Terrestrial Resources Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1567 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues

Terrestrial Resources

At a global level, one out of five people do not have access to fresh water; the numbers are expected to increase. Out of the entire resources of fresh water, 40% are no longer drinkable. The United States only has 4% of their initial forests. The United States consumes 30% of the global resources allocated per year; at this rate, we would need five planets just to get by (Leonard, 2008). However, we only have one planet, but since we are simply trashing it, we need to come up with a better plan to preserve the environment.

A major impediment to properly protecting the surrounding habitats is given by the large amounts of solid waste resulted from domestic and commercial activities. "Every year, the United States generates approximately 230 million tons of "trash" - about 4.6 pounds per person per day. Less than one-quarter of it is recycled; the rest is incinerated or buried in landfills" (Annenberg Media, 1997-2008). The state authorities have indeed increased their efforts to limiting the negative impact the hazardous waste has upon the planet, but significant results have yet to be observed.

2. Factors

In terms of factors, two sets must be analyzed: first, the forces that generate the problem, and second, the parts that are affected by the problem. The generators of the problem are generally the humans, in the context of a dynamic global context, but this will be covered in the following section. The current focus is now on the environmental impacts of solid waste. These refer to:Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Terrestrial Resources Assignment

the solid waste was generally buried in landfills, but most of them are now filled and have been closed the landfills, or the deep holes in the ground used to bury garbage, were crossing over the fresh water resources and contaminating them; "once groundwater is contaminated, it is extremely expensive and difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to clean it up" (Annenberg Media, 1997-2008) the waste is also burned, but it releases ash, which is hazardous for the environment and the people in the vicinity of the incineration site improperly stored garbage attracts rodents, which get infested with various diseases and can transmit them to people poor water quality due to contamination is materializing in various environment related diseases, for all plants, animals and humans the dumping of the solid waste also consumes the natural resources which could otherwise be used to create energy or food supplies, such as a former corn field now used as a dump site (Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council) all improperly stored hazardous waste eliminates greenhouse gases, which negatively impact the ozone layer and generate global warming

Other effects include the oxygen depletion, caused by the degradation of the waste and materialized in bad odours and the death of plants; smog formation; or eutrophication, materialized in increased algal growth and reduced nutrients in waters and landscapes (How Products Impact).

3. Humans' Implications

Mankind plays the pivotal role in the fate of the planet. And however there are those individuals and groups of individuals who do militate for the well-being of the environment, most humans are unable to comprehend the true implications of their actions and change for their own good and for the good of the generations to come. The most common excuse from these people is that they do not intend to harm the environment, they just simply have nowhere else to store the garbage or they have no ability to recycle it. But the current severity of the solid waste issue no longer accepts such excuses.

In terms of man's damaging implications upon the environment, one could mention the following:

multinational corporations are guided by financial interests alone; governments want a share of the gainings and protect the corporations in trashing the planet and contaminating the natural resources through improper storage of the garbage people at home care limitedly about the protection of the environment and continue to improperly store waste nature walks and trips leave garbage behind above all, the ultimate reason is excessive consumerism - people buy, and then buy more, to only end up creating tones of garbage and even throwing out the things they didn't even need in the first place

4. The Current Solution

The governments, supported by environmentalist organizations, have generically recognized the impact of the solid waste matter and have tried to resolve it. Currently, there exists no global law relative to solid waste management, each federal state being allowed to enforce whatever rules they find most appropriate.

Recycling for one would be an efficient way to reduce the solid waste, but it is not used at maximum capacity. However environmental organizations encourage individuals to selectively collect and dispose of their garbage, this seldom happens. Other solutions proposed through various solid waste management programs refer to the segregation of the garbage. This, aside from the separate collection and storage, also encourages individuals to renounce the things they do not need and find other uses for them, such as selling them within yard sales or donating them.

Another solution to resolving the problem of solid waste is given by the possibility to turn waste into energy. Such a solution requires the usage of the highest technological developments in order to create electrical power. Currently, there are 13 such companies within the United States and a total of 500 across the globe (Spokane Regional Solid Waste System, 2007).

Composting is yet another means of properly using the solid waste, but it requires the strict delimitation of organic from non-organic waste. The organic waste, or the biodegradable residue, is let to decompose and the fungi and bacteria will turn it into a soil looking compound, which is highly rich in nutrients and can be successfully used within agricultural activities (EduGreen, 2007).

5. The Proposed Solution

As it has been established before, the authorities and the environmental organizations have set rules for the protection of the natural habitats, but they fail to be properly implemented. The main reason for this failure is given by the populations' inability or undesired to adapt to the new environmental limitations. Therefore, a new solution should undoubtedly begin with the education of the population.

Such an educational program would begin early on in kindergarten and would continue through college. Special and compulsory courses would be taught as to the negative impact our actions have upon the environment as well as the solutions we should implement and resolve the problems of solid waste. Children could also be asked to bring recyclable materials to school and they would be taught how to reuse them.

Another point on the agenda would be to increase the number of collection points. There are a large number of people who wish to recycle and be responsible about the environment, but do know where to dispose of items such as paper and electronic devices, and therefore throw them in the litter. Other than that, no major changes would be brought as the current solutions are viable. However, they will have to be more seriously imposed and legal repercussions would be felt by those who break them.

Benefits and Limitations

The proposed solution has a major benefit, but also a major inconvenience. In this order of ideas, the benefit is that it involves most society members and it therefore stands increased chances of success. The limitation on the other hand, is that the solution is quite idealistic and increased efforts will have to be made in order to involve all members of society.

6. The Required Support

As previously mentioned, the successful implementation of the educational and changed environment approach is only possible with the full support and cooperation of all members within the society. To achieve this, the courses of action should be implemented onto two levels. First of all, the actions of environment protection should… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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