13 ways to save the Earth from pollution

You might use plastic water bottles, yogurt cups, and straws for just a day, but they can remain in the environment for years. And that pollution can harm habitats and the animals that live there. Cut down Earth’s trash with these tips. 

Bust the balloons

Balloons eventually fall back down to Earth … and can end up in the ocean, entangling animals or being mistaken for food. Skip the balloons at your next party, and ask friends to do the same. Make pom-pom decorations instead!

Bin for the win

Always throw trash in the can. Garbage left outside might harm wildlife and end up in the ocean. Trash that’s properly brought to a landfill is kept out of the sea.

Fish responsibly

If you go fishing, don’t leave nets or lines in the water. Animals can become entangled in the trash.

Scientists estimate that about half the world’s sea turtles accidentally eat plastic and other trash. Keep the ocean clean by never leaving toys or trash at the beach.

Dump plastic

According to one study, over eight million tons of plastic pollution end up in the ocean each year. Drink from a refillable water bottle, place your sandwich in cloth or a reusable container, and use bar soap instead of bottled.

Garbage club

Form a club in your classroom to reduce your waste at school . Monitor what’s thrown away each week, and think about ways to cut down on those items.

Trash trooper

Participate in a community cleanup . The groups that host the events sometimes weigh the collected trash, which helps leaders make decisions about laws that encourage people to waste less.

Recycle right

People in the United States recycle only about 35 percent of their waste, so recycle what you can. Ask for help to create a paper and plastic recycling program in your classroom.

Business talk

Does your favorite ice-cream shop use plastic spoons? Ask an adult to help you talk to the owner about switching to a non-plastic option. Some kinds of spoons are even edible!

Do-good goodie bag

Don’t fill your birthday goodie bags with plastic yo-yos and other trinkets for your friends. Instead, give them homemade treats or coupons to a local bakery.

Straw sense

Experts estimate that Americans use about 500 million plastic straws a day, and they’re one of the top 10 trash items found during ocean cleanups. If you must use a straw, find a reusable metal straw or a paper version or make your own.

Pest Friends

Ask your parents to buy food and clothes that are made without pesticides—chemicals sprayed on crops to kill bad bugs. The problem? Pesticides also can kill critters like bees that are eco-friendly.

Stuffed with stuff

Items shipped to your home often come wrapped in plastic packaging; toys bought at the store are covered in it. Think about what can be bought secondhand, what can be shared, and what doesn’t need to be purchased at all.

Photo credits: Stephan Bonk, Shutterstock (balloons); Nokuro, Shutterstock (bottles); Ariel Skelly, Getty Images (clean up); Kerdkanno, Shutterstock (ice cream): Shawn Jackson, Dreamstime (dolphin): Kanittha Boon, Shutterstock (straws); Sergey Uryadnikov / Shutterstock (sea bird)

explore more

Learn about plastic and how to reduce your use., save the earth, save the earth tips, endangered species act.

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society Copyright © 2015-2023 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved

6 global environmental issues and ways you can help

1. loss of biodiversity .

In 2019, the United Nations published a groundbreaking report stating that more than one million animal and plant species are at risk of becoming extinct in the upcoming decades. Conservationists have been urging us to protect wildlife for years, and now it’s a race against the clock. The world needs biodiversity. Birds transport seeds across rainforests, sharks balance ocean food webs, mangroves hold important nutrients in wetlands… without diverse species and their unique ecological roles, our planet would suffer greatly. 

What you can do: 

Habitat loss and fragmentation is one of the fastest growing threats against species’ survival. From shrinking elephant corridors in India to bulldozed koala eucalyptus groves in Australia , animals are losing their habitats at a startling rate. Help make a difference by respecting natural landscapes and participating in habitat restoration projects. Like all environmental issues, we also need large scale government action to help save endangered species. Support international and local wildlife protection legislation like the Endangered Species Act, and vote for candidates who advocate for conservation.  

2. Human-wildlife conflict 

Today’s human-dominated landscapes can make it difficult for animals to find abundant habitat and resources. Conflict — real or perceived — between people and wildlife looks different all around the world. For people in Malawi, conflict may include unexpected encounters with large animals like leopards, crocodiles, and hippos that cause serious injury - sometimes leading to retaliatory killing of wildlife. In India, community members face conflict with elephants who graze on crops and cause great economic loss. Across Canada and the United States, government programs kill thousands of wolves, beavers, bobcats, and bears through unscientific poisoning and cull initiatives. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, closed cities and quieter communities led to more accounts of wildlife sightings as animals came out of hiding. In this ever-changing world, it’s important that we understand the role of wildlife and learn how to respect all species so we can better coexist.  

Human wellbeing and wildlife protection are interconnected. When animals are treated with respect and able to play their natural role in the environment, humans benefit greatly. Ecosystems heal, lifestyles improve, eco-tourism thrives, and we get to appreciate the intrinsic beauty of wildlife. 

Coexistence is possible and there are countless innovative solutions that promote the wellbeing of animals and humans.   

3. Ocean noise and vessel strikes  

These days, most of us can order an item online with the click of a button—but what comes as a convenience to us is a danger to wildlife. The majority of the world’s products are transported by large cargo ships, and unfortunately, they are threatening the lives of marine animals. Ships and other industrial activity produce sound waves known as ocean noise pollution that create a maze of noise and disorient marine animals. Ocean noise pollution can prevent animals like dolphins and whales from communicating, hunting, and finding mates. In some cases, it can even lead to immense stress and death. Another issue facing marine animals is ship strikes and collisions of all sizes. Blunt trauma from propeller strikes and ship collisions can cause internal injury, sliced fluke tails, and a slow death for whales. For the case of the North Atlantic right whale , ship strikes are pushing the species to extinction. 

4. Plastic pollution 

An estimated eight million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year , threatening the health of ecosystems, marine animals, and humans. Plastic debris can entangle marine animals , causing deep lacerations, starvation, and strangulation. Turtles are known to consume floating plastic bags (mistaking them for jellyfish) and 90% of all seabirds have consumed plastic. When plastics break down into microplastics, they are even more dangerous. Species lower on the food chain like fish, plankton, and oysters consume microplastics when filtering water. Toxins from the microplastics then get passed through the food web, reaching their way to large marine animals and humans. 

5. Intensive farming of animals   

Intensive farming—also known as factory farming—involves industrialized facilities utilizing confinement systems with high stocking densities. Not only does intensive farming cause immense suffering to millions of animals, but it also has a devastating environmental impact. The Food and Agriculture Organization report, Livestock's Long Shadow, found that 37% of the world's methane emissions come from factory farming. Untreated animal waste full of highly concentrated chemicals and bacteria is stored in giant manure lagoons that emit gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and ammonia. When overflow occurs from broken infrastructure or rain, the waste leaches into soil and causes dangerous threats to environmental and human health. This includes harmful algae blooms, contamination of drinking water, ammonia pollution, and pathogen outbreaks.  

 What you can do:  

6. Food waste  

Food waste and loss occurs along every step of food production, from farms to factories, to grocery stores and consumers. During production, waste happens when production exceeds demand, manufacturing damages product, and food spoils during transportation. On the consumer end, food waste occurs mainly from over-purchasing and throwing out blemished produce. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 30-40% of food in the United States goes to waste . All food has an ecological footprint. When we waste food, we waste the energy and natural resources that went into production, and contribute to landfills that produce greenhouse gases. 

Press Releases

Destruction of Ukraine’s biggest dam impacts the environment

black rhinos vs. greater one-horned rhinos: what’s the difference?

how better kitchens save human and elephant lives in Assam, India

every problem has a solution, every solution needs support.

The problems we face are urgent, complicated, and resistant to change. Real solutions demand creativity, hard work, and involvement from people like you.

Unfortunately, the browser you use is outdated and does not allow you to display the site correctly. Please install any of the modern browsers, for example:

open search

Unity College

Brainstorming Ways to Solve Environmental Problems? 5 Simple Ways You Can Help

June 1, 2019

Home  /  News  /  Brainstorming Ways to Solve Environmental Problems? 5 Simple Ways You Can Help

We are currently facing the most critical environmental issues in human history. Our climate, planet, lives, and future as a civilization are all at risk. While the magnitude of that thought can be extremely overwhelming, don’t allow yourself to feel helpless, not knowing where to begin. Making small steps and adjustments in your daily routine will give you a sense of success and a yearning to attempt more.

Here are 5 simple ways you can help the environment and spark others to become more environmentally aware.

1. Replace disposable items with reusable

Anything you use and throw away can potentially spend centuries in a landfill. See below for simple adjustments you can make to decrease the amount of disposable items in your daily life.

2. Pass on paper

We are living in the Digital Era, but think about all the paper products you use in your daily life. These actions still align with reusing and repurposing, though may take a little more time for transition.

3. Conserve water & electricity

The tips you see below will seem like no-brainers; however, it may take to become more aware of your unconscious habits.

4. Support local & environmentally friendly

Here are a few reasons to start buying local:

5. Recycle (& then recycle properly)

Implementing recycling habits into your daily life is one of the most effective ways to help lessen landfill waste, conserve natural resources, save habitats, reduce pollution, cut down on energy consumption, and slow down global warming.

Taking the time to simply read this article for ways to solve environmental problems is a step forward to becoming more aware of the needs of your environment. You are now taking action, and every change–big or small–will create an impact.

If you’re already taking action on the suggestions above, see below for additional tips and ideas:

Interested in learning more about Unity College’s programs? Get in touch with us by completing this form .

apply here

Start Your Journey

get more info

Looking for Answers

Get More Info

© Unity College 2023. America's Environmental College is a registered trademark of Unity College.

