world have undergone severe amounts of pollution. (Sampat, 78)

Today, hardly one single day passes by without bringing reports of some sort of environmental problem and its effect on the environment and the consequent dangers involved, and what with the number of animals slowly dying out and becoming extinct, and rivers and lakes and other water bodies becoming too polluted or drying up, and the devastating and destructive oil spills in Alaska which ended up killing more than thousand of water birds and other sea life, the destruction of the Amazon rain forests, and so on and so forth, there is always some bad news about the environment every day. The ecology of our system is being corrupted, and the ecological balance that maintains the continuance of all the living organisms of the planet Earth is being severely upset. Human beings are today being actually overwhelmed by the number of threats and disruptions intimidating them every day, and the worst part of the problem is that there are not too many people who are actually aware of the severity of the problem, maybe because of the fact that it does not affect them directly in any way in their day-to-day routines. (Batisse, 10)

Most people are not aware of what the real problems are, and how to go about solving these problems. In many cases, the scientists and researchers who have been investigating the particular problem also seem to be unaware of how to go about finding solutions for it, and this in fact delights skeptics who tend to wash the problem off their hands stating that it has nothing to do with them. There are a number of people who state that they would do anything to help to save the environment, but when they are actually asked to change their habits, they try to disregard the problem. It is a natural tendency of human beings to attempt to push the problem on to somebody else, and in this case, people either blame the government for not taking enough and appropriate action to tackle the problem, or they blame their neighbors, or they blame the industry, and so on, but never do they step up and take the blame for themselves and make up their minds to take the appropriate actions to help save the environment. The intense media attention has also served to divert the attention of the people from the more important environmental issues, and they fail to learn about the delicate natural processes that take place in the complex world that we live in today, and the various ways and means that can be used to combat these problems. (Batisse, 10)

The main problem is that of an innate misunderstanding of these environmental problems and the underlying issues that surround them, and the inevitable result is that of intellectual confusion. There are some who believe that piecemeal measures in certain specific environment would be sufficient enough to deal with the problems, but it must be remembered that such types of solutions are only partly effective, and do not, if ever provide an adequate long-term solution. The idea that the word 'environment' raises in us is that it is a vast and incomprehensible thing, which is too vast to be understood properly. This is because environment does not just refer to air and water pollution, but also to people's homes and workplaces and the cities in which people live. It would also include the forests, lakes, rivers, oceans, deserts, and so on and so forth, and veritably the entire planet, which, we realize today, is being adversely affected by the pollution that man is inflicting on it. (Batisse, 11)

There are some people who go so far as to say that there is no longer anything termed 'nature', because nature and natural are now extinct. This is the state of affairs in our world today, where pollution is rampant, and people are fearful of eating anything they want for fear of its being polluted, and to drink water, for the same reason. One author, David Nicholson Lord, in the New Statesman, dated 23 august, 2004, says that if there were a sort of 'miracle food' for the people of the twenty first century, it would be fish. This is because of the fact that fish is the only food today that contains not only certain antidotes to several diseases, but also acts as an antidote for certain chronic ailments of human kind, like for example, arthritis and rheumatism, cancer, the dreaded Alzheimer's, and chronic heart diseases. Fish also act as a prophylactic for the treatment of depression in adults, and they also possess the ability to speed up the neural networks in a human being, and perhaps make a person brainier and a faster thinker than he normally is. (Lord, 4)

However, all the research on fish and the benefits of eating fish has indeed come at a wrong time, because, today, fish are dying out in huge numbers, because of the water pollution that is present in the water bodies of the earth today. Statistics show that stocks of fish like tuna, swordfish, marlin, and cod have declined in numbers to more than 90% during the last century, and other marine fish are also being meted out a similar treatment, and they are being fished to beyond sustainable limits. Therefore, it is indeed an irony that at the very time that researchers and scientists have discovered the benefits of eating fish, the numbers of fish are dwindling at alarming rates, and soon, there may not be fish to eat. The worst twist is that oily fish are no longer safe to consume, because while the amount of 'omega 3' and 'omega 6' that oily fish contain may be good for the brain, the amount of mercury that is contained within the fish is not very safe for human consumption. (Lord, 4)

This is because mercury can cause cancer as well as reproductive abnormalities, and can give rise to frequent headaches, irritability, tiredness, fatigue, an inability to concentrate, and also depression. The reason for the high mercury content in these fish is, of course, pollution. The burning of fossil fuels, and also the incineration of waste caused higher levels of mercury within the water bodies, and the fish, when they live in the water, tend to become full of the deposits, and when man consumes them, he is bound to suffer. Sometimes, the mercury becomes so much that it is deposited back to the earth as 'mercury rain', and the concentrations of the mercury vary as one goes higher up on the food chain, for example, the bigger fish that eat the smaller ones, like whales and sharks, are more full of mercury deposits than the smaller ones, and therefore, these large fish are no longer safe for human consumption. (Lord, 4)

In the United States of America alone, there have been more than forty states that have issued several health advisory bulletins about fish, and in the month of June of the same year, more than a few fish canning companies were sued in California for failing to give its consumers a 'fair and reasonable warning' about… [END OF PREVIEW]

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