10 Worst Environmental Problems Caused By Humans
With the onset of modernization, Earth has never been the same as before. It has been a planet of high-rise buildings, nuclear power plants, carbon-emitting vehicles, mining industries and billions of people. Humans have benefited greatly to the natural resources of Earth – food, shelter and other discoveries. But this transformation has also affected Earth dramatically.
Here are the top 10 environmental problems that earth has been facing now.
Global warming is the “unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels.” This phenomenon leads to the rising temperatures of the oceans and the melting of polar ice caps resulting to rise in sea levels.
According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. It has been attributed as a result of human activity since the mid-20th century. Climate changes cause changes in precipitation patterns, more droughts and heat waves and stronger hurricanes, among others.
Air pollution refers to the release of pollutants into the air that are harmful and detrimental to human health and the Earth as a whole. This is caused by hazardous air pollutants and greenhouse gases produced by human activities.
Water pollution is one of the ecological threats that affect every living thing. As we all know, water is very essential for survival. However, our bodies of water are polluted with toxic substances and other water pollutants. They cause the death of aquatic resources and species. This may also affect our source of potable water.
Soil erosion and degradation involve the loss of fertile land, loss of soil structure, nutrient degradation, and soil salinity, among others. This is caused by various aspects of agriculture, deforestation, overgrazing and the use of agrochemicals, among others.
Forest cover 31% of the land area of Earth. They produce vital oxygen and provide shelter for humans and wildlife. According to World WildLife, “some 46-58 thousand square miles of forest are lost each year” due to illegal logging, fires, and fuelwood harvesting.
According to studies, at least 10, 000 species go extinct every year. There are 5 known extinction waves in geological history. Scientists say we are entering the 6th extinction crisis – the extinction of human race. The extinction of species is caused by pollution, destruction of habitat and climate change, among others.
Ozone Layer Depletion
The ozone layer is a natural belt that shields Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun. However, the ozone layer is “deteriorating due to the release of pollution containing the chemicals chlorine and bromine.” Ultraviolet B rays can cause skin cancer and cataracts to humans and animals.
Ocean acidification is a harmful consequence of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affecting underwater. This will lead to the extinction of various marine species.
The world is running out of water. According to WHO and UNICEF, “2.5 billion people (roughly 36% of the world’s population) still lack access to improved sanitation facilities” while 748 million people continue drinking from unsafe sources.