Pollution and Its Role in Today’s World

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factory pollution industrial air

The volume of chemicals, poisons and other toxins that are polluting the air we breathe is astounding. I know there are areas of the world that can still boast they have fresh air, clean skies and non-polluted waterways. It is an unfortunate fact, however, these areas are beginning to be seen less and less. Even areas I went to when I was younger, which were known for their open spaces and clean air, are now bustling cities with homes, businesses, factories and busy highways traveling through them. With all of the man-made pollution we are generating, it’s bound to have an impact on the world around us. A sober statistic from an MIT study shows more Americans die from car pollution than car accidents. Not good, is it?

An article in TIME recently featured a report from the Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland which indicated “…the biggest environmental risk to human health today isn’t global warming.” The article goes on to say that industrial pollution is a larger risk to the health and welfare of hundreds of thousands of people than many people realize. This is due in no smart part to the fact that there are little to no regulations enforced on these large factories, plants and industries which have been a staple in numerous small communities around the world. Their list of the Top Ten Toxic Threats in 2013 highlights the ten most polluted places around the world…places that have the ability to negatively impact the health of more than 200 million people. That’s 200 million people JUST from those 10 places alone.

Then earlier this week the U.N. weather agency reported that “World carbon dioxide pollution levels in the atmosphere are accelerating and reached a record high in 2012.” Methane levels in the atmosphere also reached an unbelievable level of 1,819 parts per billion. China has been front and center in the news as well during recent months due to their extreme pollution levels that have made it difficult for people to go anywhere. The Wall Street Journal brought up China’s newest pollution concern which is that pollution levels and other environmental factors seem to be having a direct impact on reproductive health of the country’s male population.

When it comes to our personal vehicles, studies have shown that the air inside the car can be pretty potent and not in a good way. In some instances, the pollution inside a vehicle can register up to ten times as much as the pollution outside that same vehicle. As far as the indoor air pollution constantly coursing through our homes, I’ve written many times about how those levels are exceeding high and harmful to our health. The good thing in all of this is that there are things we can do. There are steps we can take. There are changes which can be made. We can make a difference. What can you do to curb pollution levels in your home and in your local community?

Image by eutrophication&hypoxia via Flickr Creative Commons

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