The subject of this report is ecological problems. In my opinion this theme should be important for every person because every day and every minute we meet these global problems. There are so many people using the natural resources of the world and ecology has become an important concern. Interest in ecological problems grow very fast so everybody must know the basic facts. The increase in pollution made society change its attitude towards nature. Our health depends on surroundings we live in so we must do our best that we breathe fresher air, bathe in cleaner water because our health is the most important value in life than such things like money or other financial resources. It is natural because nature resources are becoming decreased; the ozone layer is thinning every minute. Nearly everything on the Earth is badly polluted the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat.
First problem is protective or ozone layer. So what is the ozone layer and why is it important. The ozone layer is a concentration of ozone molecules in the stratosphere. About 90% of the planet’s ozone is in the ozone layer. The layer of the Earth’s atmosphere that surrounds us is called the troposphere. The stratosphere, the next higher layer, extends about 10-50 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. Stratospheric ozone is a naturally-occurring gas that filters the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. A diminished ozone layer allows more radiation to reach the Earth’s surface. For people, overexposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer, cataracts, and weakened immune systems. Increased UV can also lead to reduced crop yield and disruptions in the marine food chain. UV also has other harmful effects. The ozone layer is being damaged by chemicals, which are released into the atmosphere by the daily use of such industrial and household products as refrigerators, air conditioners, cleaning chemicals. That’s why ozone layer can’t give us full protection from unhealthy ultraviolet rays. This increases the risk of skin cancer and weakens the immune system. Not everybody understand how is dangerous to take a sun touch in a summer time.
Sources that harm the Protective Ozone Layer
Second ecological problem is acid rains. Acid rain is a new phenomenon occurring since the past few decades. Rain reacts with the oxides of sulphur and nitrogen to form acids. Undoubtedly, these oxides come from the industrial as well as automobile emissions. Acid rain is thus created by industrial activities that pollute the air.
The main sources are electric power plants that use the energy produced by burning coal to generate electricity. Most coal contains small amounts of sulphur, which is converted to sulphur dioxide when the coal is burned. This is a global problem, which after devastating a large part of the northern hemisphere is now intruding into the industrial regions of the South. This versatile destroyer eats away the forests, acidifies fresh water sources, afflicts human beings, and, causes irreversible damage to monuments and buildings which stand as testimony of time and symbols of our culture and civilization of the yester years.
The rainwater turns acidic due to the gases emitted by industries and automobile exhausts. These gases react under the influence of oxidants, catalysts and sun’s radiation before dissolving into water droplets and ice crystals to form dilute acid solutions. These acid solutions fall to the earth as rain, snow, hail, dew and fog. A peculiarity of acid rain is that while the causative agents are emitted at one place, the acid rain falls at another. Acid rains killing trees (especially firs), destroying ancient builds and polluting rivers. Factories must try to decrease quantity of outgoing smokes.
Third problem is waste. Our forests, water are polluted with glass, metal cans, paper, oil and other sort of waste. Every day we use these things, which are one-day old, not natural and synthetic. We must bring ourselves to by just natural and lasting things because they are steady and of good quality. Otherwise we will have just a lot of rubbish if we will buy synthetic things. Do you know how much unhealthy materials are used to make for example a plastic toy. That plastic pellicle decomposes absolutely after one hundred years.
The Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted seas in the world. A reason being the 80 million people living in the area around the Baltic Sea, whose pollution is transported by rivers to the sea. At the same time pollutants transported by air from Scandinavia, England, the Continent of Europe are deposited in the Baltic Sea. Every year the Baltic Sea receives hundreds of thousands of poisonous heavy metals and hundreds of tons of other poisonous substances from industries, municipalities, agriculture and traffic. That’s why In Helsinki, February 1990 non-governmental organizations from the countries around the Baltic Sea united and established Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB) in order to cooperate in issues concerning the Baltic Sea. CCB is a politically independent, non-profit making association.
