The impact of Nigeria’s border closure on its own economy

The mandate of any nation’s customs and border control agencies is to allow licit and legal free trades, and halt illicit and illegal trades. Illicit and illegal trades involve the movement of various types of commodities and services that usually lead to the creation of numerous black markets which have been known to slowly but gradually cripple economies.

Many times in the past, Nigeria usually closed its borders because of one form of illicit trade or another. However, border closure has often led to inefficient operations within licit and legal supply chains, thus increasing costs and time delays, disrupting deliveries, and interrupting the smooth flow of goods and services.

Once again, and recently in August, 2019, Nigeria—which shares boundaries with the republics of Benin, Niger, and Cameroon—closed its land border to the movement of goods. The government declared that it did so in order to halt smuggling of food and weapons into the country, especially from Benin republic.

In many instances, regardless of the situation at hand, most countries don’t often close their borders to the free trade of goods and services. Rather, they close their borders whenever their security is in jeopardy. Examples of countries that have closed their borders in the past in order to enhance national security, include: Eritrea, Kenya, Sudan, and Rwanda—amongst others.

During other circumstances, some countries usually close their borders in order to control or stop the spread of diseases (such as Ebola) that have the potential to travel across borders. It is recommendable to close borders in order to put a halt to arm smuggling; on the other hand, when borders are closed, food becomes scarcer, and inflation ensues, thereby harming the economy and citizens.

As reported in many news outlets, the current president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, ordered the most recent border closure with one main aim: to curb smuggling of rice (a staple food in Nigeria) from Benin and Niger into Nigeria—Africa’s most populous nation.

According to the government, the most recent and worrying problems that lead to another border closure included the smuggling of rice, and the illicit exportation of cheap subsidized petrol from Nigeria to its neighboring countries. In fact, according to most oil marketers in Nigeria, between 10% and 20% of Nigerian fuel is usually smuggled abroad.

The current Nigeria government, which has been strengthening its economic policies, believes that if it continues allowing importation of cheaper goods, it would be difficult for the country to increase local production and become a self-sufficient nation. Authorities reason that border closure will promote local production; on the other hand, critics argue that when demand exceeds domestic production, the country would have no better option than to fully engage in cross-border trade with neighboring countries.

The truth is that the government cannot always control demand which usually increases due to the increasing number of births and mouths that have to be fed on a daily basis. Since Nigeria doesn’t always have the local capacity to produce enough rice to meet up with the populace’s demand, any attempt to close the border and halt importation could lead to more smuggling, and increase in the price of goods for local consumers.

Any person who can recall the cases of corruption which Nigeria has experienced, would tend to believe that the smuggling of fuel and goods should be blamed on the country’s personnel who have been in charge of securing Nigeria’s borders. The sad fact is that the country’s poor citizens—who are far much more in number than the rich—are the ones who usually suffer when government personnel at the borders receive bribes and allow smuggling to take place to such an extent that the government has no better option than to close its borders.

Although it is quite true that, like all other governments, the Nigeria government has the right to close its borders. On the other hand, whenever borders are closed, it leads to positive and negative impacts on the economy and citizens, with merits and demerits alike.

Positive impact: Merits of Nigeria border closure

  • Although nobody might have sufficient knowledge of the full impact of smuggled fuel, food, drugs and ammunition into Nigeria, border closure has actually helped to prevent excess ammunition and drugs from entering the country, causing economic mayhem, and destroying the futures or lives of children who can possibly become good leaders tomorrow.
  • Border closure boosts Nigeria government’s pockets or revenues because more duties are being received whenever any illegal goods are forced to enter the country legally through the land ports. According the current Nigeria Customs Service boss, Nigeria has made more money since it recently closed its land borders.

Negative impact: Demerits of Nigeria border closure

  • Although border closure can help control the trade of illicit drugs and weapons, the shutdown of the Benin border in particular, has already caused food inflation in Nigeria—and the inflation only continues to accelerate. For instance, since the most recent Nigeria border closure in August, 2019, the cost of buying a bag (50 kilograms) of rice has risen from N 9,000 (about $25) to N 22,000 (about $60).
  • Border closure makes the poor ones in Nigeria to pay higher prices for goods, while those responsible for smuggling live comfortably. It seems that the government is not aware that most poor people don’t have the means to acquire, store, and transport and smuggle large volumes of goods and services—these are the same people that border closure harms the most.
  • Whenever there is border closure, most businesses and markets that create income in border communities usually shut down, and the passage of taxis, motorcycles, trucks and passengers drastically reduces. The price of petrol usually shoots up and doubles, while motorcycle and taxi drivers triple their own prices. Small businesses that depend on cross-border trading, usually fold up. The helpless society ends up suffering because of a handful of powerful smugglers who either have ties with government officials, or ties with themselves and ordinary people who they have control over.
  • Border closure negatively impacts Nigerian businesses that focus on exporting goods and services. The impression most people would get from statements made by Nigeria government is that border closure works only one way—on importation; it seems the government hasn’t looked enough at the other side—on exportation. It has to be noted that Nigeria, which is actually a net exporter through borders, can also affect its exportation whenever it closes its borders. In fact, a recent report made by FSDH Merchant bank clearly stated that some textile firms in northern Kano city closed down because they could no longer export goods across the border with Niger republic.
  • Border closure has been giving Nigeria a negative impression in a committee of nations like ECOWAS. Why? Because it breaches the accepted protocol on the free movement of services, goods, and people. There is a protocol, or an understanding established by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to which Nigeria belongs. Nigeria’s position on border closure reveals how less concerned it is about making free trade as free as it has agreed that it should be. Border closure undermines and devalues agreements, and could destroy any trust, understanding and goodwill.
  • With intermittent or temporary border closure around the “giant of Africa”, it might be much more difficult for pessimistic critics to agree how free trade would increase intra-Africa trade to 60% by 2022, as has been earlier projected. Border closure has raised concerns about the type of free trade that is being practiced in West Africa, especially as it has been known to cause shortages in supply of materials that have been imported from Nigeria to neighboring countries.

Recommendations to Nigeria government

It can be complex and extremely demanding to manage and facilitate legitimate and legal free trade while concurrently preventing illicit trade—but it can be done! Experience has proven that border closure, on its own, will not be able to solve the problems that arise as a result of smuggling.

Also, a porous border could be indirectly reflecting the corruption of some unknown or hidden Nigeria government officials, and the failure of the Nigeria Customs Service to carry out its duties in an efficient manner.