Privacy Overview

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Here’s how you know

Official websites use .gov A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS A lock ( Lock A locked padlock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

JavaScript appears to be disabled on this computer. Please click here to see any active alerts .

What You Can Do About Pollution Prevention

P2 resources for concerned citizens, technical assistance where you live.

Find EPA regional contact information, and state and local P2 technical assistance resources.

Pollution prevention is not just the responsibility of businesses and government agencies. Citizens can help solve environmental problems by reducing pollution at the source, before it is created. 

We can all apply pollution prevention in our daily lives. Whether in the home and garden, at the supermarket or on the road, we can make pollution prevention choices every day in order to protect the environment, save money and conserve natural resources. 

The resources below can help you be more aware of the many ways to prevent pollution:

Home: Use reusable shopping bags; Install a programmable thermostat. State or Tribal Program or University: Apply for EPA Pollution Prevention grant. Industry: Switch to low-carbon energy supply and materials; Reduce or eliminate use of hazardous chemicals. School or Business: Reduce or eliminate use of single use cups, plates and utensils in cafeteria; Look for products with Safer Choice label; Establish sustainable purchasing program. Commute: Carpool, walk, bike, or take transit; Keep car tires inflated.

Classroom and Workplace

How to Help Stop Pollution

Last Updated: December 12, 2022 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Kris Jensen . Kris Jensen is the Principal of Regenerative Communities Collective, a design consultancy focusing on regenerative design, and the Founder and Executive Director of Gardensmiths, a community centered initiative focused on the connection between regenerative gardens and resilient people, Previously, he was the Executive Director of the San Bruno Mountain Watch in California. He has working in the environmental activism field for over 12 years. There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 59 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,537,914 times.

Stopping pollution is important for the survival of our planet, and even more importantly, the health and well-being of the people who depend on it. The air we breathe is laden with hazardous contaminants, and our oceans and waterways have been poisoned with chemicals. Left unabated, pollution could leave us with a planet earth sapped of its beauty, vitality, and diversity. Keep reading to learn about some practical ways that you can help stop pollution.

Making Sustainable Transportation Choices

Image titled Save Money Fast Step 9

Image titled Drift a Car Step 2

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 26

Making Sustainable Food Choices

Image titled Go on a Diet when You're a Picky Eater Step 10

Image titled Eat Like a Body Builder Step 15

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 17

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 42

Making Sustainable Energy Choices

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 1

Image titled Save Money when Moving Step 6

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 33

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 40

Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 49

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 58

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 51

Keeping Chemicals Out of the Water Supply

Image titled Save Money Fast Step 12

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 45

Image titled Help Save the Earth Step 3

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 35

Getting Involved and Educating Others

Image titled Help Save the Environment Step 41

Image titled Deal With Stalkers Step 25

Image titled Deal With Stalkers Step 20

Community Q&A

Community Answer

how to solve the environment problem

You Might Also Like

Help Save the Environment

About This Article

Kris Jensen

To help stop pollution, try to find alternatives to driving, like riding your bike or taking public transportation, in order to lessen the impact of carbon emissions. You can also buy items with minimal packaging, and make sure to recycle things like glass, plastic, and paper whenever you can. At home, lower the temperature on your water heater and thermostat, and use energy efficient bulbs to save energy. Additionally, try to buy used items, like furniture and clothes, to keep them out of landfills and avoid wasting more resources. For tips from our Environmental reviewer on how to conserve water by making a few simple changes, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

Reader Success Stories


Did this article help you?

how to solve the environment problem

Feb 15, 2017

Natasya Sadikin

Natasya Sadikin

Apr 28, 2017


Jul 13, 2017

Mariana Silva

Mariana Silva

Mar 23, 2017

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

Celebrate LGBT Pride Month As a Straight Person

Trending Articles

When Should You Double Down in Blackjack?

Watch Articles

Tie Dye Shoes

Don’t miss out! Sign up for

wikiHow’s newsletter

10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution

Help keep our marine life from eating and swimming in garbage.

Switch language

how to solve the environment problem

While soaking up the relaxing cadence of crashing waves on the beach, no one wants to think about how the ocean has basically become garbage soup . But here’s the buzz-killing reality: There are millions of tons of debris floating around in that water—and most of it is plastic.

This constant barrage (the equivalent of 136 billion milk jugs each year, estimates a study published in the journal Science) poses a serious danger to marine life. Animals can get tangled up in this trash or ingest it—either because they mistake it as prey or because the plastic has been broken down into tiny particles by seawater.

Plastic, of course, is uniquely problematic because it’s nonbiodegradable and therefore sticks around for a lot longer (like up to 1,000 years longer) than other forms of trash. And we're not just talking about people dumping their garbage overboard. Around 80 percent of marine litter actually originates on land—either swept in from the coastline or carried to rivers from the streets during heavy rain via storm drains and sewer overflows.

So the best thing we can do to protect our waterways is try to keep as much plastic as possible out of the waste stream in the first place. The good news? There are many small ways you can have a big impact.

1. Wean yourself off disposable plastics.

Ninety percent of the plastic items in our daily lives are used once and then chucked: grocery bags, plastic wrap, disposable cutlery, straws, coffee-cup lids. Take note of how often you rely on these products and replace them with reusable versions. It only takes a few times of bringing your own bags to the store, silverware to the office, or travel mug to Starbucks before it becomes habit.

2. Stop buying water.

Each year, close to 20 billion plastic bottles are tossed in the trash. Carry a reusable bottle in your bag, and you’ll never be caught having to resort to a Poland Spring or Evian again. If you’re nervous about the quality of your local tap water, look for a model with a built-in filter.

3. Boycott microbeads.

Those little plastic scrubbers found in so many beauty products—facial scrubs, toothpaste, body washes—might look harmless, but their tiny size allows them to slip through water-treatment plants. Unfortunately, they also look just like food to some marine animals. Opt for products with natural exfoliants, like oatmeal or salt, instead.

4. Cook more.

Not only is it healthier, but making your own meals doesn’t involve takeout containers or doggy bags. For those times when you do order in or eat out, tell the establishment you don’t need any plastic cutlery or, for some serious extra credit, bring your own food-storage containers to restaurants for leftovers.

5. Purchase items secondhand.

New toys and electronic gadgets, especially, come with all kinds of plastic packaging—from those frustrating hard-to-crack shells to twisty ties. Search the shelves of thrift stores, neighborhood garage sales, or online postings for items that are just as good when previously used. You’ll save yourself a few bucks, too.

6. Recycle (duh).

It seems obvious, but we’re not doing a great job of it. For example, less than 14 percent of plastic packaging is recycled. Confused about what can and can’t go in the bin? Check out the number on the bottom of the container. Most beverage and liquid cleaner bottles will be #1 (PET), which is commonly accepted by most curbside recycling companies. Containers marked #2 (HDPE; typically slightly heavier-duty bottles for milk, juice, and laundry detergent) and #5 (PP; plastic cutlery, yogurt and margarine tubs, ketchup bottles) are also recyclable in some areas. For the specifics on your area, check out Earth911.org’s recycling directory .

7. Support a bag tax or ban.

Urge your elected officials to follow the lead of those in San Francisco, Chicago, and close to 150 other cities and counties by introducing or supporting legislation that would make plastic-bag use less desirable .

8. Buy in bulk.

Single-serving yogurts, travel-size toiletries, tiny packages of nuts—consider the product-to-packaging ratio of items you tend to buy often and select the bigger container instead of buying several smaller ones over time.

9. Bring your own garment bag to the dry cleaner.

Invest in a zippered fabric bag and request that your cleaned items be returned in it instead of sheathed in plastic. (And while you’re at it, make sure you’re frequenting a dry cleaner that skips the perc, a toxic chemical found in some cleaning solvents.)

10. Put pressure on manufacturers.

Though we can make a difference through our own habits, corporations obviously have a much bigger footprint. If you believe a company could be smarter about its packaging, make your voice heard. Write a letter, send a tweet, or hit them where it really hurts: Give your money to a more sustainable competitor.

Related Stories

how to solve the environment problem

How You Can Stop Global Warming

how to solve the environment problem

4 Ways to Avoid Toxic Chemicals in Food Packaging

how to solve the environment problem

Learn to Spot Greenwashing

When you sign up, you’ll become a member of NRDC’s Activist Network. We will keep you informed with the latest alerts and progress reports.

earthyb logo transparent

10 Environmental Problems and Solutions

If you’re searching for answers to the 10 biggest environmental problems and solutions, you might be concerned with the state of the planet today. If you’re worried, I want you to know that although the world faces major environmental problems, there are solutions. The solutions aren’t simple, and there are no magic bullets, but they exist.

There are also a lot of voices and opinions about environmental issues. So along with basic information about environmental problems and solutions, I also offer different perspectives and further reading so you can form your own opinions. Because there are many possible environmental solutions, and not even the “experts” have all the answers. So I encourage you to keep an open mind to every option. Let’s look for progress, not perfection.

I’ll write more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals below but wanted to mention these goals up-front. If you’re reading this article because you’re concerned about the environment (or maybe you’re feeling stressed or anxious about climate change) learn about the Global Goals first. The Global Goals offer a solid framework for solving environmental problems. Now, on to the 10 biggest environmental problems we face today.

10 environmental problems

These are the 10 biggest environmental problems in no particular order. Climate change is a hot topic right now so I include it first. It’s also first on the list simply because so many of the problems related to climate change are also connected to other environmental problems. Environmental problems like oil spills, deforestation, and poverty need to be solved in and of themselves. But solving these problems indirectly helps solve the problem of climate change.

There are also environmental problems like fluorinated gases that have a large impact on the climate, but not directly on our health or wealth. These problems are extra tricky because they’re expensive to solve and they get little media coverage. That’s why international laws and cooperation are especially important for solving the hardest problems.

