The introduction of new or foreign substances into an ecosystem that affects its biological and physical characteristics is referred to as environmental pollution (Levinson et al. 237). Environmental pollution has been a problem in modern society since the 19th century, posing a variety of threats to both plants and animals, including humans. Changes brought on by human activity have negative consequences for the environment. If the activities are excessive to the point where the environment cannot tolerate them, the consequences are disastrous, posing a threat to living organisms. When nature is unable to process or neutralize these harmful effects, environmental damage occurs. As a result, there is harm and discomfort (Taylor 97). This challenge began after industrial revolution and has been increasing since then, causing irreplaceable damages to the environment. People think that environmental pollution is caused by fossils and carbon emissions yet there are other causes. Pollution takes varied forms such as air, soil, solid waste and water pollution. Human beings contribute to pollution consciously and unconsciously.
According to Levinson et al., pollution is a serious menace and should be taken seriously (237). The effects range from reversible to irreversible ones such as ozone layer depletion. Living organisms are adversely affected by the changes caused by pollution. The number of species of living organisms in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list has been increasing, cause of which has been traced back to pollution. Desertification is also attributed to this adverse vice. Other effects of pollution include global warming as well as increased human and animal diseases. The effects prove how pollution is a major problem and can cause much worse damage to the society if caution is not taken.
Expert View of the Pollution Issue
Various studies and research have been carried out concerning the pollution issue (Levinson et al. 237). Scientists and scholars have reported on the basics facts about the pollution issue. Atmospheric chemistry and environment science are the subjects concerned with the pollution problem, depicting the causes and possible solutions. Interesting analysis has been carried out about the issue and indicates overwhelming results.
Research indicates that pollutants released to the air cause more adverse effects (Levinson et al. 237). This form of pollution poses more dangers and is reported to have claimed many lives, for example in the year 1952, the great smog killed 8,000 people in London. Research also shows that this form of pollution cause 5,000 premature deaths due to heart related diseases in southern California.
About 70% of industrial waste products are disposed into water bodies and as a result the water gets contaminated (Michalski et al. 1342). It is estimated that about 320 people in china have no access to clean water. Roughly 14 billion pounds of plastic disposed into water bodies causes death of many aquatic organisms such as whales which are endangered species. According to scientists, water pollution is the major cause of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
Levinson et al. points out that soil contains useful microorganism which are helpful (237). When pollutants are introduced to the soil they kill the organism which have important biological functions; agriculture is affected as a result. In china about 82.2% of the soil is contaminated with dangerous substances such as mercury and arsenic. The food chain is affected as a result,causing agricultural products to have elevated levels of chemicals. The high chemical content in foods cause diseases to human beings.
Experts claim that these statistics are worrying and if the trend continues its effects will be enormous (Michalski et al. 1342). Living organisms, humans included, have been threatened due to the pollution. Some species could even become extinct if precaution is not taken. Long-term diseases such as cancer, common nowadays, are all attributed to pollution.
Pollution Control Measures
Various institutions, including governments, have come up with policies that aim at prevent pollution (Michalski et al. 1342). For example, World Health Organization has summoned all industries and sensitized them to avoid releasing the waste materials or sewerage into water bodies so as to minimize disease outbreak. Regulating authorities have been established to limit the pollution rate of industries, consequently reducing and preventing pollution.
Governments have also played a great part in ensuring pollution is eradicated (Michalski et al. 1342). Though this has not achieved a lot, it has helped to the reduce pollution. For example in Denmark the policy of high taxation of plastic papers has reduced its usage rate. People opt to use recyclable bags instead of purchasing plastic bags and as result related pollution decreases. In some countries plastic bag usage has been completely banned, for example in South Africa.
Alternative options to the products that cause pollution are being encouraged (Michalski et al. 1342). For instance, people are using lead-free petroleum products. Motor vehicles powered by solar energy and electricity have also been introduced. People are shifting to alternative sources of energy to substitute petroleum. All these efforts aim at reducing pollution rate towards protection of the environment.
Pollution monitoring schemes have been set globally (Michalski et al. 1342). The objective of the schemes is to regulate the pollution rate of each country. Nations contributing heavily to the contamination problems have been warned and encouraged to reduce the activities escalating the contamination. For example, China is an industrialized country and a heavy contributor to pollution, which cause a global concern. This prompted the international organization concerned with environmental issues to approach the country’s leaders and sensitize them to minimize the rate at which they foul the environment.
All attempts against pollution are aimed at maintaining the human activities within an acceptable limit to enable the environment perform its tasks effectively and efficiently (Taylor 97). Sustainable activities are being encouraged in order to avoid the adverse effects caused by the muddle.
The efforts on fighting pollution have only yielded little results over time. Green washing has been more of a marketing tool than a sustainable means of protecting the environment (Taylor 97). Laws enacted are not fully adhered to or taken seriously. It is therefore evident that accurate and effective plans need to be implemented strictly to curb this problem of contamination.
From my view-point, formation of strict international policies and laws will help to solve the issue of environmental pollution as also asserted by Taylor (97). The policies and laws are to be adhered to by each country limiting activities that cause pollution such as production processes especially in the industrialized countries. The laws are to be agreed on and formulated by global representatives and environmental experts. They have to ensure logical and effective laws are formulated and enacted. Aid is to be also accorded to the poor countries, especially the developing ones who cannot afford to implement some of the laws passed.
Incentives such as awards or recognition should be implied on countries that fully comply with the structured laws (Taylor 97). This will in turn motivate others to comply with regulation passed for the protection of the environment. Stringent punitive measures, for example trade barriers and restrictions, should be enforced to nations that fail to comply with the set legislations. Non-compliant countries ought to be forced to adopt and put these regulations into practice.
By having strict regulations and consequences that follow when they are not complied to, countries, and consequently the whole world, will be more responsible of their actions. Sustainable practices will be carried out widely, encouraging the well-being of the environment and as a result the pollution rate will greatly reduce towards a green eco-friendly world.
Levinson, Arik, and M. Scott Taylor. “Unmasking the pollution haven effect.” International economic review 49.1 (2008): 223-254.
Michalski, Rajmund, and Alina Ficek. “Environmental pollution by chemical substances used in the shale gas extraction—a review.” Desalination and water treatment 57.3 (2016): 1336-1343.
Taylor, M. Scott. “Unbundling the pollution haven hypothesis.” Advances in Economic Analysis & Policy 3.2 (2004): 56-564.