Nigeria government officials argue that Nigeria’s porous borders allow people to smuggle goods and services and still not pay tariffs and excise duties. Instead of closing the borders intermittently and causing untold hardship for border communities, and businesses of neighboring Benin and Niger, the Nigeria government should take a critical look at its personnel—the ones who are in charge of securing its porous borders. A strong inquiry should be made in order to find out whether the personnel are actually doing the work they ought to do. Are they fulfilling their duties on behalf of the nation? A nation usually reflects the qualities and characteristics of the people who work for it.

The influence that unquestionable cabals and powerful interest groups have on political decisions, would make an ordinary citizen have no belief in any type of border closure, especially when it has been ineffective in the past. The following are recommendable:

  • the Nigerian government should take a critical look at its customs service personnel and remove the inefficient ones; if it doesn’t do so, each time it reopens its borders, the same old smuggling activities could still rise up and continue because of the presence of corrupt personnel. In many cases, Nigeria needs a competent customs service, not intermittent or temporary border closures.
  • the Nigeria government should modernize or improve the state of its customs service by using more information technology and applying more formal management procedures which can improve accountability and transparency which are the cornerstones of incorruptible societies. Whatever the case may be, the Nigeria government should honor its free trade agreement with ECOWAS, and still improve its existing port logistics; in addition, it should construct and properly link all known and yet-to-be-discovered railway lines and road infrastructures. Reliable evidence-gathering techniques should be considered and employed, such as undercover operations and electronic surveillance.
  • after leaving farming and relying heavily on fuel for decades, the Nigeria government should be patient and use as many years (as it left agriculture for fuel) to invest in farming; and it should do so to such an extent that it won’t make the poor masses suffer whenever there is border closure—or whenever border closure becomes to necessary, especially for security reasons. Although it is true that border closure could help to boost local food production, it should also be noted that food—especially rice, its staple food—takes time to grow; it also needs extra time to be harvested, processed and sold. Moreover, the country’s struggling farming industry cannot keep up with the huge increase in its citizens’ demand for a staple food like rice. Generally speaking, in the present-day, Nigeria is not yet sufficient enough to close its borders without making its citizens suffer for it.
  • whenever it becomes necessary to close borders, border closure should go hand-in-hand with strategies that can build economic growth and address a range of social needs, including health, education, social security, job opportunities and environmental stewardship.
  • the Nigeria government should promote shared responsibility: it should increase public-private dialogue on the issue of border closure and promote partnerships with organizations and governments that can help address the global nature of illicit trade which border closure hopes to prevent. Public and private organizations do have evidence-based work programs that can effectively address and halt illicit trades.
  • the Nigeria government should strengthen its legislation by actually penalizing people who conspire and participate in smuggling. Nigeria security agencies, which are widely known for taking bribes and allowing offenders to get off the legal hook, should be compelled to act better than they have been doing.

Civil Engineering Services (PDF Download Available)

1. Definition of Civil Engineering Services

Civil engineering services are professional duties or works carried out by civil engineers which includes: design, construction, and maintenance of the physically and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings, etc. A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering, i.e. the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.

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Civil engineering services take place in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies. Because civil engineering is a vast profession, which includes several specialized sub-disciplines, its history is linked to the knowledge of structures, materials science, geography, geology, soils, hydrology, environment, mechanics, and other fields.

Services Offered By Professional Civil Engineers

The question asked at the assembly of the European Council of Civil Engineers (ECCE) was “What services may be offered by civil engineers in your country?” The aim of the question was to ascertain the degree of diversity in the civil engineering role, and also to discover if there are any exceptions for which special approvals or specialist education is required in the nations that make up the organization. Examples of various types of civil engineering services are listed under the following countries:

Croatia

The following services are provided by civil engineers:

  • design services for infrastructure projects (roads, railways, water supply, sewerage schemes, water treatment plants, hydroelectric power plants, dams, etc.)
  • design services (only for the civil engineering portion of design work for buildings, such as structural design, organization of work, material and work specifications, conceptual and detailed structural drawings, etc.)
  • supervision (inspection) services during realization of works
  • project control to check fulfillment of essential project requirements, in accordance with the Construction Product Directive (Directive 89/106/EEC)
  • construction services in building and engineering works
  • use and production of raw materials, and material testing services
  • maintenance of completed projects
  • scientific research in the field of civil engineering.

They may be self-employed, employed in design offices, or employed in other types of companies. Civil engineers are not allowed to offer architectural design services.

Cyprus

Civil engineers can offer various services for civil engineering works including, feasibility studies, civil engineering designs, structural designs, preparation of tender/contract documents, procurement, supervision of construction works etc. Civil engineers who have registered before 1993 can also carry out architectural designs and submit them for building permits. Civil engineers who registered after 1993 are not permitted to submit architectural designs. There is however a dispute as to what ‘architectural design work’ is.

Czech Republic

Civil engineers can undertake the design, development, supervision and execution of all forms of construction. Selected activities in construction, which are of decisive significance for the protection of public interest, in the preparation, design, or execution of construction work may be performed only by persons who have a proven professional qualification obtained by examination and have obtained a professional certificate.

Estonia

A wide range of services may be offered by civil engineers after graduation in the fields of construction, design and maintenance of buildings and structures.

France

Civil Engineers are involved in all steps of the construction process, so they offer their services in the following phases:

  • preliminary plans of works
  • materials production
  • design of works
  • construction processes on job sites
  • quality control of works carried out
  • operation of works after construction.

They also operate at any functional or operational levels in industry, and in positions of authority in the public sector.

Germany

There is a wide range of possibilities of services in Germany, for example: Services related to civil engineering works and transportation facilities, traffic planning services, services relating to buildings, open-air facilities, project control, experts reports and valuations, town planning services, services relating to planning load-bearing structures, services relating to thermal building physics, services relating to sound insulation and acoustics, services relating to soil mechanics, earthworks and foundation engineering.

Ireland

In Ireland, civil engineers may offer all services. Civil Engineers are allowed to submit “architectural” designs for building permits.

Portugal

The services offered by Civil Engineers are defined by law but only relating to design. A civil engineer may offer any service in the construction sector. For example, design of structures, urban planning, hydraulics, geotechnics, construction management, etc. Civil engineers are still allowed to submit “architectural” designs for building permits, but only for small buildings. There is a plan to change this in the near future.

Slovakia Republic

Civil engineers perform complex activities in design, territorial development planning and design, project management, research and development, as a site manager, as well as service activities. They are also involved in public and state administration, education, rural development in all kinds of services, surveying and many other areas. For selected activities they must have authorization, i.e. proof of qualification from the Slovak Chamber of Civil Engineers by an examining board including a certificate.

