We explain what environmental problems are and what their causes are. Some examples and ways to prevent them.
What are the environmental problems?
Environmental problems are the harmful effects on the ecosystem that arise from different human activities, generally as undesirable consequences and more or less accidental.
When these types of problems are not corrected in time, they cause an unpredictable change in the environment that, in the long run, usually results in environmental disasters, that is, tragic and catastrophic situations that involve (and come from ) the deterioration of the environment.
Environmental problems are one of the main challenges of the industrialized world, whose continued production of consumer goods also requires the continued entry of raw materials, extracted directly from nature.
In that sense, the impact that the Industrial Revolution and the urban way of life has had on the global ecosystem has meant much more vertiginous changes than in the rest of the history of mankind.
That is the reason why many national and international organizations are struggling to promote ecological legislation in most countries and to reach agreements to avoid or at least slow down the pace of environmental deterioration as a consequence of our life model.
See also: Conservation of the environment
What are the environmental problems?
There are many forms of environmental problems, some with a greater impact on the environment, which makes them urgent to attend, and others more innocuous and simple instead. The main ones today would have to be:
- Deforestation It is understood by the indiscriminate felling of forests and green areas to use their wood in various industries (paper, wood, etc.) or to allocate the land to agricultural or livestock activities. This process, which began prehistoric humanity in its own way, never happened at a rate as fierce as it is today, so much so that it is imperative to re-plant forests to create a counterweight. The absence of trees deteriorates the soil, leaves it exposed to erosion, decreases the amount of oxygen in the world and increases that of atmospheric carbon, contributing to increase the average temperature of our planet.
- Pollution. It refers to the adulteration of water, earth or air by the addition of chemically reactive substances, capable of destroying ecosystems, making water unusable or generating diseases in both humans and other life forms. This problem is one of the most serious, since it also causes destructive phenomena such as acid rain (contaminated rain), toxic accumulation of plastic or acidification of the seas, for example. All this translates into chemical changes that are too fast, which do not give room for life to adapt to them, or to remedy them in their own way.
- Global warming. The planet is getting hotter, at a much faster rate than it had in past times, and the logical responsible for it is the human being. Most industrial activities, from livestock to burning fossil fuels, flood the atmosphere with carbon derivatives (carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide), which not only impoverish air quality, but remain in the atmosphere preventing the normal release of heat, and thus generating a greenhouse effect that is already melting the perpetual snows of the poles and increasing the water level. This translates into climatic changes of intensity, creation of new deserts, floods and the destruction of the meteorological balance of the planet.
- Loss of biodiversity . The extinction of numerous species, due to the destruction of their habitat or their contamination, or the intrusion of the human being in their traffic chains, leads to imbalances in the biological circuits that can become critical for the world. For example, the gradual but constant disappearance of bees is leaving plants without pollinators, which would result in a loss of genetic variety and impoverishment of plant species.
Causes of environmental problems
The causes of most environmental problems are summarized in human industrial activity . These include factories and their solid, liquid and gaseous chemical wastes, the burning of fossil fuels to obtain energy or boost our vehicles.
In addition, the constant discharge of biological waste into the waters and other activities that make up our day have great environmental impact, they have been adulterating the world we live in for almost two centuries. The consequences of this could be just around the corner.
More in: Causes of Pollution
How to prevent or solve them
There is no simple and simple method of solving environmental problems, or even preventing them. But everything points to a model of sustainable development, which does not conceive of natural resources as if they were an infinite source.
In addition, investment in the promotion of activities that compensate for the ecological damage done is necessary. Thus, it would be possible to minimize our main environmental problems to a minimum. Some specific measures of importance would be:
- Stop producing single-use plastics, with which we are flooding the seas.
- Do not waste electrical energy, whose production generally involves burning of fossil fuels.
- Recycle daily materials that would otherwise be given to nature.
- Provide adequate disposal of hazardous chemical wastes and be strict in the anti-pollution policies of large industries and manufacturers.
- Reduce the use of cars and invest capital in the search and development of eco-friendly technologies.
- Implement in our countries a birth control .
See also: The three R
Environmental problems in Mexico
In Mexico, as in many countries, there are important environmental problems that deteriorate the quality of life of its inhabitants. The main ones are:
- Air Pollution Since 1992, Mexico City has been declared by the UN as the most polluted in the world, due to the gases generated by the car park and large industries. This exposes citizens and surrounding animal life to very high levels of carcinogenic and toxic elements such as cadmium, carbon oxides or frequent cases of acid rain.
- Deforestation . Mexico loses, according to the Geography Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, some 500 thousand hectares of annual forests, which makes Mexico the fifth country in the world that most quickly ends its forests and forests.
- Chemical contamination of water . Water chemical spills are a major problem in Mexico, due to the laxity of state control and the proliferation of large industries. In August 2014, only about 40, 000 liters of sulfuric acid, a highly lethal and corrosive organic compound, were poured into the Sonora River, the same month as in the Hondo River, Veracruz, a famous oil spill, predecessor of what later happened in San Juan, Nuevo Leon.
- Sarpozo overpopulation . In the coastal regions of southern Mexico, specifically on the Yucatan peninsula, the accumulation of the algae called sargassum has become a tourist and ecological problem Logical. These algae have proliferated in a disorderly way in the sea, so that they compete with each other and impoverish the marine waters, to end up dying and being dragged to the shore by the waves. There they decompose and cloud the once crystalline waters of the Mexican Caribbean.
Continue with: Ecological movement