Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases required by the earth to maintain normal temperatures and sustain life. Over the years, there has been an alarming increase of these gases to unhealthy levels and this has negatively affected the earth’s environment. This is because of varied human activities such as industrialization, technological advancement, agricultural production and several other factors. These activities facilitate emission of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases). Trees naturally control the concentration of carbon by absorbing and using it, but massive deforestation done to create space for building and agriculture interferes with this function. The increased emission of carbon leads to high concentration of the gas in the air as less of it escapes from the planet. This leads to elevated temperatures in the atmosphere, a phenomenon referred to as global warming.
Global warming brought about by emission of carbon lead to depletion of the environment in various ways. One of the worst effects of carbon on the environment is the melting of the polar ice caps. Besides being a source of fresh water for oceans and seas, the polar ice caps reflect heat and sunlight back into space thus regulating the atmospheric temperatures on earth. It is also the natural habitat for various species of plants and animals such as seals and polar bears. Melting of these ice caps, as has been witnessed in the past few years, leads to higher temperatures on the earth because there is little regulation taking place. It also leads to depletion of fresh water sources and extinction of certain species of plants and animals that thrive in the caps. The melting ice caps also raise sea levels blocking photosynthetic processes as coral reefs and sea plants are shielded from the rays of the sun. Higher temperatures on earth also increase carbon dioxide trapped in the water, raising its pH. Increasing acidity levels in the water destroy the zooplankton, which the sea creatures rely on for food. Carbon thus has severe effects on the sea as well.
High concentrations of Carbon and other greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide and methane pollute the environment and destroy the quality of air. Consequently, there is a marked increase in respiratory infections such as asthma and other diseases like cancer. Global warming attributed to high levels of carbon have changed climatic patterns worldwide. The result has been more occurrences of floods and earthquakes as well as droughts, volcanoes and hurricanes on the earth. These calamities have caused increased suffering and death in both the human population and animals. Migration of animals and birds are also the result of erratic climatic changes. Acid rain is a direct result of increased emissions of carbon and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Acid rain destroys plants and crops. It also has adverse effects on the soil and forests in the long run.
To avert further destruction of our environment, there is an urgent need to reduce emission of carbon into the air. Fortunately, everyone can contribute towards this. Walking and cycling are highly recommended to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles. Unplugging all unused electrical appliances also reduces carbon emissions. It is advisable to use environmentally` friendly fuels like biogas and solar energy also. Ensure that the companies supplying your water and electricity use environmental friendly energy.
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