Environmental Portfolio essay


Nameof Student

Tableof Contents

Abstract 3

Environmental Portfolio 4

Air Pollution, Climate Change, and Ozone Depletion 4

Soil pollution 4

natural and human activities. 5

The effect of pollution 6

The role of halocarbons 7

Importance of the Issue 8

manufacturing sector 8

Impacts of the Issue 9

Solutions 10

Urbanization and solid and hazardous waste 12

Importance of the issue 14

Impacts of the Issue 16

Solutions 17

References 18


Airpollution, climate and ozone depletion are the phenomenon that hascaptured the attention of the world in the recent times. The increasein the human populations, with great strides in industrialization, issome of the main factors that have led to the emergence of the issue.The atmospheric gasses are by the harmful substances emitted fromindustries of the industrialized nations. In turn, the accumulatedlevels of carbon dioxide have led to the depletion of the ozone layerand climate change. The effect is the rivers and lakes are drying upleading to expansion of deserts. Due to increase and changes in thedemographic patterns, most people have migrated to the urban areas insearch of employment and better lifestyles. The effect of the exodusis the congestion in the cities, causing strain on the availableresources. The urban settlements have also generated big, hazardouswastes from homes and the industries resulting pollution of both theair and the land. Some of the waste finds its way into the waterbodies causing more risks to human beings and an aquatic life.

EnvironmentalPortfolioAir Pollution, Climate Change,and Ozone Depletion

Pollutionof air, land and water has continued since time immemorial. There arenatural and man-made factors that have contributed to thecontamination of the environment. The rapid expansion of industrialactivities coupled with population explosion has been significant inpollution of all types of situations, hence affecting human health,plants, and wildlife. However, people have created interventionmeasures geared at reducing pollution and its effects. Air pollutionis the damage to the atmosphere through various human and naturalactivities. Physical, biological and chemical changes of the air allconstitute air pollution. Land pollution is the interference of thephysical and chemical component of the soil (Costanza, 2000).


Soilpollution emanates from a wide range of natural and artificialactivities. Water pollution is the direction of harmful chemicals andobjects into the water bodies hence causing harm to aquatic life,humans and plants. This section of the paper discusses the causes andprevention measures of air pollution, climate change and ozonedepletion with an objective create an understanding and scope of theissue. The air is composed of a combination of different gasses, withthe most dominant ones being nitrogen, oxygen, and argon. There arealso other gasses that exist in tiny amounts. Air pollution takesplace when dangerous gasses or dust are emitted into the atmospheremaking it hard for plants, animals and people to cope. Air pollutionis either visible or invisible where the invisible pollution consistsof gasses that are inhaled by plants, animals and humans, henceaffecting their biological functions (Costanza, 2000). The burning offossil fuels is a common cause of air pollution. Combustion of fossilfuels such as coal and petroleum products emits Sulfur dioxide, whichis a leading cause of air pollution. Other emissions are from allforms of automobiles and airplanes. Carbon monoxide is a dangerousgas resulting from the incomplete burning of fuels, mainly from theemissions of vehicles.

Naturaland human activities.

Nitrogenoxide gas, on the other hand, is emitted from natural and humanactivities. Agricultural activities are also common causes of airpollution. Farming makes extensive use of chemicals and fertilizersthat release chemicals into the atmosphere. Ammonia is one suchchemical and is quite dangerous to all the biological systems. Anapplication of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides in theagricultural activities has increased tremendously leading toincreased rates of pollution. Other causes of air pollution aremining and household activities such as cleaning by the use ofvarious chemicals and detergents.

Airpollution is quite harmful if the amount of concentration of thegasses is beyond a particular limit. Some of the health effects ofpollution are irritation of the eyes, throats and nose. Individualsalso experience coughing, breathing, and other respiratory problems.People exposed to air pollution could also experience lung and heartproblems, increasing their chances of heart attacks. Continuedexposure to atmospheric pollution could lead to cancer and interferewith the reproductive and neurological systems while extreme exposurecould be fatal. Acidification is an effect of air pollution wherebyacidic compounds are created harming the people, plants, animals andobjects such as buildings. For example, when sulfuric acidaccumulations combine with water droplets, they lead to acidic rainthat kills plants, wildlife, and fish. The acidic rain also altersthe composition of the soil, making it unsuitable for the growth ofcrops, and is harmful to microorganisms that depend on soil for food.

