Thursday, October 08, 2009

a global warning..

A school (SMK USJ 4) under a cloud of pollution.

Our future seen through the eyes of a photographer

These days, were complaining about the hot weather, dusty skies, smelly surroundings and many uncomfortable events. But to think of it, what causes all of this? Pollution, done by man himself. Everyday we pollute. It starts by turning on your air conditioner, or using the water heater, or even your washing machine. These are our daily life activities which causes a dent on our planet.

I once was in the car, and heard on the radio, that the power used to do a single search on the internet by using search engines like 'Google' or 'Yahoo' is enough to boil a kettle of water. I was thinking of how could that be. Well our computers use electrical energy which also emits heat energy, and not to mention, there are supercomputers that run the world wide web which also uses electricity and releases heat. So i believe that statement was true. This also means that every electrical appliance at home can slowly cause pollution, such as rice cookers, handphone chargers, lights, radios and many other appliances. But not only the heat but the power generators from power generating factories emits pollution. Fossil fuels are used to burn to turn a turbine which turns a dynamo that charges electricity. Fuels that are burnt releases pollutants like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and sulphur.

We also depend on personal transportation these days, which actually can cause many types of pollution.
First, air pollution.
Cars emit gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, dust, smoke and lead. Air pollution does not only affect the environment but also can cause many health problems. For example, Carbon monoxide affects the transport of oxygen in the blood in humans and impairs alertness and causes headaches. The oxides of nitrogen causes respiratory infections and causes acid rain which can cause skin cancer and corrode buildings. Acid rain also affects plants as the acidity of water supplied increases. Dust and smoke causes haze which decreases visibility and causes asthma. Dust that lands on the leaves of the plants prevents them from carrying out photosynthesis. Lead can cause mental retardation and damages the liver. Death and coma may also occur.

Secondly, noise pollution.
Cars make alot of noises from their engines and car horns. Noise pollution then disrupts peace and harmony in an area. For example, some motorist horn at housing areas late at night which disturbs the community. Noise from vehicles can also cause distraction like at schools, cars that pass by often distracts students during classes.

Third, water pollution.
During accidents, oil or petrol spills flow to lower areas such as rivers. These pollutants can kill aquatic life. Plants in the rivers will not be able to photosynthesise as oil covers the water and prevents light from being absorbed by the plant. This will reduce the oxygen content of water and animals that depend on oxygen will eventually die.

Fourthly, cars cause land pollution.
Old cars which become scrap metal rusts and are abandoned and increase the number of rubbish in our planet.

Factories also cause pollution. Wastes that could be toxic are released into rivers or ponds which can pollute water and land. Our land is full of useful minerals for plants. But as these wastes are mixed in the soil, the soil becomes infertile for the growth of plants. The soil also corrodes which makes it unstable. Therefore that land will be wasted as it cannot be used for anything as plants cant grow and buildings are unsafe to be built there.

Deforestation also causes pollution. Trees hold soil in place by the help of their roots. But as the plants die, what is going to hold the soil. Eventually, the soil will run loose when water flows during rain. The soil will then flow to lower areas, which may cause landslides. This can also cause water pollution and rivers will begin to be shallow as soil fills up rivers. Aquatic animals and plants lose their habitat and die. Some parts of trees that are not used will be burnt which causes air pollution. Trees that are chopped down are sent to sawmills to be sliced into smaller planks. Sawmills aid in the production of dust, which pollutes the air.

Sometimes, pollution are caused unintentially. For example, at seas where ship collisions occur. Ships carrying fuel will be damaged and fuels will leak out that will pollute the sea. Burst gas pipes also causes air pollution and accidents at power plants, for example nuclear power plants are very disastrous and causes alot of pollution. Not forgetting, war. Tanks, aircrafts, jet planes and ships uses alot of fuel and emits gases. In an attack, these vehicles are destroyed where they are burnt and oil flow to lower areas.

So what does all of this bring up? First of all, the number of cases of death caused by pollution is increasing day by day. Humans themselves are being affected by the things they do. Sometimes its also unfair when the people who pollute do not get the effects but the innocent people get sick and develops diseases.

Besides that, drastic climate changes happens. Our world is getting hotter and drier. Without trees, transpiration cannot occur and carbon dioxide from the air cannot be absorbed. This increases the carbon dioxide level which causes the greenhouse effect. A greenhouse effect occurs when a layer of carbon dioxide gas covers our atmosphere. Heat from the sun that enters the Earth is reflected by the ground. The heat is suppose to be released into outer space. But the layer of carbon dioxide is like a blanket, which reflects heat back into Earth. This increases the temperature of our planet.

Our ozone layer is a layer in our atmosphere that prevents harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun from reaching the Earth. But due to the usage of air conditioners, our ozone layer is getting thinner and creates a hole. This is because air conditioners release a gas called Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). Our ozone layer is made of ozone molecules, which is 3 oxygen atoms. As CFC is released into our air, an ultraviolet radiation hits the CFC molecule (made up of 1 Fluorine atom, 1 Carbon atom and 3 Chlorine atoms) and 1 chlorine atom breaks away. As it is free, it collides with the ozone molecule and combines with an oxygen atom. Chlorine monoxide is formed and a molecule of oxygen is free. The free oxygen atom then collides with chlorine monoxide and two oxygen atoms form a molecule of oxygen. The chlorine atom is free to break down more ozone molecules. Therefore, the ozone layer gets thinner and ultraviolet rays reach the surface of the Earth causing many health problems.

So, what should we do to save our planet?We can
  1. Reduce the usage of electrical appliances at home.
  2. Car pool, walk, cycle or take public transport to our destination.
  3. Dispose rubbish or toxic waste properly.
  4. Install filters in car exhaust pipes.
  5. Reduce the usage of air conditioners.
  6. Stop deforestation.
  7. any steps to prevent pollution. =)
Imagine we stayed in a world, where its hazy, you cant see or hear anything. Just the brown dust and dark skies around you. Imagine if you had to walk to a friends house in gas masks. Imagine a world without green. Imagine how much sufferings that we may encounter due to the pollution of our planet. Imagine we had no more good food. Imagine no more fresh air. Imagine hot blazing sun. Lets not have a planet like that. As pictured in the picture above.

'If you wanna make the World a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.. ' Song line by Michael Jackson.

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