Despite the fact that there are lots of communities who have comprehensive recycling plans, the fact remains that more than 80% of the garbage thrown in landfills in the United States could be recycled. Unfortunately, even though going green organizations work hard to try to raise awareness of the problem and try to get people to change their ways, items are always being thrown out that don’t have to be. This means that all kinds of environmental issues could occur, including a decrease in water and air quality.
Perhaps the greatest threat to overall air quality is pesticides and the chemicals that are used to make sure crops grow. More than 40% of all insecticides that are used in the United States are spread on corn crops, and scientists and researchers have found more than 100 different pesticides that are linked to causing cancer, gene mutation, and birth defects. Over the years, lots of strides have been made towards preventing the overuse of dangerous chemicals, but the fact remains that they are still used and can have a major negative effect on the people who come in contact with them.
One of the major concerns when it comes to air quality has to be how radioactive waste and dangerous chemicals are handled. In the United States alone, there are around 240,000 contaminated nuclear facilities. While cleaning them up to help go green is something that most everyone could agree on, the cost of doing so makes that difficult. In fact, it would cost between $100 and $400 billion to clean them all up. Perhaps in a perfect world, going green would be free, and somehow affording to clean up and repair those sites could be done without cost being an issue. But in the difficult economic times of today, that money is not readily available.
Of course, air is not the only thing that people pollute. While the United States is better than a lot of countries at providing drinking water that is clean and safe, there are still problems that exist. Every year, an estimated 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage water, untreated waste, and storm water are dumped into rivers, lakes, streams, and other bodies of water. The environmental implications of that problem could be massive, and it often leads to sicknesses and disease. Regulations to prevent that from happening are in place, but the fact remains that water pollution, in addition to reduced air quality, remains a serious issue.
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