The protection of nature should be among the major priorities of any country. We should remember that our lives directly depend on the environment where we live. Unfortunately, since the beginning of the 21st century, a lot of environmental issues have appeared in any corner of the Earth including even European countries and the USA.
What is more, there are tons of sustainability issues in the US because of the giant land area and population. Despite the successful attempts of the country’s government to prevent ecological disasters, there are still a lot of problems that require solutions.
In this article, you’ll read about the major environmental issues in the US. They affect almost every region of the country. Also, you’ll take a closer look at the possible ways to overcome some of the listed problems.
Current Environmental Issues in the US
Take into consideration that it’s impossible to describe all environmental problems in the US. That’s why the list provided below includes only the most considerable issues.
1. Soil Contamination
Today, the majority of the American states face such serious environmental problem as the soil pollution. Harmful industrial development and agricultural activity are the major contributors to the worsening of this issue. The chemicals sprayed to get rid of the pests and parasitic plants silt through the ground and increase the level of toxic emissions.
Soil contamination put at threat the lives of millions of people. In addition, the toxic elements cause a decrease in soil fertility, which results in limited harvest output.
2. Air Pollution
This is certainly one of the biggest pollution problems in the US. Although the air quality in the US is better in comparison to other countries, it still leaves much to be desired. Air pollution may cause such dangerous illnesses as asthma, cancer, high blood pressure, and eye problems. Luckily, the mortality rate due to air contamination has been decreasing in the United States during recent years.
Currently, California is considered to be the most air-polluted state in the US. Three Californian cities have already tied for first place at the top of the USA regions with the worst air quality. At the same time, it stands to mention that the state’s government constantly makes arrangements to resolve this problem.
Plus, the regions with bad air quality include both eastern and western coasts, Chicago, Detroit, and the areas near the Gulf of Mexico. As a rule, the contamination of air in these places is caused by heating wastes, vehicle emissions, and oil plants.
The World Population Balance informs that every year the US population grows by almost two million people. It causes an increase in the demand for the urbanization process that involves the destruction of forests.
Since 1600, nearly 75% of American virgin forests have been cut off because of deforestation. Land conventions have become a serious problem, especially in such states like South Carolina and Alabama. The deforestation process damaged up to 40% of their lands resulting in increased pollution and the loss of biodiversity.
4. Climate Change
Right now, this issue is among the United States’ major environmental concerns because it affects not only the USA but also the whole world. This is a serious challenge for the whole planet because it leads to more dangerous and frequent floods, hurricanes, and temperature rise.
At the same time, the US is still among the main contributors to climate change. Every year the country generates billions of metric tons of greenhouse gases. The great news is the US ambitions to stop the usage of coal-fired power plants and switch to alternative sources of energy. What is more, the country has already decided to reduce carbon emissions by 17% in 2020.
5. Water Pollution
Water is essential for animals, humans, and plants. Unluckily, a lot of regions in the US suffer from bad water quality. Every day tons of garbage, pesticides and other chemicals get into the rivers and lakes. Almost any state of the country faces with this problem. The great examples are the Washington waters poisoned by mercury, and plumbum in Michigan freshwater.
Plus, the oil spills in California and the Gulf of Mexico constantly destroy marine ecosystems. The toxins and wastes that get in the oceans lead to the acidification of the water that affects all coastal regions of the country. Besides, it results in the loss of marine habitat. Fortunately, environmental agencies incorporate serious efforts to protect the coastal lines of the US.
A lot of industries won’t exist without mining. This is the main source of raw resources necessary for the successful development of human civilization. At the same time, it affects the United States of America’s environment and causes a lot of social problems.
The mining process generates such dangerous contaminants as mercury and cyanide that poison water and soil in the nearest areas. In addition, mines affect the health of the people living nearby causing the shortness with breath and other respiratory illnesses.
7. Biodiversity Loss
The national environmental issues described above result in the extreme reduction of the biodiversity in North America. This is a first-priority problem for such states as Florida, North Carolina, and Louisiana. These regions include a wide range of unique animals and plants that have already faced with the threat of extinction.
Invasive species also affect the biodiversity in the US and constantly cause damage to ecosystems of the states. Nearly 50,000 plants and animals have invaded different areas of the country. In case its government won’t take an action, such unique species as Florida panther and San Joaquin kit fox may disappear in the future.
No doubt, the eco-conscious policy of the US government brings hope that the country will achieve its environmental goals and overcome the described issues. What is more, its developments in the alternative energy and recycling industries can help the whole world to stop global environmental issues.
At the same time, we should bear in mind that the solution to these ecological problems will take a lot of time to be crowned with success. And if you want to accelerate this process and reduce the US environmental impacts, start making eco-conscious choices from now on.