Climate change

Climate change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates.” – NASA

Climate change happens when greenhouse gases are released and trapped in the atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect creates a layer around the earth’s atmosphere that traps heat from the sun, making our atmosphere warmer, similar to a greenhouse.

The following greenhouse gases contribute to climate change.

Resource: Drilled Podcast: The origins of climate denial

Poverty is indirectly linked to environmental problems. When you solve issues related to poverty you also solve environmental problems such as deforestation[cm_simple_footnote id=1], population growth, gender inequality, and climate change.

The world has been making steady progress toward ending extreme poverty for years according to the UN. The COVID-19 crisis has reversed some of the progress. But before the virus, life was better for many people around the world than ever before in history. Now, we need to deal with the crisis and get back to making progress.

Related: Population growth explained with IKEA boxes

Gender inequality

Although gender inequality is also not a direct environmental problem, solving problems like inadequate access to birth control, health services, and education has a positive impact on the economy and environment.

Education lays a foundation for vibrant lives for girls and women, their families, and their communities. It also is one of the most powerful levers available for avoiding emissions by curbing population growth. Women with more years of education have fewer and healthier children, and actively manage their reproductive health. Gender inequality is indirectly linked to environmental problems.” – Drawdown.org

Related: Melinda Gates: Why equality can’t wait

Fluorinated gases used in refrigerants

Fluorinated gases, like the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in refrigerators and air conditioners, are considered major contributors to climate change according to Drawdown.org. The most commonly used refrigerants have a high Global Warming Potential. The Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol offers a timeline for phasing out refrigerants with high Global Warming Potential, but it’s essential for companies and governments to maintain their commitments.

To minimize your personal impact, make sure to properly recycle refrigerators and air conditioning units. If you’re not sure how to recycle an appliance contact your local waste management company.

Fluorinated gases have a potent greenhouse effect and are widely used as refrigerants. Managing leaks and disposal of these chemicals can avoid emissions in buildings and landfills.” – Drawdown

In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank in the Gulf of Mexico, making it one of the most environmentally damaging oil spills in history. The spill covered over 43,300 square miles. It killed and harmed dolphins, sea turtles, fish, and a variety of organisms ( source ).

The environmental problems associated with oil have many layers. Not only does an oil spill kill wildlife and fishing industries, but oil is also a fossil fuel that contributes to climate change. Although oil is a necessary source of energy in every developed and developing country today, it comes with dire environmental problems.

Wasted natural resources

267.8 million tons of municipal solid waste went to landfills instead of being recycled, upcycled, composted, or used for something else in 2017, according to the EPA . That’s a lot of wasted natural resources that originally came from nature, in one form or another. In a circular economy , these natural resources would not be wasted. Instead, they could be upcycled, recycled, or used to regenerate other materials.

Total Municipal Solid Waste Generated by Material, 2017 image from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Plastic pollution

You’ve probably seen images of marine life drowning in plastic pollution. Maybe you’re aware of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is about twice the size of Texas. The people and countries with the highest income generate the most plastic waste. That’s because we can afford to buy more stuff wrapped in plastic.

Plastic pollution is a major environmental problem. Plastic comes from fossil fuels, which we need to phase out, so using less plastic is important. But ultimately solving the problem of plastic pollution may come down to improving waste management technology and creating a more circular economy for plastics.

Related: The world’s plastic pollution crisis explained

The pathway by which plastic enters the world's oceans from Our World in Data.

Food waste[cm_simple_footnote id=2] is a big environmental problem. Up to 40% of food is wasted from farm to fork to landfill according to the National Resources Defense Council . There’s a lot of media coverage about how diet is related to the environment. But the majority of that coverage has to do with how individuals should eat, not how agriculture and waste management services should improve.

Instead of focusing on how individuals should change their eating habits (which is so darned hard) the answers just might lie in improving technology and holding companies to higher environmental standards. This leads me to deforestation, which is closely related to agriculture.


Deforestation is linked to many environmental problems, and the biggest problem is agriculture according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States .

Agri-businesses should meet their commitments to deforestation-free commodity chains and companies that have not made zero deforestation commitments should do so. Commodity investors should adopt business models that are environmentally and socially responsible. These actions will, in many cases, require a revision of current policies and financial incentives. – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Related: Can planting billions of trees save the planet?

Ocean acidification

Ocean acidification is one of the main problems associated with climate change. It doesn’t get as much attention as other environmental problems, but it can have a major impact on ocean ecosystems.

The ocean absorbs about 30% of the carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) that is released in the atmosphere. As levels of atmospheric CO 2  increase from human activity such as burning fossil fuels (e.g., car emissions) and changing land use (e.g., deforestation), the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean also increases.  When CO 2  is absorbed by seawater, a series of chemical reactions occur resulting in the increased concentration of hydrogen ions. This process has far reaching implications for the ocean and the creatures that live there. – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Man on boat and coral below on the ocean floor.

10 environmental solutions

Now that you understand the environmental problems we face today, it’s time to understand the potential environmental solutions. I say potential solutions because the cause and effect from environmental problem to environmental solution is complex. There’s a word for this, it’s called dynamic complexity.

The below environmental solutions have the potential to solve different problems within a complex, dynamic, and interconnected system. But there is no magic bullet for environmental problems. So I encourage anyone interested in environmental solutions to think big-picture. Each solution is simply one piece of a giant puzzle. Again, look for progress rather than perfection.

Related: Climate solutions 101 by Project Drawdown

The UN Sustainable Development Goals offer the best possible framework for dealing with most of the problems listed above. These are the 17 goals that almost all countries have agreed to.

Affordable and clean energy

Green innovation

Green innovation may be the most important environmental solution. People around the world are working on new technologies and solutions that could revolutionize the way we look at energy and waste. We haven’t scratched the surface yet on how humanity will solve these problems. But there’s no time to waste, and we need governments and companies to invest in research and development.

One step is to lay the foundation for innovation by drastically increasing government funding for research on clean energy solutions. Right now, the world spends only a few billion dollars a year on researching early-stage ideas for zero-carbon energy. It should be investing two or three times that much.” – Bill Gates

Read: We need clean-energy innovation and lots of it

There are several different forms of clean and renewable energy. Solar, wind, and hydro energy are considered renewable energy sources. Nuclear energy, a non-renewable source of energy that contributes little to climate change, is an example of clean energy.

U.S. primary energy consumption by energy source, 2019 image from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Electrify everything

How to make energy clean and affordable for everyone is not an easy solution to implement. However, the phrase “electrify everything” is a concept that’s fairly easy to understand. Here’s a paragraph that helped me understand how we can truly get clean and affordable energy for everyone on the planet.

“We know, or at least have a pretty good idea, how to get electricity down to zero carbon. There are options: wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, geothermal, and coal or natural gas with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). There are plenty of disagreements about exactly what mix of those sources will be needed to get us to a carbon-free grid, and what mix of centralized versus distributed resources, and what mix of supply-side versus demand-side solutions — but there’s broad consensus that pathways to fully clean electricity exist.” – The key to tackling climate change: electrify everything by David Roberts for Vox

Related: The Rewiring America Handbook : A Guide to Winning the Climate Fight.

Carbon taxes

You may have read statements from economists like former Federal Reserve Chairmen Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, Janet Yellen, and Paul Volcker in support of a carbon tax. That’s because pollution and emissions are considered negative externalities.

By correcting a well-known market failure, a carbon tax will send a powerful price signal that harnesses the invisible hand of the marketplace to steer economic actors towards a low-carbon future.” – Statement by economists posted in the Wall Street Journal

Related: Why Put a Price on Carbon? by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Conservation of natural resources

Conserving the natural resources we already have is one important environmental solution. The strategies below help individuals and companies conserve resources:

Carbon capture and sequestration

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it in the soil, trees, plants, or underground. CCS is considered one way to mitigate climate change.

The simplest way to capture carbon is through photosynthesis. Trees and plants take atmospheric carbon dioxide and store that carbon in healthy soil and plants using photosynthesis. But there are more high-tech ways to capture and sequester carbon as well. One way is through geoengineering.

Geoengineering is the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change. – Oxford Geoengineering Program

There are also companies that will sequester carbon for you.

Sustainable business and investing

Some businesses, like Patagonia, Interface, and IKEA, have built sustainability and resilience into the core of their companies. Others have fought against sustainability by lawyering up, using loopholes, and lying about the damage their businesses create. If we want environmental solutions, we need to support companies with sustainable business models that support progress. If you’re interested in learning more about what businesses and consumers can do, here are a few places to start:

Improved food production

The environmental problems associated with food production get a lot of attention in the media. Some environmentalists and journalists advocate for plant-based diets and veganism as a solution to the problems associated with food. Changing our eating habits may have a small impact on the environment, but there’s a much larger movement underfoot lead by farmers and entrepreneurs. Below is a shortlist of potential environmental solutions to problems associated with food production and water shortages:

Sustainable homes

Our homes use a lot of energy to run our dishwashers, washer and dryers, and HVAC systems. And let’s not forget about all the energy we use charging our computers and watching TV. It adds up. But instead of turning off our devices, it’s possible to build more efficient homes that waste less energy and use cleaner energy sources. Although we have a long way toward making most homes sustainable, here are a few environmental solutions related to homes.

Read: The ultimate guide to solar homes

Home with solar panels on the roof.

Environmental frameworks and certifications

As mentioned earlier, the UN Sustainable Development Goals offer a framework for solving most environmental problems. If you’re interested in learning more about the environmental movement, here are a few places to start.

If you’re interested in buying better products, consider looking for products with these certifications.

1 thought on “10 Environmental Problems and Solutions”

' src=

Wow this a great work. I have learned a lot. At least I can solve some environmental problems and encourage sustainable environmental conservation.

