Waste is a liquid and solid by-products of human activity, unsuitable or burdensome for the environment.
Due to the place of creation, we can distinguish 2 groups:
- municipal waste - associated with the life of people (eg. household waste, street waste)
- industrial waste - business-related (eg. production waste)
Due to the impact on the environment, the waste is divided into 3 groups:
- hazardous waste degrading the environment, even if they are introduced in small quantities, mostly biologically active or containing toxic, radioactive substances,
- harmful waste, causing environmental destruction only when they are introduced in greater amounts,
- burdensome waste, adversely affecting the aesthetics of the environment.
According to official statistics, the average person produces over 350 kg of waste per year. To eliminate harmful waste, it is necessary to dispose it or isolate from the environment. Disposal can be done by burning, composting, landfilling. Much better and less expensive, however, is to limit the buying of products in plastic packaging in favor of glass and organic packaging.
DDT (p,p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was the first insecticide used on a massive scale. Its toxicity to insects was discovered P. H. Müller, for which he received the 1948 Nobel Prize. Because of the vulnerability of insects to DDT and a relatively high resistance of vertebrate, the use of the pesticide is possible to combat crop pests, parasites of animals and humans.
The circulation of DDT in the environment:
After entering on farmland, DDT does not immediately kill all insects. Herbivorous insects, feeding on the leaves, eat also some small amounts of DDT. If ingested dose of the pesticide does not exceed the threshold of insect mortality, it accumulates in the adipose tissue. Subsequently, insects containing DDT in their bodies are eaten by carnivorous birds. In this way, DDT enters the higher links of food chain. Carnivorous birds also deposit in the adipose tissue, but its concentration is significantly larger (due to the higher resistance of birds). DDT is therefore accumulated. The highest concentrations of DDT is observed in the bodies of birds of prey. Carnivorous birds also deposit DDT in the adipose tissue, but its concentration is significantly larger (due to the higher resistance of birds). DDT is therefore accumulated. The highest concentrations of DDT is observed in the bodies of birds of prey. DDT causes disturbance in the economy of calcium of birds during the egg-laying, resulting in the death of nestling.
If DDT is flushed from the leaves of crops, penetrates into the soil and groundwater. From there, part of the DDT gets into the water intakes, and with water to the human body. It affects the hormonal balance and is responsible for the formation of certain cancers. With the rivers DDT is transported to the seas and oceans, where it affects the whole biocenosis. Traces of DDT were found even in the tissues of penguins living in the region of the South Pole.
The use of DDT has led so to disrupt the homeostasis of the whole biosphere. At the same time Insects - crop pests largely become resistant to the pesticide.
After conducting research on the circulation of DDT in the environment and accumulation in the tissues of living organisms, this insecticide was decommissioned Poland. In industrialized countries, decline DDT in humans is observed since the early seventies. In the poor countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America it is still used against mosquitoes, which spread malaria.
Ecological disasters - are permanent, irreversible damages or destruction of the environment that has a negative impact on human life and health.
Ecological catastrophes usually cause changes in the structure and function of whole ecosystems, disturbance of homeostasis, disturbance of natural energy flows and circulation of matter. This can cause changes in the food chain, and even cause a breakdown of any of the essential trophic links (producers, reducers), leading to ecosystem disappearance.
Ecological catastrophes can be divided into two groups based on their origin:
- natural disasters (also referred to as natural disasters)
- anthropogenic catastrophes.
Natural disasters are caused by natural forces: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, hurricanes, avalanches, forest fires, floods, prolonged droughts and frosts, or as a result of mass invasion of pests or parasites. Until recently, those were the only catastrophes that haunted the Earth.
However, in recent decades, anthropogenic catastrophes have been occurring more and more frequently. Most often they occur as a result of equipment failure, oil tankers, mining towers, resulting in the emission of toxic gases or liquids to the environment. Those are called chemical catastrophes. Chemical catastrophes can also be a result of war. An example is the 1990 Gulf of Aden disaster. The threat of an ecological catastrophe by Iraq was a weapon of war with the United States over oil fields in Kuwait. From the tanks and destroyed oil wells in Kuwait oil was released to Gulf waters. The oil stain has reached about 13 km in length and 3 km in width. The burnt-out drilling goggles emitted enormous amounts of smoke into the atmosphere, which caused severe air pollution in the vast area of Kuwait.
