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Pollution is a topic about which people everywhere have extremely different opinions. It is an important problem affecting our world today; however, some people take it very seriously while others are indifferent and don’t have one care about it. There are a variety of different types of pollution ranging from air pollution to water pollution, all of which are very harmful to our earth in their own ways. The problem here is that many people disregard the topic as insignificant to our world now without realizing the damage and consequences pollution is doing every single day. These people think that there are larger issues in the world that should be dealt with and they push the pollution topic to the side thinking it can be handled later. People, such as activists for the environment, hold a totally different position and want to bring the issue to the world’s attention to try and help their cause. In my opinion, it is imperative that a compromise is made and a settlement and common ground between the two sides is met.
The first side of the argument to be considered is that pollution is extremely harmful to our environment and needs to be controlled or cease as soon as possible. It is believed that individuals are not taking enough initiative to help the cause and stop pollution, and the harm this is causing needs to be brought to their attention. There are many different types of pollution including air, water, and land or ground pollution. All of these have their different but equally as harmful ways of hurting the environment. For example, not enough places have mandatory recycling. It is noted through research that recycling and throwing away garbage has long been an issue since the early days. Adi Ferrera researched pollution through history and said that when looking at the settlements of the first modern humans, it was noticed that discarded stone tools and the litter from making the tools would be found lying in piles, which can be looked at as the start of pollution. Continuing on through history pollution became more severe. After World War II industries began using synthetic materials such as plastics, which were not biodegradable. These synthetic materials would often be “littered” by neglectful people and this began hurting the animals and environment on which they landed. Landfills were made and people didn’t even consider the future consequences or that these could have potential harm. However, quite the opposite happened and the waste from these fills began to leak into people’s homes and yards thus causing high rates of birth defects and other diseases associated with land contamination. Dumps and landfills are still around to this day and although they have been improved upon, they are still causing damage like they did years ago (Ferrera). There are even such simple things, such as recycling, that would make a drastic impact on the pollution situation. It has been researched and proven that not enough businesses, college campuses and even homes have the proper recycling patterns. If one more household a day recycled, the world would be that much cleaner. It takes about 5 minutes out of any person’s day to recycle something instead of throwing it on the ground or throwing it in with the regular trash bin. There are even some people who can’t take 5 extra seconds to walk to a garbage can to throw something away and they just leave it where they stand, whether it is a street, yard, lake, etc. Is it really that hard to put in a little extra effort to help our earth? That is a question many environmentalists are asking those who say it’s not a big deal or a real problem. This side of the argument feels that there are many ways to stop pollution and that people are simply too lazy to deal with it. People should want to help, considering the fact that they are the reason for this problem in the first place. We don’t need 100% cooperation of the whole world to have an impact; let’s all start individually in our homes.
On top of littering and recycling, air pollution is a huge issue in the realm of pollution. There are some staggering facts to prove just how bad air pollution has become, especially with a growing and changing industrial world. Two hundred thirty two million cars are on the highways every day, expelling CO2 and very harmful gases (The Airzone Blog). Huge cars such as SUV’s and trucks make that even worse. Besides car emissions, factories and industries emit tons and tons of harmful smoke and chemicals that, when looking at a city, can produce smog. This smog is caused by the gas we often hear about, ozone. Some may think that this “smog” can’t really harm; however, it harms people every day whether they realize it or not (Medline Plus). It has also been proven that car and industrial pollution can lead to asthma in children and other serious health defects. Southern California Children’s health studied 217 children from 917 eligible subjects living in 11 communities in California. They were researching how air pollution affected the children’s health to prove just exactly what air pollution does. All in all it was proven that there were significant associations between incident asthma and the CO2 levels outside, proving that this type of pollution definitely not only hurts the environment, but the people living in it as well (Jerret, 1433-1435).
Finally, one last type of pollution that some believe is extremely hurtful is water pollution. This includes people littering garbage in the water, chemicals being dumped into the water, and waste being deposited into water. Going along with what was said about land pollution and recycling, if you drop a plastic bottle in an ocean or lake it will not disintegrate. Instead it will float in the water until an animal gets its hands on it and injures itself or it is washed up onshore polluting the beaches. There are constantly about birds, fish and sea animals being found dead from getting plastic items stuck in or around themselves and surely that is something that needs to be put to an end. There is no need for this harm and it just takes the simple act of keeping your trash to yourself and discarding it properly. Research shows that 40% of rivers are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or any aquatic life and lakes are even worse at 46% (Water Pollution). One staggering fact shows that the Mississippi River (which drains nearly 40% of the continental US, including central farm lands) carries an estimated 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen pollution into the Gulf of Mexico each year(Water Pollution).