Comments are closed.

Sciencing_Icons_Science SCIENCE

Sciencing_icons_biology biology, sciencing_icons_cells cells, sciencing_icons_molecular molecular, sciencing_icons_microorganisms microorganisms, sciencing_icons_genetics genetics, sciencing_icons_human body human body, sciencing_icons_ecology ecology, sciencing_icons_chemistry chemistry, sciencing_icons_atomic & molecular structure atomic & molecular structure, sciencing_icons_bonds bonds, sciencing_icons_reactions reactions, sciencing_icons_stoichiometry stoichiometry, sciencing_icons_solutions solutions, sciencing_icons_acids & bases acids & bases, sciencing_icons_thermodynamics thermodynamics, sciencing_icons_organic chemistry organic chemistry, sciencing_icons_physics physics, sciencing_icons_fundamentals-physics fundamentals, sciencing_icons_electronics electronics, sciencing_icons_waves waves, sciencing_icons_energy energy, sciencing_icons_fluid fluid, sciencing_icons_astronomy astronomy, sciencing_icons_geology geology, sciencing_icons_fundamentals-geology fundamentals, sciencing_icons_minerals & rocks minerals & rocks, sciencing_icons_earth scructure earth structure, sciencing_icons_fossils fossils, sciencing_icons_natural disasters natural disasters, sciencing_icons_nature nature, sciencing_icons_ecosystems ecosystems, sciencing_icons_environment environment, sciencing_icons_insects insects, sciencing_icons_plants & mushrooms plants & mushrooms, sciencing_icons_animals animals, sciencing_icons_math math, sciencing_icons_arithmetic arithmetic, sciencing_icons_addition & subtraction addition & subtraction, sciencing_icons_multiplication & division multiplication & division, sciencing_icons_decimals decimals, sciencing_icons_fractions fractions, sciencing_icons_conversions conversions, sciencing_icons_algebra algebra, sciencing_icons_working with units working with units, sciencing_icons_equations & expressions equations & expressions, sciencing_icons_ratios & proportions ratios & proportions, sciencing_icons_inequalities inequalities, sciencing_icons_exponents & logarithms exponents & logarithms, sciencing_icons_factorization factorization, sciencing_icons_functions functions, sciencing_icons_linear equations linear equations, sciencing_icons_graphs graphs, sciencing_icons_quadratics quadratics, sciencing_icons_polynomials polynomials, sciencing_icons_geometry geometry, sciencing_icons_fundamentals-geometry fundamentals, sciencing_icons_cartesian cartesian, sciencing_icons_circles circles, sciencing_icons_solids solids, sciencing_icons_trigonometry trigonometry, sciencing_icons_probability-statistics probability & statistics, sciencing_icons_mean-median-mode mean/median/mode, sciencing_icons_independent-dependent variables independent/dependent variables, sciencing_icons_deviation deviation, sciencing_icons_correlation correlation, sciencing_icons_sampling sampling, sciencing_icons_distributions distributions, sciencing_icons_probability probability, sciencing_icons_calculus calculus, sciencing_icons_differentiation-integration differentiation/integration, sciencing_icons_application application, sciencing_icons_projects projects, sciencing_icons_news news.

Environmental Problems & Solutions

Two environmental activists promoting awareness at an event.

Cambodia's Environmental Problems

The planet faces a variety of troubling issues that stem from man-made contamination. Many of these lead to environmental problems that are causing long-term damage to the earth’s ecosystem. The Global Issues website explains that the only way to control current environmental issues is to create sustainable development strategies and continue to instill conservation methods.

Environmental Accidents

Some man-made accidents threaten wildlife and the ecosystem. Although these accidents are relatively rare because of increased safety procedures, accidents still occur, sometimes with devastating effects. Examples include oil spills, radioactive leaks, tanker spills, pipeline bursts and drilling accidents. The best solution for accidental spills and leaks is to create additional safety protocol using both computerized and human detection systems.

Water Pollution

Water pollution is a growing problem globally. According to the Thinkquest website, large industries including those that make chemicals and plastics dump a large amount of waste into the water. Human waste and rubbish also ends up in the oceans and lakes. The Clean Water Act of 1972 allows the U.S. government to enforce restrictions on those who dump trash and waste. To address the problem, individuals can improve recycling and waste disposal, and they can volunteer to clean up shorelines and nearby public locations. Businesses should develop ongoing protocols to reduce the amount of chemicals and other waste they put into the water supply.

Hazardous Waste

According to the Learner website, the mishandling of hazardous waste materials poses immediate and long-term risks to plants, animals, humans and the environment. Hazardous waste is any liquid or solid that contains carcinogenic or teratogenic compounds, including pesticides, paint strippers, solvents, paint, gasoline, bleach, ammonia, industrial cleaning agents and drain cleaners. Individuals and businesses should make sure that hazardous-waste disposal experts handle all hazardous waste, and should never dump hazardous waste with regular trash or into rivers or ditches.

Ozone Depletion

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, there are several airborne materials that can lead to ozone pollution. Ground-level ozone, particulate matter, lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide are all dangerous when released into the air. These pollutants can cause human health problems and damage to plants and animals. The EPA enforces laws controlling the release of these substances into the atmosphere. Controlled air quality leads to less stress on the outer ozone layer of the planet that helps protect us from the sun.

Soil Contamination

According to the Science Daily website, man-made chemicals released into the dirt either by accident or through poor disposal techniques cause soil contamination. Rupture of underground storage tanks, acid rain, leaching of hazardous waste from a landfill, pesticides and herbicides, and discharge from industrial chemical wastes all can contaminate the soil in which farmers grow crops or graze livestock that people eventually eat. Laws against such contamination need to be stringent, and the appropriate agencies have to be tough in the enforcement of those laws to help keep soil safer for humans and animals.

Related Articles

Solutions for soil pollution, the effects of soil pollution on the environment, types of industrial pollutants, define chemical pollution, the importance of hazardous waste management, the effects of improper garbage disposal, examples of secondary pollutants, hazardous waste landfill advantages & disadvantages, the disadvantages of smelter, a list of natural resources for kids, how to control land pollution, how does a waste incinerator work, human impacts on freshwater ecosystems, the effects of pollution on the body, the effects of soil erosion, how to prevent land pollution, the effect of aluminum cans on the environment, what are five ways that the groundwater supply can..., technological advancement and the effect on the ecosystem.

About the Author

Julie Boehlke is a seasoned copywriter and content creator based in the Great Lakes state. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Boehlke has more than 10 years of professional writing experience on topics such as health and wellness, green living, gardening, genealogy, finances, relationships, world travel, golf, outdoors and interior decorating. She has also worked in geriatrics and hospice care.

Photo Credits

David Buchan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Find Your Next Great Science Fair Project! GO

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!

Environmental Protection

how to solve the environment problem

Three Environmental Issues and Ways to Combat Them

For years now, humans have mistreated and contaminated the very environment that sustains them. But the broad concern for the environment can be so overwhelming that people don’t know what to do or where to start making a difference.

For years now, humans have mistreated and contaminated the very environment that sustains them. But the broad concern for the environment can be so overwhelming that people don’t know what to do or where to start making a difference.

The list of issues surrounding our environment go on, but there are three major ones that affect the majority of them overall: global warming and climate change; water pollution and ocean acidification; and loss of biodiversity. These three issues need immediate attention and proactive action on our part to ensure conservation of the only habitable planet which we call our home. And, focusing attention on these three major topics will have a ripple effect on a number of smaller environmental issues like inefficient recycling systems and food waste.

Let’s look at three major environmental issues and some solutions which can help combat them:

Global Warming and Climate Change Human activities have made global warming and climate change a global threat. The rising levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have caused an increase in average global temperatures, extreme weather events, rising sea levels and other negative changes. These changes are directly and indirectly affecting all life forms. Pollution of air, land and water through excessive deforestation, industrialization and overfilling landfills which emits CO2 and adds to greenhouse gas emissions are all topmost causes of these environmental issues. Here are some effective solutions to these problems:

Water Pollution and Ocean Acidification Rapid urban development, improper sewage disposal by industries, oil spills, disposal of chemical and radioactive wastes, and plastic pollution are some of the major causes of water pollution. Today, water scarcity and polluted water are posing a big threat to the human existence across many nations of the world.

Ocean waters absorb around 30 percent of the carbon dioxide that is released in the atmosphere. Ocean acidification occurs when the CO2 absorbed by the seawater undergoes a series of chemical reactions which leads to increased concentration of hydrogen ions, thus making the seawater more acidic. This decreases the carbonate ions in the seawater which makes it difficult for clams, deep sea corals, oysters etc. to build and maintain their shells and other calcium carbonate structures. These changes in the ocean water chemistry can affect the behavior of other organisms also. This puts the entire ocean food web at risk. Listed below are some measures which can help prevent water pollution and ocean acidification :

Loss of Biodiversity Biodiversity helps maintain the balance of the ecosystem and provides biological resources which are crucial for our existence. Habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, secondary extinction and introduced species are a few ways in which humans are wreaking havoc on the biodiversity of this planet. Loss of biodiversity can be countered in a number of ways:

Awareness and adaption are two key steps towards conserving this boon called environment. Each one of us can and should do their bit to curb the effects of these environmental issues and ensure that our future generations have a healthy planet to live.

About the Author

Erich Lawson is very passionate about the environment and is an advocate of effective recycling. He writes on a wide array of topics to inform readers on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly wastage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment saving techniques by visiting his blog on Compactor Management Company.

how to solve the environment problem

Related Articles

Groundwater Treatment System at PA Superfund Site Finished After Receiving Additional Funding

How does environmental dna help protect biodiversity.

