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Major environmental problems in 2014 - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 10:55

Every year the ecological situation on the planet Earth is getting worse, but the gradual realization of the civilized world that a lot depends on us, the situation is changing.
Pollution of the ocean plastic

One of the most pressing environmental issues of the outgoing year was obviously pollution of the oceans of plastic waste.

24 expedition took researchers to subsequently using simulation to find out the amount of plastic waste floating around in the waters around the world. Volumes are really impressive: it is 5.2 trillion particles weighing more than 268,000 tons.
Another group of researchers for the first time mapped the garbage continents oceans. At the same time, strangely enough, pollution indicators were much lower than expected.

As it turned out, about 99% of the estimated plastic is simply absent in the oceans. This is largely due to the fact that the plastic is eaten by animals, environmentalists believe. Predict the biological consequences of these processes is currently impossible. A huge amount of waste sinks to the seabed, but this does not mean that the way the oceans are safe, because pollution continue to influence various forms of deep-sea life.

In the waters of the oceans circulates at least 5.2 trillion plastic particles with a total weight of at least 268,000 tons

Due to the global water circulation trillions of plastic particles trapped in the Arctic ice, which is almost untouched by human hands.

Microplastic pollution are found in all oceans, without exception. They affect the lives of not only birds and fish (according to statistics, 90% of birds killed on the beach is not a natural death, swallow plastic waste, mistaking them for food), but also on microorganisms.

Thus, in every part of the plastic (even the size of a grain of sand) inhabit microscopic invertebrates and simplest forms of life. Some organisms may contribute to the natural decomposition of plastic, but it has a downside: small animals make plastic particles more attractive for large, who use them for food.

Scientists are trying to confront the situation as much. For example, American researchers are developing plastic that decomposes under the influence of Sunlight.

A Spanish students invented to replace plastic bottles - edible balls of algae. And the recipe of innovative packaging is so simple that it can be made even at home.

Bowl of edible seaweed - an alternative to plastic bottles

Specialists from Mexico also proposed the use of fungi to dispose of diapers containing polymers. Diapers first liquid waste is sterilized, comminuted and then mixed with a material containing an organic substance lignin.

On the resulting substrate plant fungal spores and placed in a plastic bag for two or three weeks in low light and controlled temperature and humidity. Mushrooms will eat the cellulose contained in the children's diapers, because of which the waste will dissolve in just two or three months, but not for several centuries. This process will reduce the volume and weight of waste by 80%, and the mushrooms will then be used as a food additive in cattle feed.

Contribute to a good cause and make Russian researchers. For example, a student from Kazan invented biodegradable plastic bag analogue: eco-friendly film based on the ordinary starch, which is soluble in water all day.

Other problems of the oceans

Unfortunately, plastic pollution - not only a disaster, which had to face the oceans. For example, in the reservoirs of the Earth is rapidly growing concentration of mercury, one of the most harmful substances. According to the latest data from the beginning of the industrial revolution the mercury content in the upper layers of the oceans has increased three-fold. All this can not but affect the inhabitants of reservoirs, and ultimately on the people who use them for food.

By the way, the universal love of seafood leaves its mark not only on health but also on the populations themselves inhabitants of the depths. In particular, in 2014, scientists have recorded decline in the Pacific bluefin tuna, whose back and abdomen are a favorite delicacy. In Asia, for example, this kind virtually disappeared. The main problem of catching this fish is that the fishermen catch of juveniles who have not yet had time to mate with the opposite sex. In connection with this population was reduced by 19-33% during the last 22 years.

Fish that live in ponds, not only suffer from overfishing and pollution, but also a high level of noise pollution. Sound effects engine vehicles (ships and boats) causes animals to raise your voice to drown them.

air Pollution

This year, researchers published the statistics according to which only one air pollution in 2012 claimed the lives of 7 million people around the world. Among the problems caused by air pollution, heart disease, stroke and chronic lung disease, and cancer, and acute respiratory viral infections.