Climatechange is presently a significant economic challenge.Industrialization causes pollution of the environment. Global warmingis a contemporary issue that has captured the attention of the world.Numerous theories exist on what causes the increased temperatures inthe world. The rapid temperatures are lowering of the sea level havegiven the world a reason to be concerned (Costanza, 2000). The majorplayers in the contribution to climate change are China, USA, Canada,and Germany, among other developed economies of the world.

Theeffect of pollution

Theeffect of pollution is increasing in temperatures, which could turnmost regions into deserts if it continues unchecked. Temperaturerises could lead to the development of deserts and hence, threatenfood security, which continues to be felt by many countries in Europeand Africa. Glaciers have melted in some countries of Europe, whilethe rising sea levels threaten many countries around the world. ,there should be cooperation by major players among the industrializednations so that they could commit a substantial amount of theirresources to reduce emissions and hence counter the threat caused byclimate change to global economies. There should also beparticipating in scientific research to adopt improved technologiesthat could curb emissions around the world.

Inthe carbon dioxide effect of global warming, energy arrives from thesun in the form of light and ultraviolet radiation and the earth emitsome of this energy as infrared radiation. The carbon dioxide in theatmosphere absorbs some of this energy which is then released to thesurface. The heat energy discharged to the ground in all thedirections, and some of it finds its way back to the service of theland. It is through this process that co2 keeps the soil surfacewarmer than it would happen without it. It is important to stress thefact, co2 is not the only gas that leads to global warming (Costanza,2000). It works in collaboration with other in the atmosphere tocontribute to global warming. However, it is the primary gas.

Fromresearch by Costanza (2000), global temperatures have gone up by 1degree Centigrade, and this attributed to the industrial revolutionand the emission of CO2. Most of the emissions of co2 come fromindustries in Asia, especially those in China. There is an existenceof concerted global efforts geared to reduce the levels of carbonemissions to influence the effect that has had on global warming.

Therole of halocarbons

Therole of halocarbons to the higher level of troposphere warming andthe increase in lower stratospheric is much greater than that causedby CO2. Trends in cold-point temperature and lower stratosphere watervapor are positive for both halocarbons and CO2 and are of about thesame magnitude. The changes in lower stratosphere ozone are negativebecause of the upwelling (Costanza, 2000). The increases in watervapor and the lower ozone levels lead to lower temperatures as aresult of active cooling.

Halocarbonsthrough the indirect active cooling offsets the direct dangerouswarming, and together with the adiabatic cooling accounts for a lackof a carbon-induced warming of the lower stratosphere. For the carbondioxide, the cooling due to higher amounts of water vapor in theatmosphere and also the reduced ozone are considered similar to thedirect warming by CO2. The effect of halocarbons, however, has notbeen intensely addressed by the experts in the climate sector andrequires much more attention in the coming years.

Importance of the Issue

Thechallenge of air pollution, climate change and ozone depletion due tothe challenges it presents to the world. It is a significant role dueto the effects it has on the biological systems. The issue sets backthe present and future of the world. The humans have contributedsubstantially in the alteration of the natural composition of theair. Human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels lead to theemissions of unfavorable gasses into the air, resulting in thedestruction of the biological systems. Agricultural activities arealso a common cause of air pollution. Farming makes extensive use ofchemicals and fertilizers that release chemicals into the atmosphere.Ammonia is one such chemical and is quite dangerous to all thebiological systems. An application of fertilizers, herbicides, andpesticides in the agricultural activities has increased tremendouslyleading to increased rates of pollution.

Chemicalsreleased from industrial activities have a lot of effects in alteringthe composition of air and have an enormous impact on the globalwarming. There are also several humanitarian efforts that are beingmade to change the form of air positively. Individuals andgovernments from around the world have made tremendous efforts byintroducing green energy to reduce pressure on the traditionalsources of energy. The investments in wind power and solar power aresome of the strategies that have been adopted by governments aroundthe world. The Wind and solar power use have reduced pressure on theuse of fossil fuels, hence lessen the amount of harmful gassesreleased into the atmosphere.


Theplayers in the manufacturing sector are also cautious in controllingthe amount of toxic gasses released from their industrial plants,hence minimizing their effect on the environment (Costanza, 2000).Car- making companies have achieved big innovative efforts to createenergy- efficient vehicles that have minimal pollution. At theindividual levels, family members make use of public transport orbicycles instead of driving own cars which have significantly reducedamount harmful gasses resulting from combustion of fuels. A lot ofrecycling efforts have reduced pressure on the available resources astheir exploitation reduces.