Sustainable Garage Solutions: 5 Simple Steps to Energy Efficiency

How to Prepare Floodplains for Climate Change

Is PFAS in Plumber's Tape a Cause for Concern?

Turning the tide on climate change with zero-waste practices, how to prepare floodplains for climate change, president biden signs executive order: ‘revitalizing our nation’s commitment to environmental justice for all’, featured webinar, astm 1527-21 phase i environmental site assessment: what you need to know about the new standard.

This free webinar will inform attendees on the most significant updates and modifications in the new standard, known as E1527-21 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.

Groundwater Treatment System at PA Superfund Site

How Does Environmental DNA Help Protect Biodiversity?

Who has the Authority to sign Environmental Applications and Reports?

Who Has the Authority to Sign Environmental Applications and Reports?

Turning the Tide on Climate Change with Zero-Waste Practices

Sustainable Garage Solutions: 5 Simple Steps to Energy Efficiency

CNN values your feedback

Wind energy has a massive waste problem. new technologies may be a step closer to solving it.

In this aerial view, wind turbines adorn the landscape in the Southern Lake District on November 25, 2022 in Lambrigg, England.

Wind turbines are built to last. Their tall bodies are topped with long fiberglass blades, some more than half a football field in length, made to withstand the harshest, windiest conditions .

But this sturdiness brings a big problem: What to do with these blades when they reach the end of their lives.

While about 90% of turbines are easily recyclable, their blades are not. They are made from fiberglass bound together with epoxy resin, a material so strong it is incredibly difficult and expensive to break down. Most blades end their lives in landfill or are incinerated.

It’s a problem that’s vexed the wind energy industry and provided fodder for those who seek to discredit wind power.

But in February, Danish wind company Vestas said it had cracked the problem.

It announced a “breakthrough solution” that would allow wind turbine blades to be recycled without needing to change their design or materials.

The company said the “newly discovered chemical technology” breaks down old blades in a liquid to produce high quality materials, which can eventually be used to make new blades, as well as components in other industries.

Claire Barlow, a sustainability and materials engineer at Cambridge University, told CNN that if this kind of technology can be scaled up, it “could be a game changer.”

A new method for a big problem

Wind turbine blades waiting to be  buried in the Casper Regional Landfill in Casper, Wyoming.

In 2019, an image from Casper Regional Landfill in Wyoming showing piles of long, white blades waiting to be buried went viral, prompting criticism of the environmental credentials of wind power.

Wind energy has been growing at a fast pace . It is the world’s leading renewable energy technology behind hydropower, and plays a vital role in helping countries move away from fossil fuel energy, which pumps out planet-heating pollution.

But as the first generation of wind turbines start to reach the end of their service lives , while others are replaced early to make way for newer technology – including longer turbine blades that can sweep more wind and generate more energy – the question of what to do with their huge blades becomes more pressing.

HP ONLY 20230518-offshore-wind-HP

The future of wind energy in the US is floating turbines as tall as 30 Rock

Blade waste is projected to reach 2.2 million tons in the US by 2050. Globally, the figure could be around 43 million tons by 2050.

There are few easy ways to deal with it.

Current options are not only wasteful but have environmental drawbacks. Incineration brings pollution and, while wind companies say there is no toxicity issue with landfilling blades, Barlow said that’s not yet totally clear.

“That’s not as benign as you might think,” she said.

Turbine blade materials make recycling hard and costly. The epoxy resins used to make turbine blades are called “thermosets.”

“If you heat them up, they don’t change their properties until they just burn,” Barlow said. “You can’t just scrunch them up and recycle the material into something easily reusable.”

That’s why Vestas hopes its new technology could hold real promise.

“This has been the key sustainability challenge in the industry. And so we’re of course very excited to have found a solution,” Lisa Ekstrand, the head of sustainability at Vestas, told CNN.

Wind turbines spin at the Traverse wind farm in Oklahoma on April 19.

'The sound of money': Wind energy is booming in deep-red Republican states

The process, which the company has been working on in partnership with Aarhus University, the Danish Technological Institute and US-based epoxy company Olin, uses a liquid chemical solution to break down the blade into epoxy fragments and fibers. The epoxy resin is then sent to Olin which can process it into “virgin-grade” epoxy, Ekstrand said.

The process uses inexpensive, non-toxic chemicals that are readily available in large quantities, she added. “We expect this to be a low energy consuming, low CO2-emitting technology.”

The company remains tight-lipped on further details, including the chemicals involved and how many times the process can be repeated.

Ekstrand said they are filing patents and the plan is eventually to license it to other companies.

So far, Vestas has tested the technology in a lab but is now building a pilot facility to test it on a bigger scale for two years, after which it hopes to commercialize it.

Gummy bears from turbine blades

Vestas is far from the first to try to tackle this knotty problem. Companies and scientists have been working on different approaches for years, although many potential solutions are nascent or remain small scale.

One approach is to grind blades up and use the material in other industries. The downsides are that the enormous blades are tricky to transport and crush. “Because the material isn’t worth very much, it’s not really worthwhile doing it,” Barlow said.

An old blade is prepared for transport to a landfill in Nebraska.

But some companies say they’re making it work.

Veolia, a resource management company headquartered in France, turns old blades into an ingredient for cement production.

It shreds, sorts and blends blade materials before sending them to cement kilns. Using this blend reduces the planet-heating pollution produced in cement manufacturing by 27%, according to Veolia. The program has processed 2,600 blades so far.

Carbon Rivers, a Tennessee-based company, has worked with the US Department of Energy to help scale up its “pyrolysis” technology – a form of chemical recycling that uses very high heat in an oxygen-free environment.

The body of a humpack whale lies on a beach in Brigantine N.J., after it washed ashore on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. It was the seventh dead whale to wash ashore in New Jersey and New York in little over a month, prompting calls for a temporary halt in offshore wind farm preparation on the ocean floor from lawmakers and environmental groups who suspect the work might have something to do with the deaths. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

What's killing whales off the Northeast coast? It's not wind farm projects, experts say

The company’s process produces glass fibers, which can then be used in new wind turbine blades, as well as in the automotive and shipping industries, it says. It also produces oil that can be used in energy production, David Morgan, chief strategy officer at Carbon Rivers, told CNN.

The technology allows them “to fully and completely upcycle wind turbine blades” in a process that is “net positive energy,” Morgan added.

Carbon Rivers has so far upcycled 41 blades weighing 268 tons and is building recycling facilities and with the aim of scaling up to more than 5,800 blades a day.

Other efforts focus on changing the materials used to make turbines, to create a new generation of blades that are easier to recycle.

In 2022, researchers at the University of Michigan announced they had made a new resin for blades by combining glass fibers with a plant derived polymer and a synthetic one, which could be recycled into ingredients for products, including new turbine blades, laptop covers, power tools – and even gummy bear candies .

01 renewable energy boom intl

'Beginning of the end' for fossil fuels: Global wind and solar reached record levels in 2022, study finds

“We recovered food-grade potassium lactate and used it to make gummy bear candies, which I ate,” John Dorgan, a professor of chemical engineering at Michigan State University, said in a statement.

For those concerned about eating an old turbine, Dorgan said: “A carbon atom derived from a plant, like corn or grass, is no different from a carbon atom that came from a fossil fuel. It’s all part of the global carbon cycle, and we’ve shown that we can go from biomass in the field to durable plastic materials and back to foodstuffs.”

Of course, this won’t help with the blades being decommissioned now.

The reason Vestas’ discovery could be so compelling, said Barlow, is that it’s promising a process to recover reusable materials from current turbine blades, without using noxious chemicals and huge amounts of energy. “That’s a real winner,” she said.

Now the company has to scale up.

“There will be all sorts of problems which they haven’t conceived of. So it may be slow, but this is a good starter for ten,” Barlow said.

A person sorts colourful plastic fragments using a rattan scoop.

Plastic recycling is failing – here’s how the world must respond

how to solve the environment problem

Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Revolution Plastics, University of Portsmouth

how to solve the environment problem

Senior Lecturer in Sustainability and the Built Environment, University of Portsmouth

how to solve the environment problem

Research Associate, Revolution Plastics, University of Portsmouth

Disclosure statement

Cressida Bowyer receives funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Flotilla Foundation

Keiron Roberts receives funding from UNEP, Innovate UK and Research England

Stephanie Northen has received funding from the Flotilla Foundation.

University of Portsmouth provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

View all partners

Recycling was once considered the obvious solution to the excessive amount of new (or virgin) plastic produced each year. This is no longer realistic. Global recycling capacity simply cannot keep up with the taking, making and wasting of natural resources.

Growing mountains of plastic waste are accumulating in the poorest countries as affluent nations such as the UK ship their recycling overseas. But some nations are importing far more plastic waste than they can possibly recycle.

The recycling process itself also creates problems. A new report by Greenpeace and the International Pollutants Elimination Network has revealed how plastics which are made with or come into contact with toxic chemicals, such as flame retardants, can contaminate the recycling process by spreading these toxins through subsequent batches of plastic waste. Another recent study showed that recycling facilities can release hundreds of tonnes of microplastics into the environment each year.

Only 6-9% of all plastic ever produced has been sent for recycling. Although plastic and other waste is collected for recycling in most countries, the amount of material that is remade into the same or similar products (what is called closed-loop recycling) is extremely low. Only 2% of plastic waste is recycled in a closed loop and not turned into something of lower quality, which is called downcycling. Recycling can not fully replace virgin material as it can only be recycled twice before losing necessary properties, and so most recycling results in a downgraded material that cannot be used for the same purpose.

A refuse worker surrounded by rubbish, seagulls and a bulldozer.

A more sustainable approach would prioritise preventing plastic waste by taking action at earlier stages of a plastic product’s lifecycle: reducing how much plastic is ultimately made, reusing what exists and replacing plastic with alternative materials where appropriate.