“The main source of water pollution is sewage, industries, and agriculture. Sewage is human wastes and water that has been used for bathing and cleaning clothes.Industry puts three to four more times as many pollutants into water as all of our sewage systems do.Chemicals and other wastes from farms also pollute our water.” (Water Pollution)
If practices like this continue, will there be any clean water in the world at all? People and industry need to really take a look at what is happening and realize that simple steps such as containing their chemicals and sewage can have a drastic and positive effect on the world’s water problems. In the picture posted below you can see just how horrible water pollution can get just from garbage. If people keep doing what they are now our lakes, oceans and rivers could all end up looking like that. There are, unfortunately, some opposers to recycling and any form of pollution control. It is their belief that pollution is not a pressing enough problem to worry about right now. They think that having a few people try harder and having the everyday person try and better our environment won’t do anything anyway. They even argue that things such as recycling facilities themselves cause pollution and that the whole idea is exaggerated. They believe that there are more urgent issues to be dealt with like war, terrorism and the economic problems rather than concerning ourselves with pollution at this time.
As you can see there are people that are much divided on the issue of pollution. There are people that think taking drastic measure against this problem is pointless and worthless. Considering this point of view you can see where these people are coming from. They don’t want to have to waste money on something that is not threatening the world as heavily as other issues are during this day in age. Some people believe that things such as the war and our economy are more pressing issues that need to be handled besides worrying about pollution. They don’t want to waste money, time and intellectual discussions on something that isn’t pressing or urgently harming our world as much as some of the other problems. It is probable that to stop air and water pollution, the country would need to make a monetary investment and some people are against that. Some companies throughout the world have already put some plans in place; however, they are quite long and detailed and could take some time and a lot of determination. For example, as shown in the Pollution Prevention article in the New York Times, “Dow Chemical’s Louisiana division is changing a production process at a polyethylene plant to decrease waste by more than a million pounds a year. And many companies are recognizing that leaner packaging is also a way to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. Just this week, the Procter & Gamble Company said that it would begin selling small cartons of concentrated fabric softener with a plastic bottle that can be re-used rather than thrown out.” (Gold) This shows that plans can and are being put in place but they do take quite a bit of effort. Although I understand their point of view and see that this will take a lot of effort, I still have my belief that pollution needs to be addressed now.
Pollution should be an important focus in the world today and people need to take more initiative and try harder to protect our world and environment. As I have stated, there are many different types of pollution that are taking over, each of which have their own effects and own severe ramifications. As I discussed throughout the paper, pollution has extreme effects on the environment and people’s health that often go overlooked or ignored. It doesn’t take much to help clean up and recycle and, although people might not think that they can ea sily help, it starts with simple steps such as carpooling or keeping chemicals and fertilizers out of the water nearby them that can lead to a better world. An article in the New York Times emphasizes my point and proves just how much harm pollution is causing. The article talks about the polar bears living in arctic and how global warming is taking a toll on them. The polar bear populations have been steadily declining and it is causing many to worry about how much longer they will exist. Polar bears rely on the sea ice for survival and, due to increasing temperatures, the ice is slowly melting away. If this continues the polar bear may no longer have a home here on this earth all thanks to pollution (Revkin). As you can see, many aspects of life are being affected by pollution and I hope that people can notice what is happening before it’s too late. Therefore, although I believe something must be done very soon about pollution, I can see other people’s point of view and I think that there is a simple compromise for this. Simple measures such as education in schools about pollution are a good first step. This way we are not spending much money at all while we educate our children, and we can then put the money towards other economic concerns. For example, if in classes across the country science teachers make sure to add a small section about pollution each year or on “earth day” do activities to show how to better our world, kids will gain knowledge on the impact of pollution on our world. Hopefully, they will then be made aware and may ask their parents to participate. Therefore, with minimal extra effort, the new generations will learn to cherish the earth and want to keep it clean. I think that with the education idea, service announcements on TV, reminder ads in popular magazines, we could get the word out without wasting too much time and money. There are also very simple steps that will take little effort and little to no money such as using public transportation, turning off lights when they are not in use, not leaving the water running, and picking up garbage! (How we can prevent Pollution). If we take small steps and not behave too drastically, we can tackle this problem and satisfy both sides of the situation. Simple, small but effective steps are going to help with the pollution problem and yet won’t take away from the time and attention needed for some of the bigger world issues we are facing today.
As I have stated before, I feel that pollution needs to cease or at least get a little more under control. There are many people who don’t feel the same way and by making these compromises I think that we should be able to satisfy both sides. No one really wants to ruin their earth: the place where they live and their families will live for generations to come. However, it is also understandable that there are other problems that may be considered more important. Just imagine what can be accomplished if this simple compromise between the two sides is made; pollution can be put under control without even wasting too much money, time or effort on it and everyone can be satisfied, even the earth.
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Revkin, Andrew C. “More on the Polar Bears Fate.” New York Times 24 Mar. 2009. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/24/more-on-the-polar-bears-fate/
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