Pollution: Bigger Than Your Worst Nightmare

The Terrifyingly Growing Increase of Pollution

Pollution: Bigger Than Your Worst Nightmare

Alesis Ruley, News Editor

Pollution on our Earth is absolutely no secret, but it is also not the most obvious subject that we have in everyday conversation. It’s something we see daily, but sweep it under the rug because our brains are numb and used to seeing the environment be absolutely disgusting.

Soda cans, cigarettes, paper, food packaging, and glass are just a few items that we see on the ground everyday, but our brain unconsciously ignores. 

So how are we going to break out of this nasty habit, or even get the feeling to care? 

It seems almost impossible, especially since here at Central, some of our peers cannot seem to handle the simple task of throwing away their own trash at lunch. If people won’t do that, what is going to encourage them to pick up trash outside of school (in their environment), and help prevent them from being the original literer themselves?

When finding out some of these scary statistics, we all may reevaluate our self awareness, and our kindness to our home; Earth. 

Though we are part of the reason our Earth has gotten to an unacceptable point, the blame is not completely on our shoulders.

Generations before us were the start of unhealthy littering habits, and we have just come to follow in their footsteps.

Pollution has altered Earth’s history and well being, this is due to some technological devices and the outbranch of countries and their progressions from the Industrial Revolution. While pollution has always been an issue, obvious or underlying, the 1960s is when professionals and scientists began to realize the complications that pollution was causing. 

They were not the only ones coming to the conclusion that polluting was becoming a serious and real drawback. A movement started to emerge.

Out of this movement came things like Earth Day, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act.


                                                                                  Air Pollution

In 2007, a study showed that almost half of all Americans were living in counties with an unhealthy amount of particle pollution. Ozone and smog is something that the American Lung Association describes as an “irritating, invisible gas that is formed most often by a reaction of sunlight and vapors emitted when fuel is burned by cars and trucks, factors, power plants, and other sources.”

You may think that this only happens in other parts of the world, country, or Kentucky. You may think that this will not affect you because it is not happening right now, but many of the things we do or use affects the air that goes into our own lungs. 

One is a very common site you will see here in the Central Hardin student parking lot; car and truck exhaust.

Coming out of every exhaust pipe is a chemical by the name of carbon monoxide.

When breathing in large amounts, it can do harmful things to your body like displacing oxygen in the blood (which deprives your heart of that oxygen) and can affect your brain, plus other vital organs.

As people who live on this Earth and breathe in this air, we seem to not really care about what we put in it. Not just people like you and I, but factory owners and the government.

There are many ways that you can help though to make sure that we do not worsen the problem or make it a forthcoming one.

One way is to stay away from burning your garbage. This is the only way to get rid of garbage if your parents/guardians do not have trash service. Obviously since you do not live on your own you can only do so much to try and prevent your family from burning trash, but you can make it a goal of your own that when you are older you can have a trash service come to your house.

Burning garbage is terrible for your environment as well as your physical health. The toxic chemicals released when burning trash include nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic chemicals, and polycyclic organic matter. Some of these chemicals are not as bad as others, but at the same time half of us do not know what these chemicals are.

So we probably should not be releasing that into the air that we inhale until the day we die.

Another huge step we can take to stop idling the engine in your vehicle. This is a pretty big problem that we have here at Central Hardin.

By definition of the Oxford Dictionary, idling means “spend time doing nothing.” And that is exactly what you are doing when you turn in your car for thirty minutes but you are not actually going anywhere. 

The exhaust from your vehicle can be very harsh on the environment, and keeping your vehicle on in the parking lot really is not helping. Remember, this is the world that your potential kids, grandkids, and so on will live in. What kind of air would you like them to breathe in?

When generations down our family’s are breathing in filthy and dirt filled air, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.


                                                                                      Water Pollution

I am sure going to the beach is a pleasant experience for everyone in some manner. Even if you hate the ocean and the smell of fish and seaweed, chances are you think a vacation at the beach is better than sitting in a school room for eight hours a day.

When going to the beach everyone will notice at least one piece of trash on the beach, and I think we all know a shark did not grow legs, come on land, drink a Diet Coke, and then leave the trash there and go back to the ocean.

Just like air pollution, water pollution comes in different forms as well, and we all contribute to it in different ways. We seem to throw things into beaches, lakes, ponds, and rivers, acting like we are not hurting ourselves.

Water safety is a huge thing, and many events have happened in our lifetime where we turn on the news and hundreds of people have died because they went to take a drink of water lacking the knowledge that it is filled with cholera and typhoid. 

The wildlife in the ocean takes up 94% of the entire planet’s wildlife.

And we eat a lot of it.

Fish, octopus, and even sharks are some common animals that people eat out of the ocean. If you plan to live in a coastal area when you are older, marine life is a typical thing on the menu in those places, especially around the beach. I am positive you would not eat plastic straight off of the ground, but when eating some fish that is exactly what it is like.

Fish and other aquatic life can eat plastics that we throw into the ocean such as cans, bottles, bathroom/feminine items, and even glass. 

When this happens they contaminate themselves (our food) and can cause us to get sick.

Even if you don’t get sick, I feel like it is an uncomfortable feeling knowing that there is a piece of plastic floating around in your stomach somewhere.

Throwing trash in bodies of water clearly gets eaten by aquatic life, but the rest does not just go away. 

They dissolve into microbeads that will sink to the bottom of an ocean or a river to affect things on the floor.

Obviously this does not come to a concern to people because we do not live in the ocean and we can just step over a piece of trash as marine life become entangled in trash or eat trash which leads to starvation.

One day when we cannot look out at the ocean and cannot actually see it, and we see an endless abyss of trash, we will start to care about the fact that we are running out of room to put all of our trash.

Ways we can help though are not far from us. 

A major and obvious way that we can contribute to decrease this issue is to recycle. 

I know you feel like for our whole entire lives people have told us the importance of recycling but we just shake it off and act as if it is not important.

Right now more than ever though, we need less trash in our oceans and on our Earth. So it is important that we all at least make an attempt to recycle.

You could simply take all the plastic recyclables that you have in your house and put them in a recycling bin or just container that you may have lying around. There are plenty of recycling trucks around town that you can give your recyclables to. You can just Google their location and take them right over.

One other way you can help is limit the amount of plastic you actually buy. Buying water in plastic bottles is the most popular way to get water, However there is a more efficient way.

You can get a filter on your sink so that the water will not taste strange if you mind that. 

Investing in a long term water bottle that is plastic or metal can also really help.


                                                                                   The Scary Part

Even though we can put in lots of effort now, getting everyone to care and be on board is almost impossible. There is more pollution happening than there we can actually prevent.

In 2025, 6 million tons of trash will be in this world per day.