Climate Change and Pollution

Environmental Action Needed to Address Climate Change & Pollution

  • 5 min read
  • By Phillp Imler

Climatic changes are now causing droughts, which can be devastating for our ecosystems, as they will end up with dried grasslands, compacted soil, and a reduction in the growth of plants. Serious repercussions follow, including broken food chains, reduced animal nutrition, and changed reproductive cycles.

Additionally, the frequency of wildfires increases, resulting in habitat destruction, the release of carbon into water bodies during following rainfall events, deteriorating water quality, and the disruption of freshwater ecosystems.

Decreased soil moisture exacerbates erosion while impeding the photosynthetic capacity of plants, which affects soil quality and the carbon cycle. Rivers that are essential to civilization are disappearing at the same time because of rising evaporation and changed weather patterns, endangering wildlife conservation and thelives of populations that depend on them for trade and water.

The exponential increase in chemical production has resulted in widespread contamination, changed methods of protecting species, and quantities of plastic debris that have destroyed marine habitats. Industrial emissions and other pollutants have weakened the ozone layer, upsetting climate patterns that are necessary for the stability of ecosystems.

The combined effects of these factors have destroyed biodiversity at a rate never seen before. Animal species at peril include amphibians, birds, mammals, and marine turtles. Significant risks exist for reef-building corals; additional temperature increases may drive 70% of known species toward extinction.

Extinction threats continue to exceed conservation initiatives’ gains, underscoring the pressing need for all-encompassing action to reduce climate change and put an end to harmful human activity.


Earth drying up

Why is water drying up?

Climate change, primarily driven by human activities, is causing rivers to dry up through several mechanisms. Rising temperatures increase evaporation and alter precipitation patterns, reducing water flow into rivers.

Weather patterns change, resulting in droughts and more intense downpours that further reduce river levels or cause dangerous flooding.

Rivers are strained by the overuse of water resources, especially for agriculture; dams and diversions, on the other hand, alter natural flow patterns and damage ecosystems as well as sediment and nutrient flows.

Conflicts between municipal, environmental, and agricultural concerns are made worse by competition for water. Warming temperatures also cause glaciers to disappear, which decreases water supply and storage.

This changes seasonal runoff patterns and jeopardizes freshwater resources that humans use. These combined effects show how critical it is to mitigate climate change and implement sustainable water management strategies in order to protect rivers and guarantee their availability for future generations.

freshwater wildlife and ecosystems

Impacts on freshwater wildlife and ecosystems

As droughts persist, freshwater ecosystems suffer. Rivers, lakes, and wetlands experience dropping water levels, reducing habitat and fragmenting connectivity. Features vital for fish, amphibians, and invertebrates, like riffles and pools, disappear.

Natural triggers for migration and spawning are missed, disrupting animal lifecycles. Along water edges, diminishing tree cover and vegetation impact flora and fauna. Reduced shading and cooling degrade plant communities and disrupt fish spawning.

Dissolved oxygen effects

Impact on water quality and pollution

In the UK, high population density leads to major rivers receiving significant amounts of treated sewage effluent. During droughts, reduced river flows concentrate pollutants like phosphates, nitrates, and pharmaceuticals, stressing freshwater wildlife.

Elevated nutrient levels, warm temperatures, and sunlight can trigger algal blooms, crowding out essential submerged aquatic plants. These plants provide critical habitat for invertebrates and fish fry, and their loss threatens freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity.

Ultimately, the impacts extend to terrestrial birds and mammals reliant on these river ecosystems. Urgent measures are needed to mitigate the effects of drought-induced pollution on freshwater environments.

Oxygen effects

Dissolved oxygen effects

Sufficient amounts of dissolved oxygen (DO) are essential for the survival of fish and aquatic insects. The river’s oxygen supply is restored through gas exchange with the atmosphere.

Low DO levels may arise from reduced gas exchange caused by stagnant river sections, significantly reduced flow rates, and reduced turbulence in the river. Additionally, the oxygen solubility drops with rising water temperatures, which can further lower DO concentrations.

On the other hand, summer droughts frequently cause excessive algal development because of strong sunlight and low river flows, which raise water oxygen concentrations through photosynthesis.

Fish kills and the localized extinction of some aquatic species may result from the fast decline in DO concentrations that occurs when algal blooms end because respiring bacteria destroy the algal biomass.

green water alga

Algal growth problems

Decreased river flow during droughts can prolong the growth and reproduction of floating algae, leading to damaging algal blooms. These blooms increase water cloudiness, smother aquatic plants, and deplete oxygen levels when decomposed by bacteria, resulting in fish kills.

Winter droughts can advance spring blooms, while summer low flows can shorten them due to settling algae. High temperatures and low flows alter algal communities, favoring smaller green algae over larger species. These changes have an effect on fish, plants, and insects by upsetting the river food chain.

pollution is killing animals

How pollution is killing animals

Pollution, driven by human activities, disrupts ecosystems and threatens wildlife in various ways. Thousands of synthetic chemicals alter natural balances, with toxic metals accumulating from industries like animal agriculture, mining, and waste discharge.

The respiratory health and habitat modifications caused by air pollution affect wildlife, while the acid rain caused by emissions of sulfur and nitrogen ruins aquatic habitats.

Toxic algal growth, habitat damage, and mass animal mortality are caused by water contamination from mining, stormwater runoff, and oil spill events.

Coastal pollution destroys marine ecosystems and drives species like whales and dolphins from their homes. This pollution is mostly caused by plastic garbage. Aquatic creatures’ communication and behavior are disrupted by noise pollution, and agricultural chemicals directly and indirectly threaten wildlife populations.

Littering results in entanglement and ingestion fatalities, particularly in marine environments, where plastic waste accumulates in gigantic patches. Household pollutants further contaminate water systems, endangering wildlife.

These numerous causes of pollution show how urgently comprehensive steps are needed to lessen the effects of human activity and safeguard ecosystems and wildlife.

We must act now!

Increased population, high levels of pollution, and over-exploitation of Mother Earth are threatening Global biodiversity. This matter needs to be resolved immediately.  While there is technology to lessen pollution, adverse effects can also be mitigated by switching to plant-based farming and mindful consumption.

Let us support environmental activists and make our lifestyle choices so that they can save wildlife and ecosystems. It is the right time to act and preserve the earth’s delicate balance to save our future generations.