Man and the environment
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Civilization has brought people many advantages but they product also pollute and damage the environment in which we live. Pollution affects air, water, land, forests, people, animals and plants.
Air pollution is the biggest problem in large cities and in areas with concentrated industrial production. Emissions range (rozsah) from smoke, dust, and smells to car and lorry exhausts. Smoke contains sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide which are produced by coal-fired power stations and industrial plants (závody) burning fossil fuels.
Trees are vitally important for our life because they are the lungs of our planet. They absorb carbon dioxide from the air and give out oxygen in return. In some parts of the world, such as Asia and the South America, trees are not threatened (ohrožovány) by pollution, but by people. The great rain forests are being destroyed for firewood and building materials. Since the Amazon rain forest covers an area as large as the whole of Europe and contains one third of the world’s trees, scientists believe that it provides 50 per cent of the world’s annual production of oxygen. If we lose tropical forests, it will become more difficult, perhaps even impossible, to breathe. with more carbon dioxide in the air, the temperature will rise, the icecaps at the North and South Poles will melt, and the sea level will rise which will result in the flooding of many coastal cities.
Several gases have been identified as contributing (přispívající) to greenhouse effect, which can also cause climate change. Without this „greenhouse effect“ there could be no life on earth because the earth is warmed up naturally by the atmosphere which traps (pohlcuje) solar radiation.
How can the problems of air pollution be solved? First of all, people should try to use alternative sources of energy, such as solar, water, wind, geothermal and perhaps tidal (přílivová) energies, or at least to burn smokeless fuels.
Water pollution results from harmful industrial processed and households, from pesticides and other chemicals used in agriculture, from waste disposal sites (skládka) and from ships. Concentrations of heavy metals, such as mercury, cadmium, lead or copper are increasing. Nitrate can pollute inland waters by leaching (pronikání) from farmland. Much of this comes from organic nitrogen in the soil but some also from organic and inorganic fertilizer use.
If we want to have cleaner waterways, some measures must be taken. First, discharges to water from industrial processes should be controlled and the number of sewage treatment plants should be increased. We should also find technologies for saving water and reduce the amount of chemicals. New technologies should develop environmentally friendly pesticides.
Noise poses is a considerable problem for many people. I results in stress, lack of concentration, defective hearing or insomnia.