Increased Acidity of air, water and soil.
Cause: Emissions of Nitrogen Oxide and Sulphur Dioxide, mainly from fossil fuel combustion.
- Death of aquatic life.
- Damage to plants.
- Damage to Buildings.
Contamination of the air with harmful gases and particles.
Cause: Emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Solvents in paints and adhesives. Pollutants include Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Black Smoke particles, VOC’s and Ozone.
- Global Warming*.
- Ozone depletion*.
- Acid Rain*.
- Eye and respiratory problems in plants, animals and humans.
The rising temperature of the Earths atmosphere.
Cause: Emission of “greenhouse gases” from fossil fuel combustion, agriculture, solvents, refrigerants and propellants. The primary greenhouse gases are Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide and CFC’s.
- Reduced Biodiversity* due to changing climate.
- Rising sea levels and flooding.
- Extreme and unpredictable weather patterns.
* Stated as separate issues due to severity.
Reduction in the ability of soil to support plant life.
Cause: Deforestation, intensive farming, acid rain from fossil fuel combustion, toxic waste leakage such as heavy metals.
- Soil infertility.
- Damage to plants due to contamination and acidification.
- Contamination of the food chain.
- Reduced Biodiversity*.
Destruction of the ozone layer located 20-50km from the Earths surface.
Cause: Reaction with chemicals such as chlorine, bromine and nitric acid, mainly from refrigerants and propellants, but also from fossil fuel combustion.
- Increased UV-B radiation reaching Earths surface, causing;
- Skin Cancers in humans and animals,
- Damage to the immune system.
Loss of variety in the natural world.
Cause: Deforestation, intensive farming, urbanisation, pollution, acidification, over harvesting and poaching of animals.
- Reduced resilience of species and ecosystems to hardship, due to interdependence of species including humans.
- Loss of potential resources such as medicines and technologies.
- Reduced quality of natural world to the human mind.
Consumption and destruction of non-renewable resources.
Cause: Excessive consumption of non-renewable resources.
- Non-sustainability of economies and lifestyles. Not specifically an environmental issue but an extremely important aspect of sustainability.
Scrap material with no useful function.
Cause: Inefficient production processes, poor design for end of life treatment.
- Limited storage capacity in landfill.
- Land use.
- Methane emissions from landfill.
- Leaching of pollutants from landfill into soil and groundwater.
- Emissions from incineration.
- Proliferation of scavenger populations near landfill sites.
Contamination of natural water systems such as rivers, lakes, oceans and groundwater with hazardous substances.
Cause: Waste disposal, acidification, and agriculture. Contaminants include acids, trace metals, solid particles, solvents, nutrients, organic substances and radioactive material.
- Ill health and death of plants, animals and humans.
- Visual damage to lakes, rivers and oceans.
- Reduced Biodiversity*.