Manufacturers must stop making so much unnecessary plastic to reduce the amount entering the economy. There is no case for making plastics that are impossible to collect, reuse or recycle, or are toxic . Yet they are abundant: think multilayered sachets, thin films and wrappers. These should be phased out as a priority.

Global caps on plastic production could restrict its use to reusable products and packaging, reducing the pressure on recycling systems.

You can refuse single-use packaging when shopping if alternatives are available and affordable. Choose loose vegetables, or products wrapped in packaging that can be refilled.

A person fills a glass container with cleaning fluid from a container on a shelf.

Using the plastic you already have for as long as possible reduces the amount of new products and packaging that need to be made and how much waste is ultimately sent for recycling.

Roughly 250 billion single-use coffee cups are used worldwide every year – a figure that could be slashed by governments setting national mandates for reusable cups and bottles . This might involve shops, cafés and other venues providing reusable packaging for any products they sell and ensuring each one is used, tracked, washed, returned and replenished for the next consumer cycle.

Metals, glass, or paper can be used instead of plastic, but there is no universal sustainable alternative. The most appropriate material depends on the item’s use.

The environmental consequences of any material should be rigorously assessed across its entire life cycle – from production to use and disposal – to ensure it does more good than harm . And such assessments must consider all social, environmental and economic costs.

Read more: Ranked: the environmental impact of five different soft drink containers

The true cost of making, distributing and disposing of plastic is estimated to be more than ten times greater than what the customer pays for the product. Including the hidden costs of environmental damage and human misery arising from pollution in the price of virgin plastic, by taxing manufacturers or retailers for instance, could boost the economic case for alternatives.

Recycling can still be useful

Not all plastics can be reused, especially medical devices. When all alternatives have been exhausted, recycling keeps material in the economy and temporarily delays the need for more virgin plastic. But the existence of recycling shouldn’t justify making more plastic.

Recycling must not pollute. Manufacturers should only make plastics which can be recycled via methods proven to be safe and clean, and ban toxic additives. Simple labelling can help consumers make informed decisions about how, where and what to either reuse or recycle, which would help prevent recycling loads becoming contaminated with non-recyclable waste and toxins.

Plastics sent for recycling should be treated in the most socially and environmentally responsible way. High-income countries which export waste to poorer countries for cheap recycling do so without guarantees that infrastructure exists to manage this waste where it ends up. The result is waste leaking into the environment, and toxic plastic blocking drainage channels and causing floods . Some of this is burned outdoors , which comes with its own risks to health and the environment. Banning or restricting exports would help.

A river with floating plastic waste.

Precarious workers in the informal waste sector collect, sort and sell recyclable materials and carry out 60% of global recycling. Waste reclaimers endure poor health and low pay but their extensive knowledge is invaluable and must be acknowledged. Policies to protect their rights and improve their livelihoods are needed.

Read more: Waste pickers risk their lives to stop plastic pollution – now they could help shape global recycling policies

Countries meeting in Paris for the second of five rounds of negotiations for an international treaty to end plastic pollution will discuss all areas of the plastic lifecycle - from the extraction of material to manufacturing, use and disposal. Banning unnecessary plastics, toxic additives and waste exports should be high on the agenda, along with schemes to encourage reuse and repair.

Imagine weekly climate newsletter

Don’t have time to read about climate change as much as you’d like? Get a weekly roundup in your inbox instead. Every Wednesday, The Conversation’s environment editor writes Imagine, a short email that goes a little deeper into just one climate issue. Join the 10,000+ readers who’ve subscribed so far.

how to solve the environment problem

Senior Lecturer in Endodontics

Deputy vice chancellor – research.

how to solve the environment problem

Sydney Horizon Fellowships (Climate Change, Health and Sustainability)

how to solve the environment problem

Dean, School of Engineering, Design and Built Environment

how to solve the environment problem

Head of School, Humanities

Recycled material could help tackle many of fast fashion’s environmental problems. Here’s how

a side view of a row of hangers with shirts on

Recycled material could solve fashion's sustainability problem. Image:  Unsplash/Waldemar

.chakra .wef-1c7l3mo{-webkit-transition:all 0.15s ease-out;transition:all 0.15s ease-out;cursor:pointer;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;outline:none;color:inherit;}.chakra .wef-1c7l3mo:hover,.chakra .wef-1c7l3mo[data-hover]{-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}.chakra .wef-1c7l3mo:focus,.chakra .wef-1c7l3mo[data-focus]{box-shadow:0 0 0 3px rgba(168,203,251,0.5);} Mel Hua

Mo chatterji.

how to solve the environment problem

.chakra .wef-9dduvl{margin-top:16px;margin-bottom:16px;line-height:1.388;font-size:1.25rem;}@media screen and (min-width:56.5rem){.chakra .wef-9dduvl{font-size:1.125rem;}} Explore and monitor how .chakra .wef-15eoq1r{margin-top:16px;margin-bottom:16px;line-height:1.388;font-size:1.25rem;color:#F7DB5E;}@media screen and (min-width:56.5rem){.chakra .wef-15eoq1r{font-size:1.125rem;}} Climate Change is affecting economies, industries and global issues

A hand holding a looking glass by a lake

.chakra .wef-1nk5u5d{margin-top:16px;margin-bottom:16px;line-height:1.388;color:#2846F8;font-size:1.25rem;}@media screen and (min-width:56.5rem){.chakra .wef-1nk5u5d{font-size:1.125rem;}} Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale

Stay up to date:, climate change.

Listen to the article

Have you read?

How digital authentication could drive a resale revolution for fashion, this start-up is making digital passports… for clothes. here’s what that means for the fashion industry, don't miss any update on this topic.

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

The Agenda .chakra .wef-n7bacu{margin-top:16px;margin-bottom:16px;line-height:1.388;font-weight:400;} Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

.chakra .wef-1dtnjt5{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;-webkit-flex-wrap:wrap;-ms-flex-wrap:wrap;flex-wrap:wrap;} More on Climate Change .chakra .wef-nr1rr4{display:-webkit-inline-box;display:-webkit-inline-flex;display:-ms-inline-flexbox;display:inline-flex;white-space:normal;vertical-align:middle;text-transform:uppercase;font-size:0.75rem;border-radius:0.25rem;font-weight:700;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;line-height:1.2;-webkit-letter-spacing:1.25px;-moz-letter-spacing:1.25px;-ms-letter-spacing:1.25px;letter-spacing:1.25px;background:none;padding:0px;color:#B3B3B3;-webkit-box-decoration-break:clone;box-decoration-break:clone;-webkit-box-decoration-break:clone;}@media screen and (min-width:37.5rem){.chakra .wef-nr1rr4{font-size:0.875rem;}}@media screen and (min-width:56.5rem){.chakra .wef-nr1rr4{font-size:1rem;}} See all

how to solve the environment problem

This UK start-up has launched a seaweed farm to tackle climate change

Kate Whiting

June 7, 2023

how to solve the environment problem

Protected areas store as much carbon as fossil fuels emit per year, study finds

Sean Mowbray

how to solve the environment problem

El Niño weather patterns could impact global food production. Here's how

Naveen Thukral

how to solve the environment problem

How pesticides and fertilizers have resulted in loss of 500 million birds

Richard Gregory

how to solve the environment problem

Blue economy: how business leaders and scientists are improving ocean health

how to solve the environment problem

How new approaches to fashion, architecture and more can drive climate action

Liam McCann

June 6, 2023

A boiler tower is surrounded by mirrors at the Ivanpah solar electric generating system in the Mojave Desert.

How solar farms took over the California desert: ‘An oasis has become a dead sea’

Residents feel trapped and choked by dust, while experts warn environmental damage is ‘solving one problem by creating others’

D eep in the Mojave desert, about halfway between Los Angeles and Phoenix, a sparkling blue sea shimmers on the horizon. Visible from the I-10 highway, amid the parched plains and sun-baked mountains, it is an improbable sight: a deep blue slick stretching for miles across the Chuckwalla Valley, forming an endless glistening mirror. But something’s not quite right. Closer up, the water’s edge appears blocky and pixelated, with the look of a low-res computer rendering, while its surface is sculpted in orderly geometric ridges, like frozen waves. “We had a guy pull in the other day towing a big boat,” says Don Sneddon, a local resident. “He asked us how to get to the launch ramp to the lake. I don’t think he realised he was looking at a lake of solar panels.”

sea of panels

Over the last few years, this swathe of desert has been steadily carpeted with one of the world’s largest concentrations of solar power plants, forming a sprawling photovoltaic sea. On the ground, the scale is almost incomprehensible. The Riverside East Solar Energy Zone – the ground zero of California’s solar energy boom – stretches for 150,000 acres, making it 10 times the size of Manhattan.

It is a crucial component of the United States’ green energy revolution. Solar makes up about 3% of the US electricity supply , but the Biden administration hopes it will reach 45% by 2050, primarily by building more huge plants like this across the country’s flat, empty plains. But there’s one thing that the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – the agency tasked with facilitating these projects on public land – doesn’t seem to have fully taken into account: the desert isn’t quite as empty as it thought. It might look like a barren wilderness, but this stretch of the Mojave is a rich and fragile habitat for endangered species and home to thousand-year-old carbon-capturing woodlands, ancient Indigenous cultural sites – and hundreds of people’s homes.

Residents have watched ruefully for years as solar plants crept over the horizon, bringing noise and pollution that’s eroding a way of life in their desert refuge.

“We feel like we’ve been sacrificed,” says Mark Carrington, who, like Sneddon, lives in the Lake Tamarisk resort, a community for over-55s near Desert Center, which is increasingly surrounded by solar farms. “We’re a senior community, and half of us now have breathing difficulties because of all the dust churned up by the construction. I moved here for the clean air, but some days I have to go outside wearing goggles. What was an oasis has become a little island in a dead solar sea.”

