ENVIRONMENT – the habitat and activities of mankind, surrounding the natural and created by him material world. The environment includes the natural environment and the artificial (man-made) environment, that is, the totality of elements of the environment created from natural substances by labor and the conscious will of man and having no analogues in virgin nature (buildings, structures, etc.). Public production changes the environment, acting directly or indirectly on all its elements. This impact and its negative consequences especially intensified in the era of modern scientific and technological revolution, when the scale of human activity, covering almost the entire geographic envelope of the Earth, became comparable with the action of global natural processes.
The danger of irreversible changes in the natural environment in certain regions of the Earth became real because of the increased scale of human economic activity. Since the early 80’s. On average, 1 species (or subspecies) of animals disappeared daily, and the plant species – weekly (under the threat of extinction are over 20 thousand species). About 1000 species of birds and mammals (mainly inhabitants of tropical forests, reducible at a rate of tens of hectares per minute) are threatened with extinction.
Annually about 1 billion tons of conventional fuel is burned, hundreds of million tons of nitrogen oxides, sulfur, carbon (some of them are returned as acid rain), soot, ash and dust are emitted into the atmosphere. Soils and water are polluted with industrial and domestic wastewater (hundreds of billion tons per year), petroleum products (several million tons), mineral fertilizers (about one hundred million tons) and pesticides, heavy metals (mercury, lead, etc.), radioactive waste. There was a danger of disturbing the ozone screen of the Earth.
The ability of the biosphere to self-purification is close to the limit. The danger of uncontrolled changes in the environment and, as a result, the threat to the existence of living organisms on the Earth, including humans, required decisive practical measures to protect and protect nature, legal regulation of the use of natural resources. Such measures include the creation of waste-free technologies, treatment plants, the regulation of the use of pesticides, the cessation of the production of pesticides that can accumulate in the body, the reclamation of lands, etc., and the creation of protected areas (reserves, national parks, etc.), centers for the breeding of rare and endangered animals and plants (including for the conservation of the Earth’s gene pool), compilation of world and national Red Books.
Environmental protection measures are stipulated in the land, forest, water and other national legislation, which establishes liability for violation of environmental regulations. In a number of countries, as a result of the implementation of government environmental programs, it has been possible to significantly improve the quality of the environment in certain regions (eg, as a result of a multi-year and costly program it was possible to restore the purity and quality of water in the Great Lakes). At the international level, along with the creation of various international organizations on specific environmental issues, the United Nations Environment Program is operating.
The main pollutants of the environment, their sources.
Carbon dioxide is the burning of fossil fuels.
Carbon monoxide is the work of internal combustion engines.
Carbon is the work of internal combustion engines.
Organic compounds – chemical industry, waste incineration, fuel combustion.
Sulfur gas is the burning of fossil fuels.
The nitrogen derivatives are combustion.
Radioactive substances – nuclear power plants, nuclear explosions.
Mineral compounds – industrial production, the operation of internal combustion engines.
Organic substances are natural and synthetic – the chemical industry, burning fuel, burning waste, agriculture (pesticides).
Conservation of nature is the task of our century, a problem that has become social. To radically improve the situation, you will need targeted and thoughtful actions. A responsible and effective policy towards the environment will be possible only if we accumulate reliable data on the current state of the environment, a sound knowledge of the interaction of important environmental factors, if we develop new methods for reducing and preventing harm to human nature.