1. Air pollution killed 13 million people in 2016, more than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.
While many ailments affect the human species, air pollution has been one of the leading causes of death since 2016. The World Health Organization first recognized air pollution as a major environmental health issue in 1991. Every country has a different set of national air quality standards that are set by the World Health Organization (WHO), monitored by surveyors, and then reported on in a yearly review as from 2017.
2.For every kg of steel made, 10 kg of fossil fuels is consumed.
Steel is a metal alloy that is an iron-carbon alloy. It has high tensile strength, ductility, and durability. Steel is made by using a blast furnace, where gases are introduced to produce heat and molten pig iron, which is then cast into ingots. This process requires a lot of energy, and about 10kg of fossil fuel is used for every kg of steel made.
3. Mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants threaten human health in North America and Europe
Coal power plants are the world’s largest source of mercury pollution, accounting for about 40 percent of global anthropogenic mercury emissions. Mercury is a metallic, silver-white, low-density liquid that can cause serious neurological and developmental problems. 30% of the mercury found in the environment comes from natural sources; 70% comes from human activities, mainly mining and burning fossil fuels.
4. Fungi play a critical role in the environment.
Fungi have been involved in the biodegradation of waste and toxic materials. Fungi are one of the driving forces in breaking down materials such as cellulose, releasing carbon dioxide and water. They can also digest minerals from rocks and consume fuel spills in oceans, thus instrumental in reducing environmental pollution.
5. There are about 1 million species of insects for every mammal species on Earth.
Insects make up about 90% of all existing species on Earth, with over 2 million insect species already discovered. It is estimated that over 5 million species of insects remain to be discovered. While many people have a fear of spiders, there are only 3,000 species of spiders that are dangerous to humans. It has been estimated that since 2000, around 1% of the insect species have gone extinct.
6. Of all the water on Earth, only 1% is available and accessible for human consumption.
Water is the most valuable resource in the world, and 97% of the water on Earth is salt water. Only 3% of Earth’s surface is covered by fresh water, and a mere 1% of this water is accessible for human consumption, with glaciers and icecaps containing the other 2% of fresh water.
7. Plastic bags and garbage kill over 1,000,000 sea animals every year.
Plastic bags and bottles are harmful to the environment and can take centuries to biodegrade. Plastic bags have been found in the depths of our oceans and have caused the death of around 100,000 marine animals every year, who become entangled in them or mistakenly ingest them.
8. The Island of Palau is the most biodiverse in the world.
Palau is the most biodiverse island in the world, with over 200,000 species of plants and animals. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010 due to its special biodiversity. It was the last remaining section of Australian land free from human development until 2007 when it was turned into an international destination for tourists. It is located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Micronesia.
9. Twenty-seven thousand trees are cut down each day.
An estimated 27,000 trees are cut down each day to produce newspapers and other forms of printed material. Recycling one newspaper edition in the United States could save about 75000 trees.
10.The ocean is the largest sewage treatment facility in the world.
As The Ocean Conservancy estimates, approximately 80% of human waste is in the ocean. A study by the World Bank and UN Environment Program found that there could be 100 million tons of garbage floating in our oceans.
11. In 2016, there were four species of amphibians went extinct.
Since 1500, there has been a loss of 77% in the Earth’s amphibian population which is the largest decline of biodiversity in any animal group. Alfred Russel Wallace first pointed out this alarming trend in 1876 and attributed it to over-exploitation by humans. This has also been attributed to climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, and disease.