|Examples/ definitions with source references|
Air and water pollution
Emissions affect the quality of the air we breathe just as effluents, fertilisers and pesticides poison the water humans and animals need to live. Allergies, bronchial disorders and waterbornediseases are on the increase.
Rising demand for energy worldwide risks using up supplies of non renewable resources. Nuclear power is not a safe solution to the problem of energy supply. In developing countries the demandfor fuel and power may lead to deforestation (because wood is burnt) and resulting desertification or even natural disasters such as flooding. The same countries are tempted to use dirty sources ofenergy or dangerous technology in an attempt to satisfy the demands of their people for higher living standards.
Genetically modified food
New developments in biotechnology have made it possible to produce highly resistant, productive crops and food animals. But these technologies are very controversial. It is unclear, forexample, what the impact on the natural surroundings will be, and many people have an ethical problem with playing God. International opinion is divided on the need for measures to regulate or evenforbid the spread of genetically engineered foodstuffs.
This is caused by the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. It could result in climate changes with disastrous effects on vegetation, wildlife and human livingconditions. Reports of droughts, floods and changing patterns of cultivation can be found in increasing numbers.
Loss of the gene-pool
Countless species of plants, insects and animals have already become extinct. Many more are threatened right now. We often do not understand the delicate ecological balance that exists betweenthe species in a certain environment. Species extinction may lead to diseased flora and fauna, loss of land for cultivation and the loss of potential products (cf. rainforest products –medicines, drugs, etc) which may have been beneficial to humankind.
High-level ozone protects the earth’s surface against harmful radiation from the sun. It has been fairly conclusively proved that ozone-eating chemicals used in aerosols, packaging, aircondition units and refrigerators are responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer. One well-documented result of the depletion of this layer is the rise in the incidence of skin cancer.
Increasingly large quantities of rubbish are being produced by the world’s ever-growing population. Even household rubbish can be a problem, let alone toxic and hazardous industrialwaste.