• When garbage is burnt, it emits smoke and toxic gases into the air.
• Tobacco, when it was first introduced, was used as a cure for toothache.
• Used motor oil is a hazardous waste.
• Take a farmer into a rain forest and most of the insects and birds he recognises will be the ones he considers to be ‘pests’.
• Tyres sunk off the coast form useful habitats for marine life.
• Methane gas from refuse dumps is tapped and turned into a petroleum substitute. California is producing enough power from methane gas obtained from its dumps/landfills to light up a city.
• Sex potions are made from rhino horn, tiger bones, bear blood and bladders, leopards, panthers and monkeys, amongst others. The biggest threat to these animals are the Chinese who manufacture and distribute these potions around the world. These animals are all on the endangered list.
• Vehicle exhausts emit ammonia, hydrocarbons, organic acids and sulphur oxides into the air we breathe.
• 83% of global fisheries are fully fished or over-exploited.
• Alternative building materials include plastic bottles, glass bottles, tyres, and cob building using straw and mud. Earth homes use the ground as an insulating blanket that efficiently protects it from rain, low temperatures and wind.
• An estimated 50,000 species inhabiting our tropical forests become extinct annually. That’s an average of 137 species a day.
• Rainforests are cut down at a rate of 100 acres per minute.
• When you throw plastic bags and other plastic materials in the ocean, it kills as many as 1 million sea creatures annually.
• Aluminum can be recycled continuously, as in forever. Recycling one aluminium product can save enough energy to run a TV for at least three hours. Some 80 trillion aluminium cans are used by humans every year.
• 27,000 trees are cut down each day so we can have toilet paper.
Butts on the beach
It is not just shells that are washing up with the tide these days. Cigarette filters are really becoming a problem on our beaches.
They are carried by wind and rain, end up going down stormwater drains, into rivers and from there flow out to sea.
Toxic chemicals including arsenic, acetone, lead, formaldehyde, ammonia and benzene leak out of the filters and threaten water quality and pollute marine eco-systems. They are composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic which can take up to 25 years to decompose.
So before tossing that cigarette butt, give a thought to the environment.