1. Air pollution
This is one of the biggest problems the earth is facing in today's world.It not only affects the environment we live in but also our health. Short-term health effects include eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches and allergic reactions. Some long-term health effects are lung cancer, brain damage, liver damage, kidney damage and heart disease.
Besides that it causes damage to crops, animals and the forest. Also the ozone layer, which protects us from the UV rays from the sun, is depleting because of the air pollution. Another effect is the acid rain which harms trees, rivers and wildlife.
The major cause of air pollution are human activities especially in the cities. To support a larger population, there's a need for energy production, transportation, and industries, resulting in the emission of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.
But there are some things you can do to help keep the air cleaner. Generally it is important to conserve energy. Rather than using the car try to use your bicycle, take the public transportation or just walk.It is important to understand that if we start doing small steps we will have a great positive impact on the environment.
Deforestation is the permanent removal of trees to make room for something besides forest.Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but they are disappearing at an alarming rate. This can include clearing the land for agriculture or grazing, or using the timber for fuel, construction or manufacturing.
By destroying the forests, human activities are putting entire ecosystems in danger, creating natural imbalances, and putting Life at threat.Today, 52% of all the land used for food production is moderately or severely impacted by soil erosion. In the long term, the lack of healthy, nutritious soil can lead to low yields and food insecurity.
Deforestation also has a very strong contribution to climate change.Trees absorb and store CO2 throughout their lives. If we speak about tropical forests, they hold more than 210 gigatons of carbon, according to WWF. Taking down trees means they’ll release back into the atmosphere the CO2 they were keeping. Also fewer trees available means reducing the planet’s overall ability to capture and store CO2.
So what can you do to help with this problem?
Firstly reduce your usage of paper. Your daily consumption of paper includes printing paper, notebooks, napkins, toilet paper, etc. Try to reduce consumption, reduce waste of paper and also opt for recycled paper products.
Make life simple such as printing/writing on both sides of the paper, using less toilet paper, avoiding paper plates, and napkins and wherever possible, go paperless.
Secondly, eating less meat.Livestock rearing has become one of the leading causes of deforestation. Try to eat less meat. It may be hard for some people to try. However, eating less meat, even just for one meal a day, will also make an extreme impact on the environment.
Also reduce your consumption of deforestation prone products. Palm oil is a common ingredient in absolutely everything we see around us. Make it a simple habit to get a quick peek at the ingredients. Soybeans are another deforestation hotspot. Try finding ways to reduce consumption or opting for organic, local soy products and, if possible, avoid it completely.
It has already been identified that the problem of food waste is more than the food that is thrown away as it includes the entire supply chain. The food that we see in the supermarkets goes through a lengthy production process to get to the supermarket shelves. As part of this process, there is the use of a number of resources, all of which can have their own impact on the environment.
When food is wasted, so too is the land, water, labor, energy and other inputs that are used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing of the discarded food.
Here are some other easy tips to prevent food waste:
- Plan your meals. Make a shopping list and stick to it, and avoid impulse buys. Not only will you waste less food, you’ll also save money!
- Don’t judge food by its appearance! Oddly-shaped or bruised fruits and vegetables are often thrown away because they don’t meet arbitrary cosmetic standards. Don’t worry - they taste the same! Use mature fruit for smoothies, juices and desserts.
- If you don’t eat everything you make, freeze it for later or use the leftovers as an ingredient in another meal.
- By buying local produce, you support family farmers and small businesses in your community. You also help fight pollution by reducing delivery distances for trucks and other vehicles.
So as you can see there is always a solution to every problem. We just have one earth so let's take care of it together!
SEMRA SANJEET KAUR
Semra is a German volunteer in Praxis organisation involved in the World Environment Day campaign.