Poisoning Planet Earth: Pollution and Other Environmental Hazards

1665 Words Oct 2nd, 1999 7 Pages
ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION

Efforts to improve the standard of living for humans--through the control of nature and the development of new products--have also resulted in the pollution, or contamination, of the environment. Much of the world's air, water, and land is now partially poisoned by chemical wastes. Some places have become uninhabitable. This pollution exposes people all around the globe to new risks from disease. Many species of plants and animals have become endangered or are now extinct. As a result of these developments, governments have passed laws to limit or reverse the threat of environmental pollution.

Ecology and Environmental Deterioration

The branch of science that deals with how living things, including
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Factories sometimes turn waterways into open sewers by dumping oils, toxic chemicals, and other harmful industrial wastes into them. In mining and oil-drilling operations, corrosive acid wastes are poured into the water. In recent years, municipal waste treatment plants have been built to contend with water contamination. Some towns, however, still foul streams by pouring raw sewage into them. Septic tanks and cesspools, used where sewers are not available, may also pollute the groundwater and adjacent streams, sometimes with disease-causing organisms. Even the purified effluent from sewage plants can cause water pollution if it contains high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus. Farm fertilizers in some regions fill groundwater with nitrates, making the water unfit to drink. Agricultural runoff containing dangerous pesticides and the oil, grime, and chemicals used to melt ice from city streets also pollute waterways.

Land and Soil Pollution

In order to sustain the continually growing human population, current agricultural methods are designed to maximize yields from croplands. In many areas, the overuse of land results in the erosion of topsoil. This soil erosion, in turn, causes the over-silting or sedimentation of rivers and streams.

One answer to the garbage problem is recycling. Some towns have passed ordinances that encourage or require residents to
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