Why do people destroy the environment
Clean drinking water - blue gold
The former German Environment Minister Klaus Töpfer once jumped into the Rhine in a diving suit. He wanted to prove that the river was clean enough to bathe in again.
Even if this action sent a shiver down the spine of many contemporaries at the end of the 1980s: Many European rivers, including the Rhine and even the Elbe, which was once heavily contaminated, are now cleaner again.
Decades of reminders from environmentalists and water experts have contributed to the fact that many bodies of water could be saved with modern sewage treatment plants and future-oriented legislation.
For other rivers, lakes and seas, however, it looks much worse. Especially in the poorer countries of the world, the water is often so heavily polluted that it is life-threatening to drink from it.
A lack of environmental awareness, corruption, but also the need to produce as cheaply as possible in order to compete on the world market are literally poison for the rivers.
Water is the basis of existence for all life on this planet. More than two thirds of the earth's surface is covered with water, but only a tiny part of it can be used by humans.
Usable, clean water is becoming scarcer. According to Unicef, around 2.1 billion people did not have sufficient access to clean drinking water in 2017.
In any case, the use of water cannot be called sustainable. The straightening of rivers damages the ecosystem enormously.
The possibility of pumping water through artificial pipe systems and thereby using dry soils as arable land has also damaged nature extensively. Both the Aral Sea and the Dead Sea, from whose tributaries water is derived, are gradually drying up.
Traffic pollutes the air
The air we breathe in the Ruhr area has long since ceased to be carbon black and you can now breathe deeply even in the immediate vicinity of large industrial plants. But there can be no question of clean air, because everyday incineration of household waste as well as industry and traffic continue to pollute the environment.
While in the past the smoking chimneys and gas emissions were among the main causes of problems, today it is, among other things, increasing traffic.
Emissions such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, fluorocarbons and fine dust not only harm the environment and the climate, but also people. Those who are constantly exposed to the emissions of road traffic have an increased risk of developing respiratory diseases or even cancer.
Manure and garbage - poison for the soil
Over-fertilization and the deposition of toxic contaminated sites and heavy metals place a considerable burden on the world's soils and also contaminate the groundwater.
One problem that has long been underestimated is the increasing sealing of the soil. More and more roads are being built, more and more landscape is being converted into building land. The soil is sealed, which means that precipitation can no longer seep away.
The result: the groundwater level sinks. However, when the groundwater level falls, not only wells and bodies of water dry up. The sealing also damages the vegetation, because tree and plant roots can no longer reach the water supply. The landscape is deserted.
The world community has long recognized the problem of environmental pollution. But despite many conferences and resolutions, it has not yet been possible to improve the global environmental situation sufficiently. The preservation of the environment and the fight against pollution therefore remain on the agenda of the international community.
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