It is indisputable that there has been a rise in the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere during the last century, which scientists think may be one of the causes of global warming. The climate change however is not a direct result of the rise in greenhouse gases. 2. How is it affecting our planet? Will global warming spell doom for our world? Scientists believe this to be so. Much depends on what actions we take now and in the coming years.
Meteorologist Jagadish Shukla of the University of Maryland found out that deforestation would cause rainfall in the Amazon River to decline by more than 26 percent from the current 2. 5 m. to about 1. 8 m. a year (Bellamy & Gifford, 2000). At the same time, the burning of fossil fuels, particularly coal and oil, produces sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides which are hazardous to the atmosphere. Findings show that a single smokestack may produce as much as 500 tons of sulfur dioxide a day. When these gases combine with oxygen and moisture, sulfuric acid and nitric acid is formed.
The rain will carry the acids to the ground (acid rain) which may cause the depletion of calcium and magnesium in the soil, elements needed by plants for the formation of chlorophyll and wood, or it may cause the release of aluminum in the soil, which are poisonous and can kill the roots of trees (Carwardine, 2000). On the other hand, ozone is an unstable oxygen that occurs naturally in the atmosphere (also called isothermal region), the upper portion of the atmosphere above 7 miles where clouds are rare.
The ozone layer absorbs the dangerous ultraviolet-B (UV-B) rays while it allows the needed safe light to pass through. Though easily broken down by other gases in the stratosphere, it is constantly being repaired by the suns rays. However, man is destroying the ozone layer which serves as a protective umbrella against the suns harmful rays. In fact, the ozone layer is destroyed faster than the suns rays can produce it. It is being destroyed by industrial gases like CFCs (Johnston, 2000).
CFCs were invented in 1930 but were discovered hazardous in 1974”only after 44 years of use. CFCs, which are found everywhere, are used in foamed plastic production (insulators, cups, fast-food containers), spray propellants, coolants (refrigerators, air-conditioners) and solvent cleaner (electronic equipment). It is dismaying to know that ozone depletion can be found in the south (Antarctica) and north (Greenland) poles (Dolan, 2006). According to British scientist Joe Farman, 40 percent of ozone depletion can be found in the South Pole.
At the South Pole is a huge vortex with clouds composed of tiny ice [articles, giving chlorine millions of tiny spaces through which it can perform its deadly dance with ozone even faster (Simpson, 2000). Both holes at the poles are seasonal, opening and closing each year. In the northern hemisphere, a more populous region, ozone depletion rate is between three percent and seven percent for 17 years, as compared previously to only three percent for100 years. What are the effects of Ultraviolet-B rays to human beings and the ecosystem in general?
To humans, they can cause skin cancer and cataract as mentioned earlier and damage the immune system. To the ecosystem, they can kill planktons (basic element of the ocean food chain), destroy plant life and crops and change global wind and weather patterns. 3) What is being doing about? During the earliest times, the lifestyles of our ancestors were very simple. The air they breathed was clean. The streams were clear and free of harmful organisms. They used natural fertilizers for their agricultural crops. The surroundings were free of household throwaways.
Today, there has been a tremendous growth in science and technology. Such advances have brought about changes in terms of new products, improved equipment, and more effective methodologies. Unfortunately, this same technology which made life easier for us produced wastes which are now affecting the quality of our surrounding air, water, and land. Factories and motor vehicles send tons of pollutants into our air. Excessive air pollution poses danger to our health. It can likewise cause stunted growth and even death to our plants that may lead to global warming.
Out streams are polluted by discharges from industrial plants that use chemicals. Garbage and sink wastes are carelessly thrown in our surroundings. Synthetic fertilizers and insecticides pollute our land and farm products (Dolan 2006). All of this human carelessness can cause global warming. Are we all aware of the extent of the damages brought by modernization? Have we contributed to such environmental dilemmas especially global warming? What have we done to minimize such danger to our lives? Everyone should ask themselves and think such things.
4) What do you think should be done about it? In order to minimize and control global warming, the government and its people should have resolutions. These resolutions can be recycling and reuse of solid wastes, conserving our forests, and disposing solid wastes. a. ) Recycling and Reuse of Solid Wastes Solid wastes are now viewed as a potential resource which must be recovered and reused whenever possible. Since disposal forest resources are rapidly being depleted, recycling solid wastes offer a solution to both. Consider the element phosphorus.
Mined from phosphate ores, it is manufactured into fertilizers. It enters the plant tissues and we obtain it when we eat plant as vegetable. This is later excreted and joins the sewage system. The sewage system sludge can be used directly as fertilizer or soil conditioner. Used bottles can be used over and over again. Durable plastic containers can be saved for more household uses. Tires can be recapped and used again.
Old clothing materials are used as kitchen towels and bags (see Environment Matters: Industrys Guide to the Issues, the Challenges and the Solutions, 1999). b.) Conserving our Forests Every now and then we receive alarming news about our forests being denuded. Big logging concessionaires indiscriminately cut down trees without undertaking reforestation measures. Without trees, the soil is loosened and rapid erosion occurs. As a result fertile topsoil is washed away, which makes growth of other forms of vegetation almost impossible. We suffer great loss of timber, wildlife, and other forest products. But the greatest danger is the occurrence of floods and global warming that cause losses of food, properties, and lives (Davidson, 1999).
b. Disposing Solid Wastes The most common way of disposing waste is through open dump. Collected garbage is hauled to a dumping site where organic matter is allowed to rot or be consumed by rats, flies, and other insects. A usual activity among the poor in this place is the salvaging operation to retrieve bottles, rags, boxes, and metal scraps. In some places the materials are burned. Reference: Bellamy, David, and Gifford, Jane. Wilderness Britain? A Greenprint for the Future. Sparkford: Oxford Illustrated 2000.
Popular work by leading biologist and environmental campaigner. Carwardine, Mark. The WWF Environment Handbook. London: Macdonald Optima, 2000. Attractively illustrated handbook for the general reader. Davidson, Joan. How Green is your City? Pioneering Approaches to Environmental Action. London: Bedford Square Press, 1999. Guide to community action for urban renewal. Dolan, Edwin G. (2006). Science, Public Policy, and Global Warming: Rethinking the Market-Liberal Position. The Cato Journal, Vol. 26
Environment Matters: Industrys Guide to the Issues, the Challenges and the Solutions. London: World Petrochemicals Analysis, 1999- . Leading monthly journal. Johnston, R. J. Environmental Problems: Nature, Economy and State. London: Belhaven, 2000. Mank, Bradford (2005). Standing and Global Warming: Is Injury to All Injury to None? Environmental Law, Vol. 35. Simpson, Struan. The Times Guide to the Environment: a Comprehensive Handbook to Green Issues. London: Times, 2000. Authoritative and comprehensive; with bibliography.