United Kingdom

Civil engineers can undertake the development, design, supervision and execution of all forms of construction both in public and private work. For some types of work, e.g. the construction of dams or to work as an independent building inspector, a special authorization is needed.

2. Water Supply Installation

Generally, pipes must be installed to meet requirements for durability, safety and thermal comfort/stability. Prior to installation of water supply facilities, design considerations will be carried out and also, choice of materials will be made. The following factors should be accounted for in the design:

(a) the water supplier’s requirements, including those of notification.

(b) the estimated daily consumption and the maximum and average flow rates required, together with the estimated time of peak flow.

(c) the location of the available supply.

(d) the quality, quantity and pressure required, and the available pressures at various times during a typical day.

(e) the cold water storage capacity required.

(f) the likelihood of ground subsidence due to mining activities or any other reason.

(g) the likelihood of contamination of the site.

(h) transient (short-lived) or surge pressures that might arise during the operation of the system.

Installation shall be designed to avoid waste, undue consumption, misuse, contamination and erroneous measurement. The installation shall be designed to avoid the trapping of air during filling and the formation of air locks during operation.

2.1 Handling of Materials

All materials and components used for the construction of a water system shall be handled with sufficient care and attention to prevent their deterioration, or the ingress (act of entering) of contaminants. Deterioration, which is due to improper laying of pipes, use of poor-quality material, improper tightening of capillary/mechanical joints, and improper compaction of underground/underlying soil, etc., can impair the serviceability, or affect the performance of pipework systems. Some pipes are manufactured from asbestos cement. When working on these pipes and all other types of asbestos containing materials, keep exposure to asbestos dust as low as is reasonably practicable. Great care should be exercised in cutting and grinding operations to keep dust generated to the minimum and prevent people breathing in the dust. This may be achieved by the use of hand rather than power tools.

Bending of Pipes

Damaged pipes shall be rejected. Care should be taken to avoid crimping and restricting the diameter of pipes when forming bends. Purpose-designed equipment should be used where appropriate.

2.2 Joining of Pipes

Care shall be taken to establish satisfactory jointing techniques for all water service pipework. When making joints by welding, brazing or soldering, precautions shall be taken to avoid the risk of fire, and care taken to avoid inhalation of fumes from the jointing process. Ends shall be cut square, all burrs (rough projection left on a work-piece after cutting) shall be removed from the ends of pipes and any jointing materials used shall be prevented from entering the system. All piping and fittings shall be cleaned internally and shall be free from debris. No metal pipe shall be connected to any other pipe or water fitting by means of an adhesive in any case where the metal pipe is:

(a) installed in the ground or passes through or under any wall footing or foundation;

(b) embedded in a wall or solid floor;

(c) enclosed in a chase or duct (enclosed passage for fluid);

(d) in a position where access is difficult.

Cutting tools that are in good condition should be used to limit tube distortion and the tube should be cut square (directly perpendicular) with the axis. Any tube ends that are distorted should be re-rounded using a suitable tool prior to the joint assembly.

Copper Pipes

When making capillary solder joints (or solder fittings – tubes having small internal diameters), the mating faces of the tube and fitting shall be abrasively cleaned with nylon cleaning pads or emery strip (not steel wool) and flux applied sparingly to the spigot (regulator for controlling the flow of a liquid from a reservoir).

Capillary fittings (pipe fittings which have socket-type ends so that when the fitting is soldered to a pipe end, the solder flows along the ring-like space between the pipe exterior and the socket): the joint should be heated until the solder (lead-free) is constrained within the fitting or is fed in with a solder stick or wire, flows by capillary attraction (surface tension and resulting in the elevation or depression of liquids in capillaries) to fill the joint space. The joint should remain untouched until the solder has cooled and solidified but then any surplus flux (solder discharge) on the assembly should be carefully removed. Use of excessive amounts of flux should be avoided.

If you would like to have the remaining 57 pages of detailed content on this broad subject of civil engineering services, which contains a lot of images for the purpose of illustration, then get my self-published 67-page eBook through the following link: Civil Engineering Services. The topics in the eBook include:

1. Definition of Civil Engineering Services

  • Services offered by civil engineers in some selected countries

2. Water Supply Installation

  • Handling of materials
  • Joining of pipes
  • Connections between different materials
  • Joining pipes to cisterns and tanks
  • Underground pipe laying
  • Pipework in buildings

3. Hot Water Systems

  • Choice of system
  • Gas-Fired Water Heaters in Rooms Containing a Bath or Shower
  • Water-jacketed Tube Heaters
  • Main types of hot water systems
  • Common Materials and Components

4. Sanitary Appliances

  • Preliminary Data for Selection of Appliances
  • Time Schedule
  • Materials
  • Design Considerations

5. Methods of Solid Waste (Refuse) Disposal

  • Non-hazardous Waste
  • Mixed Waste (Radioactive/Hazardous)

6. Equipment for Air Conditioning & Ventilation

  • Air Conditioning
  • Ventilation

7. Installations for Industrial Buildings

  • Gases (Natural Gases)
  • Liquids (Liquefied Natural Gases)

8. Refrigeration

  • Vapor-Compression Refrigeration, or Vapor-Compression Refrigeration System (VCRS)
  • Description of the Vapor-Compression Refrigeration System

9. Vacuum Cleaning

  • Major types of vacuum cleaners

10. Fire-fighting Systems

  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire hose/Fire hose reels
  • Fire hydrant (diesel/electric-driven) systems
  • Automatic Sprinkler Systems

(Featured Image Credit: Pixabay.com.)

The reality of global warming: scary facts, and possible future consequences

(Image credit: Pixabay.com.) Present environmental threats caused by heating the Earth beyond the extent that nature’s sun does—and possible future consequences.

It’s very likely that most people would feel uncomfortable if too much heat-emitting activities (such as cooking, use of electrical appliances, etc.) occur in their houses; in addition, most people would feel “very very” uncomfortable if there are no escape routes for heat generated from too many activities that produce heat, and make their houses difficult to stay in.

If the statements in the previous paragraph are true, then imagine how much more uncomfortable all living things on Earth would feel as a result of negative impacts man-made (artificial) activities on the environment—especially when generated heat is trapped within Earth’s atmosphere.

Man-made activities, such as breeding/raising livestock, and burning of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil to power industries, vehicles, and appliances in homes) usually release high quantities of carbon dioxide, methane, etc., into the atmosphere.

