7 Biggest Environmental Problems

Posted on 15 Mar 2021

The environment plays a crucial role in our daily life’s here on Earth. As we know all living things depend on the planet’s natural resources to survive.  If we do not stop misusing these resources, they will be destroyed or exhausted in just a matter of years. Various environmental issues have soared to new heights, affecting economies and policies worldwide.


  1. Poor Governance


Nicholas Stern, an economist stated that the climate crisis is a result of several market failures. For years Economists and Environmentalists have insisted policymakers increase the price of actions that produce greenhouse gases. To prevent market failure, carbon taxes can be increased, which will encourage innovations in low-carbon technologies.


To cut emissions rapidly and efficiently enough, the government should not only increase funding for green innovation but also implement a range of other policies to address all market failures. Green innovation will help reduce the cost of low-carbon energy sources.


  1. Food Waste


A third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost each year. This is equivalent to feed 3 billion people. Large amounts of food waste and loss account for 4.4 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.


For aesthetic reasons, an excessive amount of food is wasted at a retail level. In the US, more than 50% of all produced food is discarded, because it is considered too unpleasant to sell to consumers. This leads to food insecurity.


  1. Biodiversity Loss


In the last 50 years, the world has experienced rapid growth in the human population, consumption, global trade, and urbanisation. This leads to the unsustainable use of resources.


Recent analysis has shown that the extinction of wildlife on Earth is rapidly accelerating. More than 500 species of land animals are on the verge of extinction and are likely to be lost within the next 20 years. Scientists claim that due to humans destructive nature, the biodiversity loss rate is higher than it would have been without any human interaction.


  1. Plastic Pollution


In 1950, more than 2 million tons of plastic were produced annually. Plastic production increased to 419 million tons per year by 2015.


Astonishingly, National Geographic found that a shocking amount of 91% of all plastic that has ever been produced is not recycled. This is not only one of the biggest environmental problems, but another massive market failure.


It is determined that roughly 11 million tons of plastic make its way into the oceans each year. This harms the wildlife habitats and the animals that live in them. Research found that if no action is taken, it will grow to 29 million metric tons per year by 2040.


  1. Deforestation


Deforestation refers to the decrease in forest areas across the world that are lost for other uses such as agricultural croplands, urbanization, or mining activities.


By the year 2030, the planet might have only 10% of its forests left. If deforestation does not stop, everything could disappear in less than 100 years. Agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation and should be controlled.


  1. Air Pollution


Research done by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that an estimated 4.2 to 7 million people die from air pollution worldwide every year. Research indicated that nine out of 10 people breathe air that contains high levels of pollutants. During 2017 in Africa, 258 000 people died as a result of outdoor air pollution, compared to the 164 000 in 1990, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The main contributors are industrial sources, motor vehicles, as well as emissions from burning biomass, and deficient air quality due to dust storms.


  1. Agriculture


Studies presented that the global food system is responsible for up to one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, of which 30% comes from livestock and fisheries. Greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide used for fertilisers are released by crop production.


Scientists and environmentalists have constantly advised that we need to rethink our current food system. Switching to a more plant-based diet would significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the conventional agriculture industry.


ENVASS is more than able to conduct site visits to ensure compliance with the latest laws and regulations. Feel free to contact us at 012 460 9768 or email us at info@envass.co.za for quotes on any environmental related services.