Pollution and the state of Earth

Haidi

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Hi all!

I have registered here not so long ago and I haven't seen all the science threads. So I hope there hasn't been too many similar threads than this before...

I wanted to start this thread to have a discussion of the pollution and state of Earth. What is the worst way your part of world gets polluted?

What could we do to "save the world" ? !!

Haidi
 

Harpo

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My part of the world: East London. Within a mile of me there's London City Airport, Canary Wharf, the Blackwall TUnnel
 

Mirannan

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Pollution in my particular town (NW England seaside town) isn't as much of a problem as it might be elsewhere because the almost constant wind blows away air pollution. Big litter problem, if you call that pollution; but the biggest problem IMHO isn't pollution, it's the town gradually falling apart - High Street a mixture of boarded-up shops and rubbish such as charity shops and pound shops. (I have no issue with charity shops, they perform a valuable function, but too many of them is a symptom of deeper problems.)
 

monsterchic

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Pollution in my particular town (NW England seaside town) isn't as much of a problem as it might be elsewhere because the almost constant wind blows away air pollution. Big litter problem, if you call that pollution; but the biggest problem IMHO isn't pollution, it's the town gradually falling apart - High Street a mixture of boarded-up shops and rubbish such as charity shops and pound shops. (I have no issue with charity shops, they perform a valuable function, but too many of them is a symptom of deeper problems.)

Yeah, there's not so much a pollution problem as a people pollution problem. My town is in the middle of the three biggest drug towns (or what we consider them to be) in Northern WI, so most people are just kind of brain dead around here. Our town is falling apart.

Although it's healthy enought to encourage a nice deer population--saw them eating on the front bushes today :)
 

chrispenycate

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I suppose I'm lucky.

Air pollution? Not bad at all, compared to a real city. Almost entirely vehicular, though a chemical factory did dump a load of bromine – about ten years ago.

Water? Some agricultural spill (fertilisers and pesticides), but essentially cleaner than in mediaeval times.

Soil chemicals, industrial waste – all right, there's a lot incinerated per capita, but leaks are rare and much publicised; much better than a few kilometres off in France.

Noise pollution is getting worse (I would notice that, wouldn't I) but except during the world cup just about anywhere you travel to you feel "noisy here, isn't it?". Unless you go up into the mountains and smell and listen to the difference between "pretty good" and "clean".

Electromagnetic? There are lots of mobile phones and radars (I'm ignoring the VLF stuff from power cables, as I've never seen any convincing evidence that it's damaging).

People? A definite excess, but that's worldwide.

No, I get the impression that we export most of our pollution to poorer countries.
 

Parson

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Rural Iowa

In most ways my area is in better ecological shape that it was 50 years ago. In terms of wild life there is absolutely no comparison. We have bald eagles, wild turkeys, (which were unknown here 50 years ago), an occasional mountain lion and moose (which were unknown here 100 years ago), the bobcat population was as good as extinct and now there is a hunting season etc. What we don't have in near the numbers is Jack Rabbits, due to the abundance of coyotes.

The big pollution problems here come with agricultural run off (fertilizers and pesticides), but that is also getting better in the past 10 years; and manure. My area of Iowa is what is known in the business as "livestock intensive" so we generate an enormous amount of manure. This makes for very fertile ground and the occasional horrendous odor. A trade off farmers are more than willing to make, some of the rest of us, not so much.
 

Velocius quam lucem

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Hi all!

I wanted to start this thread to have a discussion of the pollution and state of Earth. What is the worst way your part of world gets polluted?

What could we do to "save the world" ? !!

Haidi

It's mostly "third world" countries that are affected. Here's some alarming statistics:

Over 1 billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water. 5,000 people die each day due to dirty drinking water.

Americans make up an estimated 5% of the world’s population. However, the U.S. produces an estimated 30% of the world’s waste and uses 25% of the world’s resources.

While children only make up 10% of the world’s population, over 40% of the global burden of disease falls on them. More than 3 million children under age five die annually from environmental factors.

from: http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-pollution


I put quotes around the phrase "third world" because it was coined by a French demographer, anthropologist and historian named Alfred Sauvy August 14, 1952. You never hear the term "second world" although it was inferred by the phrase that the communist blocs like Russia, China, and North Korea were the second world countries.

It should be noted that it isn't the populations who live in the third world who do most of the polluting - it is corporate interest (or greed if you like) that lies at the root of the cause. It is the promise of money coming into a third world country and thereby increasing the chances of them climbing toward the "first world" that entices less powerful nations into becoming complicit in the pollution.

According to this site: http://www.statisticbrain.com/countries-ranked-by-air-pollution/
Mongolia is the worst, and Botswana is second, etc.

Mongolia is part of China, but China is very big and there are large regions there that are not polluted, hence the lower overall rating. But make no mistake, China has far fewer regulations than most of the "first world" (Europe and America mostly), and therefore they get away with it. They are very "ambitious", and expend all their resources trying to catch up with Europe and America. There are some who say that all poorer nations are "emerging". If that means they are growing in the ability to pollute then that term would be just about right. They want what we all have - cars, modern conveniences, planes, trains and so on.

So far I've been talking about toxic pollution. CO2 is a whole other ball game. CO2 isn't harmful to humans - we exhale CO2 from our lungs. The excess of it will melt ice, and cause climate variations like droughts and hurricanes. The fact that most of the world's population lives on the coastlines means that if we keep this up, we will begin to have to construct barriers, or move the people. http://co2now.org is a good site for monitoring, but here http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/env_co2_emi-environment-co2-emissions is the ranking of contributors.

This is all of course good fodder for Science Fiction writers. If you really want to change the world, change your little part of it and set a good example, or become king of the world so you can lord it over the corporations. I'm doing my part. I work at wind farms.
 

Velocius quam lucem

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Mongolia is not part of China. I think you're confusing it with Inner Mongolia which is a province of China.

Okay. Sorry, I was actually trying to give some weight to your comment about China being one of the biggest polluters because Mongolia is considered to be worse than China. But in my ranking of contributors link, China is second only to the US. I wonder if they are including Mongolia or not. Point taken. ;)
 

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