The 5 Most Devastating Environmental Issues Threatening Our Planet
Our planet is currently facing a major environmental crisis and there’s no hiding from the fact that its ability to withstand the pressures of consumption is tested harder every day. Here’s a look at five of the world’s biggest environmental concerns that require our urgent attention.
1 — Loss of Biodiversity
Human activity, such as deforestation, is leading to the extinction of species and loss of biodiversity. At present forests cover 30% of the land, however it is estimated that one and a half acres of forest is cut down every second and if these rates are to be maintained then rainforests will be gone completely within 100 years.
Animals are further threatened by the loss of their habitats due to the clearing of forests for residential, industrial, or commercial purposes. If deforestation continues at this rate, ecosystems are simultaneously in danger due to the domino effect of the loss of one species falling down the chain to impact others.
2 — Coral Reef Destruction
Our oceans cover about 71% of our planet’s surface and make up 95% of all the space available to life. However, they are severely under threat due to global warming, ocean acidification, and destructive overfishing. At present there are 109 countries with coral reefs, 90 of which are under serious threat of extinction.
Coral bleaching is a major concern caused by unequivocally warming sea temperature in the summer months. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has experienced an average of 43% coral reef bleaching over the past decade. The effect of this coral reef destruction may soon challenge marine life on a scale that the planet has not seen for millions of years.
3 — Pollution
The pollution of air, water and soil are mainly caused by multiple forms of contamination — industry and motor vehicle exhaust fumes, toxic chemicals from industrial processes, agricultural waste and plastic trash blowing away from landfills.
Pollution may lead to devastating consequences, poisoning of soils and waterways, ultimately threatening humans, animals and plants globally. According to WWF, more than one billion people lack access to clean water and 2.4 billion don’t have adequate sanitation, putting them at severe risk of contracting deadly diseases.
4 — Natural Resource Depletion
Water, animals, fossil fuels, minerals, land and soils are considered natural resources around us. Over time, these finite resources will be completely used up due to an increasing level of human consumption, shortage of resource supply and a lack of replacement for said resources.
Constant Water pollution, a dependence on coal and abuse of land and soil are the dangerous activities caused by over-consumption. These severely impact the environment around us — not only for humans but for all its other natural inhabitants.
5 — Ozone Layer Depletion
The Ozone Layer is the most important layer in earth’s atmosphere. It is a shield protecting earth’s life from the harmful ultraviolet B radiation emitted by the sun. However, the layer is slowly depleting due to air pollution from human activities. The pollution is caused by Chlorine and Bromide found in Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
CFCs chemicals are found mainly in spray aerosols heavily used by industrialized nations. When CFCs reach the upper atmosphere, they create a hole in the Ozone Layer — the biggest of which is above the Antarctic. As a result, the use of CFCs have been banned in many industries and consumer products since 1996, causing the amount of chlorine in the atmosphere to slowly decline since.