The highest percentage of deaths recorded in the poor countries of Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. 3.3 million deaths associated with indoor air pollution, and only 2.6 million - with unfavorable environmental conditions. Speaking of poor indoor air quality, WHO experts note that 2.9 billion people in the world live in homes where heating and cooking is still used fuels such as coal, wood and dung.

Smog in Delhi. Air pollution killed 7 million people worldwide

Industrial air pollution is particularly devastating in countries with rapid industrialization, particularly in India and China.

On the other hand, the analysis of satellite data showed that the farm animals in the United States emits more methane into the atmosphere than did the oil and gas industries combined. Methane - one of the gases that affect the average temperature. He lingers in the atmosphere for a shorter period than carbon dioxide, but densely cover the planet, causing warming.

Car exhaust, in turn, affect not only the climate of our planet. They affect many aspects of life, for example, prevent the butterflies to determine the location of flowers to smell. If we consider that the calories derived from one feeding is only enough for 15 minutes of flight, precise navigation is very important for flying pollinators.

Global warming and climate change

The question of global warming for several years remains one of the most pressing environmental problems. This year, a group of British researchers has made a statement that the aircraft contrails have a negative impact on the climate.

Contrail is formed not always. For its formation the aircraft must fly in an area with very low temperatures and high humidity. As a rule, the following is the cause of the exhaust gases of jet engines, in which the composition of water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, soot, and sulfur compounds.

Sulfur particles serve as nuclei for water condensation, wherein the vapor trail itself can be formed as the water vapor included in the exhaust gases and steam from entering into the supersaturated atmosphere. According to experts, this phenomenon can be avoided in the event that the flight route will be laid in such a way as to avoid places where there is a condensation trail.

The greenhouse effect and global warming may lead to unusual and destructive weather events, including droughts, floods and other natural disasters. Computer modeling, scientists presented at the annual congress of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, showed that the risk of a large amount of precipitation in the winter increased in the UK alone, approximately 25% compared to pre-industrial levels. US researchers, in turn, said that climate change has already affected every state in the US, and carbon dioxide emissions need to be an immediate reduction.

Floods - one of the devastating effects of global warming

Climatic changes affect not only agriculture, infrastructure and water supply, but also the health of the population: prolonged rainfall and prolonged droughts increase the risk of the spread of disease (such as infectious diseases, water-borne and stressful conditions during the heat).

At the moment, the world is on the verge of global change and he will adapt to the unknown future climate: droughts, floods, shortages of energy and food, increasing the number of pests, epidemics, outbreaks of disease, problems with water supply.

Despite the evidence of the need to preserve forests, which theoretically could help curb the disastrous consequences of air pollution and global warming, cutting down their still does not stop. For the production of commercial products rare species of trees mercilessly destroyed. Independent scientist determined that owners of commercial plantations and food companies promote their activities illegal felling of tropical forests, which not only affects the lungs of the planet, but also accelerates the extinction of rare species of animals.

According to the calculations of experts in the activities of commercial agriculture uses about 70% of tropical forests, with half the trees cut down in the course of illegal actions. In Indonesia alone, 80% of deforestation occurs illegally. In addition, it is this country is the largest exporter of palm oil, which is added to almost all semi-finished products, food and cosmetics, and it is made in most cases illegally. When felling trees die endangered orangutans, bonobos and other apes. Incidentally, the palm oil is added, usually in low-grade products, use of which may lead to various diseases.

Unfortunately, this problem is no solution. In the short term it will not solve even the control of the population (eg, the legislative policy of one child). Even if the population will be at a time and significantly reduced due to any kind was a global catastrophe, it also does not materially alter the case.

However, effective family planning (which is largely dependent on proper information and education of people) around the world has the potential to limit the size of the human population and ease the pressure on the availability of resources in the long term. That is our immediate descendants are unlikely to feel the benefits of this, but our great-great-great-great-grandchildren - completely.

