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I found a fascinating infographic about pollution, shown below my text. Being a librarian, I am a bit dismayed that it relies on a couple of Wikipedia articles as sources. It also appears that one of its graphs contradicts one of the others, but quibbles aside, the infographic furnishes a helpful overview of pollution over the entire world.
Although this blog does not make a very big deal of climate change, carbon dioxide is among the “greenhouse gasses” that drive it. The top chart shows both the top 10 countries with the highest emissions and the top 10 with the highest emissions per capita. The United States is the only country to appear on both lists. It appears second to China of the first named. Immediately below, however, the graph of historical and projected carbon dioxide emissions makes it look like China will not pass the US until about 2015.
Water pollution in this country has many costs. One of the graphs claims that 46% of America’s lakes are unsafe for fishing and swimming and do not support aquatic life. I can remember when a large area in the middle of Lake Erie was declared dead–having no fish or other living things in it. Pundits wondered if the all of the great lakes were doomed to die of pollution. After some heroic and expensive efforts at solving the problems, Lake Erie came back. I doubt if any of the lakes or rivers in the world are polluted beyond hope of redemption, but wouldn’t it be nice–and ultimately cheaper–not to foul them in the first place?
I have frequently pointed out that landfills are a finite and dwindling resource. I have seen in several other places that 80% of what goes into them could have been recycled. If individuals and businesses won’t separate out recyclables, isn’t there some way for landfill operators to do it? It seems to me I have read about some municipalities that are attempting to do just that. It seems to me the costs would be largely offset by selling the recovered materials. Meanwhile, landfills were designed to do away with the pollution caused by earlier dumps. They just moved it, concentrated it, and relocated the problems it causes.
I have also mentioned all the plastic floating out in the Pacific. By the time it gets there, it has been broken down to the size of plankton. Fish eat it, but of course, it doesn’t nourish them. Considering the immensity of the problem, it comes as a surprise that all forms of litter contribute only 5% of the pollutants that get into the oceans. To some extent, they are capable of cleansing themselves. We are in big trouble if we can’t stop polluting them beyond that capacity.
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Source: Reusable Bags