10 everyday things people use to bring global environmental disaster closerBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/10-everyday-things-people-use-to-bring-global-environmental-disaster-closer.html
Environmental scientists are ringing the bells - planet Earth is under threat. Due to human influence, the rate of extinction of various species of flora and fauna is 1000 times higher than normal. As a result, about 20 thousand species are now under threat of extinction. And the worst thing is that each of us is bringing disaster closer without knowing it.
1. Chinese chopsticks are a threat to forests
When lovers of Chinese or Japanese cuisine pick up another pair of wooden chopsticks, they are unlikely to think about the environment. But these sticks are having a devastating impact on China's forests.
China produces 80 billion disposable chopsticks every year, with the vast majority used and discarded within China. They produce 20 million trees, usually twenty-year-old trees. As a result, China now suffers from a serious deforestation problem. The country currently ranks 139th in the world in terms of forest cover per capita.
2. Contraceptives and the oceans
Those who use birth control pills should know that these pills also lead to the prevention of pregnancy in marine animals. In 2014, researchers from the University of New Brunswick published the results of a study that spanned several decades. They studied the composition of treated wastewater and its impact on freshwater ecosystems.
Scientists have discovered that even small amounts of estrogen in the environment can wipe out entire species. In a 2001 experiment, tiny amounts of estrogen, one of the active ingredients in birth control pills and hormone therapy drugs, were added to a freshwater lake at a research center in Ontario. As a result, the fish stopped reproducing.
Hormones that are not absorbed by the body end up in the sewer system. In areas where sewage water is discharged into lakes and rivers, on average 85% of fish are female, a stark contrast to the usual 55%.
3. Prozac - death for birds
A huge number of people take the antidepressant Prozac. However, few people know that by doing so they have a negative impact on the environment. The amount of antidepressants (particularly Prozac) found in the environment could be potentially fatal to birds, according to a study from the University of York.
Scientists measured the amount of Prozac in earthworms that obtain the drug from wastewater. The dose was small, only 3 to 5 percent of the average human dose. They then fed Prozac-laced worms to a control group of 24 starlings and monitored their behavior over the next six months.
The birds showed the same side effect as some people: they lost interest in food and stopped eating. The birds also lost interest in the opposite sex.
4. Drinking straws are a disaster for the ocean.
It turns out that ordinary straws, which are inserted into glasses of drinks in restaurants and cafes, are dangerous for the ecology of the planet. About 500 million of these items are used every day in the United States alone.
Over the past 25 years, approximately six million drinking straws have been collected from beaches across the country. In the world's oceans, straws are one of the 10 most common types of garbage. Straws are made from polypropylene, a plastic that does not disintegrate or dissolve. Millions of straws make up a huge portion of the 12 to 24 tons of plastic that fish and other marine animals ingest each year. About one million seabirds die every year from eating plastic.
5. Delicacy as a stimulus for dangerous strains
An original French dish, frogs have become such a popular food all over the world that a huge industry has already emerged for the cultivation of these amphibians. Frogs are usually exported from South America, where they are raised on special farms.
Japan and the United States are the two largest importers of frogs (the United States alone imports more than 5 million frogs every year). Many of the frogs shipped from South America are contaminated with chytrid fungi. This fungus is absolutely harmless to humans, but it is constantly mutating, and its new strains can already be deadly.
6. Antibacterial soap is a threat to the environment
For years now, there have been discussions about how effective antibacterial soap is and how it affects the environment. Johns Hopkins University conducted a study to see what happens to all the antibacterial chemicals in antibacterial soaps once they go down the drain. The most commonly used chemicals in antibacterial soap are triclocarban and triclosan.
Although these substances are removed from wastewater during the treatment process, they then end up in the ground and ultimately in surface waters. The breakdown of triclocarban releases carcinogens, and the breakdown of triclosan produces chloroform. These chemicals end up in plants, animals, and the human body.
7. Cat litter as a global danger
People who have a cat at home probably buy cat litter. Most of these toilets use bentonite clay as an absorbent. Its extraction is carried out only by open-pit mining, which has a catastrophic impact on the environment.
8. Fish farms - causes of environmental disasters
Farmed fish are causing real environmental disasters. Cultivation of shrimp in artificial conditions has led to large-scale soil degradation in coastal areas, destruction of natural reservoirs and salinization of fresh drinking water.
In salmon farms, fish are fed as if they were for slaughter, which always leads to the appearance of a huge amount of fish droppings in the water. Fish farms also use a variety of chemicals that harm the ecosystem as a whole.
9. Soy products have always been promoted as a healthier and more environmentally friendly alternative to dairy products. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that the environmental impact of soybean production is quite devastating.
Soy isn't just consumed by humans; about 80 percent of soy produced worldwide goes into livestock feed. There is a huge demand for soybeans in the world, so every year more and more space is needed to grow the beans. Since 2008, deforestation in Brazil has reached such a level that real deforestation has begun in the country. Greenpeace said about 1.2 million hectares of soybeans were planted in Brazil on former rainforest land in 2005 alone.
10. Food waste as a global problem
Most people in childhood were told by their parents that lunch or dinner should be eaten to the end. However, they had no idea how big a problem it really was. Every year, global food waste increases by approximately 1.3 billion tons.
Thus, $750 billion a year is sent to landfills, while also causing enormous harm to the environment. Food production produces 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases every year and wastes 3 times more water than a river like the Volga produces in a year.
About 28 percent of all agricultural land is actually used to generate future food waste. At the same time, about 870 million people are hungry.