Next problem is global warming. The increase in world temperatures due to the greenhouse effect. Energy from the sun drives the earth’s weather and climate, and heats the earth’s surface; in turn, the earth radiates energy back into space. Atmospheric greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases) trap some of the outgoing energy, retaining heat somewhat like the glass panels of a greenhouse.
Without this natural “greenhouse effect,” temperatures would be much lower than they are now, and life as known today would not be possible. Instead, thanks to greenhouse gases, the earth’s average temperature is a more hospitable 60°F. However, problems may arise when the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases increases.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased nearly 30%, methane concentrations have more than doubled, and nitrous oxide concentrations have risen by about 15%. These increases have enhanced the heat-trapping capability of the earth’s atmosphere. Sulfate aerosols, a common air pollutant, cool the atmosphere by reflecting light back into space; however, sulfates are short-lived in the atmosphere and vary regionally.
Why are greenhouse gas concentrations increasing? Scientists generally believe that the combustion of fossil fuels and other human activities are the primary reason for the increased concentration of carbon dioxide. Plant respiration and the decomposition of organic matter release more than 10 times the CO2 released by human activities; but these releases have generally been in balance during the centuries leading up to the industrial revolution with carbon dioxide absorbed by terrestrial vegetation and the oceans.
What has changed in the last few hundred years is the additional release of carbon dioxide by human activities. Fossil fuels burned to run cars and trucks, heat homes and businesses, and power factories are responsible for about 98% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, 24% of methane emissions, and 18% of nitrous oxide emissions. Increased agriculture, deforestation, landfills, industrial production, and mining also contribute a significant share of emissions. In 1997, the United States emitted about one-fifth of total global greenhouse gases.
Estimating future emissions is difficult, because it depends on demographic, economic, technological, policy, and institutional developments. Several emissions scenarios have been developed based on differing projections of these underlying factors. For example, by 2100, in the absence of emissions control policies, carbon dioxide concentrations are projected to be 30-150% higher than today’s levels. Global warming is causing meeting of the polar ice caps, which can result increase in coastal flooding extinction. As we know every single year we lose several species of fauna and flora. Various dangerous chemicals destroy our country’s wildlife, because people of our country ignore this problem. Pollution level of our country is high that’s why flora and fauna can’t survive as it was twenty years ago.
And the last basic problem. Tropical rainforests carry the highest biodiversity with more than 90% of all plant and animal species of the world, although they cover only 7 % of the land surface. Tropical rainforests are a precious natural resource, are home for millions of indigenous people and furthermore are of great importance for regional and global climate. Now days The Tropical rain forests in Amazonia, South East Asia and Africa are being destroyed at an alarming rate too. Fauna of these forests is in critical situation. Rain forests are called lungs of earth because they absorb all toxic smokes but at the time they recycle oxygen and nitrogen. That’s why we must do our best for stopping to fell rain forests.
Now I would like to tell you about my activity when I have been at school. First of all I belonged to the nature club called “Daujotukai”. Every year we took a part in various ecological projects that was organized by organizations like Coalition Clean Baltic, Ecological Club “Žvejonė”, Rivers Researching, Norges Naturvernforbund and The Young Friends of Forests. Our club usually represented all Lithuania country because we live near the Baltic Sea and we were very active. Participation in the projects was necessary because just loyal members were invited to take a part in projects next year. Five years I was responsible for air pollution researching. I used the method of lichen because it is very simple but very accuracy. Ecological club “Žvejonė” from Klaipeda every year organized very interesting camps for children who were interested in ecological problems. Everybody liked it very much because instructors from the universities delivered lectures. The big interest received the project ETMA (in English The action of energy saving at schools). Our school pupils were instructed how to save electric energy and water in their home. These papers helped to do this work. Our club always took a part in ecological seminars because then we get a new academic literature, enter to the new projects and find new friends.
In conclusion I would like to say that everything what I have been talking these …… minutes is very important for every person who think about his future. We must try to understand that not everything in the world is for one day. When we solve ecological problems we help us to live in cleaner earth.