In 2017 the UN Environment Assembly recognized this reality (the overwhelming levels of pollution around the globe), and the world’s highest-level gathering on the environment put ending pollution at the top of the global political agenda.
- Air pollution contributes to more than 6 million deaths every year, making it the single biggest environmental health risk of our time.
- With more than 8 million tons of plastic entering the oceans every year, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050.
- The illegal trade in wildlife is driving species such as elephants, rhinos, tigers, helmeted hornbills and pangolins to the brink of extinction.
Is now “the biggest environmental risk” to public health in Europe but governments are failing to adequately deal with the crisis, the EU Court of Auditors has found. Europe’s air pollution limits are “much weaker” than WHO guidelines– and most EU countries do not comply with them anyway, according to the damning new report.
Toxic air kills an estimated 400,000 Europeans before their time each year – up to 40,000 of them in Britain. The UK was one of 11 countries accused by the European Environmental Bureauof using an “inventory adjustment” loophole to effectively raise the limit on its past nitrogen dioxide emissions.
In their audit, the EU court calls for Europe’s air quality laws to be brought in line with WHO standards, which are at least twice as exacting for particulate (PM2.5 and PM10) emissions and six times stricter for sulphur dioxide (SO2).
- Plastic pollution can now be found on every beach in the world, from busy tourist beaches to uninhabited, tropical islands. Nowhere is safe.
- Scientists have recently discovered micro-plastics embedded deep in the Arctic ice.
- In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is set to double by 2034.
- Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans.
- There may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and micro-plastic pieces floating in the open ocean, weighing up to 269,000 tonnes.
- Plastics consistently make up 60 to 90% of all marine debris studied.
- Approx. 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach in the UK.
- Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.
- Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined.
- 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually. KIMO
- The number of animals living on the land has fallen by 40% since 1970.
- Marine animal populations have also fallen by 40% overall.
- Overall, 40 percent of the world’s 11,000 bird species are in decline.
- Animal populations in freshwater ecosystems have plummeted by 75% since 1970.
- Insect populations have declined by between 60 and 75% in some places of the world.
- About a quarter of the world’s coral reefs have already been damaged beyond repair, and 75 percent of the world’s coral reefs are at risk from local and global stresses.
- It is estimated that humans have modified more than 50% of Earth’s land surface, which has affected many ecosystems as well as the range (of ecosystems) in which specific species of wildlife used to exist.
- As reported by The World Conservation Union (IUCN), there are 849 cases of species that have disappeared in the wild since 1500 A.D., and this does not account for thousands of species that disappeared before scientists were able to identify them
- “As of 2006, more than 16,000 species worldwide were threatened with extinction, but this is likely to be a gross underestimate because fewer than 3 percent of the world’s 1.9 million described species have been assessed by IUCN’s
- Earth’s population of wild vertebrates — all mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish — experienced an overall decline of 60 percent from 1970 to 2014, the most recent year with available data
- Roughly 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest has disappeared in just 50 years, while about half of all shallow-water corals have been lost in the last 30 years.
- Wetlands have lost 87 percent of their extent in the modern era.
- The fastest wildlife decline is in freshwater habitats, which lost 83 percent of their vertebrate populations between 1970 and 2014. The total number of freshwater vertebrates drops by about 4 percent
- each year.
- The planet’s tropical regions are losing vertebrate species at an especially dramatic rate, with South and Central America suffering an 89 percentdecline since 1970, followed by the Indo-Pacific (64 percent), Afrotropical (56 percent), Palearctic (31 percent)and Nearctic (23 percent).
What does this mean?
Not only was our current situation foreseen nearly 3,000 years ago, there are stark warnings about not caring for the Earth;
Hosea 4:3 – That is why your land is in mourning, and everyone is wasting away. Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea are disappearing.
Isaiah 24: 5- 6– The earth is defiled (polluted)by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt.
Jeremiah 8: 14– For the Lord our God has doomed us to perish and given us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against him.
Revelation 11:18– The time has come for judging the dead….and for destroying those who destroy the earth.
What does the Bible tell us about?– The Future
What does this mean for you? – Good News
UN Environment Report 2017
The Guardian – 11thSeptember 2018
Surfers Against Sewerage – 2018
Earth Day Network – 13thSeptember 2018
Mother Nature Network – 30thOctober 2018