Microplastics are not a new type of plastic, but small fragments of plastics of any type. Microplastic pollution has been a debated topic among environmentalists for many years. In early January 2019, a comprehensive study revealed that microplastics are present in every part of the environment, classifying them as a global environmental problem and thereby bringing mainstream attention to this topic.
It’s no secret the Earth is facing its fair share of issues. With global warming, pollution and biodiversity decreasing, it’s more important than ever to help show our support for our planet. With Earth Day approaching April 22nd, there are all kinds of ways we can help bring awareness to the importance of taking care of the planet, not just for Earth day – but every day.
Saving Our Beaches: Engineering Solutions for Tourists’ Impact
Everyone loves a beach vacation. In colder climates especially, more and more people are taking advantage of cheap airfares for a long weekend of sunbathing and swimming in the dead of winter. In fact, 12 of the top 15 destinations were in coastal countries.
In 1995, there were around 528 million international tourist arrivals. That number jumped to 1.138 billion in 2014, and emerging economies are experiencing faster tourism growth than advanced economies, making the increase in tourism an important part of many countries’ growth.
Local economies encourage increased tourism, as it helps to grow local wealth and jobs that pay well. Unfortunately, this relaxing trend is having some serious consequences on the environment that may outweigh the economic benefits.
Some of the downsides of increased tourism include resort development, boating, snorkeling, diving, and fishing, cruise ship presence, litter, coral reef damage, and even the creation of artificial beaches. These activities introduce toxins and other harmful substances, cause physical damage and sedimentation, and exploit local fish populations.
So what can be done to preserve the benefits of tourism for developing economies while balancing the need for environmental responsibility? Engineers have a few ideas. Eco-friendly roofing systems, designs that catch rainwater for later use, innovative wastewater management, and considering the landscape when constructing resorts and hotels can all help to reduce the impact tourists have on the local environment.
These innovative solutions are key for helping to ensure that tourists, locals, the local environment, and wildlife can all exist harmoniously now and in the future. Find out more about how serious the problems caused by coastal tourism have become and how engineers are working to solve them with this resource from Ohio University’s Master of Science in Civil Engineering Program.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that we need to adapt our construction methods to be more environmentally friendly. However, this isn’t just a case of green energy and sustainable materials, plans must also account for the local ecosystem.
The construction of both residential and commercial properties is encroaching further and further into our countryside. As a result, wildlife habitats are negatively affected and the UK’s biodiversity suffers.
In addition, changing animal behaviours in urban areas are being caused by a range of human factors. These include air and light pollution as well as habitat loss and fragmentation amongst others.
As towns and cities take over more green space, we’re increasingly likely to encounter wildlife or even share our home with them. A surprisingly common example of this is bats roosting in and around homes.
Thankfully, there are solutions being developed which will allow us to coexist peacefully with our indigenous animal species. Read on to find out what issues exist and how conservation-friendly construction can remedy them…
Sick building syndrome, also known as building-related illness, is a controversial subject shrouded in mystery, hearsay, and conflicting arguments. The fact that there are no diagnostic tests and specific treatments for it stirs even more confusion.
What is clear, though, is that many people seem to succumb to illnesses as the result of exposure to a host of biological, physical, and chemical agents present in residential and commercial buildings. Therefore, sick building syndrome can be considered an umbrella term for multifarious risk factors and symptoms that occur in indoor environments.
And no matter how we choose to call them, rest assured that they are real.