Scientists predict that the current rate of climate change will cause irreversible damage within 12 years. Industry, construction and pollution has ravaged the planet exponentially in the last fifty years, so much so that we are experiencing the most dramatic change since the ice age. There are a number of contributors including: greenhouse gas emissions, meat production and transport. One of the most significant factors, and the focus of this article, is pollution. Did you know that there is enough plastic in the ocean to build a tower twice the size of the empire state building? But that’s not the only problem facing our oceans. Greenhouse gas emissions have caused temperatures to rise, melting the ice caps and destroying marine plant life – both of which have detrimental implications to all life on earth. Below are the three of the most polluted parts of world.

Cities

We may have moved on from our Middle Age ancestors, who would blindly throw their chamber pots out their windows, but we still have a big problem keeping our cities clean. Even when we do, we carelessly displace the waste elsewhere, adopting a sort of out of sight out of mind policy. The most harrowing examples of polluted cities can be seen in China.

Lifen reportedly suffers suffocating levels of air pollution due to poorly-regulated, relentless industrial work. Residents of the city have complained about literally choking on coal dust in the evenings. China’s coal industry provides around two-thirds of the planet’s energy and is responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

Space

Every failed rocket launch causes physical damage to the earth. But did you know that our atmosphere is one of the most polluted areas in the world? There are currently more than 500,000 pieces of space debris orbiting the planet. Although this is tracked by space organisations such as NASA, there are millions more too small to detect.

Space junk is compiled of broken satellites, parts and meteoroids. Most pieces of space junk are no bigger than a tennis ball. However, orbital speeds reach 17,500 mph (several times faster than a bullet) meaning that collisions can be gravely serious for astronauts. Also, each time a collision occurs, the problem worsens. If two pieces of junk hit each other, they can split into hundreds of smaller ones.   

This is becoming somewhat of a concern as satellites are constantly having to be repositioned to avoid debris. If the problem continues, we might find ourselves trapped on earth by a ring of bullet like objects, which isn’t ideal when you consider scientists predict off-world living may not only be possible but essential.  

Oceans

Along with heaps of plastic, the oceans are riddled with sunken ships and discarded fishing nets. One of the biggest issues facing the oceans, however, is the rising temperatures caused by climate change.

Over 80% of breathable air comes from marine plant life, which is being threatened by the increasing heat. The great barrier reef for example has seen a huge decline in coral over the past ten years. In 2018, a study showed that coral was dying at an unprecedented rate, dropping to a total coverage of 14%. The last study in 2016, showed a coverage of 22%.

Pollution in the oceans is often not given the same prevalence as it is above the surface. This is perhaps due to the fact that it is not visible. However, the oceans are currently in crisis and, while we might not live in them, our own way of life is being threatened.

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