Concerns have intensified following the recent news of a project, called Easley, that would see the panels come just 200 metres from their backyards. Residents claim that excessive water use by solar plants has contributed to the drying up of two local wells, while their property values have been hit hard, with several now struggling to sell their homes.

solar panels in foreground, wind turbines in background in desert

“It has been psychologically gruelling,” says Teresa Pierce, who moved here six years ago. “From the constant pounding of the metal posts to the endless dust storms. I now have allergies that I’d never had before – my arms burn all day long and my nose is always running. I feel like a prisoner in my own home.” Elizabeth Knowles, director of community engagement for Intersect Power, the company behind the Easley project, said it knew of residents’ concerns and was exploring how to move the project further from the community. “ Since being made aware of their concerns, we have been in regular contact with residents to listen to their concerns and incorporate their feedback into our planning efforts.”

‘90% of the story is underground’

The mostly flat expanse south-east of Joshua Tree national park was originally identified as a prime site for industrial-scale solar power under the Obama administration, which fast-tracked the first project, Desert Sunlight, in 2011. It was the largest solar plant in the world at the time of completion, in 2015, covering an area of almost 4,000 acres, and it opened the floodgates for more. Since then, 15 projects have been completed or are under construction, with momentous mythological names like Athos and Oberon. Ultimately, if built to full capacity, this shimmering patchwork quilt could generate 24 gigawatts, enough energy to power 7m homes. But as the pace of construction has ramped up, so have voices questioning the cumulative impact of these projects on the desert’s populations – both human and non-human. Kevin Emmerich worked for the National Park Service for over 20 years before setting up Basin & Range Watch in 2008, a non-profit that campaigns to conserve desert life. He says solar plants create myriad environmental problems, including habitat destruction and “lethal death traps” for birds, which dive at the panels, mistaking them for water.

He says one project bulldozed 600 acres of designated critical habitat for the endangered desert tortoise, while populations of Mojave fringe-toed lizards and bighorn sheep have also been afflicted. “We’re trying to solve one environmental problem by creating so many others.”

large mirrors erected in the desert

Such adverse impacts are supposed to be prevented by the desert renewable energy conservation plan (DRECP), which was approved in 2016 after years of consultation and covers almost 11m acres of California. But Emmerich and others think the process is flawed, allowing streamlined environmental reviews and continual amendments that they say trample conservationists’ concerns. “The plan talks about the importance of making sure there’s enough room between the solar projects to preserve wildlife routes,” says Chris Clarke of the National Parks Conservation Association. “But the individual assessments for each project do not take into account the cumulative impact. The solar plants are blocking endangered species’ natural transport corridors across the desert.”

A Mojave desert tortoise under the desert sun. black and white pic

Much of the critical habitat in question is dry wash woodland, made up of “microphyll” shrubs and trees like palo verde, ironwood, catclaw and honey mesquite, which grow in a network of green veins across the desert. But, compared with old-growth forests of giant redwoods, or expanses of venerable Joshua trees, the significance of these small desert shrubs can be hard for the untrained eye to appreciate. “When people look across the desert, they just see scrubby little plants that look dead half the time,” says Robin Kobaly, a botanist who worked at the BLM for over 20 years as a wildlife biologist before founding the Summertree Institute, an environmental education non-profit. “But they are missing 90% of the story – which is underground.” Her book, The Desert Underground , features illustrated cross-sections that reveal the hidden universe of roots extended up to 150ft below the surface, supported by branching networks of fungal mycelium. “This is how we need to look at the desert,” she says, turning a diagram from her book upside-down. “It’s an underground forest – just as majestic and important as a giant redwood forest, but we can’t see it.”

The reason this root network is so valuable, she argues, because it operates as an enormous “carbon sink” where plants breathe in carbon dioxide at the surface and out underground, forming layers of sedimentary rock known as caliche. “If left undisturbed, the carbon can remain stored for thousands of years,’” she says. Desert plants are some of the oldest carbon-capturers around: Mojave yuccas can be up to 2,500 years old, while the humble creosote bush can live for over 10,000 years. These plants also sequester carbon in the form of glomalin, a protein secreted around the fungal threads connected to the plants’ roots, thought to store a third of the world’s soil carbon. “By digging these plants up,” says Kobaly, “we are removing the most efficient carbon sequestration units on the planet – and releasing millennia of stored carbon back into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the solar panels we are replacing them with have a lifespan of around 25 years.”

Mirrors sprawl across the desert at the Ivanpah solar electric generating system near Nipton, California.

For Alfredo Acosta Figueroa, the unstoppable march of desert solar represents an existential threat of a different kind. As a descendant of the Chemehuevi and Yaqui nations, he has watched as what he says are numerous sacred Indigenous sites have been bulldozed. “The history of the world is told by these sites,” he says, “by geoglyphs, petroglyphs, and pictographs. Yet the government has chosen to ignore and push aside the creation story in the name of progress.”

His organisation, La Cuna de Aztlan, acts as custodian of over 300 such sites in the Lower Colorado River Basin, many of which, he says, have already been damaged beyond repair. He claims that a 200ft-long geoglyph of Kokopelli, a flute-playing god, was destroyed by a new road to one of the solar plants, while an image of Cicimitl, an Aztec spirit said to guide souls to the afterlife, is also threatened. “The solar projects cannot destroy just one sacred site without destroying the sacredness of the entire area,” he adds. “They are all connected.”

He cites a 2010 report by the California Energy Commission, which includes testimony from the heritage experts Dr Elizabeth Bagwell and Beverly E Bastian stating that “more than 800 sites within the I-10 Corridor and 17,000 sites within the Southern California Desert Region will potentially be destroyed”, and that “mitigation can reduce the impact of the destruction, but not to a less-than-significant level”.

The Bureau of Land Management declined a request for an interview. In an emailed statement, its public affairs officer, Michelle Van Der Linden, did not directly address questions about solar plants’ water use, health issues, or ecological and archeological impacts, but said the agency operated within the applicable laws and acts. “The DRECP effort was a multiple-year collaborative discussion resulting in an agreement reached between the BLM, numerous environmental groups, partners and stakeholders, in regards to the application and decision process related to renewable energy projects. Project issues were and continue to be identified and addressed through the National Environmental Policy Act process, which includes the opportunity for public engagement and input and also addresses many of the cumulative impacts and additional environmental, social and economic concerns mentioned.”

‘So many other places we should put solar’

Wild burros near the Ivanpah solar electric generating system near Nipton, California.

But a more fundamental question remains: why build in the desert, when thousands of acres of rooftops in urban areas lie empty across California ? “There are so many other places we should be putting solar,” says Clarke, of the National Parks Conservation Association, from homes to warehouses to parking lots and industrial zones. He describes the current model of large-scale, centralised power generation, hundreds of miles from where the power is actually needed, as “a 20th-century business plan for a 21st-century problem”.

“The conversion of intact wildlife habitat should be the absolute last resort, but it’s become our first resort – just because it’s the easy fix.” Vincent Battaglia, founder of Renova Energy, a rooftop solar company based in Palm Desert, agrees. “We’ve been led to believe that all solar is good solar,” he says. “But it’s not when it molests pristine land, requires hundreds of millions of dollars to transmit to city centres, and loses so much power along the way. It is simply preserving the monopoly of the big energy companies.” California recently reduced the incentive for homeowners to install rooftop solar panels after it slashed the amount that they can earn from feeding power back into the grid by about 75%. Forecasters suggest that, after doubling in size from 2020 to 2022, the market for residential solar installations is expected to decrease by nearly 40% by 2024 as a result. Battaglia is optimistic that home energy storage is the answer. “Batteries are the future,” he says. “With solar panels on rooftops and batteries in homes, we’ll finally be able to cut the cord from the big utility companies. Soon, those fields of desert solar farms will be defunct – left as rusting relics of another age.” Back in Lake Tamarisk, the residents are preparing for the long battle ahead. “They picked on a little town and thought they could wipe us out,” says Sneddon. “But they can’t just mow us over like they did the desert tortoises.

“They thought we were a bunch of uneducated redneck hicks living out here in the desert,” says Pierce. “We’re going to show them they were wrong.”

Most viewed


10 Environmental Problems and Solutions in 2023

September 6, 2022

Graham Sawrey

There are so many environmental problems we face today, and they all have to be addressed. But which environmental issues demand our attention now?

We’ll discuss 10 environmental problems and solutions that we can work on now to change our collective future for the better!

10 Environmental Problems and Solutions

Want to know even more? Check out our List of Environmental Issues Examples where we discuss the 30 biggest threats earth faces today for a more in-depth understanding of environmental problems.

Here are the top 10 environmental issues that require immediate attention for the health of our planet and our own survival.

We’ll discuss these top 10 environmental problems in detail and offer some real-world solutions to each one.

There is no magic bullet solution for the environmental issues we face. The real solution will come when individuals choose to make decisions in favor of the earth’s welfare .

When billions of us combine a lot of small actions they add up to a big impact on the earth.

1. Climate Change

A sign from a protestor saying there is no Planet B trying to fight Climate change

Climate change is a massive topic. Inside this topic are all the subtopics and environmental problems that add up to climate change.

Climate change is the term we use to refer to the changing atmospheric conditions that affect life on earth.

These things are intertwined and many of them have the same root cause – the main one is the burning of fossil fuels.

However, along with increased carbon dioxide output from fossil fuels, there are mainly CFCs and halons though other substances also destroy ozone molecules.

These substances are found in aerosols, refrigerants (like air conditioners) and other machinery. CFCs are banned, but other ozone-destroying chemicals are still in use.