Impacts of the Issue

Theproblem of air pollution, climate change, and the depletion of theozone has a direct effect on me as a person because it has a directimpact on my health and that of my loved ones. Polluted atmosphericconditions lead to inhalation of gasses some of which are harmful tothe body leading to poor health. Sicknesses affect all other aspectsof life such as low productivity. When the body cannot function toits capacity due to poor health, the implications are disastrous asit means failure or reduced ability to meet all the otherrequirements. Reduced finances informed by low productivity would,therefore, affect each of the aspects of my life and that of theentire family. The issue is significant as it implies that I willspend more on the hospital bills for myself and the family. Morespending would constrain the financial stability which would bealready be impacted by low productivity.

Theissue leads to low agricultural productivity, which has an impact onindividuals as it drives small supply leading to high prices of theproducts (Costanza, 2000). High prices of farm products would thenhave a direct effect on finances and hence, interfere with all otheraspects of my life. Furthermore, the agricultural products grownunder polluted environments, cold have long term adverse effects tomy health. The climate change implies that there is desertificationand hence the reduction of arable land for farming. The diminishedagricultural land would have a direct effect on an individual asagriculture is a primary source of the abundant raw materials forindustries. The reduction of raw materials for the industries wouldimply a high cost of production on different commodities and henceinterferes with the entire economic systems (Costanza, 2000). Suchsystems would include the capacity to industries to create employmentopportunities leading to massive layoffs.


Thereduction of the emissions from the industries is a significant steptowards reducing pollutions. Industries should shift from the use ofdiesel fuels to the green forms of energy so that industrialemissions reduce. More Investments on automobiles are crucial so thatenvironmentally friendly vehicles made by minimizing the number ofhydrocarbon emissions and hence reduce air pollution. The planning ofmore trees is also vital to increase the forest cover and lessen theamount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The environmental forestcover is decreasing at an alarming rate, and if the currentgeneration does not do something about, the future generations willjudge us harshly and hence the time to take action is now. The globalcitizens cannot afford to dilly-dally.

Everyoneis in a unique position to play their part in conserving theenvironment through forestation and reforestation in an endeavor toprotect the water catchment areas and therefore preventdesertification. There are several ways in which each one of us canplay a part in conserving the environment (Costanza, 2000). Let everyindividual plant at least five trees a year to increase the forestcover and therefore, stop desertification. The time to take action isnow. No one should wait before taking an action. In whatever you do,you can play your part to change the future direction of theenvironment. By increasing the forest cover, the environment wouldbenefit in several ways. The rate of soil erosion will reduce andhence protect the soil nutrients that are important in the practiceof farming.

Treesprotect the earth`s service from direct sun rays which causeweathering and further reducing the rate of soil erosion (Costanza,2000). The decomposing green matter is a good source of organicmatter that is necessary for crop production, which will increase,which will avail enough food for the humans and animals. The forestsare essential for the protection of the water catchment areas whichprevents the drying of the rivers and hence prevent desertification.Mature forests can provide wood for furniture and other wood productssuch as papers. Forests also play a significant role in theregulation of carbon in the atmosphere, which is necessary for thereduction of the climate change.

Duringthe process of photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon from the air andrelease oxygen, which is pivotal for the survival of animals andplants. Decomposed organic matter accumulates over long periods oftime leading to the formation of layers of fossils that lay thefoundation for the accumulation of oil and other hydrocarbons in theservice of the earth (Costanza, 2000). Trees are just like water andwithout them there would be no life on the surface of the earth.Trees also provide fodder for animals, hence contributing to thegrowth of agriculture. Domestic animals give out organic manure as aresult, and the vicious cycle continues. We cannot afford to ignorethe important place held by trees in the conservation of theenvironment. All the people should join hands and play their rightfulrole to conserve the environment by increasing the forest cover.Every effort made by an individual, groups, organizations andgovernments would go a long way to preserving the environment.

Theactions that we engage currently will contribute substantially toconserving the environment for the future generations (Costanza,2000). To alleviate this challenge, all stakeholders the world overshould participate in research so that states could exploit othersources of energy such as the wind, geothermal and biogas sources sothat pressure shifts away from the existing reserves. There should becooperation between major players among the industrialized nations sothat they could commit a substantial amount of their resources toreduce emissions. There should also be engagement in scientificresearch to adopt improved technologies to curb emissions around theworld.