These gases, along with nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), amongst others, are greenhouse gases, and contribute to “the greenhouse effect”.

The higher the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, the more heat will be trapped within the Earth’s environment.

High quantities of trapped heat cause global temperatures to rise—“global warming”.

Extra details about the causes of global warming

Although details of global warming are well known, some important points will be stated for the benefit of those who might not know a thing or two about it.

Naturally, certain gases like carbon dioxide and methane (known as greenhouse gases—GHGs) help the Earth to trap the sun’s heat (cosmic rays) in the atmosphere, from where plants absorb it, use it to grow to maturity, and provide all types of food that empower all other living things.

Also, naturally, greenhouse gases warm the Earth’s surface to an extent that is enough to sustain all forms of life. Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature of the Earth would be around zero degrees (0º) Fahrenheit, instead of today’s temperature which is around 58º Fahrenheit.

(Note that a temperature of 0º Fahrenheit would not be sufficient enough to empower many important natural processes that keep most forms of life alive.)

Man-made activities, especially burning of fossil fuel and coal, produces methane, other greenhouse gases, and carbon cycles that emit carbon dioxide which is absorbed every year by oceans, seas, plants, lands, etc.

Greenhouse gases cause the greenhouse effect, and negatively impact global climate by warming.

97% of scientists believe that man-made activities are the major cause of global warming

Mankind has to be concerned about global warming, especially when multiple reviews of scientific literature have pointed to the fact that about 97% of scientists/climate specialists believe that man-made activities are the major cause of the high level of global warming which the world has been experiencing in recent times.

Also, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientists have concluded with 90% confidence that global warming is increasing beyond the natural level because of increasing heat-emitting man-made activities which produce lots of carbon dioxide through burning of natural non-renewable resources like fossil fuel oil, and coal.

In an Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are unprecedented in the last 800,000 years”.

It is now an indisputable fact that the earth is heating up. In fact, within the last century, the Earth’s temperature is believed to have risen by 1.3° Fahrenheit, and temperatures are still rising.

With global warming on the rise, in about 10, 20, or more years from today, mankind will likely feel greater negative impact of man-made burning and heating activities if sensible ways are not discovered and used to halt escalating rates of heating activities.

The negative effect of gases generated from man-made (anthropogenic) activities has been observed in the climate system, and is believed to be the major cause of global warming which has been observed since the middle of last century—the 20th century.

Evidence of the negative impacts of global warming

  • The thickness of ice in the regions around the north of the Arctic Circle has decreased by a surprising 50% within the past 50 years. Currently, much of the Arctic ice is just below the freezing point, and is floating on water where it is highly sensitive to little rises in temperature that can make it melt completely.
  • Large chunks of ice at the South Pole around the Antarctic Circle, which have been stable for tens of thousands of years, are gradually breaking off. In fact, during the year 2000, a piece of ice with an area of about 4,200 square miles, broke off. Also, in the year 2002, a large piece of ice broke off in the Thwaites Glacier.
  • In 2007, Greenland’s ice shelves decreased in size by 24 square miles. In 2008, it decreased further by 21 square miles.
  • Each time the ocean rises vertically by one foot, it spreads horizontally by about 100 feet, and covers more land. Researchers observed that sea levels rose by 8 inches in the past century, and was due to expansion of seawater as a result of absorbing more heat.
  • As the Earth’s temperature in rising, tropical diseases are gradually spreading northward; dangerous insects, waterborne diseases and malaria are spreading northwards.
  • From reliable records of temperatures taken in the past, 1995, 2005, and 2010 ranked among the hottest years ever, while the period between 2000 and 2009 was once considered to be the hottest decade.
  • Recent levels of carbon dioxide emission have been the highest in the past 100,000 years.

Despite all the evidence some people still don’t believe in global warming

It’s surprising that with all the evidence presented to the world by science, quite a number of people still don’t believe the globe is heating or warming up.

It is obvious that such people need to be educated to an extent. The following points could really clear up misunderstandings, or unfounded beliefs:

  • Greenhouse effect causes global warming when the Earth’s atmosphere traps heat radiating from the Earth towards space. Examples of gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect include water (H2O) vapor, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
  • There are 2 types of greenhouse effects that are part of global warming: man-made (anthropogenic) greenhouse effect, and natural greenhouse effect. Man-made greenhouse effect is caused by mankind, while natural greenhouse effect (which is mild) is caused by nature.
  • Natural greenhouse effect is spurred by natural solar and cosmic rays, and is extremely important because it supports all forms of life.
  • The major problem is that the general greenhouse effect (natural + man-made) has been strengthened by man-made activities, and made life-threatening negative impact on the whole environment.
  • Human activities, such as burning of fossil fuels, clearing of forests, amongst others, have strengthened the general greenhouse effect (natural + man-made), and caused global warming to be higher than it naturally was in the near and distant past; also, recent negative effects of warming are worse than at any other time in recorded history.
  • Man-made activities (especially the incessant and excessive burning of large quantities of fuel) have increased the total quantity of heat, and caused overall global warming (natural + man-made) to be higher than the natural level that cosmic rays has been producing for billions of years.
  • The greenhouse effect, which has increased excessively due to increasing man-made activities, is mainly attributed to increasing carbon dioxide emission levels.

One major question usually asked by people who don’t believe in global warming—and an answer

Question: If global warming is real, why is it so cold in some parts of the world?

Answer: Global warming is a gradual and on-going process that does not prevent cold weathers. Global warming can make average cold weathers not to be colder, and average warm weathers to be hotter: when temperatures are rising, it would be unlikely for colder weathers to occur, and likely for hotter weathers to occur.

Another thing is that a study of special local weather patterns could be misleading. Weather specialists have observed that cold winters in the North-eastern part of U.S.A. could be an exception; in which case there is abnormal warm winter around the same period in the whole of the northern hemisphere.

Over time, scientists expect winters to become shorter as global temperatures continue to rise. Some researchers have observed that colder-than-average winters could be caused by climate change. How? As the climate warms, more water vapor is produced; it enters the atmosphere, intensifies rain and snowstorms, thereby creating colder and snowier environments—winter.

Possible negative impacts of global warming in the future—if man-made heating activities are not curbed

  • According to the United Nations, sea levels could rise by 7 to 23 inches by the year 2100.
  • The polar ice cap may vanish completely and permanently, and alter the Earth’s natural weather by changing the flow of air and ocean currents around the world.
  • If all the ice in Antarctica melts, sea levels would rise by about 180 feet worldwide.
  • If all the ice in Greenland melts, sea levels would rise by about 21 feet worldwide.
  • If ocean and sea levels continue to rise, there will be a gradual change in the orientation of the map of the Earth’s coastlines

Do you think mankind should completely put a halt to man-made activities that have been heating up the Earth and causing drastic negative impacts on the environment? Or, do you think global warming does not exist, and mankind should continue with its current rate of fossil fuel usage, and other activities that have been causing global warming?

