When thinking about the environment, you might ask yourself what the top 10 environmental problems are. From developing to developed countries, there are enough environmental problems for all of us to worry about. From causing cancer to lowering intelligence, environmental problems impact not only workers who are close to the causes, but children and women and others who live nearby where pollutants are used.
A large problem is the disposal and recycling of used car batteries. These batteries are made of lead and sulfuric acid. Used car batteries are sold to developing countries where the regulation on such hazards is slim to none. Workers are rarely fitted with appropriate safety gear to handle the toxicity of the lead and acids. Toxic waste is disposed of with little to no concern for the welfare of the environmental hazards this poses. Children are diagnosed with cancers and developmental disabilities, and poorer populations that live near where these batteries are being dismantled suffer from a high cancer and casualty rate due specifically to the breakdown and recycling of the batteries.
There are plenty of U.S. companies who offer battery recycling. These companies have a higher cost to recycling their batteries. The cost to of recycling a ton of batteries is $1,000-$2,000 dollars. I believe the cost of recycling lead acid batteries is worth it, as is learning new ways of recycling the newer cell phone and consumer batteries, because these items are not recycled at as high a rate as the lead acid used car batteries. The U.S. does ship many used lead acid batteries to Mexico as their laws and cost are much more lax and cheaper than in the U.S.; however, this causes issues with environmental and developmental damage that the relaxed laws dont seem to take into account.
Gold mining in Africa and other developing countries with little or no health or safety oversight is also a top 10 environmental problem. It also has huge negative effects on workers, but mostly pregnant women and children. With this mining, workers take gold and dirt and mix it with mercury. The mercury separates the gold from the dust and dirt, and when heated will dissipate into the air, leaving just the gold behind. But this toxic metal doesnt just disappear when it leaves the gold. It drifts up into the wind, sails down the walking path, over the trees and into the window of your home, where your children are playing and inhaling mercury fumes. There are at any time up to 15 million people working in this mining industry and millions more families are affected by death and brain damage due to this particular practice of gold mining.
There are so many issues facing this earth and all the living creatures on it. From air pollutants, to deforestation, waste management and non-renewable energy, our planet seems to have always been on the brink of disaster. However, the powers that can change the big ticket pollutant items dont seem to see into the future of polluting the planet for our children and their children. Children should forever be able to swim in streams without risk of developing cancer from a nearby factory leaking toxins into the water. Families should always have a forest to walk in and a fresh breeze to invigorate. If people would just start with the top 10 environmental problems and do whatever in their power to help solve these issues, perhaps the smaller, but just as important, issues wont be so difficult to look at.