How to Stop Polluting the Land
Most pollution begins on land. There are many different things that can pollute the land. Deforestation strips the top soil of its ability to properly retain water. This leads directly to erosion, which will then take all of the chemicals that have soaked into the soil, as a result of whatever human activity the forest was destroyed for, and transport it directly into the water supply. The many other human activities that can do this include urban construction, the use of chemical fertilizers in agricultural, the use of industrial chemicals in surface and subsurface mining, the use of landfills full of items that can take hundreds of years to degrade and may contain any number of harmful substances, industrial production, which releases lethal chemicals into the environment, fossil fuel and nuclear energy production that also release harmful agents into the environment, and inadequate or improperly managed sewage facilities that leak harmful substances into the environment.
The Effect of Land Pollution
The effect that these activities have on the environment is extremely destructive. Entire regions of the earth can be rendered uninhabitable for all biological life, entire ecosystems that support thousands of lifeforms can be destroyed to never return, and the food, water, and air that humans need to survive on can become so extremely contaminated that there will no longer be enough of any of it go around. To offer an idea of how this can be, consider the fact that twenty-four billion tons of formerly arable topsoil is lost to preventable contamination around the world every year.
Solid Waste Pollution
Solid waste is also a very serious problem, and it is demanding the ever increasing use of landfills that pollute the environment. As the Earth’s population continues to increase at an exponential rate, by far, the biggest producers of solid waste are the various urban centers that dot the globe. In 2015, the World Bank released a report on the production of solid waste in Earth’s urban centers. They estimated that ten years before the production of their report, 2.9 billion urban residents produced approximately .68 billion tons of solid waste. They further reported that as of 2015, 3 billion urban residents were producing 1.3 billion tons of solid waste. Finally, they have predicted that by 2025, 4.3 billion urban residents will be producing 2.2 billion tons of solid waste annually. If nothing is done, they expect that these numbers could rise to unmanageable levels, causing damage to the environment that cannot be undone. You, however, can help to turn the tide. Here are a few things that you can do to help.
Recycle, recycle, recycle! Much of the regular waste that you produce each day such as plastic, paper, light metals, and the like can be reused. Make regular use of your community’s recycling program. If they do not have one, petition city leaders to get one started, and in the meantime, there is no distance too great to travel when the fate of the Earth is at stake.
Do not ever put hazardous materials in the garbage. Paints, pesticides, lawn chemicals, car batteries, used oil, and many other materials can be taken to your community’s hazardous waste management center. If your city does not have one, follow the same directions as are mention above.
If you have an indoor or outdoor mercury thermometer, turn it into your community’s hazardous waste management center with the rest of your hazardous waste. Mercury is a strong pollutant that takes a very long time to dissipate. Once it gets into the water, it will make its way up the food chain right back into your kitchen. Only, this time, it will be causing health problems for you and your family.
Keep Shopping to a Minimum
When you go shopping, do not purchase more of any particular product than you need. This applies to your daily needs, as well as, the lawn chemicals, paints, oil, and other materials that you purchase for your irregular needs. Buy smaller amounts, so that you have less to dispose of when you are done with your tasks.
Additionally, when you go grocery shopping, do not use the plastic or paper bags that are provided by your grocer. Instead, invest in canvas bags that you can take with you and reuse each time you shop.
In your home office, when you are printing out documents for whatever purpose it is needed, make sure to format your printer to print on both sides of each page. This will cut your paper use in half.
There is No Away!
Whenever possible, use rechargeable batteries. Most all batteries are full of harmful metals and chemicals that can do serious damage to the environment if they leak out of the battery, especially car and other small motor batteries. Further, this is very likely to happen if those batteries end up in a landfill.
Do not throw away old items that have potential reuses. If you have old gently used clothing, donate it to a charitable society. If you have old machinery that you no longer wish to use, sell it to a pawn shop. Some machines, especially old cars, can even be taken to junk yards where they will be stripped for parts. In the process, you will feel better about yourself for having helped protect the evironment, and you may even make a little pocket change.