Comments about your opinion will be appreciated in the comment section.

How to transform an environmentally unsustainable society into an environmentally sustainable one

Environmental degradation is no longer a new topic. Many air, water, and land environments in many societies (worldwide) are heavily polluted to such an extent that they’ve become unsustainable and need urgent attention so they can be transformed from unsustainable environments to sustainable environments: the types of environments that are part and parcel of environmentally sustainable societies.

But how can environmentally unsustainable societies move from an unsustainable level to a sustainable one? What important measures must be put in place before such a great challenge can be surmounted—especially when an appreciable amount of time, human and natural resources are needed in transforming a society and its environment?

This article will provide very important strategies that could help to transform environmentally unsustainable societies into environmentally sustainable ones.

But first, what is an environmentally sustainable society?

An environmentally sustainable society is one that has enough natural resources that can cater for the needs of its present and future population(s) without threatening the ability of its future generations to meet their own basic needs.

Environmentally sustainable societies conserve, manage and protect their natural resources (or natural capital) properly, and live on the income that their natural resources generate.

Download PDF: 18 Best Ways to Save the Environment Much More

Download PDF: 15 Reasons why you should study environmental science

Environmentally sustainable societies know that if they waste, excessively deplete and mismanage their natural resources/capital, they will deteriorate from a sustainable level to an unsustainable one.

Environmentally sustainable societies exploit natural resources (i.e., the Earth’s natural capital or fund which nature provides for all human beings, plants and animals), and use them to enhance their environments and increase their present and future ability to meet human, animal and plant needs.

Sustainability of the environment is in the hands of mankind, and it needs to be properly implemented and maintained

On the other hand, environmentally unsustainable societies also exist, and there is growing evidence that some environmentally sustainable societies are showing signs of becoming environmentally unsustainable—i.e., they are living unsustainably and their environments are degrading.

What are some major characteristics of environmentally unsustainable societies?

  • their air is highly polluted with smoke from indigenous industries; it’s at such a degree that people have to turn on vehicle headlights during the day in order to see what is in front of them.
  • their lakes, rivers, seas, oceans, or water bodies are polluted because they contain various types of toxic solid and liquid wastes that have been dumped or discharged by people.
  • their lands are highly polluted with wastes from factories; this has happened to such a degree that people and industries have abandoned certain polluted wastelands. Why? Because they are unproductive and have recorded high rates of unemployment and crime.
  • etc.—many other unsustainable characteristics.

Now, what are the most important steps that can be taken in order to transform an environmentally unsustainable society into an environmentally sustainable one?

(1) Establish, or improve existing social capital: Everybody in each society has to put hands together in order to solve environmental problems—this needs to start at the grassroots

In order for an environmentally unsustainable society to become environmentally sustainable (or much less environmentally unsustainable) it has to build or improve on what sociologists call “social capital”.

Each society has a social capital—its own citizens.

In order to establish or improve social capital, people from different backgrounds, with opinions and characteristics have to come together, communicate with each other, understand each other, and find a common ground to work together in order to solve existing societal or environmental problems.

In this regard, indigenous local society leaders, learned people, government officials, business leaders, and all citizens have to come together, discuss, work out modalities and look for high- and low-cost options that can be used to transform ailing and highly polluted unsustainable societies into sustainable and livable ones.

The solutions to environmental problems are easier to implement if every single person in a society—regardless of age or background—is carried along.

Important questions that should be asked during meetings—when establishing or improving social capital:

  • is there pollution in the environment—air, water, and land?
  • is there too much pollution? What is the presumed level of pollution?
  • what are the causes or existing sources of pollution?
  • how can pollution be eradicated from the society or environment?
  • should the sources of pollution be regulated or eradicate, even if it will affect the economy/standard of living, but end up preserving health?
  • etc.—many other important questions.

If citizens of societies do not put heads together, and reason together, it will be difficult to eradicate environmental problems because, naturally, without discussions, enlightenment and leadership, many people tend to neglect Mother Nature’s call of duty to protect the environment.

(2) Once respective leaders can summon people together and address environmental issues, a timeline should be set—as agreed—in which it is believed that most important goals would be achieved; for example: environmental clean-up, closure of polluting factories, etc.

(Also, there should be a plan, not only for a few meetings, but a continuous series of meetings, as agreed by all members of a society or community.)

All citizens, especially leaders and learned people, should be allowed to contribute as much as possible so that environmental problems can be identified precisely and goals/solutions can be proffered after members of society brain-storm all important solutions, or ideas provided by citizens.

Examples of some important goals that environmentally unsustainable societies could proffer

  • enforce or encourage reduction of air pollution from industries—from high emission rates to low or even zero-emission rates, if possible.
  • stop or discourage littering/open dumping of solid waste on land, and in water bodies.
  • stop construction of structures, building or factories that encourages increasing discharge of waste into air, water and land environments.
  • launch a recycling program in order to conserve certain resources, and recycle and re-use others that are recyclable and reusable.
  • replace some high carbon-emitting factories and vehicles that use more fossil fuel, with those that use more electricity, and give off low- or zero-emission discharges. Note: replacement could only be a good option if there is sufficient funding to do it.
  • etc.

(3) Implement goals

All stated goals that have been agreed on, should be zealously and vigorously implemented, and effectively monitored from inception to completion.

If goals are properly implemented, then air pollution and environmental degradation levels will gradually become much lower than the minimum levels recommended locally, or internationally.

(4) Exercise patience

It takes time and patience to get things done in today’s world. Government leaders, society leaders, learned people and citizens have to exercise a lot of patience because transforming an environmentally unsustainable society into a sustainable one would involve a lot of human resources, natural resources, energy, and a lot of time as well. It is not such an easy task as stated on paper, but it can be done.

If patience is not properly exercised, the dream of a society can be forgotten, long before a single step is taken.

Conclusions

  • each individual in a society matters a lot. Most environmental damages are results of social changes due to each individual’s action—which could be excessive burning of combustible fuels, dumping of solid wastes on land, and in water, etc.
  • Each individual’s action at grassroots can lead to massive changes in overall  environmental conditions—either positively or negatively.

