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Free «Environmental Chemical Threat» Essay Sample

Introduction

The health of human beings is of great concern globally and this is why most governments and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are in fore front in ensuring that they deal with the factors that contribute to threatening human health accordingly. Humans are the main sources of environmental problems that they face as they disturb the ecosystems such that threatening situations arise. One of these threats is the chemical threats that can arise from either a deliberately or unintended  release of poisonous gases, moistures,  aerosols, watery and solidified substances to the environment which ends up harming human, animal, and plant life lives. Through the interaction of human beings and the environment, such harmful substances can escape to the atmosphere or sip underground hence creating a disaster. Depending on the compositions of these substances, they can cause an immediate threat or a slowly growing threat. This paper shows that the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere are threatening the human life and environment because it causes climate change affecting all aspects of human life.

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Increasing rates of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a real threat that needs proper measure to manage it

CO2 contributes a small percentage of 0.035 % of air in the atmosphere (Manahan 300). Despite its little amounts, it is of great concern because it is accountable for reduction of the effect/intensity of the infrared energy coming from the earth’s surface such that it fails to escape from the earth’s atmosphere. With such a disadvantageous role in the atmosphere, latest studies indicate that the increasing amounts of CO2 causes greenhouse effect, which eventually causes climate change as the current experiences. Because of the alarming rates of industrialization, it becomes difficult to establish the exact amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere. Thus, to determine an appropriate measure it calls to do it at isolated areas such as the poles such as the Antarctica where for the last three decades measurements from here shows an increasing trend on the amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Manahan 300). In fact, estimates indicate that “approximately 5.5 billion tones of carbon are now released into  the atmosphere each year as carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, and that a third of that is taken up by oceans” (“Preserving a Balanced Ocean”). The increasing industrialization is a major factor in the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of the burning of fossil fuels. In addition, forest clearing to pave way for human settlement and agriculture because of increasing population contributes to increasing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Therefore, this threatening situation calls for appropriate measures to mitigate through the best processes possible as they are making life and environment vulnerable.

The vulnerability of people and the environment to increasing levels of carbon dioxide

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The effect of climate change is causes a modification on the normal occurrences of weather patterns that in the past seemed to be relatively friendly. With the increasing rates of temperatures, the effect of heat on health can range “from mild heat rashes to deadly heart stroke” (“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”). Moreover, heat has the potential of cumulating and causing chronic disorders such as cardiovascular and breathing problems that can eventually cause death. On the respiratory problems, increasing heat levels causes increase in ozone concentrations within the stratosphere that can result to lung damages without restrictions, hence increases the chances for sicknesses like asthma. On a different perspective, increase of temperatures have an eventual raised urgency claim for electricity to manage heat waves  causing increased rates of burning of carbon emitting substances to satisfy this demand recurring to the problem of increased chances of contracting heart and lung diseases (“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”). Differently, climate change causes changes in ecosystems such that extreme events like floods and droughts causing disaster to human health through starvation and sicknesses occur. From flooding, people can drown and injure. In addition, floods cut infrastructure cutting down essential services like health services to those who deserve (“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”).

Melting ice from the poles causes increasing seal levels threatening those living on coastal regions and islands. On their great capacities, forests are able to absorb a lot of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than most of other plant life. They can keep constant amounts of carbon that can oxidize easily like wood and humus. Regional differences cause differences in forest and vegetation covers. On its part, the atmosphere is an important cover that shields life on earth from diverse environment conditions from outer space. From the continuing tendency of increasing levels of carbon dioxide, studies show that there is a great possibility of these levels doubling by mid twenty first century meaning that the average amounts of temperature on earth will increase between the range of 1.5 and 4.5° C, which can create unchangeable environmental impact (Manahan 301). In fact, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Earth’s Systems Research Laboratory as reported in United States Environmental Protection agency (EPA), there was an increase of 102 parts per million (ppm) of  CO2 by the year 2006.

