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Problems and Concerns caused by Human Influences on the Environment Index

Agriculture
Acid Rain
Depletion of the Ozone Layer and the Greenhouse Effect
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Human Influences on the Environment Homepage
Human Influences on the Environment : Questions

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Fact File No. 80

Since the end of the 18th century the human population has increased by 700% and the average life expectancy has doubled. In 1950 the population was 2,5 billion and by the year 2015 the number had passed 7 billion. It has been estimated that the number will be as high as 9,6 billion in the year 2050. Mexico city is the world's largest city; it had a population of 20 million in 2015.

 

Fact File No. 81

In 2015 there were an average of 4,3 births each second. This means a total of 353000 births each day.

PROBLEMS AND CONCERNS CAUSED BY HUMAN INFLUENCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT

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Domestic Wastes

 

Santiago, Chile © Shirley Burchill

Santiago, Chile in 1990

 

The millions of people living in large cities produce a lot of waste. Some of this waste is biodegradable. This means it can be broken down by decomposers, such as bacteria. Other types of waste, including some plastics and metals, cannot be decomposed.

 

Canal Saint Martin, Paris © Shirley Burchill

Canal Saint Martin, Paris

 

Some cities burn waste. The energy released is used to heat homes in the area of the incinerator. Burning waste, however, releases carbon dioxide and other pollutant gases into the atmosphere. This is why incinerators have tall chimneys to make sure that these gases are released at height, away from the population at ground level.

Other cities have waste dumps on their outskirts. The waste is piled up using bulldozers. These dumps attract rats and other vermin, as well as birds. These can carry disease into the cities.

European cities have introduced two types of waste bins. The green bins are for waste paper which can be recycled.

 

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