Seven General Questions that Deal in Various Subjects of the Environment
Bangladesh experiences a tropical climate and the winter season is mild in nature. The rainfall season is experienced during the monsoon while summer lasts for four months. Most of Bangladesh’s land is low lying such that an increase in the sea level by a single meter would flood the whole country. Its location near the sea has led to disasters like cyclones, floods, immense erosion and at times famines. With the advent of global warming, the country stands various consequences from the climatic changes. Rise in sea levels are a major consequence of global warming. For cyclones to be formed, the water has to have a temperature of at least twenty-six degrees. The higher the water temperature, the more frequent a cyclone occurs. It is also believed that water temperature has a direct relationship with the cyclone’s force.
Storm surges are caused by the amount of wind pressure acting on water. Cyclones are driven by fast traveling winds, which in turn lead to storm surges. The higher the temperature, the stronger a cyclone and the more intense a storm surge becomes. An increase in these natural disasters leads to an increase in soil erosion affecting farmers considerably. The economic and social components are also affected due to the destruction of buildings as well as deaths. Bangladesh harbors the Sundarban forest that is inhabited by tigers that have hunted humans, dogs and domestic animals for food thus posing a problem. The solution lies in the fencing of the area to keep the tigers away from human settlements (Bangladesh, Comprehensive Disaster Management Program (Bangladesh), & Ahmed, 2006).
The author argues the point of decreasing returns to scale with regard to income and the environment. With the initial amount of income, an individual has only room for the purchase of bare necessities but with the increase of income, other factors like recreation set in since they can be afforded. Again, to most individuals more revenue means the ability to have pay rises and this means more production processes and industrialization for the projected income and revenue increase to be realized. However, this income increase leads to reduced happiness. There is much pollution in the air and water bodies resulting to health problems and therefore medical bills. Global warming due to the increase of green house gases in the atmosphere makes it hard for people in very hot countries to work due to the heat flashes. There is an increased level of natural disasters like cyclones due to the temperature increase leading to economic and social ailments (McKibben, et al, 2007).
Meat production between 1961 and 2006 has increased in four fold. This is attributed to technological advancements. Rearing broilers need only forty-five days by feeding them with the higher efficiency feed. Pigs and cattle high efficiency food has been developed. For fishing activities, boats are fitted with sonar machinery, depth sensors and satellite routing to enhance the fishing process. Aircraft like helicopter and special planes known as the spotter planes are used to identify fishing grounds. These increase the fishing areas and intensity enlarging the quantities of fish caught. However, these low cost industrially farmed meats are costly with regard to human health. They also pose considerable danger to the environment by being a danger to the earth, water and hereditary diversity. For example, Mexico uses synthetic fertilizers to rear corn used to feed cattle. When these chemicals find their way into the ocean after rainfall, they become toxic to the fish. They enhance the growth of algae that reduces oxygen in water and pose a risk to sea life. Government subsidies in meat and fish production lead to an increase in both trades since the cost of production is greatly reduced. A reduction in subsidies has the opposite effect (Gardner, et al, 2008).
The first environmental challenge that China has is air pollution. Seventy percent of the air is polluted by industrial emissions, vehicle exhaust fumes and the burning of coal. Visibility is usually obstructed by heavy smog and the chemicals contained in the air affect the lungs and eyes of the inhabitants. Acidic rain from industrial pollution harms vegetation and land. In addition to this, raw industrial, human and animal wastes run-off in water bodies leading to water pollution. When this water is ingested or used for irrigation, it leads to health and land contamination. Fertilizers, herbicides and pesticide used in farms are also sources of water contamination. Massive deforestation for industrial projects has led to ecological imbalances and loss of farming areas. This has led to the endangerment of certain plant and animal species (Asia – China’s environment – Dirty water, filthy air, 2008). No justification stands in compromising environmental quality for the sake of economic growth.
One recommendation would be infuse strict land use policies where the farmers can use organic manure as opposed to inorganic. Government subsidies should be offered to ease the process of fertilizer change. All projects should be analyzed using the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before any approval. Industrial tariffs for emission should be raised considerably so that industries can reduce emissions. All industrial wastage should be treated before it can be let into water sources. The government should ensure that more septic tanks are built for the purpose of human waste treatment. Individuals caught violating such policies should be heavily fined or jailed. Unroadworthy vehicles should be phased out and alternative energy sources like solar and gas used. Since industries constitute the major pollution factors, they would be the first priority.
