Apr 23, 2010

7 Secret Ecological Hazards

Seven secret polluters whose negative impact on the planet is worse than it may seem.

Yahoo News:
Mobile Phones, when a cell phone gets thrown out, toxic chemicals in its electronics, plastics and batteries can pollute soil and ground water if not properly handled, said Steven Cohen, an environmental specialist at Columbia University.


The manufacturing process for concrete is carbon intensive and contributes significantly to the greenhouse effect, said Stuart Gaffin, an environmental scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute For Space Studies. Even worse, the concrete infrastructure of cities prevents rain water from entering into the soil...This excess water overwhelms metropolitan processing systems, which can then fill local waterways with human fecal bacteria and other pollutants.

...Growing crops, such as corn and switchgrass, in order to produce biofuels displaces farms from arable land and drives farmers to cut down forests that would otherwise absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to two 2008 studies in the journal Science. Additionally, producing the fertilizers needed for biofuel farming releases the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. This negates any carbon emissions that are saved by using these fuels, said Amy Townsend-Small, a researcher in at the University of California, Irvine.

Thanks to the expansion of portable electronics, battery use has proliferated exponentially. They contain a range of harmful chemicals, and when improperly disposed of, those toxic chemicals leach into ground water, poisoning humans and wildlife, said Cohen.

Public Parks
...Manicured public lawns require water, energy and fertilizers to maintain. Similarly, artificial turf parks made from old tires can leak heavy metals into the ground, Gaffin said.

The Internet
... nobody argues that the Internet consumes massive amounts of energy. The global information technology industry generates about as much carbon dioxide all airlines combined, some 2 percent of global CO2 emissions.
Read all at Yahoo including 101 Amazing Earth Facts