If radioactive emissions are due to the accident, then we are talking about a nuclear disaster. The most serious nuclear disaster occurred in the morning of April 26, 1986, as a result of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Significant areas of Eastern and Northern Europe were exposed at that time. In Poland, the greatest pollution was recorded in the north-eastern part of the country. Certainly the consequences of the Chernobyl accident would have been smaller if not for the attitude of the USSR government. For the first two days, no information was provided about the accident and during the next few days the risk was clearly underestimated. Several dozen people were killed in the crash and during the rescue operation, while dozens of thousands of inhabitants died as a result of radiation sickness. The effects of the catastrophe are visible even now. More and more sick or deformed children are born in Chernobyl.
Nuclear catastrophes may also be the result of nuclear tests. This situation, for example, occurred in Kazakhstan in areas near the Soviet nuclear polygon in the Semipalat and the Karaganda region. There were 470 nuclear tests (including 116 terrestrial and 354 underground tests).
The only way to prevent further failure of nuclear reactors, tankers, mining towers is to systematically control the state of the equipment and build new ones. Prevention of environmental disasters also requires strict observance of environmental protection.
Mineral raw materials have been mined since antiquity. At first, the exploitation of natural resources was not a major problem for the natural environment. However, with the development of the industry, more and more products were started, and therefore the demand for mineral resources increased considerably. This led to a significant decrease in the amount of natural resources. It is estimated that the world's oil reserves will run out in about 30 years, while the hard coal deposits will be exploited in the next 170 years. Measures should be taken as soon as possible to reduce the extraction of mineral resources.
Among the mineral resources extracted, coal is the leading place. It is mainly used for the production of electricity and heat. Limitation of its extraction will only be possible if the demand for that raw material is reduced. Society should therefore save energy. Electricity can be saved by using modern, energy-efficient electrical appliances. Thanks to the use of insulating materials in buildings, it is possible to limit the loss of heat. In order to reduce hard coal mining, alternative sources of energy should also be sought. These sources include: solar radiation, air mass movements, river movements, waves and tides, and geothermal energy. Among them solar energy is the most important. With solar radiation, the power reaching the Earth is about 178,000 TW (1 TW = 100,000 MW), of which about 30% is reflected by the atmosphere, more than 45% consume the land and sea in the form of heat, and the remainder is consumed in Hydrological cycle, photosynthesis processes and the movement of air and sea waves. For comparison, annually burning from 1.5 to 2 million tonnes of medium-sized coal, the power plant has a capacity of just 1,000 megawatts.
Oil is also very important for the human economy. It is used primarily for the production of propellant fuels. All transport is dependent on her. Virtually all vehicles derive energy from it for movement. In order to reduce the consumption of crude oil, new energy sources for vehicles should be sought. Currently, in the world there are already cars driven by electric motors, drawing on energy from special batteries or from solar batteries. Hydrogen-fueled engines are also being developed. This fuel does not pollute the air because the product of combustion in such cases is water.
Mineral deposits are protected.
Deforestation is also a serious problem. It is the result of forest clearing or dehydration. It may also be the result of anthropogenic factors, such as air pollution
. The effects of further deforestation can be very serious for the whole of humanity. As it is known, in the presence of sunlight by means of photosynthesis all green plants produce glucose - a monosaccharide that is the source of energy and a substrate for the synthesis reactions of complex organic compounds. They utilise carbon dioxide for this purpose. Thus they contribute to reducing the intensity of the greenhouse effect
. The evergreen equatorial forests play a special role. They affect not only the temperature of the Earth's climate. Shutting down the equatorial air supply to Antarctica has caused a hole in the ozone layer
. I have described the effects of these phenomena in separate sections. It is estimated that equatorial forests disappear at a rate of 1.8% per year. If the deforestation process is not restricted, these forests will disappear from the surface of the Earth soon.
Practically all of today's environmental problems are the result of anthropopression - human impact on the environment over millennia. The result of human activity is pollution of air, water and soil.
There are also many changes in fauna and flora. It has been found that, due to human activity, the extinction rate of species has increased a thousandfold and is now: 1 species per thousand species per year. It is even said that man is the cause of the sixth so-called great extinction (I - 440 million years ago (Ordovician), II - 365 million years ago (Devonian), III - 245 million years ago (perm), IV - 210 million years ago ( Trias) - caused by the drift of continents and climate change; V - 65 million years ago (Chalk) - caused by meteorite). During the fifth extinction, dinosaur destruction took place. In the sixth extinction, all living organisms may be destroyed. I think this is a sufficient argument to convince humanity about the seriousness of modern environmental problems.