The Islands of Polynesia and Hawaii have faced a huge loss of biodiversity in the past. Five thousand, three hundred and thirty plant species are found in the islands with fifty-eight percent being endemic in nature. Human activities have introduced other plant species in the islands like in Hawaii that has led to the considerable decrease of the native species. Currently, the native species are outnumbered by the introduced ones. Two hundred and ninety bird species inhabit the islands with at least one hundred and sixty being endemic. It is believed that at least twenty-five endemic bird types have vanished due to excessive hunting and introduction of foreign species. The honeycreeper species living in Hawaii have thirteen species currently being extinct, eight are critically endangered, six are endangered and four are vulnerable.
Bats’ species are fifteen with eleven being endemic; only two are extinct. Reptiles consist of over sixty species with thirty being endemic. The amphibians are fewest with only three species left and two of them are endemic. Fish constitute of about one hundred species and only twenty are endemic. Hawaii has seven hundred and sixty three snail species, seven hundred and forty eight being endemic. Human activities are also accountable for the mass extinctions in North America. Currently, human activities like deforestation, over fishing and collection of species as a sport or trophy are leading to more species loss (Boyer, 2008).
Economics is an academic discipline that deals with the distribution of limited resources to meet unlimited needs. Opportunity cost refers to the foregone cost. For example, if an individual chooses to invest money in real estate instead of saving the money in the bank, the opportunity cost would be equivalent to the interest earned. Environmental resources are scarce in nature and should therefore be used appropriately for preservation purposes. Note that, most of the environmental resources are non-renewable; once a fish species is extinct it can never exist again. Therefore, the opportunity cost of biodiversity is very high, this means that the cost associated with the extinction is very high than that which would be used in preservation. It would therefore be prudent and cheaper to preserve nature than to try to revive it once it is phased out (Meganck & Saunier, 2009).
Industrialization enhances GDP level in a country yet the environment suffers more. Air pollution affects individuals who are needed to work in the industries. The opportunity cost of sick employees is high as it means that their position shave to be filled in by other members or the existent workers will be overworked leading to labor and production inefficiencies. With the prerequisite that workers have to be covered by health insurance companies, health conditions infuse an extra cost. It would therefore be better for air preservation with underway chimneys where the fumes can be treated before they are released in the environment. This also stands for industrial waste treatment before they are release in water bodies (Meganck & Saunier, 2009). The cost of treating again is lower then the cost of offering treatment and compensation to sick individuals.
Car companies should use environmental friendly fuel. The government should indulge in civic education to inform the citizens on the dangers of environmental and resource exploitation. Forest and vegetation covers should be planted for the preservation of land. The government should use both monetary and non-monetary incentives to protect and preserve the environment. Fishing and hunting activities should be regulated to prevent exploitation. Maintenance of public goods like rivers and recreational parks should be taxed on the citizens to overcome the problem of free rider.
The environment has not yet reached its limits in global degradation. If preservation mechanisms are instituted now, part of the resources will be reserved. The Polynesia and HawaiiIslands are still inhabited by the world’s most diverse and rare species, which when preserved constitute diverse snail species, amphibians, mammals, birds, amphibians, and plants. The mangrove forests in Bangladesh house exotic animal species and plants. The Amazon forest has a diverse biosphere and life. Preservation is key to the environmental preservation (Boyer, 2008).
Asia – China’s environment – Dirty water, filthy air. (January 01, 2008). The Economist, 386, 8564, 51.
Bangladesh, Comprehensive Disaster Management Program (Bangladesh), & Ahmed, A. U. (2006). Bangladesh Climate Change Impacts and Vulnerability: A Synthesis. Dhaka: Climate Change Cell, Dept. of Environment.
Boyer, A. G. (May 01, 2008). BIODIVERSITY RESEARCH: Extinction patterns in the avifauna of the Hawaiian islands. Diversity & Distributions, 14, 3, 509-517.
Gardner, G. T., Prugh, T., Starke, L., & Worldwatch Institute. (2008). State of the world 2008: Innovations for a Sustainable Economy. London: Earthscan.
McKibben, B., Pollan, M., Gilardin, M., TUC Radio (Firm), & Global Exchange (Organization). (2007). Bill McKibben Deep Economy in Conversation with Michael Pollan. San Francisco, CA: Distributed by TUC Radio/Video.
Meganck, R. A., & Saunier, R. E. (2009). Dictionary and Introduction to Global Environmental Governance. London, UK: Earthscan