Urbanizationand solid and hazardous waste

Urbanizationis another economic challenge has impacted on the global economy. Theexodus of people from the countryside into the urban areas hasoverstretched the existing infrastructure as they cope with numbersof individuals that is unplanned. Settlement in the urban areas hasled to a shortage of housing, a phenomenon that has led the growthand the emergence of slums. That is particularly the case in Africa,Latin America, and India. The challenge could be tackled through theproper urban planning of cities around the world so that growth inthe towns is proportional to demographic changes. There should alsobe adequate planning in the establishment of new cities, so thatthere could be a uniform distribution of people to reduce congestionin particular regions.

Theincrease in population and Industrialization are the leading causesof land pollution. Due to industrialization, there is an increase inrequirements for raw materials such as cotton and other agriculturalproducts, hence interfering with the chemical components of thesoils. The net effect is that the chemical and physical properties ofthe soils are interfered with, leading to soil erosion and otherforms of degradation (Costanza, 2000). Due to increase inpopulations, there is a requirement of more food production tosustain the increasing numbers which lead to pressure and henceexhaustion of the soils as a result of continuous cultivation. Theincreased agricultural activities also imply that there is theconstant use of chemicals on the grounds which are harmful to theorganic matter in the ground. Waste dumping is also a primary causeof land pollution leading to the development of landfills, which areconsidered major causes of diseases to humans and animals. Thecomposition of the landfills determines the extent of contaminationthat dumping can cause. For example, some dump sites consist oforganic matter, plastics, metals or e-waste. Some of the wastes arepoisonous and are harmful to the soil. For example, heavy metals fromdumping batteries produce toxic substances that lower the quality ofthe ground. In most of the waste sites, the ability of the soil tosupport crop production is highly compromised due to alterations ofthe chemical components.

Otherhuman activities that pollute land are construction and mining. Dueto increased population and urbanization, there are growing needs forhousing and as a result, there are several byproducts of developmentactivities (Costanza, 2000). Concrete and metal debris, change thecomposition of the soil, hence reducing its potential to supportagriculture and other activities. Deforestation exposes soils to thesun and rain, leading to increased weathering and erosion, therefore,lowering the quality of the soils. Poor agricultural practices arefactors in land pollution. Greater use of chemicals in farming leadsto accumulation of toxic substances into the ground, killing theorganisms necessary to support crop production.

Waterpollution is the contamination of the water bodies mainly by humanactivities such as manufacturing. Studies show that more than 80% ofsea pollution is from the land due to human factors. Chemicals fromfarming and industrial activities somehow find their way into riversand eventually into the sea. Sewage from the toilets and washingwater consists of dirty water with chemicals as a result of washingdetergents that are harmful to aquatic life if directed to rivers,oceans, and lakes. Research has shown that substantial amounts ofwater used for flushing toilets and hence directed into the sewersystems and hence ending up in the water bodies. Sewer systems causemore than half of water pollution. There is also the release ofradioactive materials into the water bodies due to human activities.Radioactive Polluted water is quite dangerous and could cause cancer,among other health complications. The release of used oil products isalso an important source of water pollution. Used motor oil finds wayinto the sewer lines and ultimately to water bodies

Importance of the issue

Theproblem of urbanization and robust and hazardous waste is critical asit leads to straining on the existing resources in the towns whichcompromise the provision of all the services. The unexpected exodusof people into the cities leads to demands for more houses, schools,hospitals and entire social services systems. The road networkavailable is no longer proportional to the traffic on the roadsleading to the development of the traffic jams. Air pollutionincreases from the high number of automobiles on the streets, hencecompounding the issues discussed elsewhere in this article. Theconstrained resources imply that the planning of the cities has to bereadjusted to accommodate the unexpected exchanges, thereforeinterfering with the administrations of the towns.

