Important Environmental Issues

Knowing Our Environment

What Are The Most Important Environmental Issues

The environment is what surrounds us. It encompasses both living and non-living things that are naturally on earth such as plants, animals, the air, water, rocks ad all sorts of other things. Even human beings form part of the environment.

The environment is necessary to support life. However, due to man-made and natural pressure, the environment is taking a sound beating. The deteriorating state in the environment is extremely worrying because at the extreme, the environment will no longer be able to support life. The continued degradation of the environment has given rise to important environmental issues. These important environmental issues may vary in importance depending on where you are in the world, but they are all the same.

Global warming or climate change – This is perhaps one of the most important environmental issues. Global warming is one of the environmental issues directly resulting from man-made pressure. It is simply the increase in earth temperatures causes by greenhouse gases which trap heat from the sun, causing the earth to heat up.

Green house gases include methane and carbon dioxide. The result is warmer temperatures that are causing ice glaciers to melt and raising ocean water levels. Rising sea level means low lying lands become submerged and the flooding causes death and destruction.

Acid rain – Acid rain is another one of the important environmental issues. It occurs as a result of rain droplets coming into contact with pollution. The pollution is from gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. When this rain falls, it may eat away at building and cause pollution in the soil and in streams and lakes. Acid rain is also one of the effects of global warming.

Endangered species and ecosystems – This is another one of today’s important environmental issues. It results mostly from human activity. Overexploitation such as over fishing, over hunting and over-cultivation, resulting in dwindling numbers of a particular species. Another cause of dwindling species is pollution and proliferation of disease that affects the species.

Sometimes introduction of exotic species can be responsible for causing certain species to become endangered. The introduction is sometimes inadvertent and sometimes deliberate. The exotic species sometimes upsets the balance of the ecosystem thereby causing the native species to die out.

Species are also becoming endangered due to the destruction of their natural habitat by human activity. Increase in human population is putting more pressure on land, and forests are being cleared to accommodate the building of more structures.

Clean drinking water – This is one of the important environmental issues that is particularly crucial in certain parts of the world. In Africa for instance, a large proportion of the people lack access to safe, drinking water, which is essential for life. This causes many deaths every year and the problem is growing.