Dear EarthTalk: Aren’t environmental issues primarily about health? Detractors like to trivialize environmentalists as “tree huggers,” but the bottom line is that pollution makes us sick, right? Wouldn’t people care more if they had a better understanding of that?— Tim Douglas, Stowe, Vt.
No doubt many of the ways we harm our environment come back to haunt us in the form of sickness and death. The realization that the pesticide-laced foods we eat, the smokestack-befouled air we breathe and the petrochemical-based products we use negatively affect our quality of life is a big part of the reason so many people have “gone green” in recent years.
Just following the news is enough to green anyone. Scientific American reported in 2009 that a joint U.S./Swedish study looking into the effects of household contaminants discovered that children who live in homes with vinyl floors—which can emit hazardous chemicals called phthalates—are twice as likely to develop signs of autism as kids in other homes. Other studies have shown that women exposed to high levels of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants common in cushions, carpet padding and mattresses—97 percent of us have detectable levels of these chemicals in our bloodstreams—are more likely to have trouble getting pregnant and suffer from other fertility issues as a result. Cheaply produced drywall made in China can emit so much sulfur gas that it not only corrodes electrical wiring but also causes breathing problems, bloody noses and headaches for building occupants. The list goes on and on....
But perhaps trumping all of these examples is the potential disastrous health effects of global warming. Carbon dioxide emissions may not be directly responsible for health problems at or near their point of release, but in aggregate they can cause lots of distress. According to the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, climate change over the coming decades is likely to increase rates of allergies, asthma, heart disease and cancer, among other illnesses. Also, it is quite likely that, as global temperature rises, diseases that were previously found only in warmer areas of the world may show up increasingly in other, previously cooler areas, where people have not yet developed natural defenses against them. And the loss of rain forest that accompanies increases in temperature means less access to undiscovered medicines and degradation of the environment’s ability to sustain our species.
Given the link between environmental problems and human health, more of us are realizing that what may seem like exorbitant up-front costs for environmental clean-up may well pay us dividends in the end when we see our overall health care costs go down and our loved ones living longer, healthier lives.
To help bridge the understanding gap between environmental problems and human health, the nonprofit Environmental Health Sciences offers the free website, Environmental Health News, which features daily reports on research showing how man-made environmental problems correspond to a wide range of individual and public health problems. Even your local TV station or newspaper likely carries an occasional story about the health effects of environmental pollution. We don’t have to look very hard to find examples of environmental neglect leading to human suffering. But with newfound public awareness and the commitment of younger generations to a cleaner future, we are moving in a good direction.
CONTACTS: Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment, http://chge.med.harvard.edu; Environmental Health News, www.environmentalhealthnews.org.
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One of the most common essay topics is the issue of environmental pollution. We can find many examples of works on it that have been done before, so it might be pretty hard to discuss it and discover something new.
Anyway, there is no reason for disappointment. Please, find an example of the essay on the pollution problem that can be used as a guide for your future works on this topic.
Essay on a Pollution Problem
Environmental pollution is one of the main threats for our planet. Pollution destroys the living environment and endangers human existence on Earth. No doubt, the economy finds many benefits in technological development. However, toxic emissions due to the work of factories, transportation, construction sites pollute the environment substantially. As the environmental pollution is a broad topic consisting of many sub-issues, there may be many approaches to building the consistent pollution essay. For instance, the pollution essay may concentrate on the various types of pollution, like sound pollution (noise pollution), water pollution, air pollution, soil pollution etc. Each paragraph of the essay will describe the separate type of the environmental pollution. Another suggestion is writing the pollution essay that highlights the consequences of pollution problems including the global warming effect, natural resources extinction, health problems of people and animals, the destruction of natural ecosystems, etc. The essay may also describe the causes of the pollution problems. Each paragraph, then, will be dedicated to one of the five main causes: industrial and technological development, transportation, agricultural activities, trading activities, and residences of people. Once you have selected the issue for the essay, you may draft the outline and move on to the analysis of the research and literature. The statistical data and approaches to pollution examination transform and improve over the time. So it is significant that you base your essay on credible and up-to-date sources. You may also look online for the essay sample on the pollution topic. However, you are encouraged to perform the research and develop your own paper first. The essay sample may be used as a practical tool and the structural example to follow.
