31 Biggest Environmental Problems

Our planet faces significant environmental problems. The most important environmental issues and their causes, effects and solutions for these problems are examined in the following articles.

What are the biggest environmental problems?

  1. Acid rain
  2. Agricultural pollution
  3. Air pollution
  4. Artificial intelligence
  5. Biodiversity loss
  6. Carbon footprint
  7. Deforestation
  8. Endangered species
  9. Genetic engineering
  10. Global warming
  11. Illegal dumping
  12. Landfills
  13. Land pollution
  14. Light pollution
  15. Littering
  16. Medical waste
  17. Mining
  18. Natural disasters
  19. Noise pollution
  20. Nuclear waste
  21. Orphanism
  22. Overpopulation
  23. Ozone depletion
  24. Plastic pollution
  25. Public health issues
  26. Resource depletion
  27. Soil pollution
  28. Urban sprawl
  29. Visual pollution
  30. Waste
  31. Water pollution

Acid Rain

Acid rain can be defined as rain or any other kind of precipitation that is unusually acidic, which means that it has higher levels of hydrogen and thus a lower pH-score. It is caused by emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, which react with water molecules in the atmosphere and produce acid rain. Acid rain has harmful effects on the environment, especially on aquatic animals and plants. It has also shown damaging effects on freshwaters, soils and insects.

 

Moreover, also humans are adversely affected since acid rain causes corrosion of steel structures (e.g. bridges) and the weathering of statues and stone buildings. Acid rain can also have a negative impact on human health.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding acid rain are examined.

Agricultural Pollution

agricultural pollution as big environmental problem

Agricultural pollution can be defined as the degradation or contamination of the environment through abiotic and biotic byproducts of farming.

 

For many years, our ancestors did farming in a sustainable way, thus there were almost no problems with agricultural pollution.

 

However, due to the optimization of yields over time through the excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides, agricultural pollution became a significant problem to the environment. There are also many other sources from agricultural pollution.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding agricultural pollution are examined.

Air Pollution

Air pollution can be defined as the introduction of excessive quantities of substances, gases, particles or biological molecules into the earth atmosphere.

 

Air pollution may have negative impacts on humans in the form of allergies, diseases or even death. It also has an adverse effect on animals and plants as well as on the whole ecological system.

 

Air pollution can be caused by both natural processes as well as by human behavior. According to the World Health Organization, 7 million people die from air pollution each year. Thus, more people die each year from air pollution than from automobile accidents.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding air pollution are examined.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (often referred to as AI) can be defined as an area of computer science which has the goal to create intelligent machines that can react and work like humans.

 

This includes the areas of problem solving, learning, planning and speech recognition. AI can be regarded as breakthrough when it comes to machine intelligence on a level humanity has never seen before.

 

Artificial intelligence has the potential to change the environment in which we are living right now to a significant extent. A big fraction of standardized work will likely be carried out by machines instead of humans in the near future.

 

In the following, the fields of application, the advantages as well as dangers regarding artificial intelligence are examined.

Biodiversity loss

Biodiversity can be defined as the variability and variety of life on our planet. This includes the variety in ecosystems, species and genetics.

 

The level of Biodiversity usually increases with the temperature, meaning that it is higher in warm climate zones near the equator. As an example, the world’s tropical rainforests cover around 10% of the planet’s surface, but contain 90% of all species on the planet.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding biodiversity loss are examined.

Carbon Footprint

The carbon footprint can be defined as the total emissions caused by individuals or organizations which is expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent.

 

The carbon footprint gives an indication on how much every entity contributes to the emission of CO2 and therefore to the global warming issue.

 

In the following, the causes, effects and solutions for the emission of carbon dioxide are examined.

Deforestation

Deforestation can be defined as the removal of a forest with the purpose of converting this land into non-forest use. After deforestation, the land can now be used for ranches, farms or also for urban purposes.

