The Problems of Ecology
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Since ancient times Nature has served Man, being the source of his life. For thousands of years people lived in harmony with environment and it seemed to them that natural riches were unlimited. But with the development of civilization man’s interference in nature began to increase. Large cities with thousands of smoky industrial enterprises appear all over the world today. The by-products of their activity pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we grow grain and vegetables on. Every year world industry pollutes the atmosphere with about 1000 million tons of dust and other harmful substances. Many cities suffer from smog. Cars and factories pollute the air we use. Their fume also destroys the ozone layer which protects the Earth from the dangerous light of the Sun. People who live in big cities are also badly affected by the increasing noise level which is as bad for human health as lack of fresh air and clean water. Vast forests are cut and burn in fire. Their disappearance upsets the oxygen balance, changes the climate and ecosystem in the world. As a result some rare species of animals, birds, fish and plants disappear forever.
Water pollution is caused by dumping wastes into lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Harmful wastes may also soak into the soil, or drain or run off from fields that have been sprayed with pesticides. Pesticides are often used to kill insects and weeds in cities or on farms. Polluted water can spread many diseases. In my opinion the most urgent problem is global warming. World temperatures are currently rising every year. It is caused by the build-up of gases and water vapour in the atmosphere. These gases form a layer that reflects the heat back to Earth, rather than allowing it to escape into the outer atmosphere. As the planet warms up, the water in the oceans will take up more space and water locked up in glaciers and the polar ice caps will start to melt. This could cause sea levels to rise and many habitats will disappear under water. Ecological problems have no borders. European states solve these problems together. As many as 159 countries – members of the UNO – have set up environmental protection agencies.
Numerous conferences have been held by these agencies to discuss problems facing ecologically poor regions including the Aral Sea, the South Urals, Kuzbass, Donbass, Semipalatinsk and Chernobyl. An international environmental research centre has been set up on Lake Baikal. The activity of many public organizations is directed to protect environment: f.e. “Green Peace”, “World Wild Life Fund” in England, “Friend of the Earth”, “Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union” in Germany and“Nature and Youth” in Russia. What can be done to protect nature? I believe that environment disasters can be avoided if people broaden ecological education and every person understands that the beauty of nature is extremely fragile [‘fræʤaɪl] and people must obey the unwritten laws of nature. We must not forget that the Earth is the only planet in the solar system where there is life.