There are many factors that facilitate life on earth. Life is not only possible on planet earth, it is also enjoyable.
The distance of the earth from the sun makes it not too hot and not too cold. The sphere of the earth is tilted at an angle that makes it possible to enjoy the four different seasons.
Because of these and other factors, the earth teams with plant and animal life from polar ice to the equator.
The earth can even refresh itself, repairing itself of damages brought about by accidents. However, man’s activities are known to be bringing about permanent damages to the earth.
The earth’s upper atmosphere, the stratosphere, contains a shield of ozone.
This shield absorbs much of the sun’s dangerous radiations especially ultra-violet rays thereby preventing them from penetrating the earth’s atmosphere and harming earth’s life forms.
Sadly, this shield or layer is being destroyed by chemicals emitted into the atmosphere as a result of man’s activities.
Some of the culprits are chlorofluorocarbon (cfc), chlorine, bromine etc. Other causes are chemicals found in vehicular emissions, industrial emissions, refrigerants etc.
When these chemicals reach the upper stratosphere, they react with ozone, turning it into a different state.
Man’s industrial, home and social activities are also warming up the lower atmosphere bringing about global warming.
The development of towns and cities leads to decimation of forests that help to remove toxins from the atmosphere and bring down temperatures.
Other issues that affect earth’s environment are over-population, over-cultivation, over-grazing, soil and water pollution, gully erosion, mining problems, etc.
What are the effects of all these problems?
Some species of birds have gone extinct since the last century. Many animal species are currently threatened.
Use of environmentally unfriendly methods of fishing threatens marine life.
Depletion of ozone layer leads to holes in ozone layer causing undue amount of ultra-violet rays of the sun reaching the earth.
This causes health related problems like skin cancer.
Global warming leads to melting of polar ice and increase in the level of ocean and sea waters which also affects coastal towns.
Many streets along some towns and cities are littered with refuse where flies and other disease causing agents breed thereby causing sicknesses.
The use of fertilizer, though it may increase food yield, causes food and soil pollution. On the one hand, it introduces toxins into the human body. On the other hand, it kills soil organisms responsible for fertilizing the soil naturally.
Indeed, man’s activities are threatening life and its many forms on earth in general, and man’s survival in particular.
Scientists and other environmental personnel have been issuing warnings concerning the state of the earth’s ecosystem.
Interestingly national leaders of the United Nations Organization (U.N.O.) have been gathering to deliberate on ways to alleviate the problems facing the earth.
Last November, Nigeria joined the rest of the world in Morocco to deliberate on world climate change. Individual nations of the world pledge to do their part to reduce global warming.
Presently individuals and nations are bent on growing industries and being rich and are reluctant to reverse the trend.
Because of pursuit of pleasure safe cultures are being abandoned for newer trends.
This leads to adverse consequences on present society and portends warnings of catastrophic outcomes for the future.
This is not to say that nothing at all has been done or is being done to save the human community. Many forms of drugs are under ban by the international community.
However, to save the human race, more needs to be done. Desert encroachment should be met with laws against over-grazing and over-cultivation.
Over-population can be controlled so that less of newer houses are constructed thereby clearing less of forest land.
Migration to cities and state capitals can be controlled.
Emissions from cars and other vehicles account for a substantial amounts of pollution in the big towns and cities.
Hot emissions of carbon dioxide (carbon iv oxide) and carbon monoxide (carbon ii oxide) are not only toxic, they increase the temperature of the atmosphere.
Use of safer fuels should be adopted. The developed countries of the world should use their resources to advance this technology.
But any country of the world can follow up if it realises the importance of saving the earth from pollution.
All hands should be on deck in this regard.
If everyone joins hands together to save earth environment, there will exist a future for present and future generations.
Engineer Ephraim Elombah writes from Nnewi, Anambra State.