 

There are several harmful effects of deforestation on the environmental system. For example, deforestation can cause a loss in biodiversity and can also indirectly contribute to the global warming problem. Thus, it is crucial to preserve our forests, especially the rainforest.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding deforestation are examined.

Endangered Species

An endangered species can be defined as species which is very likely to be extinct in the near future. The number of endangered species has dramatically risen over time.

 

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, while in 1998, 1102 animals and 1197 plants have been categorized as endangered, this numbers increased to 3079 animals and 2655 plants until 2012. If this trend continues, we will lose many species in the near future.

 

To prevent this, governments and other institutions all over the world try to save the endangered species by measures like creating protected areas or forbidding hunting. In the following, reasons, effects, examples and also solutions concerning the endangered species problems are analyzed.

Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering can be defined as manipulation of an organism’s genes with the help of biotechnology. The first official genetic manipulation happened in 1972 by Paul Berg when he combined the DNA from a monkey virus with the lambda virus.

 

Genetic engineering is a very controversial topic in our society. There are many pros and cons regarding this topic.

 

In this article, the advantages and dangers regarding genetic engineering are examined.

Global Warming

global warming as one of the biggest environmental issues

Climate change can be defined as a change in the earth’s climate system which results in new weather pattern. These patterns can remain for a few decades or even for millions of years.

 

Global warming is a serious problem to humanity as well as to the whole environmental system. There have always been periods of global warming in the history of the earth, however, since the mid of the 20th century, changes in global temperature have increased much faster than in previous periods.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding global warming are examined.

Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping (often also referred to as fly tipping or fly dumping) can be defined as the dumping of waste in an illegal manner instead of using officially authorized measures like curbside collections or rubbish dump.

 

Illegal dumping can lead to serious environmental issues and can also cause several health problems.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding illegal dumping are examined.

Landfills

Landfills can be defined as a site for waste disposal. The waste is usually buried in order to get rid of it. Landfills are one of the oldest forms of waste disposal.

 

Although the use of landfills has some upsides, there are also some severe disadvantages.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding landfills are examined.

Land Pollution

Land pollution can be defined as the contamination or destruction of land through indirect or direct human actions. It is a serious threat to animals, plants, sea life and also to us humans as well as to the whole environment.

 

Land pollution has become a serious problem since the industrial revolution has happened. Consumption levels have risen dramatically, which leads to more by-products which have to be disposed and thus to an increase in land pollution.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding land pollution are examined.

Light Pollution

Light pollution can be defined as the presence of artificial light in the environment.

 

It can have adverse effects on humanity as well as on animals and other organisms.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding light pollution are examined.

Littering

Litter can be defined as waste products that have been disposed of in an improper way at undesirable locations. Litter can be composed of several different materials like plastic, metals or paper.

 

It can also include large and hazardous waste like batteries, electronics or tires. Littering can be regarded as a serious issue to our environmental system since it has severe adverse effects.

 

In the following, the causes, effects and also solutions regarding littering are examined.

Medical Waste

Medical waste can be defined as waste that contains potentially infectious materials. A broader definition may also include all materials that is of laboratory or medical origin, including packaging, infusion kits, etc.).

 

Medical waste can cause serious health issues if it is not disposed properly. The types, treatment, disposal, causes, effects as well as solutions for medical waste are examined in the following.

Mining

Mining can be defined as the extraction of minerals or other geological materials from our earth. In the mining process, several resources can be recovered, including coal, metals, limestone, potash, clay and much more.

 

Mining is done with the goal to obtain materials which cannot be obtained at the surface and can also not be created artificially in an economically-senseful way.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding mining are examined.

Natural Disasters

A natural disaster can be defined as a significant adverse event resulting from the earth’s natural processes. Natural disasters often have severe consequences for many people and also for animals and plants. It usually also destroys buildings and thus leads to a loss of peoples‘ homes.

 

Due to the global warming issue, natural disasters will become more common in the future. Therefore, mankind has to be prepared to deal with these adverse events.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding natural disasters are examined.

