In order for a Global Environmental Policy to be successful, all nations must agree on the key target issues and develop compliance practices that are in line with their health and science organizations and national cultures.
Remediation liability needs to be identified. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Europe uses the “polluter pays” principle which requires the polluter to pay its own compliance costs; these cost liabilities are based on the political economics of the consortium.
In the former socialist countries where central government was responsible for all policies, environmental issues were usually overlooked or disregarded. Environmental quality was poor due to the diversion of priorities by political leaders. Rapid economic growth was the primary focus and little public information was distributed on environmental matters.
Barry C Field states that socialist countries tended to have “grandiose project syndrome”, where massive projects disregarded potential negative environmental impacts. For example, the Aral Sea was used as an irrigation water source. The water extraction reduced the sea level by two-thirds, contaminated the soil with salt, and increased the salinity of fresh water aquifers.
Effects of Emissions
Dangerous gaseous compounds released into the atmosphere by humans include carbon dioxide, nitrous and sulfur oxides, and chloroflurocarbons (CFCs), which contribute to the greenhouse effect. These compounds contribute to increasing the ambient temperature of the Earth. The increased temperature can result in melting the polar ice caps, which will raise the ocean levels and cause flooding.
Additionally, the weather patterns will change and more violent storms will occur. The salt water may contaminate fresh water supplies. Estuary ecosystems will be destroyed. Organisms intolerant to the increased temperature will be eradicated. The increased temperature may lead to spreading of tropical diseases to the developed world. The negative impacts will be disastrous.
Ironically, the greenhouse effect can have some positive impacts on the environment. The increased average ambient temperature can reduce home heating costs. The northern latitudes can become more suitable for human settlements. Increased rainfall and longer growing seasons can lead to greater crop yields. Even with these benefits of global warming, the negative impacts far outweigh the positive aspects.
The omnipresent problems of air and water pollution and rain forest depletion contribute to climatic disturbances. The destruction of the rain forests is disturbing the Earth’s natural air purification system and its potential medicine chest. The slash and burn practices used to create farmland ultimately destroys the land. After the tropical vegetation is removed, the land is arable for only a few seasons before it becomes nutritionally barren.
Afterwards, another area is destroyed and the cycle continues. People of developed nations view this practice as irresponsible and appalling. This practice is partially due to the fact that inhabitants of the tropical areas may not have a choice in determining where they raise crops and livestock. It is difficult to explain to these people that their practices are harming the environment when they are surviving on subsistence farming to provide for their families and economically depressed countries.
The global timber industry has to include sound sivilculture practices for a sustainable resource, as well as to prevent soil erosion and waterway contamination.
Industrial nations can reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by switching to low-sulfur coal and installing synergistic reactors in the factories’ smokestacks. These reactors use about one-third less energy than conventional scrubbers and remove nearly 100% of the sulfur dioxide emissions and create gypsum as the by-product, a component of wallboard for construction.
Global Ban on Persistent Pesticides
There has to be a global ban on persistent pesticides such as DDT, which does not metabolize or catabolize, and remains in organisms and the environment. However, DDT does have its benefits. It is an inexpensive and very effective pesticide used control many disease-vectoring insect species in the world, which is why it is still used in enormous amounts.
Each nation has the duty to develop an environmental policy to address key targets to provide protection for its inhabitants and the global community at large.