Reduction of natural resources

According to a simulation performed by the American scientist, humanity reduces the number of species in a thoUSAnd times faster than the natural rate. In this natural process involves the emergence of new species to replace extinct, however, due to human activity is simply no time to occur. And if it goes on, it can lead to the sixth mass extinction on our planet: 41% disappear species of amphibians, a quarter of all mammals and 13% birds. All this can happen in the next five years, if people do not cease to destroy the habitat of various species of animals.

Mankind is responsible for the extinction of many species of rare animals. Probably anthropogenic interference will lead to the sixth mass extinction on our planet

To the disappearance of species may result in climate change, deforestation, over-fishing unchecked for sale on the black market, water and air pollution, but all of this is a result of human impact.

At the same time in 2014 it became known that these harms mankind to itself: reducing wildlife populations will lead to wars and slavery. Well-being of a civilized society is directly related to the natural balance of wildlife populations. More than a billion of the poorest people in the world are directly dependent on hunting, because for them it is the only way to receive a portion of the protein.

If they are precluded from doing so, begin the decline of civilization and social comfort, will thrive poaching, crime and social stratification.

harmful products

Many products that help a person can harm the environment. As it turned out, washed off the remains of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) inhibit the growth of important food crops.

Medicines can change the growth of roots and stems of lettuce and radishes in the first few weeks after germination. The roots of the plants are too short, but the leaves, on the contrary, grow in an excess amount. As it turned out, the excessive use of antibiotics leads to the fact that they are also in excess introduced into the environment and provokes spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Antimicrobial hygiene products containing the active ingredient is triclosan, not only help to protect the person from bacteria, but also provoke the development of cancer and liver fibrosis - a few years ago has been found that triclosan harms the heart and muscles. The high content of substances in the body leads to hormonal disorders of the reproductive system, and some bacteria have genetic resistance to triclosan, making it useless.

Sunscreens that use the rest to protect against possible devastating effects of ultraviolet radiation, have a negative impact on phytoplankton

Sunscreen to protect our skin from cancer, a negative impact on marine life. As part of these means are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which in sea water under the influence of Sunlight converted into hydrogen peroxide. It harms phytoplankton, which feed almost all the inhabitants of the sea - from small fish and shrimp to large whales.

Environmental reservoirs harm even tools such as facial scrubs. Tiny plastic particles have successfully bypassed the filter in the water and move into water, clogging them. According to estimates of experts, about 81% of all plastic caught in the United States, are the components of cosmetic products. In response to this news, many cosmetic giants have promised to develop a scrub with natural substances - sea salt or oatmeal, which is not only safer for the environment, but also better for the consumers themselves.

Not only cosmetics, but also harms the ecology technique. LED lamps, for which the Japanese won the Nobel prize, as it turned out, attracted 48% more insects than ordinary gas-discharge lamps. In light diodes moths and flies lose their orientation in space and the most at risk of dying from predators.

Changes for the better

However, a large number of frightening discovery does not mean that 2014 was not marked by something good. Many scientists of the world are working to improve the situation.

In particular, researchers have developed a strategy that can increase productivity and reduce damage to the environment. They suggest three main areas in which you can steadily increase food production. This increase in yield of unproductive farms, reducing the consumption of valuable resources such as water, as well as the change in diet of the person.

Culture should be grown more environmentally friendly way: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, waste less water for irrigation and not to abuse fertilizers (which leads to water pollution). The greatest environmental damage from the farms observed in China, India, USA, Brazil, Indonesia and Pakistan. And, of course, should rationally relate to food, because almost 30-50% of food products currently goes to waste.

Growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere not only attracts global warming, but also leads to an increase in the growing season. Higher temperatures will initiate earlier onset of plant growth, and in addition, the increase in the content of CO2 causes respiratory pores that on leaves or stomata are closed, which also prevents the loss of water. With this plant longer resist fading, which significantly extends the growing season.

animals are not only affected by the changing environment, but also gradually adapt to them. Fish, for example, recently prefer to settle near the oil platforms, rather than in the reefs.

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