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Top 30 Environmental Concerns

From water pollution to global warming, environmental issues


affect every person, animal, community, and nation on the planet.
As increasing evidence supports the devastating effect humans
have on the environment, more people are taking steps to protect
the environment and educate others about environmental problems
by looking at the top 30 environmental concerns.

Top 5 Public Concerns


According to a series of Gallup polls conducted between 1997 and
2008, Americans are most concerned about the following five
environmental issues:
1. Contamination of Drinking Water: Contamination of fresh
water used for household needs, including pollution of oceans,
rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, ranks top on the list of environmental
concerns for many Americans. More than half of respondents
stated they worry about the safety of their drinking water a great
deal.
2. Water Pollution: General worry over water pollution and
associated environmental issues greatly concerns half of all
Americans who participated in the 2008 poll. Related issues
include acid rain, ocean dumping, urban runoff, oil spills, ocean
acidification, and wastewater.
3. Soil Contamination: Soil erosion, soil conservation, soil
salination, and soil contamination by waste, pesticides, and lead
worries 50 percent of Americans.
4. Wildlife Conservation: More than 40 percent of Americans
expressed concern about wildlife conservation and associated
environmental issues, such as endangered species, animal and plant
extinction, coral bleaching, introduction of invasive species,
poaching, and loss of natural animal habitats resulting in relocation
and a break in the food chain.

Water pollution

Most people in the world get our water from rivers and lakes,
including the vast majority of the worlds poorest people.
But half of the worlds 500 most important rivers water sources
for hundreds of millions of people are being seriously depleted or
polluted. Approximately 40 percent of the rivers in the U.S. are too
polluted for fishing and swimming.
Water shortages will likely be a fact of life for most people on the
planet within the next ten years.We cant afford to pollute and
destroy our drinking water sources. But thats exactly what were
doing often without knowing it.
Forests, grasslands and wetlands are natures water filters. They
help keep erosion and pollution from flowing into our waters and
they slow rainwater down, sending more water into underground
supplies.

How can we help?

Prevent deforestation and destruction of grasslands


natures water filters
Restore forests and grasslands that have already been lost or
damaged and sending erosion into our waters
Equip farmers with practical ways to keep harmful run-off
out of our waters
Restore floodplains that act as sponges and send water down
into groundwater supplies and filter pollution out of rivers
Create new science that helps pinpoint the greatest threats to
our waters and the most effective ways to combat them

Air pollution
Air pollution is damaging not only to human health, but to other
species and ecosystems as well.Our atmosphere is a protective
layer of gases surrounding Earth. It can be polluted by natural
sources, like when a volcanoerupts and spews gases into the air.
But human activity also pollutes the atmosphere. Often, pollutants
are released as byproducts of our daily activities, like using motor
vehicles and producing energy in power plants.
Here are some types of air pollution caused by human activity:
1. Chemicals: This includes sulfur dioxide gas released from
coal and oil refineries. Some of these chemicals take part in
reactions in the atmosphere, and can result in acid rain.
2. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide: These gases are found
naturally in our atmosphere. But human activity is also
releasing them in large quantities. This contributes to global
climate change.
3. Urban smog: These harmful gases and tiny particles can
irritate our eyes, nose, and throat in the short-term. In the
long-term, they can worsen heart and lung problems.
Here are a few ways that we can protect ourselves and other
species from the harmful effects of air pollution.
1. Use our vehicles less.
2. Use cleaner fuels and more fuel-efficient products

3. Factories can use control devices

Soil pollution
With the rise of concrete buildings and roads, one part of the Earth
that we rarely see is the soil. It has many different names, such as
dirt, mud and ground. However, it is definitely very important to
us. The plants that feed us grow in soil and keeping it healthy is
essential to maintaining a beautiful planet. However, like all other
forms of nature, soil also suffers from pollution. The pollution of
soil is a common thing these days, and it happens due to the
presence of man made elements.
The main reason why the soil becomes contaminated is due to the
presence of man made waste. The waste produced from nature
itself such as dead plants, carcasses of animals and rotten fruits and
vegetables only adds to the fertility of the soil. However, our waste
products are full of chemicals that are not originally found in
nature and lead to soil pollution.

Main Causes of Soil Pollution


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Industrial Activity
Agricultural Activities
Waste Disposal
Accidental Oil Spills
Acid Rain

Effects of Soil Pollution


1. Effect on Health of Humans: Considering how soil is the
reason we are able to sustain ourselves, the contamination of
it has major consequences on our health. Crops and plants
grown on polluted soil absorb much of the pollution and then
pass these on to us. This could explain the sudden surge in
small and terminal illnesses.
Long term exposure to such soil can affect the genetic make-up of
the body, causing congenital illnesses and chronic health problems

that cannot be cured easily. In fact, it can sicken the livestock to a


considerable extent and cause food poisoning over a long period of
time. The soil pollution can even lead to widespread famines if the
plants are unable to grow in it.
2. Effect on Growth of Plants: The ecological balance of any
system gets affected due to the widespread contamination of
the soil. Most plants are unable to adapt when the chemistry
of the soil changes so radically in a short period of time.
Fungi and bacteria found in the soil that bind it together
begin to decline, which creates an additional problem of soil
erosion.The fertility slowly diminishes, making land
unsuitable for agriculture and any local vegetation to
survive. The soil pollution causes large tracts of land to
become hazardous to health. Unlike deserts, which are
suitable for its native vegetation, such land cannot support
most forms of life.
3. Decreased Soil Fertility
4. Toxic Dust
5. Changes in Soil Structure