Waste and Energy Paper
ENV / 100
October 28, 2013
Waste and Energy Paper
Environmental Science is a way to obtain agricultural knowledge of how things are going on around the world and the effect it has on the environment. In this document you will obtain a brief explanation of nuclear waste, plastic, coal and oil. What are the alternatives of other energy resources, advantages and disadvantages that would contribute to stabilize the environment currently around the the surrounding areas.
Plastic is one of the most used resources that society has; the most common are plastic bags and beverage bottles. Plastic though durable is very slow to degrade. Plastic is sourced from two major categories, thermoset and thermoplastics; thermoset means that the plastic solidifies when it’s heated. Thermoset plastics are most commonly used in cars and construction; soften when heated however they resume their original composition when at room temperature. Some common thermoplastic products include milk jugs, credit cards and carpet fibers. Plastic makes up 13% of solid waste in our water system ; shockingly 8% of plastic is recycled. Plastic in our soil can block the flow of water through the soil as well as hinder the growth production. Plastic covers about 40% of our world’s ocean surfaces. The greatest affect of all is the effect on our animals in the ocean; they are subject to death from being trapped in plastic or more harmfully ingesting plastic. Plastic can also release toxins known as BPA into our water once it is broken apart. Nuclear waste has a great deal of importantance over other types of waste and requires special considerations.. Nuclear waste is radioactive waste that is sourced from the nuclear industry, mining, nuclear reactors and the processing of uranium. Nuclear waste can be very harmful to the environment including soil, water, and polluted air. Nuclear waste facilities are a direct source of contamination for our water and soil; threatening the environment and more importantly humans because once ingested into our systems, radiation can exist for long periods of time depending on the level of radiation, meaning a high level or low level. Coal and oil are a few of the world’s primary sources of energy. They are formed from organic material and are very harmful to the environment. Oil is pumped from underground reservoirs. The impact on water and soil can be very hazardous. Think about the effects of oil spills, animals living in our water are directly harmed because of being trapped in the oil, lack of food and their safety is now compromised. This directly affects us being humans as well. We are unable to ingest such contaminated water, or food sources that result from these waters. The pollution of oil also destroys the structure of soil. It reduces the fertility of the soil as well making it impossible for us to use the soil in our various ways of reproduction.
Biodiversity is extremely important not only to organisms and their ecosystems but also for humans. Pollution is a main factor affecting biodiversity. Plastics have been a huge problem for some time now. Part of the reason is plastic is durable and is not biodegradable. According to Hardesty and Wilcox, some researchers believe plastic enters the food chain through zooplankton. Many animals have been affected by plastic, including marine life such as fish, birds, seals, sharks, and whales, to name a few. More than 200 species have been affected by plastics (Hardesty and Wilcox). The animals do not need to ingest the debris to find trouble, they only need walk or swim through it. When this happens the animal could become entangled in the debris. According to Hardesty and Wilcox, 40,000 seals become tangled in debris and die each year, which accounts for a four to six percent drop in their population. Plastic toxins could also affect the health of humans who eat marine life. A species, like...
References: Butt, N. and Beyer, H. (Fall, 2013). Leave it in the Ground! How fossil fuel extraction affects biodiversity.
Hardesty, B.D. and Wilcox, C. (Summer, 2011). Marine Debris: biodiversity impacts and potential
Little, J.B. (2012). How has Fukushima’s Nuclear Disaster Affected the Environment? Audubon Magazine.
Plastic to Energy. (2010). Retrieved from http://renewableenergyindex.com/other/plastic-to-energy
Richa Kothari, D.P
What is hydrogen energy?
Wright, S. (2013, July 27). Five benefits of solar energy. Retrieved from http://theenergycollective.com/whirlwindsteel/247416/how-solar-power-benefits-society
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