Pollution Essay Sample
The population of our planet is increasing constantly. The population growth, unfortunately, has many adverse effects, one of which is the pollution problems. Pollution is a process of contaminating the environment in a way that it becomes unsafe to use. The contamination usually occurs through the chemical substances; however is not limited to tangible effects. The pollution can also take the form of the light, sound (noise pollution), or heat. The effects of pollution are devastative. The report of the NGO Pure Earth suggests that one of the seven deaths occurs due to pollution. Another comparison shows that pollution kills 60% more people than malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined. In this light, it is important to explore the various types of pollution and its effects on the environment and human beings.
One of the pivotal issues nowadays is the water pollution. The enlargement of the population means more trash and garbage. The rubbish dumps decay and the toxic substances permeate the soil going to the rivers and oceans. Moreover, tons of garbage are thrown directly into the water. There are even special islands for garbage in the oceans.
Even though the technological development offers various approaches to garbage utilization, most of the poor countries do not utilize innovative technologies. Thus, pollution becomes the leading cause of death in underdeveloped low-income countries. Nevertheless, water is contaminated not only due to regular garbage utilization. The plants, factories and mills are the key pollutants of the water. The process water from factories goes to the rivers and seas in neighborhood areas. In some rivers, the water is contaminated to the critical level and is banned from using. The fish and living environment of natural ecosystems are contaminated by dangerous chemicals that causes either the death of the entire ecosystems or hurts the consumers of the contaminated products (seafood, fish, water, salt).
Additionally, water is polluted by pesticides and fertilizations used in agriculture. The devastating effects of water pollution may be decelerated by installing the water purification mechanisms at factories and plants. These efforts should be promoted and enhanced on the governmental level. Moreover, states should develop the global programs of the environment protection as the problem is not limited to a particular territory or state. It is a universal hazard that requires combined efforts.
Another big humanity’s challenge is air pollution. Air consists of nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and inert gases. When the typical structure of air is altered, we can observe the effects of air pollution. The primary reason of air contamination is the effect of the burning fuels. The smoke floats in the air and most people breath it in. Further, it affects the health resulting in respiratory diseases, cancers and other problems. Another type of air pollutants are dangerous gases, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and chemical vapors. Those gases undergo the reactions in the higher atmosphere layers and return to the surface in the form of the dangerous chemicals (acid rains) that ruin the living environment. Moreover, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide create the so-called “greenhouse effect” when the radiation is absorbed while the heat is prevented from escaping. It is a natural process.
However, the high concentration of the gases makes Earth warmer and affects the natural processes on the planet. Thus, air pollution is one of the contributors to the global warming.
One of the least discussed problems is sound pollution. People tend to underestimate this problem because it is not possible to smell, see or touch it. However, noise pollution also has negative effects on the environment and people. The research shows that many illnesses are connected to noise pollution, such as hearing loss, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and speech interference. The industrial noises also affect the lives of animals. For example, whales’ navigation system breaks down due to the sounds of ships. Besides, the industrial noise makes wild species communicate louder which requires additional efforts and decreases their life spans.
The growth of population and technological progress have imprints on the ecological stage of Earth. The extraction of natural sources, work of factories and plants, and other products of human activity result in various environmental problems. The pollution of water, air and sound have extremely negative effects on our environment. The effects of the pollution include acid rains, detrimental diseases and illnesses of people and animals, and global warming. The environmental pollution is the global problem that calls for radical actions for environment protection and rehabilitation. More than that, the problem should be resolved on a global level by the united efforts of the global community.
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