The harms of improper handling of chemical and material waste are killing the planet increasingly every day.
This waste consists of product gases from manufacturing and transportation, garbage from consumerism, mishaps from obtaining natural resources, and many other hazardous waste disposals. Although much of the negative effects could be greatly reduced with proper disposal, a lack of action lets the problem grow.Air pollution, composed of broken down material and chemical waste, is one of the biggest causes of health issues today. Ninety percent of the world’s population is exposed to air conditions containing more pollutants than the World Health Organization deemed safe. However, since this issue can not typically be seen with the naked eye, many civilians believe that the air they breathe daily is completely safe, and world governments can avoid taking action. For example, in December of 2016, China issued a red alert warning in 23 cities, which closed down schools and roads and warned citizens to stay in their homes for five days due to poor air quality. The situation in China has escalated to cause 1.
6 million deaths a year, which would be about 4,400 deaths each day when spread evenly across the year. According to Loretta Mickey, an atmospheric chemist from Harvard University, despite such an overwhelming effect on the health of the Chinese population, its government only began to fight against air pollution recently. To explain the consequences, outdoor air pollution is caused by a buildup of particles from fossil fuel combustion, poisonous gases, ground-level ozone and tobacco smoke, which gets caught in the air and hangs above an area in a cloud called “smog.
” When smog enters the lungs, it can cause respiratory illnesses and cancers. Furthermore, another type, inside air pollution, occurs inside homes and factories. Inside air pollution consists of particles from gas leaks, household chemicals, harmful building materials, feces from rodents and infestation, mold, pollen, and tobacco smoke, which deteriorate human health similarly to smog.
Conclusively, air pollution requires immediate attention from the world.Chemical and material waste infects the land we live on and its surrounding waters. According to The World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease movement, nine million deaths each year are caused by pollution in the air, water, and soil. This environmental toxicity amounts to sixteen percent of worldwide deaths, which is about fifteen times the amount of collateral damage from war, and three times the amount of victims from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria collectively. It is not hard to believe such dire rates when the majority of the 150 million tons of world plastic produce is being disposed of in landfills and the oceans.
Furthermore, according to Joe Boren, the CEO of Ironshore’s environmental operation, roughly forty percent of rivers and forty-five percent of lakes are polluted beyond the realms of usefulness. Considering that freshwater rivers and lakes are the only sources of drinkable water currently available, humanity has found itself in a critical position. If drastic measures are not taken to reverse the ill effects of land and water pollution, Earth will not be able to remain supporting life.Eighty percent of the waste from consumers is sent to a landfill, but a mere eight percent is incinerated for reuse as green energy. Wastewatch, an organization that tracks human waste, estimates that over half of human trash could be recycled with current technology. Despite this, only twelve percent of human waste actually gets recycled. Evidently, the harm pollution caused planet Earth is by a fault of humanity and can only be reversed if a mass effort is made to reduce, reuse and recycle every material to its full potential every time.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but many people move towards goals for responsible waste management. For example, scientists attempt to find ways to efficiently and inexpensively break down plastics that normally take millions of years to decompose on their own. Megan L. Robertson, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, stated, “New materials enter the market slowly, and thus the biggest impact is in developing more efficient methods to recycle the plastics that are produced in large quantities today.
” Consequently, this will prevent new plastic wastes from joining those from the old market and increasing the difficulty of plastic recycling. To elaborate, due to the unique composition of plastics, they do not mix well, which means each piece of plastic must be recycled individually – a process neither cheap nor easy. As a result, in hopes to remedy this issue, scientists are trying to find ways to mix the different types of plastics for a quicker and less expensive process. However, while it would be immensely helpful to efficient recycle old materials, the first step to a cleaner planet takes place with using less in the first place. The war against chemical and material waste requires a conscious effort to make only as much as is needed.