In fact, research conducted by social scientists suggests that it takes between 5% and 10% of the population of a society, community, country, or the whole world to bring about a “major social change”.

  • human history and research have proven that significant social and environmental changes occur in a shorter time than many people think—especially if goals are pursued with the type of vigour and zeal that is necessary.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once summed up the ability a group of people could have if they desire to make a social change: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

  • If societies start now, rather than later, they will still have enough time to change from environmentally unsustainable societies to environmentally sustainable ones.

Recommendations for sustainable living

There are some recommendable strategies that can be used to reduce negative environmental impact and create more environmentally sustainable environments/societies.

The following strategies can help to sustain the Earth’s natural capital and create more sustainable environments:

1. Carry everybody along—as stated at the beginning of the article.

2. Rely more on renewable energy from the sun, and indirect forms of solar energy such as wind and flowing water. Solar energy can provide most heating and electricity needs without emitting health-deteriorating carbon compounds into the atmosphere.

3. Protect the biodiversity of nature by preventing pollution and degradation of air, water bodies and land—since pollution affects the health of animal species, natural processes and ecosystems.

4. Sustain the Earth’s natural chemical cycles by reducing pollution, production, and mismanagement of solid wastes; and preventing natural systems from being overloaded with harmful man-made chemicals.

How to reduce/eradicate environmental problems caused by mismanagement of common & shareable resources

Mismanagement of resources and environmental pollution is common in places where a lot of people use common and shareable resources together. Today’s post defines private, common and shareable resources or properties, and provides recommendable solutions that could reduce or prevent environmental problems and degradation caused by unsustainable use of resources and mismanagement of common & shareable resources—at local and global level.

Since the beginning of time, nature has been providing resources and sustaining all forms of living and non-living things without handing right/ownership over any resource to any particular person or group of people. However, over time, people, different nations and governments have been claiming ownership over resources, and have engaged in wars in order to secure rights over resources and materials supplied by nature.

When a resource is owned, it becomes a property. To own a property is one thing; to manage it is another. One major problem associated with both common and shareable properties—which we will soon define—is that they are much more mismanaged than private property is.

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Misuse of resources leads to mismanagement of resources, wars, environmental pollution, environmental degradation and destruction of human lives and properties. Irrespective of the type of procedures used by people or organizations to acquire resource ownership or properties in various regions or countries—legally or illegally—resource or property can be categorized into any one of the following three:

(1) Private resource

A private resource is any resource owned by an individual, or an organization—or any group of individuals or organizations. Examples of resources that could be called private resources include land, farmland, minerals, animals, etc.

(2) Common resource

A common resource is any resource owned by large groups of individuals or organizations. For example, all citizens of the United States own about one-third of the total land area of the country. Examples of common resources include irrigation systems, pasture/grazing land, fossil fuel, coal, electricity, etc.

(3) Shareable/open-access resource

A shareable or open-access resource is any resource owned by everybody because it’s shared by everybody and is openly accessible to any interested individual. Examples of shareable resources include groundwater, air, fishes, lakes, rivers, oceans, etc. In some cases, common resource and shareable resource mean the same thing.

Over the decades, several wars and cases of mismanagement and wastage of common and shareable resources have been incited by the mentality that “If I don’t use this resource, then someone else will; it doesn’t matter whether I actually need this resource, let me just use it; even if I waste it and pollute the environment, it doesn’t matter; it will always be available”.

Whenever few people have used resources, this mentality has not often led to instances of drastic negative environmental impacts; however, whenever many people have used resources, this mentality has often made the reverse to occur. Lots of evidence have shown that negative environmental impacts occur whenever a lot of people use shareable resources like air, various species of fish in oceans, groundwater from open hand-dug wells, etc.

Observations & Lessons

1. Since the beginning of the industrial age, the Earth’s environment has been exposed to negative impacts of indiscriminate disposal of chemicals, gases, liquid and solid wastes, etc.

2. Uncontrolled use of fossil fuel in industrial and transportation facilities has caused carbon dioxide emission levels to rise and increase environmental temperature, thereby melting ice caps and rising sea levels.

3. Large quantities of waste, sewage and unwanted materials like plastics have been indiscriminately disposed in the environment, and have found their ways into lakes, rivers, oceans and seas; moreso, they have polluted these bodies of water, and negatively impacted the quality of human and marine lives.

4. Etc.

How to reduce/eradicate global environmental problems caused by mismanagement of common & shareable resources

(1) Regulate the use of common and shareable resources so that rates of consumption would be less than rates causing environmental problems. This is one area where governments and leaders of communities have to come in and establish laws/regulations that would limit the use of various types of resources to sustainable levels, and also limit the quantity of pollutants disposed on land, air and water environments.

(2) Regulate access to common and shareable resources. This is another area where leaders of governments and societies can make a difference by passing laws that would regulate or limit access to, and exposure of shareable resources like fish and other species that have been killed beyond sustainable limits—even to the point of extinction.

Laws could be implemented that would limit or regulate the amount of time that certain land, air, and water environments are exposed to different types of environmentally degrading activities, and different sources of pollution and pollutants.

(3) Convert ownership of shareable resources from the public, to a private organization(s) or person(s). The reason for this is that whenever an individual (or a few individuals) owns a resource, such a resource tends to be protected and managed better.

Although some individuals would be able to manage public-turned-private resources better, life could be difficult for those individuals who don’t have rights to public resources that have been converted to private ones.

Imagine the possible negative impacts mankind could be exposed to if some self-centered and stingy individuals (who are, on the other hand, probably good managers) owned the air, rivers, oceans and seas, and kept them as their own private property.

(4) Harmonize scientific solutions from research with political processes dictated by world leaders. While scientists look for solutions to prevent degradation of forests and unsustainable use of common and shareable resources, the applicability of their work would be limited if there is no effective input from political leaders.

For example, major environmental problems could include:

  • extinction of wildlife. 
  • depletion of forests.
  • pollution of rivers.

For these problems to be solved, scientists might state that:

  • people should limit or stop killing wildlife—or they should be prevented from doing so.
  • people should limit or stop cutting down matured trees—or they should be prevented from doing so.
  • people should stop disposing chemicals into rivers—or they should be prevented from doing so.

But the implementation of such solutions would require input from leaders of government through enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

In this area, one major challenge is that enforcement of laws often leads to conflict between scientists, and either government, businesspeople or citizens.

For example, when scientists advise that forests should be protected in order to preserve and conserve important diversity of plants and animals, citizens and timber/paper production companies might protest against scientists because of the benefit they derive from using wood and paper.