From a scientific perspective, computer models show that climate change will affect plant life and agriculture. On a critical point of view, plants grow better with plenty of carbon dioxide because it is an essential component of photosynthesis. For an example, experiments suggest that “doubling the CO2 content in the air (for instance, from 330 ppm [the level in the middle 1970] to 660 ppm CO2) will raise productivity of many plants by about a third on average” (McKinney and Schoch 426). Moreover, high levels of carbon dioxide reduce transpirations on plants hence better yields. Such a scenario will be possible in areas with high carbon dioxide concentration complicating on the benefits of plants yield and saving life. This study contradicts studies such as that of Manahan which show the disadvantages of increasing levels of CO2 that cause diverse human threats.

The natural ways of reducing carbon dioxide is through photosynthesis and water absorption in oceans that act as carbon “sinks”. These two methods cannot manage the rates at which this gas increasing hence its accumulation in the atmosphere. When released in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide undergoes chemical reaction on interaction with ultraviolet energy to break down into carbon monoxide and oxide. Within the stratosphere, CO2 undergoes photochemical reactions absorbing escaping infrared energy from earth suppressing it from escaping to outer space. Large amounts of CO2 means high rates of absorption of the infrared radiation hence the severe the consequences. The eventual effect is increasing temperatures on the earth. Despite the fact that other chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons and methane contribute in increasing temperatures, carbon dioxide is the main factor.

 
 
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Mitigating and determining levels of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Where questions arise on whether to undertake early and less expensive modes of mitigation or wait to pay the dire consequences of climate change, it is definitely crucial to start conservation early. Release of carbon dioxide from decomposing matter and plant absorption together with burning of carbon fuels helps to determining the amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. On this view, there come the roles of NGOs like the EPA who undertake environmental impacts assessments to determine the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. With their cooperation, determination and enforcing of regulations on CO2 that protect human health are possible.

Because plants cover also aid in the production of oxygen, a survival element for life, their protection is necessary. Photosynthesis therefore forms an important method of reducing the amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through absorption. This forms one of the basics of mitigating increasing levels where people from the isolated remote areas to urban areas can take part in this. Sensitizing people on the advantages and disadvantages of cutting down forests/trees is an important step to reducing levels of carbon dioxide in air. Through civil education to the people such that they properly understand the threats they are creating for themselves by destroying forests will help then make them put the issue of climate change on the fore front.

Planting trees and using alternative sources of energy rather than charcoal helps reduce CO2 levels. Encouragement to people to plant more trees is a sure way to reducing levels of CO2. Through this, the increased vegetation will absorb and reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide by a process known as carbon sequestration where it stores it in form of biomass (“U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)”). Young trees will tend to remove more carbon from air than they are able to produce.

Using green energy instead of carbon rich fuels is a sound way of mitigating high levels of CO2 in atmosphere. Green energy can include solar energy, geothermal, wind energy, and even methanol. These viable ways of energy production are environmentally friendly and do not emit carbon dioxide. With their abundant amounts available cumulatively, they can substitute carbon-emitting fuels. For automobiles, encouraging technology that produces vehicles utilizing energy from methanol, compressed natural gas, and ethanol can help a lot in mitigating the amounts of carbon released in the atmosphere. In addition, these vehicles should be efficient to avoid wastage. In living places and industries, efficient and energy, saving appliances should apply a lot (McKinney and Schoch 432). In fact, there are processes through which carbon dioxide from industries can be captures before it escapes to the atmosphere. This can be recycled chemically to produce environmentally friendly energy like methanol. Moreover, its poverty mostly that leads to deforestation thus, programs like compensation land owners to save trees and use alternative safe energy sources.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the levels of CO2 are rising causing global warming which is a real threatening life and environment therefore the need to reducing these raising levels. The effects lead to both acute and chronic disturbances where human can suffer from heart and lung diseases where else the environment can experience irreversible devastating changes. Thus mitigation measures including laws governing permitted emission levels of CO2, increasing plant cover by planting trees, using environmentally friendly sources of energy like solar, wind, hydro and methanol. Moreover, efficient appliances reduce CO2 levels in atmosphere. It is undoubtedly the high time to take precautionary measures otherwise the eventual consequences will be lethal.

   

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