The poisoning of the world’s land, air, and water is the fastest-spreading disease of civilisation. It probably produces fewer headlines than wars, earthquakes and floods, but it is potentially one of history’s greatest dangers to human life on earth. If present trends continue for the next several decades, our planet will become uninhabitable.
Overpopulation, pollution and energy consumption have created such planet-wide problems as massive deforestation, ozone depletion, acid rains and the global warming that is believed to be caused by the greenhouse effect.
The seas are in danger. They are filled with poison: industrial and nuclear waste, chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The Mediterranean is already nearly dead; the North Sea is following. The Aral Sea is on the brink of extinction. If nothing is done about it, one day nothing will be able to live in the seas.
Every ten minutes one kind of enimal, plant or insect dies out for ever. If nothing is done about it, one million species that are alive today will have become extinct twenty years from now.
Air pollution is a very serious problem. In Cairo just breathing the air is life threatening – equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The same holds true for Mexico City and 600 cities of the former Soviet Union.
Industrial enterprises emit tons of harmful substunces. These emissions have disastrous consequences for our planet. They are the main reason for the greenhouse effect and acid rains. An even greater environmental threat are nuclear power stations. We all know how tragic the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster are.
People are beginning to realise that environmental problems are not somebody else’s. They join and support various international organosation and green parties. If governments wake up to what is happening – perhaps we’ll be able to avoid the disaster that threatens the natural world and all of us with it.