Pollution is the unfortunate side effect of an industrialized world. Over the years pollution has only gotten worse. In developing countries such as China and India pollution is out of control. If unchecked, pollution can ultimately claim hundreds of millions of lives and reduce the amount of arable land in the world. Perhaps worst of all is most of all the damage pollution creates can be prevented by being just a little bit more environmentally conscious.
More than 1.2 billion pounds of garbage is dumped into the ocean each year
The amount of trash being disposed of in the ocean is at an all time high. It some places it has gotten so bad that it has killed off all marine life. One such example is where the Mississippi River empties out into the Atlantic Ocean. As a result of pollution nearly 8,400 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico has been declared a dead zone. Due to loss of income from commercial fisheries located in the Gulf of Mexico, the economic impact has been measured in excess of $650 million.
15 million children die each year because of polluted drinking water
Around the world, 15 million children die due to polluted drinking water alone. The sad fact is, if it weren’t for pollution, all of these deaths are preventable. Water is one of the most precious resources available on this planet and is the universal catalyst of life as we know it. We must do everything within our power to protect this essential commodity.
Nearly half of American lakes are too polluted for fish or swimming
Natural resources and beauty have been one of the United State’s greatest assets over the years and are now in jeopardy. Half of the lakes and bodies of water in the United States are too polluted to swim in or for fish to survive. If measures aren’t put into place, this will only increase. With more and more people living in the United States, water, especially in the Western half of the country, is becoming a scarce resource. If this pollution concern isn’t addressed soon, there may not be enough water to go around.
China emits 171% more carbon dioxide than it did in 2000
China has seen a massive economic and industrial explosion over the last decade. While this is great for the country, it is has resulted in less than ideal conditions for the planet. In the last decade and a half China has more than doubled its carbon dioxide output. They are now the worst country in the world in terms of air pollution. They account for nearly one quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, or more than double what all of Europe produces on a yearly basis.
Each person produces about 4 lbs of garbage per day in the United States
Every single day the average person in the United States produces at least 4 pounds of garbage. Added up over the course of year and this adds up to nearly 1460 pounds of garage. Considering there are more than 315 million people living in the United States this is a lot of trash! With the increased presence and availability of recycling programs around the country, there is no good reason why this number should be as high as it is. Using reusable products rather than disposable products can lessen the total amount of trash produce on a daily basis.
People who live in areas with high pollution are 20% more likely to die from lung cancer
The effects of air pollution are definitely real. There is a proven correlation between those who live in areas with high air pollution and occurrence of respiratory disease such as lung cancer. Over the years, the contaminants in the air take a toll on our bodies and eventually manifest itself as disease. Respiratory diseases are among the most difficult and expensive to treat.
1.2 trillion gallons per year of sewage and industrial waste are dumped into U.S. water every year
Contaminated water, nearly 1/4 of the water contained within the Great Salt Lake in Utah, is dumped into U.S. water on a yearly basis. Within just a four year span of time, the amount of sewage and industrial waste is equal to the entire size of the lake. If that doesn’t disturb you, then it is unlikely anything will! With greater care and regulation most of this pollution can be easily prevented.
Air pollution kills 3 million people every year around the world
Air pollution alone kills more people every year in the world than epidemic diseases such as AIDs. The sad thing is, this is just air pollution alone. This does not account for water pollution or the various other forms of pollution that exist.
California is the most polluted state in the United States
Although California is the most populated state in the United States it is produces more than its fair share of pollution. There are many contributing factors. One of the most obvious is the amount of traffic. Unlike the east coast, the public transportation infrastructure is not as advanced on the west coast, meaning more people rely on their cars to get to and from where they need to go. Bakersfield is the biggest offender in the state. Over the course of the last several years there has been an average of nearly 200 days per year where the ozone air quality was considered unhealthy for sensitive populations.
The total cost of pollution per year in death and disease is estimated to exceed $13 billion
The total cost of pollution is a heavy one. In treatment alone of those who are affected by pollution the costs around the world are set to exceed $13 billion. If the money didn’t have to be spent on handling the effects of pollution, imagine what could be done to make this world a better place. Every person on the planet can do things to minimize their carbon footprint and mitigate the amount of pollution they produce on an individual basis. In addition, people can encourage their local lawmakers to pass regulations on businesses to make our world a cleaner place.
Featured Image: Flickr by Keith Laverack