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18 best ways to save the environment much more

This article contains a list of 18 best ways to save the environment. (Featured image credit: Pixabay.com.)

In many cases, there is no way we can save the environment without giving up certain standards—even high ones. People tend to think that if we walk more, use smaller cars, recycle plastics/cans, compost certain forms of waste, reuse water, buy energy-efficient appliances…then such actions would cut down, and even interfere with the growth of an economy. People who think this way are greatly mistaken!

In fact, it is easier to save the environment much more than people think we possibly can, and without experiencing detrimental effects. We can conserve natural resources much better, and save the environment much more if we change certain daily habits like the ones related to eating and transportation—amongst others.

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Download PDF: Living in the Environment by Miller & Spoolman_17th_edition

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15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

Generally—in addition to many other ways that can be used to save the environment, and which might not be listed in this article—we can save the environment much more through the following 18 ways:

1. By reducing our rate of/dependence on driving or using vehicles

Even though it’s quite true that we might not be able to walk always and everywhere, it has to be noted that the use of vehicles for everything, continues to produce emissions that compromise our air and health. One of the worst things that usually happens is when people leave vehicles on without using them for the purpose they were designed or manufactured for. It’s dangerous for people to continuously inhale polluted air. We can save the environment much more if people actually walk or take public transits much more than has been the norm.

2. By conserving water much more

Regardless of how much or less water is available in an environment, it can and should be conserved much more than has been the norm in many places. We can save the environment much more if we stop taps from running for too long without using them, especially when we brush and cook. We should try to make more use of spigots or regulators that control the flow of water, and shower-heads that conserve water and energy.

3. By reducing or conserving the amount of paper we use

About 40% of the world’s timber is used for producing paper. Paper production uses a lot of water and endangers natural habitats or environments where organisms or groups of organisms live. Since it has become normal to print and use paper, people don’t usually think about the effects of the excess paper that is being littered indiscriminately in the environment. We can save the environment much more if we lessen paper production and usage by reducing the amount of paper that is being wasted in many world activities.

4. By reusing refillable plastic water bottles/containers much more

Most people use refillable water bottles and containers once, or a few times and throw them away forever without seeing any value in using them again and again for the same purpose, and in a way that can save the environment. It is wasteful to throw away water bottles or containers that can be reused; in addition, waste endangers the environment and affects environmental health. We can save the environment from much more health hazards if we reuse refillable plastic bottles or containers, and plates/utensils, instead of disposable ones.

5. By being more mindful, and carefully scrutinizing what we throw away into trash cans or containers

Before you throw away “waste” collected from the kitchen or any other part of the house or environment, observe whether it contains any items that can be used or recycled. The obvious truth is that there are much more valuable wastes than we are usually aware of. There are lots of plastic bags and wastes that can be reused or repurposed, rather than thrown away.

Plastic bags that are thrown in the open environment can suffocate animals that mistaken them for food. Truth is that there are lots of so-called “useless trash or junk” that are still useful, and can be turned into something fresh and purposeful. We can save the environment much more if we don’t throw away wastes that we honestly believe can be reused in one form/way, or another.

6. By saving much more electricity

We should get adapted to turning off switches whenever we aren’t using light bulbs, laptops, desktops, TVs, and general electrical appliances. In addition, we should lower air conditioning or heating equipment when necessary: whenever we can, we should make our air conditioning or heating systems less hot or less cold, instead of allowing them run unnecessarily on certain temperatures.

We can save the environment much more if we stop the habit of leaving electrical devices plugged in without putting off switches. Leaving switches on can still allow such devices use what is known as “phantom” energy: electrical energy that is drawn in even though devices are in sleep mode after they have been turned off.

7. By preventing wastage of food

Many people draft a plan for the food they would eat in a day, week, or month, without ever taking time to quantify the approximate amount that would be enough for eating without leaving excess and throwing it away as waste into the on-looking and helpless environment.

By buying and using a necessary amount of food, people can save money and the environment, and reduce production of waste. We can save the environment much more if we cook only the quantity of food needed per meal/meal time, so that we won’t cook more than necessary. In addition, we can properly store leftovers and use them as one or more future meals. In other cases where there are unplanned leftovers, we can give them to beggars or people who are homeless.

It is believed that food production is one of the major causes of wildlife extinction. The food we eat contributes to approximately 25% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and is responsible for almost 60% loss of global biodiversity.

8. By living a bit of a vegetarian lifestyle—if we can’t live it completely

Nobody has to give up meat forever; however, it would bring the human body and general environments much benefit if people commit to living a meat-free lifestyle every few days, weeks, or more. It takes about 2,500 gallons of water—which is insufficient in so many societies—to produce only one pound of beef; imagine the quantity of water that would be required to produce the uncountable pounds of beef eaten on Earth every year. We can save the environment much more if we cut down the quantity of meat we produce and eat.

9. By properly disposing hazardous wastes

There are certain kinds of wastes or items that shouldn’t be thrown in open dumps, landfills, and sanitary sewers; examples include pharmaceutical products or by-products, pesticides, paint, fluorescent light bulbs, cleaning products, batteries, etc. It is advisable to dispose such items in a special or more technical way because if the common/popular methods are used to dispose them in the environment, they could deteriorate environmental air, land and water quality to an irreparable extent.

We can save the environment much more if we properly dispose hazardous waste much more than it has been usually disposed in many societies and environments, especially in developing or underdeveloped countries/societies.

10. By using our voices, websites, the internet, or any platform

One of the noblest things to do in life is to speak up for what is right, or speak up for the truth—for reality! Everyone would agree that it is right to speak up for the environment, and let people know how it should be saved or protected. We seem to be the first generation to know fully well that man-made activities are gradually destroying the environment; and we may be the last to do anything meaningful to save it.

We can save the environment much more if we use our voices, websites, platforms or brands to speak up for protection of the natural world which is the home of humans, animals, plants, and every other type of living and non-living thing. So speak up because people are out there and ready to listen, learn, and take action!

11. By downloading/installing softwares, instead of buying discs

Downloading many types of software—rather than buying them—reduces the amount of paper and materials used for packaging, and consequently reduces transportation/air pollution and waste of time and other forms of energy. In addition, it is often cheaper to download softwares than to buy discs that are used to install softwares. We can save the environment much more if we install more softwares by downloading them from the internet, rather than using them from paper-enveloped discs.

12. By using the internet to make more payments and receive more statements for household bills

Once there is good internet connection, making payments, and receiving statements online is quick and convenient, and can also make a huge difference on the depreciating state of the environment because it can cut down reliance and dependence on paper.

