Environment – problems
Civilisation has brought people many advantages but its products pollute and damage the environment in which we live. Britain has been protecting the environment against pollution from industry and other sources for more than a century, while in the Czech Republic we are only at the beginning. Pollution affects the air, water, land and plants.
Air pollution is the biggest problem in large cities and in areas with a concentrated industrial production. Emissions range from smoke, dust and smells to car or lorry exhausts. Smoke contains sulphur dioxide nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide, which are produced by coal-fired power stations. These substances can cause major changes in the environment that can lead to climate changes. Acids and oxidants fall in the form of rain – acid rains or snow onto trees and gradually kill them.
Trees are important for our life because they are the lungs of our planet. They absorb carbon dioxide from the air and give us oxygen in return. In some parts of the world such as Asia and South America, trees are not threatened by pollution, but by people. The great rain forests are being destroyed for firewood and building materials. Tropical forests provide 50 per cent of the world production of oxygen. It we lose them, it will be difficult or maybe impossible to breathe. With more carbon dioxide in the air, the temperature will rise, the ice caps at the North and South Poles will melt, and the sea level will raise which will result in the flooding of many coastal cities.
The ozone layer is a layer of gas high above the surface of the Earth that helps to protect it from the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation, which can damage our skins and cause cancer. Scientists discovered holes in the ozone layer, caused by substances called CFCs – they are used in refrigerators, aerosol cans and in the manufacturing process of some plastic products. Some companies now make aerosols that do not contain CFCs, and they are often labelled ozone friendly.
Soil can be contaminated as a result of industrial waste – some poison leak into the underground water – which is very dangerous because we drink it.
Noises cause considerable problems for many people: lack of concentration
Litter, dust and rubbish in the streets also threaten the environment. Everybody knows that it is wrong to litter but many people still do it.
Animal and plant protection:
is affected by human activities. Some animals are protected – bats, badgers, and others (otters, some species of birds – such as owls). They are bred in captivity and then they live in the wild to have the best chance to survive.
Water is the substance which man cannot survive without. But water is polluted by the waste of chemical industries, heavy metals, acid rains, chemicals used in agriculture (fertilisers), by ship waste and detergents.
How can we solve the problem of air pollution? First of all people should try to use energy, such as solar, water, geothermal or perhaps tidal energy.