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Study Of Environmental Issues Associated With

Industrialization Essay, Research Paper Study of Environmental Issues Associated with Industrialization Although our industrial ways seem to be a very progressive step into the

Industrialization Essay, Research Paper

Study of Environmental Issues Associated with Industrialization

Although our industrial ways seem to be a very progressive step into the

future, there are many flaws to the way many things are today. Things have

definitely changed over the past century, as we can currently do things much

more efficiently then before. The cost of this efficiency may seem inexpensive

in many ways, however we do not realize that the cost of these new technologies

do not just include money, time and labour, but it also costs us our well being

as well as the beauty and comfort of our own home, earth. Ozone depletion,

climate change as well as the direct effects of chemicals from industrial

emissions and fuel combustion are a great threat to our planet and if nothing is

done to resolve this problem soon, the results may be disastrous.

There is a layer of chemicals twenty kilometers up in the stratosphere

called the ozone layer. This layer protects the inhabitants of earth by

reflecting much of the suns harmful ultra violet (UV) rays. Without this layer

above us, many living things including humans could not survive. The ozone

layer is currently depleting and the reason for this is believed to be caused by

a few things. Deforestation, fertilizer use and fuel combustion are minor

contributors to this problem while chemicals such as chloroflourocarbons (CFCs),

halons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, methyl bromide and

hydrochloroflourocarbons (HCFCs) are the major contributors to the deterioration

of the ozone layer. These chemicals have industrial halocarbons that break up

into chlorine and bromine in the upper stratosphere when they react with the

sun’s rays. Chlorine eats up the ozone layer while bromine acts as a catalyst

and speeds up the process. Often found in Antarctica, there are frozen chemical

clouds in the upper stratosphere called polar stratospheric clouds. These polar

stratospheric clouds destroy the ozone layer at a much faster pace then the

industrial halocarbons. The depletion of the ozone layer is a great threat to

mankind and all other living things on earth because without this layer of

chemicals, we will be exposed to excess UV rays. This excess exposure can lead

to many things such as malignant melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, damage

to eyes by means such as snow blindness and cataracts, which is the clouding of

the eye that can eventually lead to blindness. Above all this, excessive UV

exposure can lead to symptoms similar to AIDS as prolonged exposure could weaken

the human immune system. As far as plants and animals go, plants may die or may

not be as healthy as a result of too much UV exposure and animals will suffer

similar symptoms as humans. So if the ozone layer that we depend very much on

is destroyed, it could be concluded that we as inhabitants of the world are also

destroyed.

It is believed but not yet proven that we are altering the world climate

by releasing chemicals into the atmosphere by a process called “global warming”

or the “greenhouse effect”. Some of the chemicals that are believed to

contribute to the greenhouse effect are carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide,

halogen gases and CFCs. These chemicals cause the climate of the world to

increase by trapping the suns heat in the atmosphere and can last anywhere from

one decade to one century. Although chemicals released by man only account for

one third of the greenhouse effect, it is our contribution to this problem that

will set the world off balance. It seems now that by the year 2100, carbon

dioxide will double, causing global temperatures to rise to anywhere in between

one point five to four point five degrees Celsius. Many people may wonder why

global warming is such a problem as humans can easily adapt to their environment.

If this global warming causes global temperatures to rise, we as humans will be

able to cope with this change, however plants and animals may not be able to

adapt to this change and as a result they may die and become extinct, resulting

in a break in the food chain. The ocean levels will also continue to rise as

they have been at a pace of two to eight centimeters a decade for several more

decades. In fact, if Antarctica melts slightly the ocean level can rise up to

sixty meters. As the global temperatures rise, the world will become drier and

therefore there will be more droughts, and heat waves possibly causing more

fires and again producing more CO2 and further contributing to the problem.

Ocean temperatures, currents and fish habitats will also change with the climate

of the world. Chemicals however, are not only believed to heat up the world in

the process of global warming, chemicals are also the probable cause of an

unexplained coolness in some parts of the world. Sulfur dioxide is a chemical

that reflects sunlight and because it reflects sunlight it is assumed that

sulfur dioxide cools specific areas of the earth that should be warmer.

Chemicals cause a lot of indirect damage to all living things on earth,

however, it is possible and most frequent that chemicals endanger the lives of

living things directly. Unintentionally inhaling chemicals is one way these

chemicals can harm us directly. Carbon monoxide, when inhaled, binds to the

blood’s hemoglobin and prevents the necessary oxygen from reaching tissues.

When inhaled, carbon monoxide can also dull mental acuity. A deadly chemical

cloud at ground level called smog also endangers the health of living things.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from vehicle exhaust

and industrial emissions combine to form ozone at ground level. When the sun

reacts with this ozone layer at ground level, it produces smog. Every year the

ozone layer at ground level has increased by one percent. As carbon dioxide

emissions increase throughout the world, some plants may benefit from this

increase and so this excess carbon dioxide may act as a fertilizer, but to other

plants, too much carbon dioxide may be a bad thing, causing the plant to die and

possibly become extinct. The St. Claire River is now known as “Chemical Valley”

because of an accident that had occurred there several years ago. An industrial

company near the river had spilled sixty different chemicals mixed together into

the river. This accident had sterilized the river and had effected much of the

agriculture around it. The Great Lakes is another example of the direct effect

of chemicals on living things. There are chemicals in our body today that there

not present back in the early 90’s, the polluted Great Lakes that we locals

depend on, are believed to be the cause. Animals reproducing near the great

lakes and that rely on the great lakes are more frequently unsuccessful then

before, female birds are growing crossed bills, males are either immune to this

or die in the shell, fish are being feminized because the do not have secondary

sex steroids which chemicals from the pulp and paper industry are believed to be

responsible for. For humans, the sperm count in men has decreased fifty percent

in the last fifty years, breast cancer has become an epidemic, males experience

genetile disorders and children have problems learning.

Chemicals released into the atmosphere by industry, vehicles, fertilizer

use, etc. can harm plant, animal and even human health, so therefore if this

problem is not resolved quickly, the world we live in now could soon turn into a

world of chaos. If a species of any animal becomes extinct the food chain will

collapse, if any species of plants become extinct the food chain again will

collapse and if that species of plants is used for any type of medication, the

people who depend on that medication may also die. There are some organizations

in the world that are trying to turn things around, however there are not enough

people to support these groups. The general public doesn’t seem to care much

about this problem or is not yet aware of this issue. Even the government of

Canada doesn’t not want to take action against pollution more then likely

because of budget limitations. It was concluded by Dr. Gordon McBean that

“Humans have already radically altered the composition of the atmosphere and

hence it’s radiative properties. In other words, we have quite unintentionally

started a long-term, global-scale geophysical experiment with the life-support

system of this planet – an experiment that we do not control and, as yet, poorly

understand. That, in itself, is cause for concern.”

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