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The Effects of Paper and Natural Gas on the Environment

1) Explain how each (paper & natural gas) affect biological diversity in the environment
2) Effects of paper and natural gas on soil & water quality.

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PART I: The effects of paper and natural gas on biological diversity in the environment


Biodiversity is the "full variety of life on Earth" and is also the study of the processes that create and maintain variation. It is concerned with the different types of individuals in the many different types of populations in the world; the diversity of species in our communities; as well as the range of ecological roles within our ecosystems (Environment Canada, 2012). Our relationship with the environment are largely defined by Space and soil that are needed for native plants and wildlife, as well as for crops used for food, feed, fiber, wood products and liquid fuel derived from plant material (biofuel). The pulp and paper industry, and natural gas are major sources of pollution. The earth is in trouble: overtime, the release of anthropogenic chemicals (chlorofluorocarbons-CFCs) into the atmosphere has degraded the stratospheric ozone layer around the Earth, which shields the planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation (FOE, 2012).

Paper Waste and Biodiversity

With an increasing population, we are consuming more and more natural resources. We do this by driving more, using more energy in our homes, and buying many more products than we need. Biodiversity is crucial in our lives. However, while it provides us with the raw materials for clothes, shoes, paper and so on; and although we use many natural products we make and use more un-natural; man-made chemicals - including but not limited to; household and car cleaners, fertilizers, pesticides and bug sprays among others (Dale et al., 2010; FOE, 2012). These all come with a hefty price with hefty side effects far beyond watery eyes, mild skin rash and sneezing. Each year, millions of tons of paper and wood and despite the ecological and human cost of paper production we continue to throw vast amounts of this resource away after using it only once. Currently, Paper and yard wastes account for the largest portion of municipal waste and much of this can be recycled directly or composted (EPA, 2012).

Species from around the world are threatened because of over-exploitation, and many are near extinction (Environment Canada, 1998). Over-harvesting is also a threat to biodiversity and is a major problem with many of our natural resources. For example; the harvesting of forests, trees, paper, and the extraction of oil and gas are examples of non-renewable resources whose over-use has enormously and extensively impacted our biodiversity and local environments (Collins; 1996; Environment Canada, 2012). Fish are a very good example of a threat to wildlife. Each year approximately 80 million fish are caught for human consumption. The manner in which the fishing is done tends to largely destroy marine habitats and catches many other marine animals by accident, and causes marine populations to shrink (Collins, 1996; Environment Canada, 2012).

Overall, the cumulative impacts of the above-mentioned pollutants; effects; habitat modification, global redistribution of species and over-harvesting place a huge burden on our ecosystems. The cumulative impacts cause alteration, reduction and loss of function within the ecosystems' populations and species; causes degradation; loss and fragmentation of habitat. Most important-and most dangerous-they also damage our health and safety.

If we are to think for example, how we use paper towels; even though we could recycle some of the products-we do not. For example, less than half of the paper used in the UK is recovered and more than five million tons are dumped in landfill sites (FOE, 2012) Similarly, In the United States, U.S. ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses the effects of paper and natural gas on the environment.