Effects On The Environment
Man has had many far-reaching effects on the environment over the years. Global warming, pollution
and the damage to the ozone layer are a few of the major things that can be heard about in the news.
Man has damaged the earth gradually over the years and this damage cannot be reversed, we are now
trying to stop any more damage being caused to the environment. For example, hedgerows have been
destroyed but now people have realized what effects this is having on the environment the government
are paying farmers to replant them instead of fencing. Not all of man's effects on the environment are
harmful some are beneficial. Conservation work is going on across the country and this is helping to
preserve the wildlife and countryside that we have left. The expanding human population has placed a
huge demand on the food production of the country. The resources are limited but the population is
increasing quite rapidly so the problems are growing. The demand for food means that crops need to be
perfect so the use of fertilizers and herbicides is increasing too.
One of the problems in the countryside affecting the environment is the disposal of effluent and other
pollutants. The main type of waste that we have to dispose of is organic effluent particularly from farms
and sewage works. This is disposed of in several ways, the main one being pumping it into the sea and
rivers around the country. In more recent years sewage recycling plants have been developed to reuse
the water in the waste. Water treatment works are used to treat the waste before it is pumped into the
river or sea.
The disposal of the waste is accomplished in several ways. Direct removal into a stream or lake is the
most commonly used means of disposal. In parts of the world that are faced with worsening shortages
of water for both domestic and industrial use, authorities are reusing appropriately treated wastewater
for, irrigation of non-edible crops, industrial processing, recreation, and other uses. In one such project,
the Potable Reuse Demonstration Plant in Denver, Colorado, the treatment process uses normal primary
and secondary treatment followed by lime clarification to remove suspended organic compounds.
During this process, an alkaline state is created to improve the process. In the next step, re-carbonation
is used to bring the pH level to neutral. Then the water is filtered through several layers of sand and
charcoal, and ammonia is removed by ionisation. Pesticides and any other dissolved organic materials
still present are absorbed by a granular, activated-carbon filter. Viruses and bacteria are then killed by
ozonisation. At this stage the water should be cleansed of all contaminants, but, for added reliability,
second-stage carbon absorption and reverse osmosis are used, and chlorine dioxide is added to obtain
the highest possible water standard.
Crude oil, known as petrol, is used in the manufacture of fertilisers, medicines, plastic, building
materials, paints and to generate electricity. It is also used for the fuelling of transport such as cars and
planes. Petrol contains hydrocarbons and sulphur. When the hydrocarbons and sulphur are burned for
use they give off sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. These gases are harmful to the environment.
Sulphur dioxide forms sulphuric acid and causes acid rain, carbon dioxide adds to the greenhouse effect.
The greenhouse effect means that the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that usually
prevent heat loss from the earth are increasing. This results in raised temperatures on earth leading to partial melting of the polar ice caps. If the ice caps melted too much some countries would be flooded, if
they were all to melt then the whole world would be underwater.
There is a need to produce more food for the population and a need to preserve the wildlife and the
environment. It is essential to satisfy the needs of the expanding population but it is also essential to
preserve the environment. Living organisms are dependent on each other, if a tiny little fungus or algae
plants were destroyed then the rest of the food chain would be affected. The algae or fungi are the
producers so the primary consumers have nothing to eat so they die and the secondary consumers then
have nothing to eat so they die. Plants and can be used for many purposes which is why they are
becoming extinct. Drugs have been derived from plants. Genetic variation also decreases with the loss of
species and new genes can never be discovered e.g. for crop breeding. The reduction of trees is leading
to more carbon dioxide in the air and therefore increasing global warming.
The government is trying to reverse some of the effects man has had on the environment by, for
example, paying farmers to replace hedgerows in their fields which had previously been removed to
make room for more crops. Factories have to monitor the amount of emissions that come from their
chimneys very closely and if they emit too much sulphur dioxide or other harmful chemicals then the
factory can be closed down. Factories also have to monitor the amount of chemicals that they pump
into the drains, they have to neutr