It was once reported that if every household in the U.S. received electronic statements for household bills, instead of offline paper statements, about 18.5 million trees could be saved; and the unnecessary production of 2.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases could be prevented. We can save the environment much more if we make more payments and receive more statements online, rather than buy discs offline; in addition, we can use e-mails to send more correspondences, rather than paper.

13. By using rechargeable batteries much more

Science has informed us about the extent of damage that corrosive acid (from discarded batteries) can create in/on soil, especially when it ends up in landfills. Apart from the fact that using rechargeable batteries can protect the environment much more, it can also save money on the long run. We can save the environment if we make use of rechargeable batteries much more than batteries that can’t be recharged more often!

14. By minimizing the amount of pesticides and fertilizers needed or required

Many farmers and food producers rely heavily on pesticides and fertilizers to kill pests, protect their growing crops, and help them grow as much as possible. On the other hand, the use of pesticides and fertilizers is often unregulated, unchecked, and thus causes more harm to the environment. We can save the environment much more if we use pesticides and fertilizers in a much more precise and regulated manner.

15. By reporting smoking vehicles to local air agencies

Air pollution is one of the most common and destructive forms of pollution, both to the environment and living things in general. Although it is true that smoking vehicles are the sources of income in countries with low standards of living, it is advisable to put smoking vehicles away because people’s health and lives are far much more important than vehicles that pollute the air and deteriorate environmental air quality. We can save the environment much more if we report vehicles that emit too much smoke than usual.

16. By painting with brushes and rollers, rather than using spray paints

Anybody who compares the mechanism behind spray paint, and painting with brushes or rollers, will come to a quick conclusion that spray paint emits higher quantities of chemicals into the environment than brushes and rollers do. We can save the environment much more if we minimize the rate and quantity of harmful chemicals emitted into the environment; in this regard, brushes and rollers should be used much more often than spray paint.

17. By regularly inspecting, servicing and emptying septic tanks

One of the most disturbing causes of land and water pollution is failed septic tanks/septic tank systems, especially in underdeveloped or developing nations. Septic tank systems run unchecked by both owners, and the government agencies in charge of environmental protection. We can save the environment much more if we regularly inspect, service and empty septic tanks at appropriate times.

18. By inspecting and regulating the amount and quality of noise circulating in the environment

Noise or sound pollution is the propagation of poor quality and harmful noise that has a negative impact on human and animal health. Most of the world’s noise is caused mainly by machines, transportation, and poor urban planning—especially side-by-side placement of industries together with residential buildings; this results in noise pollution and emotional imbalance within residential areas.

High noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects in humans, and increased incidences of coronary artery disease. In fact studies are showing that the rate and quality of noise has had negative effects on a range of animals in various habitats—generally, noise can directly impact the health of humans and animals. We can save the environment much more if we regulate noise-producing activities and put industries at an appreciable distance away from residential areas and various types of marine (water), land, and air environments.

You may like to read other articles on environmental protection and sustainability through the following links:

How to reduce/eradicate environmental problems caused by mismanagement of common & shareable resources

How to transform an environmentally unsustainable society into an environmentally sustainable one

How water wastage can be reduced in the environment

Impact of microplastics on marine environment & a cheap method for optimal extraction

Point sources vs non-point sources of pollution; how non-point sources of pollution can be controlled

Negative environmental impact of using mineral resources

Mineral resources are naturally occurring concentrations of solid homogeneous inorganic substances that occur in nature and have precise chemical compositions. Mankind has done a great deal in developing the technical know-how to investigate, locate and extract more than a hundred minerals from the Earth’s crust.

On the other hand, the mining, processing and production of items, tools and equipment from mineral resources has left open wounds on the environment’s land, air and water resources.

Two major types (broad categories) of minerals

The two major types of minerals that exist are metallic minerals and non-metallic minerals. Examples of metallic minerals include gold, iron, copper, and aluminium, while examples of non-metallic minerals include limestone, gravel, sand, and phosphate salts.

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Minerals and rocks are called “non-renewable resources” because it takes a very long time for them to be reproduced by nature or natural processes.

Negative impact of mineral resources on environment

Although metals can be used to produce many useful products, the processes of mining and recycling take up a lot of energy, produce a lot of solid wastes, and also pollute the surrounding air, water and land (soil) environments.

Many studies conducted by scientists warn that one of the greatest threats to environmental health is the negative impact caused by industrial processes which include extraction, mining, and product conversions.

If mankind is not careful, the cost of manufacturing and production will exceed the value that mankind derives from finished products of mining, manufacturing and production.

The degree of environmental impact of mining a mineral or ore depends on the grade or mineral content of a particular mineral or ore. Usually, higher-grade minerals are the first to be sought for, located and used.

As higher-grade minerals become depleted, lower-grade ones become the next valuable mineral resource to be sought for. But the problem associated with lower-grade minerals is that the process of mining them takes up a lot of energy, water, money, and other minerals.

In addition, the process is known to increase mining and solid wastes, land degradation, and land, water and air pollution.

In the pursuit and acquisition of minerals, mining can cause long-term harm to an environment because it is widely known to disfigure and disrupt environments by scarring and disrupting their land surfaces.

Whenever minerals are removed from mountaintops by great machines, dirt and waste rocks usually destroy surrounding forests, cover up mountain streams at the base of mountains, and also increase flood hazards.

Nearby communities are not safe when it comes to mining: they find it hard to breathe pure natural air. Many communities have been economically and environmentally damaged as a result of mineral exploration and mountaintop removal.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, hundreds of mountaintops have been removed in the U.S.A in order to extract coal; this has degraded the surrounding environment by polluting and burying about 1,900 kilometers length of streams.

In tropical areas like tropical forests, surface mining degrades or destroys important biodiversity that keeps many forms of life, and the environment balanced.

Degradation or destruction of biodiversity occurs when forests are cut down and rivers become polluted with wastes produced from mining activities.

Sub-surface mining causes lands, houses and sewer lines to collapse above some underground mines; also, it creates hazards such as explosions, fires, and cave-ins, and causes diseases such as black lung.

In addition, water runoff from mining processes usually contains pollutants such as mercury, arsenic and sulfuric acid which contaminate surrounding fresh water supplies and aquatic life used as food.

For further reading in case you may like to read related articles on environment:

Negative impacts of material & immaterial types of affluence on environment

Impact of microplastics on marine environment & a cheap method for optimal extraction

Why environmental pollution increases despite the usage of pollution prevention & clean-up measures

15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

Environmental unsustainability: characteristics & lessons