Noise Pollution

Noise pollution, which is also referred to as sound pollution, can be defined as the spread of noise which causes adverse effects on the environment, including humans and animals.

 

Noise pollution causes various problems, including serious problem to human health.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding noise pollution are examined.

Nuclear Waste

Nuclear waste can be defined as garbage that contains radioactive material.

 

Radioactive waste can display a serious threat to humanity and the whole environment since it takes quite a long time to decay.

 

Therefore, nuclear waste is subject to strict government regulations in order to prevent any adverse issues.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding nuclear waste are examined.

Orphanism

Orphanism can be defined as the state of a child whose parents have abandoned them, are unknown or have died.

 

Orphanism is a big problem for these children since they often have no one who takes care of them and may suffer from severe mental as well as other health issues.

 

In this article, the extent, causes, effects and solutions regarding orphanism are examined.

Overpopulation

Overpopulation can be defined as a state in which there are too many people on the planet to supply them with basic things like drinkable water, food, breathable air and so on.

 

Overpopulation can also be defined as a state where the ecological footprint of humanity is bigger than the planet’s carrying capacity, meaning that the damaging process is faster than the repairment process carried out by nature, which eventually will lead to an economic collapse.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding overpopulation are examined.

Ozone Depletion

Ozone depletion can be defined as the gradual thinning of the Earth’s ozone layer in the upper atmosphere which is caused by the release of chemical substances containing bromine or chlorine from industrial or other human activities.

 

Ozone depletion can be a serious problem to the environmental system since it has many adverse effects on our planet.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding ozone depletion are examined.

Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution can be defined as the accumulation of plastic particles and objects in the environment. The amount of plastic we produce in our nowadays society and also the level of pollution from plastic items is shocking.

 

Plastic pollution has significant adverse effects on humans, animals, plants as well as on the whole environmental system.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding plastic pollution are examined.

Public Health Issues

Public health issues can be defined as problems related to the overall health of our global population.

 

In contrast to healthcare, public health is not focused on single patients but rather on the health of whole populations.

 

There are several threats regarding public health to our nowadays society.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding public health issues are examined.

Resource Depletion

Resource depletion can be defined as the consumption of resources faster than they can be replaced.

 

Natural resource depletion can be divided into the depletion of renewable as wells as in the depletion of non-renewable resources.

 

Resource depletion can cause many adverse effects on our environment.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding resource depletion are examined.

Soil Pollution

Soil pollution (also called soil contamination) can be defined as the occurrence of toxic chemicals in the soil.

 

Pollution refers to the level of contaminants which exceeds the natural concentration of these substances.

 

Soil pollution often is caused by an excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides, however, there are many other reasons.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding soil pollution are examined.

Urban Sprawl

Urban sprawl can be defined as unrestricted growth in urban areas.

 

Although there are many different approaches on how to measure urban sprawl, the common opinion is that urban sprawl can have many adverse effects, including social and economic issues.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding urban sprawl are examined.

Visual Pollution

Visual pollution can be a significant issue for the local population.

 

Although the problem of visual polutions is sometimes belittled, it can cause serious health issues, both mentally and also physically.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions for visual pollution are shown.

Waste

Waste can be determined as unusable or unwanted materials. It is usually worthless, defective and/or discarded after primary use. It can be divided in two major categories, household waste and industrial waste.

 

Both household and industrial waste can pose serious dangers to the environment and thus should be handled with great care.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding waste are examined.

Water Pollution

Water pollution is the contamination of water environments like oceans, rivers, lakes or groundwater. Contaminants are introduced into the natural environmental system which is often caused by human behavior.

 

Water pollution is a big environmental problem since it not only affects animals and plants, but also our daily lives in the form of polluted lakes and rivers which in turn can lead to contaminated drinking water.

 

In this article, the causes, effects and solutions regarding water pollution are examined.

About the author

 

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

 

As I went to university and got my Master's degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

 

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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