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Environmental Science Essay, Research Paper

The way, we the humans, treat our own environment can be devastating. This is where the respective role of governments can make decisions that shape environmental policy and responsibilities. These governments can be broken up into four different levels: local, state, federal and international. Air chemical pollution and biodiversity are two current issues that can be related to the role of governments. Global warming is also another implication that has a devastating effect on the environment. Current examples include the rise in sea levels, polar meltdowns, melting of ice sheets as well as glaciers and human deaths due to disease from the effects of global warming. Firstly, the environment can be defined as the natural features of our surroundings such as plants and animal life, water, soils and the atmosphere. The solutions to these problems include improvements, and improvements must be done in the near future. This to maintain the world we live in, countries need to work together and create laws on the chemical outlet. Today we have to many nations working for themselves, but with the European Community (EC) we have made a start of a new era. This is a chance to collect and dispose chemicals in a right way. Together the different governments from different countries will support the development of an international strategy to observe and manage “air toxics”. The air toxics strategy will monitor and establish the levels of community exposure and manage emissions of selected air toxics. (Taken from the EC directives 1999)

Chemical Pollution is in addition to harmful substances to the atmosphere, resulting in damage to the environment, human health, and quality of life. One of many forms of pollution, air pollution occurs inside homes, schools, and offices; in cities; across continents; and even globally. Chemical Pollution makes people sick, it causes breathing problems and promotes cancer, and it harms plants, animals, and the ecosystems in which they live. Some chemical pollutants return to earth in the form of acid rain and snow. This acid rain will corrode statues and buildings, damage crops, forests and make the seas unsuitable for fish and other plant and animal life. The chemical pollution is also changing the earth’s atmosphere in a way that it lets in more harmful radiation from the sun. At the same time, our polluted atmosphere is becoming a better insulator, preventing heat from escaping back into space and thus leading to a rise in global average temperatures. Scientists predict that the temperature increase, referred to as global warming, will affect world food supply, alter sea level, make weather more extreme and increase the spread of tropical disease. Most chemical pollution comes from one human activity: burning fossil fuels, natural gas, coal, and oil to power industrial processes and motor vehicles. Among the harmful chemical compounds this burning puts into the atmosphere are carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, and tiny solid particles including lead from gasoline additives called particulates. Between 1900 and 1970, motor vehicle use rapidly expanded, and emissions of nitrogen oxides, some of the most damaging pollutants in vehicle exhaust, increased 690 percent. When fuels are incompletely burned, various chemicals called volatile organic chemicals also enter the air. Pollutants came also from other sources. For instance, decomposing garbage in landfills and solid waste disposal sites witch emits methane gas and many household products give off explosive organic chemicals. Some of these pollutants also come from natural sources. For example, forest fires emit particulates and explosive organic chemicals into the atmosphere. Ultra fine dust particles, dislodged by soil erosion when water and weather loosen layers of soil, increase airborne particulate levels. Volcanoes spew out sulphur dioxide and large amounts of pulverized lava rock known as volcanic ash. A big volcanic eruption can darken the sky over a wide region and affect the earth’s entire atmosphere. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatoubo in the Philippines, for example, dumped enough volcanic ash into the upper atmosphere to lower global temperatures for the next two years. Unlike pollutants from human activity, however, naturally occurring pollutants tend to remain in the atmosphere for a short time and do not lead to permanent atmospheric change. Once in the atmosphere, pollutants often undergo chemical reactions that produce additional harmful compounds. Air pollution is subject to weather patterns that can trap it in valleys or blow it across the globe to damage pristine environments far from the original sources. Local and regional pollution take place in the lowest layer of the atmosphere, the troposphere, which extends from the earth’s surface to about ten miles. The troposphere is the region in which most weather occurs. If the load of pollutants added to the troposphere were equally distributed, the pollutants would be spread over vast areas and the air pollution might almost escape our notice. Pollution sources tend to be concentrated, however, especially in cities. In the weather phenomenon known as thermal inversion, a layer of cooler air is trapped near the ground by a layer of warmer air above. When this occurs, normal air mixing almost ceases and pollutants are trapped in the lower layer. Local topography, or the shape of the land can in this case deteriorate.

It is widely accepted that humans have been a major cause of environmental problems since we began creating our cities and especially since the Industrial Revolution of the 20th century. All aspects of the Earth have been affected by humans’ desire to conquer and dominate the planet. Our impact has gone beyond pollution to altering the functioning of many natural systems. These systems include our atmosphere; several land ecosystems and the complex water environments of which we get our drinking water and food sources. The effects have been universal ranging from ourselves to just every other living organism on this planet. Sure, it sounds like we have ruined everything and probably the best this to do is just prepare for the worst of the consequences, but there is a possibility for improvement if we start correcting things now. The very air that we breathe in most major cities is considered unhealthy because of the contaminants that we put in the air through the burning of fossil fuels by our cars and industrial power plants. The residence time of these pollutants is what determines their affect. Some pollutants are only around for days like NOx with impacts that are largely local, when at levels above air-quality standard there are increases in the number of cases of respiratory disease. Others last a little longer, a few weeks, like SO2, which then are eventually removed from the atmosphere in the form of acid rain. These pollutants are relatively insignificant in comparison with their affect on humanity, like CO2 and CFCs who are around for centuries. These are the chemicals responsible for global warming and the ozone depletion. Also, coming from the burning of gasoline and diesel fuel is particulate matter, otherwise known as smog, when combined with any of the oxides they present a deadly combination for the health of all living organisms. Some these chemicals, namely carbon dioxide, also is a result of our destruction of the land. Deforestation of both old growth forests and rain forests have contributed to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere because this means that there are less trees that can recycle this carbon dioxide to oxygen, thus the impact of the natural carbon cycle is limited. (Taken from class hours)

The insight that human societies have is severe and might create a persistent effect on the environment, and we must, if we are to avoid catastrophe, learn to operate in a manner that our environment can sustain. By creating laws and building recycling centres we might be able to maintain the life on our planet as we today see it. Without this we will slowly create our own death. The way that this might affect the hotel industry in and around Scandinavia is quite disastrous. The animal life in and around the North Pole will slowly die out and the natural fauna will be ruined, thus create the melt down of the pole. The melt down of the pole will affect the coastal industry, all the hotels and the tourist attractions nearby the Scandinavian coastline. The acid rain will affect all the old churches and buildings that are wide spread around in Scandinavia. The animal life will die out because of the acid rain and the soil will not be fruitful enough to grow normal crops. Thus creating famine and fear for both tourists as well as inhabitants.


Kirk, D. (1996). Environmental Management for Hotels A student s handbook. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann.

Middleton, V.T.C., Hawkins, R. (1998) Sustainable Tourism: A Marketing Perspective. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann

Internet sources:

www.greenpeace.org/search.shtml (waste disposal, oil, chemicals, hazardous substance in Scandinavia.

www.wastedisposal.com (search in Scandinavia for chemical waste and illegal dumping)

http://www.worldnews.com/?template=scandinavianews%2Findex.txt&action=search&first=0&SearchString=wastedisposal&news=&x=22&y=15 (waste engine for environmental issues in the world)

http://www.greenpeace.org/ odumping/oceanmain.html

www.ask.com where can I find information about local and regional pollution


www.ask.com where can I find information about chemical pollution


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