What is pollution
As described by National Geographic, pollution is the process of harming the environment by introducing dangerous substances called pollutants. There are 5 categories which pollute the planet: earth, air, water, soil, light and noise. From these 5, the ones who currently affect the planet the most are air pollution, water Pollution and soil pollution. There are two types of pollutants: natural and artificial. Some examples of natural pollutants are: volcano ash, sulphur dioxide or dust. These type of pollutants are considered to be short-term as they do not leave a considerable scar on the overall ecosystem and it is considered by The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential to be a part of the natural regenerative system. On the other hand there is the artificial pollutants, this is usually as a consequence of us humans. Some examples of it are: factory or car CO2, plastic or chemicals. But the pollutant that affects earth the most is the artificial one, and it has been more and more severe from the discovery of synthetic plastic in 1907 by Leo Baekeland onwards. This, in combination with fast fashion which is causing trouble from 1990 have severe impact on the natural habitats, global warming and human diseases.
What are the consequences of pollution?
Everyone is at risk due to the consequences of pollution. Planet Earth is in danger, we are in danger. How? Pollution is the no.1 factor affecting global warming. If you are interested in reading further on this topic, here are some interesting articles from Mindless.
To understand the seriousness of the problem, the Association of Environmental Protection stated the following facts. Firstly, because of the air pollution in 2021 alone, 8.7 million deaths across the globe were registered. Water pollution is not any better, 14 billion pounds of plastic were thrown into oceans every year contributing to 1.5 million deaths among children. When it comes to soil, around 400 million tons of toxic waste is generated globally every year then to be buried into the soil to hide or neutralise it.
Can it get any worse? Well, it can and it does
Based on a report issued in 2018 by the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the urge of keeling the global temperature rises at 1.5˚C which is below the pre-industrial era levels. They demand urgent action for the following 12 years as if not achieved, more actions will be required to meet such standards. As United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) states most land is already experiencing greater than expected warming on global scale compared to the oceans which warm at a slower rate. Based on a temperature database it is considered that somewhere in the range of 20% to 40% of global population living in the decade 2006-2015 had already experienced a warming of 1.5°C more than the predicted warming. This further affects and intensifies the rapid melting of the glaciers which as WWF reports, the human activities are the direct root of this phenomenon. The 6th assessment report from IPCC concluded that the average precipitation has increased at a faster rate from 1950 to 1980 meaning 50mm of rain more on land compared to previous years. They also mentioned that for future there is a likelihood ( 66% probability) that precipitation will increase globally rather than decrease. Abundant precipitation affects the rising levels of the oceans and has a domino effect on the flooding happening more frequent in certain regions slowing and stopping farming or living in general there. UNEP also states that as a consequence of air pollution a "serious degradation of air quality with negative effects on human health" caused by processes of human activity actually affect the health of the population. Such substances were edited into the atmosphere and have a direct and indirect harmful effect on the human health. It looks that the Fourth Industrial Revolution backfired on the people who started it in the first place.
What can we all do to save Earth?
You, me, and everyone should play their role to change once and forever the bad habits we have for the benefit of the planet, which is equivalent to the benefit of ourselves.
First example of how we can start small is considering low emissions for our transportation like cycling to work or taking public transport. This alone helps to cut on emissions that come from cars. Second is the power of the buyer, as we can pick and choose our energy supplier. It is recommended to use energy suppliers who source their electricity using clean strategies like solar energy. Lastly, planting a tree or supporting tree plantation programs by donating. Creating new sources of oxygen is a way of approaching air pollution, by doing this we can show that we strive to help the environment and become carbon neutral.