Biggest Environmental Problems Today

environmental problems

The planet has never been hotter, and scientists are warning that we’re yet to feel the heat unless we address underlying environmental problems. 2024 is seemingly another sweltering trip around the sun after 2023 broke all records.

Sure, the future looks murky if records from the last five or so years are something to go by. The breaking of global temperature levels back to back for the last few years is a first.

Unfortunately, our current era of global warming is directly attributable to human activity—specifically pollution.

The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas, as well as our mishandling of waste materials, results in the greenhouse effect.

The good news is that countries have continued to commit to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which tasks them to lower their emissions, set new standards, and craft new policies to meet or even exceed those standards.

The not-so-good news is that we’re not working fast enough.

Pollution as a Hidden Sin

current issues in the world

A recent European Commission report warned that net-zero and carbon-neutral pledges could hide a multitude of sins, and there is a need for more information to allow consumers to work out which amounts to little more than “green-washing”.

Besides, the output shows a different picture with the notable environmental problems like air, water, soil, noise, and light pollution.

Combustion of fossil fuel has been the number one pollutant mostly from industries and motor vehicle exhaust. And despite the government’s efforts to expedite electric vehicles, there’s still a notable amount of toxic gases released into the atmosphere every day.

Across the States, the largest source of greenhouse gases is transportation (29 percent), followed closely by electricity production (28 percent) and industrial activity (22 percent).

Without these emissions, we wouldn’t be recording the thousands of deaths each year attributable to human-caused emissions in the United States -not to mention the health impact and effect on the ecosystem.

The falling waste management is also among the top ecology concerns today. Everyone from our backyard to the workplace seems ignorant that their waste mishandling is doing more harm than good, even with net zero-green aspirations.

Homeowners can’t tell the right recycled garbage can to put their waste in, and industries like the fast fashion niche won’t bother emphasizing the need to personally curb clothes landfill overload.

Currently, the US is responsible for 12% of the planet’s trash despite being home to only 4% of the world’s population.

That is 268 million tons of trash comprising non-biodegradable trash in the form of harmful chemicals, e-waste, and plastic packaging. Now, the landfills are overloaded, and the waste management systems overstretched.

The ozone layer is also getting a fair share of adversity as the concentrated toxic gases deplete it, exposing humanity to the harmful Ultraviolet rays.

With these environmental problems, drinking any water you come across is considered risky, and we’re emphasizing working with spring and purified water.

Almost 50% of the water in our county is polluted, and the California State Water Resources Control Board warns that about a million people may suffer severe and chronic health conditions from drinking water with high levels of contaminants.

The shellfish and plankton in our water bodies are also having a hard time as pollution soars and the water acidifies.

Increasing Global Temperatures

ecology issues

When CO2 and other greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, they absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface.

So, instead of escaping into space, this radiation remains trapped in the atmosphere, causing the planet to get hotter.

Today, the average temperature on the earth’s surface and in oceans has risen dramatically over the last decade. The unchecked pollution and poor waste management may expose us to more greenhouse gas hazards and a warmer global temperature sooner than we think.

What’s more? Antarctica has lost nearly four trillion metric tons of ice since the 1990s.

The Tundra biome’s delicate balance is already at risk since the thawing permafrost will likely disrupt the ecosystem and release more greenhouse emissions.

The result may be higher sea levels and, of course, extensive flooding, drought, and contamination of drinking water. The heat waves are already with us as well as wildfires.

Unsustainable Population Levels Can Cause Environmental Problems

environmental problems

The world’s population is expected to increase by nearly 2 billion persons in the next 25 years, from the current 8 billion to 9.7 billion in 2050.

Scientists term that number too big a population for just one planet given that resources like water, food, and fuel are already scarce.

As a result, intensive agriculture will be the way to feed the globe, so chemical fertilizers, pesticides, genetic engineering, and insecticides will only accelerate, exacerbating the environmental problems.

The current 64% of the overfished stock in the world will look meager, while deforestation to make space for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes looks inevitable.

With less tree cover, habitats may be destroyed, species become extinct, and natural processes like pollination prove impossible: lost biodiversity.

As the population increases and the environmental problems become more pronounced, the population may migrate to low-density rural areas, bringing with them more competition for resources, pollution, land degradation, and imminent threat to fauna. Besides, transferring the environmental problems, an urban sprawl caused by overpopulation is one of the main contributors to health and ecology issues.

Social Disparity

environmental problems

Major polluting countries need to walk the talk other than just reciting their committed to the net zero goal by 2050.

One controversial policy is the carbon offsetting initiatives whereby the top pollutants like the US, China, EU, and India pay for green energy and conservation projects elsewhere.

They term this a carbon-cutting effort while, in fact, keeping their emission levels up.

Such initiatives not only set a bad precedent but also leave the least polluting and the developing countries to bear the wrath of unabated climate change.

Countries like Pakistan contribute only about 1% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, but climate change doesn’t know race, gender, class, or greenhouse contribution based on recent disasters there.

Most recently, over 1,700 people were killed, and millions were left homeless due to unprecedented flash floods. In addition, over four million crops and orchards were destroyed.

It’s a clear case of the need to curb emissions and pollution to make the planet safe, and not necessarily a matter of monetary grants.

The most promising solution is robust awareness of the looming threat for the current and future generations. Everyone needs to understand their responsibilities regarding pollution and waste disposal.

The future is renewables and reusing what we already have to address ecology issues and reduce the amount of waste in landfills.

However, current data proves that cutting carbon dioxide emissions to curb climate change and reach net zero is possible, but it takes work.