Protecting the environment, controlling environmental disasters, producing renewable energy. All of these and of course a lot more are issues that concern or should concern us. In one way or another, everyone should care and try to contribute towards making our planet a “greener” and better place to live. Unfortunately, many environmental problems are there and are sometimes even considered as a given.
Here we decided to give you a list of the top ten issues that threaten our nature and require urgent attention, and since there is no way to classify them according to importance, we decided to present them in alphabetical order.
|1. Gold mining. If you have been near a goldmine at least once, you would be one of the very few people, who know where their jewellery comes from. Artisanal gold mining is the biggest source of mercury release in the environment.|
|2. Groundwater contamination. This occurs when chemical, gasoline, oil and other similar products leach into the groundwater. The problem is that we all make great use of the biggest sources: septic systems, hazardous waste sites, landfills, road salts, fertilizers, and pesticides.|
|3. Surface water contamination. This occurs when waste substances get disposed of or transported through water bodies. They either dissolve in them or mix with either the water, or the sediment causing eutrophication and extinction of species. Water pollution in general is considered the main cause of pandemic spread of diseases.|
|4. Indoor air pollution. Pollution caused by cooking or heating hides many dangers. Release of small particles and carbon monoxide poisoning are responsible for 2.7% of the global burden of disease.|
|5. Industrial mining. Recently, this was classified as the largest waste stream in the EU. Industrial mining can cause lasting environmental and socio-economic problems due to careless handling of the materials that result in acid or alkaline drainage and leaching of heavy metals into water and soil.|
|6. Metals smelting and processing. Facilities that carry out these processes are often associated with emission of high quantities of air pollutants such as hydrogen fluoride, sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, offensive and noxious smoke fumes, vapors, gases, and other toxins. Of course, it does not end with gases. Heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, nickel, copper, and zinc are also added to the list .|
|7. Radioactive waste and uranium mining. Radioactive waste can result from either fuel used in civilian or military reactors, or nuclear industrial and commercial uses. The problems associated with this type of waste as well as uranium mining are associated with the large volumes of radiating materials that are concentrated in very small areas.|
|8. Untreated sewage. The major concern comes from the fact that it contains pathogens that cause serious human illness. If proper sanitation is not available, outbreaks become very common, and can affect people fro both rich and poor communities.|
|9. Urban air pollution. By now everyone should be aware of the main causes of urban air pollution- fossil fuel combustion, vehicle engines, industrial production, burning of biomass (a.k.a primary pollutions). What not many of us know is that, while these are the most obvious primary pollutants, there is an additional group that is formed within the atmosphere when primary pollutants react with sunlight, oxygen, water and other chemicals.|
|10. Used lead–acid battery recycling. These are used everywhere, and are also known by the name of “car batteries”. Although they can be recharged, after a number of cycles, they loose their ability to hold energy and become hazardous waste. The main problem here is the release of lead. The fact that in many countries the recycling operations and facilities are located in areas with very limited control, makes the problem a lot more serious.|