Environmental matters increased in importance in the past few years, and these issues are threatening the natural resources. This always seems to be exacerbated by poor practices in various industries, especially the manufacturing ones. With limited resources and poor practices, global industries might suffer more than initially thought. Environmental issues that remain unaddressed will cause a variety of issues, from disruptions in the supply chain as well directly difficulties manifested through the consequences of poor environmental practices. Also, a severely damaged environment becomes unwelcoming for both human life and adjacent activities. Below is a list of some of the most dangerous environmental challenges and how they impact global businesses on long and short-term perspectives.
Pollution is a by-product of a modern lifestyle, but nonetheless, it is the most important environmental issue of our era. Large industries are responsible for a continuously increasing amount of toxic gasses released into the air, while humanity’s lifestyle contributes and accentuates the issue. Below are presented some of the most dangerous air pollutants generated by growing industries all over the world.
- Ozone – when nitrogen oxides are exposed to sunlight, they react and ozone appears. This gas is life-threatening for human life, since it affects the lugs severely, leading to bronchitis, asthma, congestion, pain and cough in early stages, and ultimately, emphysema. Nitrogen oxides can be found in paints, solvents, motor combustibles and are also generated by the manufacturing industries at a large scale.
- Carbon monoxide – is a result of the incomplete combustion of various fuels and it also has a life-threatening potential. It damages the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen to important organs, and high levels of carbon monoxide oftentimes lead to death.
- Particulate matter – industries are mainly guilty of releasing small solid particles into the air, as a result of the manufacturing process, but also small droplets. These damage to a high degree the skin and eyes, the fine lining of the throat, but also become extremely dangerous to the human health when inhaled. Long exposure to these leads to premature death, associated with cardiovascular diseases and lung diseases.
- Lead – maybe one of the most dangerous chemical elements out there, lead is guilty of an increasing number of premature deliveries and miscarriages. Also, it can cause mental retardation, fragile mental health and learning difficulties. It can be found in gasoline and paints, and is the most commonly used element in various manufacturing industries.
At last, manufacturing industries can no longer ignore the pollution for which they are responsible, and in the past few years the action took towards reducing the pollution levels generated by industries increased considerably. The most active country to take action against pollution are China and the resources used for this purpose reached in 2014, $112 billion dollars, and still rise.
Not only pollution is damaging the environment beyond reparation, but also decreases the chances that the big players in various industries have to grow and develop in a sustainable fashion. First, raised medical bills and off days taken by the employees due to pollution-related health issues cost the companies an enormous yearly amount, but also pollution reduces the chances that these companies have to select and hire competent candidates for various positions in some of the highest-polluting industries. Also, even if such candidates are hired, companies only succeed to retain them on impressive wages, which raises the overall operational costs that companies have.
An increasing issue in nowadays’ environment is waste disposal. To be more exact, as population and the waste generated by it and industries grow proportionally, how could waste disposal become more efficient and less resource-consuming? Unfortunately, not all solutions practised nowadays in order to dispose of the waste are efficient or environmental-friendly. In fact, solid waste is, in most of the cases, buried inland or burned, which is incredibly damaging to the environment, not to mention human health. Decomposing waste will generate dangerous by-products which will easily infiltrate into the soil and damage its quality on long-term perspectives. Certain waste management solutions are, in fact, incredibly effective, because they run on low energy levels, while assuring a better management of solid waste. You can learn more about this here, but unfortunately, not all manufacturers are educated enough to implement such amazing solutions.
Nonetheless, the variety of dangerous by-products of the manufacturing process demand improved waste-management measures. An amazing idea proposed by eco-friendly industries is that instead of the linear production pattern and product lifecycle, a circular one should be adopted by manufacturing companies. To be more exact, in the manufacturing process should be used more resilient raw materials, in order to increase the lifespan of various parts. So, after the life cycle of a product reaches the end, most of the components could be used for a new product. This manufacturing philosophy is named “cradle-to-cradle” and seems to be the most effective initiative to reduce waste in industries.
Climate change is a real problem, in spite of the fact that many entities try to minimize its importance. Nonetheless, climate change has a negative impact on human life and industries, especially agriculture, as it changes the specifics of certain areas, and makes those unproductive and unwelcoming for more and more species. If urgent solutions are not taken, large and small players in the agricultural field will see themselves forced to invest in intelligent crops and intelligent irrigation systems, which unfortunately are incredibly expensive to implement. Not only excessive heat is the enemy of multiple industries, buy also unexpected flooding and violent weather manifestation in areas in which these are not typical. For instance, in eastern Europe, an era in which tornados never appeared until recently, several phenomena like this took place in the past few years.
These are some of the most dangerous environmental matters that have to be urgently addressed and how they influence the big players in various industries.