Thesolid wastes lead to pollution of both the air and the land. The neteffect of the infection is that there is less land for agriculture onthe outskirts of the city. Little farm productions are the primaryconcern in any town of the country around the world. The big,hazardous wastes such as expired medicines, used computer cartridgesare a significant health threat and could be detrimental to the urbandwellers. Poorly handled solid wastes find their way into rivers andlakes and hence pose more health risk to the people and the aquaticlife. It destroys river banks interfering with the flow, whichsignificantly affect the performance of flora and fauna. Theconcentration of people in small areas is also a health risk forepidemic diseases spread very and has an impact on a lot of peoplewithin a short time. There is also a lot of air pollution due to thedust originating from the mining industries. The open fields wheremining takes place are almost inhabitable due to dust and could leadto respiratory diseases among the people.

Thereis a lot of water pollution around the mining areas, which isdetrimental to the health of the people in such areas. In someregions, there is the destruction of water catchment areas leading tothe emergence of deserts. There is also a destruction of entireecosystems and, therefore, interfering with the natural order ofbiodiversity. In some areas, whole vegetations have been wiped out tocreate space for industries. The result is that the environment isdestructed and cannot sustain human activities such as agriculture,lack of vegetations reduces the amount of rainfall in a regionleading to an extension of semi-arid and arid areas. There are dryingof rivers and hence affecting aquatic life.

Thereis increased the release of greenhouse gasses due to the use ofdiesel fuels in the mines. Robust and hazardous wastes interfere withthe commercial activities in the cities. Harmful wastes such asdumping chemicals from the industries lead to the closure ofrestaurants and shops due the health threats they present. The effectof halting operations of such businesses is that is that it leads toloss of livelihoods as many people stop working. Such an eventualityleads to dwindling government revenues hence affecting severaldepartments. Therefore, the issue offers a central challenge topolicy makers to ensure that the robust and hazardous wastes minimizeto avoid various catastrophes.

Impacts ofthe Issue

Asan environmentalist, the issue is crucial as I require playing aprofessional role by making the necessary recommendations to thepolicy makers. The necessary urban research should be employed tofactor the future demographic changes. Effective planning should beadapted to segments of the cities to cater for present and futureinfrastructures. Road networks, sewer lines, housing, schools,hospitals are some of the primary foundations that cannot be left outin the planning. The issue also has an Impact on the Individual asPolluted environments have to affect the health and productivity.Ailments such as malaria and HIV /Aids continue to wreak havoc amongpeople in the world populations. Cancer is also prevalent and poses asignificant threat to most people.

Cancerand aids have no effective cure and efforts to develop vaccines haveproven elusive hence threatening the health of the citizens. It iscertain that unhealthy people are less productive, and therecontribute little to the global economy. In the recent past, theEbola epidemic had threatened freedom of movement after its outbreakin West Africa with few cases reported with the use and Europe. Theissue also affects transportation and mobility from one destinationto the other. The traffic jams on the roads which are caused by morepeople and hence more vehicles on the roads make it difficult tocommute from one destination to the other. The implications arelateness for office and business meetings hence impacting directly onthe individual. Delayed meetings and delay to work are differentbusiness opportunities, therefore directly affecting the personalfinances.


Iwill be part of the solution by making significant efforts to reducesolid and hazardous waste and reduction of the harmful productsreleased into the environments. The people have realized theimportance of minimizing solid waste and are therefore making moreuse of biodegradable products that are beneficial to the soil. Thereis also more consumption of organic foods and hence lowering theamount of fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture production.Consumers are more enlightened on the harmful effects of pollutionand are avoiding products heavily rely on plastic packaging. Thereare also deliberate attempts to prevent use motor oil on the groundand hence protecting the soil.

Recyclingand reuse of technological components have reduced the amount ofharmful materials released into the ground. Ink and toner cartridgesare being re-manufactured which has cut metal, plastic, and oilwaste, hence minimizing landfills (Costanza, 2000). Manufacturing ofrechargeable batteries has also reduced the number of toxic materialsfrom the equipment that would pollute the land. Some companiesrecycle discarded batteries further reducing soil pollutants.Manufacturers have also made significant strides to ensure theymanufacture rewritable CDs and DVDs. Several measures by the humanshave reduced the rate of water pollution. Organic farming has reducedthe number of chemicals, and fertilizers applied on the farms andhence reduced chemicals that find the way into the water bodies.Manufacturing industries have embarked on water recycling processeswhich ensure that less water is released from the factories andeventually into the water resources such as lakes, rivers, and seas.


Costanza,R., Daly, H., Folke, C., Hawken, P., Holling, C. S., McMICHAEL, A.J., &amp Rapport, D. (2000). Managing our environmental portfolio.BioScience,50(2),149-155.