Depletion of the ozone layer allows more UVB rays to get through the atmosphere which has a warming effect in the atmosphere of the globe. This changes weather patterns and climate expectations everywhere.

Climate Change Solutions

The solutions to climate change involve viewing the world differently than we currently do as a global culture.

We view the world as something to use. We want to get as much as we can while it’s available. This is causing us to use things we don’t need, create waste, and deplete our resources too fast.

Here are a few things we can do to help combat climate change.

Climate change is a real environmental issue and it’s full of uncertainties. One thing we know is that the decisions we make today can have a major impact on the quality of life on planet earth in the future.

2. Water Pollution

A stream with garbage in it showing Water pollution

Water pollution includes marine pollution and freshwater pollution. Let’s take a look at both.

Marine pollution is largely caused by nitrogen that washes away from inland soils and drains into the ocean water.

The excess nitrogen creates algae blooms that prevent sunlight and oxygen from penetrating into the ocean water.

This creates a hypoxic environment called a “dead zone” where fish, crustaceans, and sea mammals can’t live. Mobile marine animals leave the area. Immobile marine life dies.

This is the primary cause of our loss of coral reefs around the globe.

Marine pollution also takes the form of trash and recyclables that wash into the ocean and form massive flotillas of rubbish .

Freshwater pollution refers to the pollution of inland water like rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. We rely on these bodies of water for our drinking water, but they are quickly becoming too polluted to drink.

Freshwater pollution also happens due to nitrogen in the water , but it can also be the result of things people do.

Some of these things we can’t avoid, but a lot of it is preventable.

Water Pollution Solutions

The effects of pollution could be minimized and possibly healed if we began to consciously make decisions that will protect our watershed instead of polluting it.

Think about how you’re using our precious water resources. Clean water is so easy to get in developed countries that we tend to forget the watershed it comes from.

That watershed needs our protection to continue to provide us with the clean water we need to survive.

3. Air Pollution

Industrial area with smoke and air pollution

Air pollution is what we call the suspended particulates that become part of the atmospheric gases that we breathe.

We’re not running out of oxygen. The earth has plenty of oxygen. The problem is that the concentration of carbon dioxide is increasing disproportionately and it’s pretty much all our fault.

There is a natural carbon dioxide cycle that we have with all of the plants on the planet. We naturally produce carbon dioxide, and they breathe it in and convert it to oxygen.

In a natural state, this would be in perfect balance.

However, when we burn fossil fuels we pump massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that can’t be offset by the plants in the world.

Furthermore, the carbon dioxide is mixed with a slurry of carcinogens and toxins like methane, formaldehyde, phosphorus, styrene, and more.

Curious to see the full list? The EPA has a list of 188 air pollutants . Nobody benefits from breathing in these compounds.

Air pollution affects everything – us, plants, animals, all water on the planet, and marine fish and mammals.

Air pollution causes and effects have to be clearly understood to really grasp the solutions that we have to implement to clear the air.

Air Pollution Solutions

The biggest solution we can implement is the switch to clean alternative energy sources because fossil fuels are the biggest polluters on the planet.

However, we have to be clear that there isn’t a totally clean energy solution .

Having said all that, we still have to choose these alternative energy sources over straight-up fossil fuel consumption.

Fossil fuels are the dirtiest sources of energy that we have and they contribute the most to the dirty air that we suffer from around the world.

Reducing dependence on fossil fuels will go the farthest in clearing the air around the world.

4. Natural Resource Depletion

A closed dam showing how we can use natural resources effectively.

The world is full of natural resources. A natural resource is anything that we can use to live or make something from.

Some natural resources examples include:

The world is full of natural resources that we use to enable life as we know it. Natural resources feed us, give us electricity, wire our laptops, and keep us hydrated.

The problem is not all natural resources are renewable . Coal, natural gas, uranium, gold, and even salt are natural resources we depend on but once they’re used up we have no more.

This is why we have to focus on stewarding our renewable natural resources.

When we overuse our natural resources we get a short-term payoff but a long-term loss.

For example, establishing reservoirs in the southwest was a good idea 90 years ago. It allowed the development of desert areas.

However, as communities expand across arid areas under the assumption that established water sources will be reliable, the water sources are being used faster than they can naturally replenish.

Natural Resource Depletion Solutions

One of the main natural resources that we’re depleting is fossil fuel. It is not only going away, but it’s also ruining our planet as we use it for fuel and energy.

Switching to cleaner energy sources is a non-negotiable for solving our climate crisis, but we also have to focus on decreasing our need for energy .

Here are some good ways to decrease your own energy demand so we use fewer natural resources to produce electricity.

By focusing on sustainability we can help to reduce our dependence on non-renewable resources and help to conserve the resources that we have so they last longer.

5. Waste Management

A woman sorting her recyclables and garbage so she can help avoid causing environmental problems

Waste management has come a long way in the last decade, but it has a long way to go in certain areas of the United States.

According to the EPA, the total waste production in the United States averages out to 4.9 pounds per person per day . This includes all sorts of trash that is binned and collected.

50% of the waste stream goes into landfills .

About 32% of the waste collected in the United States gets recycled or composted .

Nearly 12% gets burned as “biomass” to generate electricity.

Around 6% of the waste is food waste that gets treated in other ways. It might be used in animal feed, turned into fertilizer, used in the creation of biochemicals, or other methods of disposal or reuse.

It’s clear that the US has made a concerted effort to deal with waste streams. The problem is that the amount of waste generated per person is growing drastically.

In 1980 each person generated about 3.66 pounds per day. In 2018 that figure had risen to 4.9 pounds per day. This is the trend that we must change.

Worldwide waste production equals about 1.63 pounds per person with the bulk of that waste being generated in highly developed countries.

Though developing countries don’t tend to generate nearly as much waste per person, they don’t have any safe waste disposal infrastructure which leads to the creation of massive open dumps .

All landfills emit tons of greenhouse gases – mostly methane and carbon dioxide. This is another major contributor to global warming.

While recycling efforts in the United States and elsewhere have produced great results, the recycling waste stream produces much more material than can be currently recycled – ending in waste.

Waste Management Solutions

Waste management must be solved worldwide, but the only thing we can affect is our own consumption and waste patterns.

If each of us becomes wiser consumers we can have a dramatic impact on the waste streams and the carbon emissions from them.

In the case of waste streams, part of the responsibility lies with municipal governments to handle waste more cleanly.

The other part of the responsibility lies with the citizens. We are the ones generating the waste. We can all do our part to cut down on our own waste as much as possible.

6. Urban Sprawl

Los Angeles is a prime example of environmental problems caused by urban sprawl

Urban sprawl is the term used to describe the way that cities spread from an urban center into widening suburban neighborhoods. Dwellings go from high-density to low-density, taking up more land.

Urban sprawl is characterized by land use and natural resource consumption .

Undeveloped land that was farmland, ranchland, native plants and soil, or forest is paved over for low-density housing and new strip malls, grocery stores, and restaurant chains.

Here are key takeaways you should know about Urban Sprawl.

Many of these things aren’t bad, and urban sprawl is often the natural outflow of living in a prosperous area .

It can also be a sign that the municipal government is not keeping the urban areas clean and safe.

Regardless, it is a style of living that uses many more resources than a high-density urban lifestyle.

Some cities including the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and Los Angeles are experiencing increasing urban density as more residents refurbish downtown areas to make them desirable neighborhoods.

Urban Sprawl Solutions

There aren’t any surefire solutions to urban sprawl. The fact is that people move away from urban areas for many reasons – not all of which can be solved.

Here are a few things that local governments can do to encourage people to adopt a high-density housing lifestyle in urban areas.

Over time cities can turn urban life into a desirable living situation for many, diminishing the exodus to outlying areas and helping to curb the rapidity of urban sprawl.

7. Energy Consumption

High voltage transmission lines bring electricity to homes and businesses.

Our overall high energy consumption is the main contributor to climate change because 61% of the electricity generated in the United States is from burning fossil fuels.

So, on top of burning fossil fuels to commute from sprawling communities, we are also burning fossil fuels to charge our EV cars , keep the air conditioners running, and keep the lights on.

There is no denying the negative impact that our high energy consumption has on the planet, but we also rely on it for our highly technological way of life.

For example, let’s take a look at data centers . The world relies on data centers.

They serve all of your cloud storage, social media content, online shopping, virtual worlds, game streaming, on-demand entertainment, and remote workflows.

Right now, data centers alone consume about 2% of all the energy generated in the United States, and that number is growing as data centers pop up everywhere to handle cloud storage needs.

We can’t just stop feeding data centers because we rely on them for work, data storage, and socialization. Younger generations are more dependent on data center capacity and speed than ever before .

That’s just one example of an energy consumer that we can’t just shut down to save the planet. So we have to look at home to decrease energy consumption .

Energy Consumption Solutions

As with most solutions to our global environmental crisis, the answer begins at home.

There are dozens of ways we can all think of to save a little energy here and there. From riding a bike to eating fresh foods we can help decrease the amount of energy it takes to power our lives.

8. Environmental Degradation

Garbage floating in a waterway in India - a land suffering from the effects of air, soil, and water pollution.

Environmental degradation occurs when human activities change the environment for the worse.

Environmental Degradation Definition

Environmental degradation is the destruction or deterioration of the quality of natural resources and habitats including soil, water, air, and wildlife .

Degradation primarily happens through pollution, over-harvesting, and erosion.

Here are some examples of environmental degradation .

Environmental degradation is inevitable because we have to use the land for food production, energy production, and dwellings, but we can do a lot to help preserve the quality of the land.

Environmental Degradation Solutions

There are a number of thing we can do to help reduce the amount of environmental degradation that happens as a result of our own needs and wants.

Humans aren’t responsible for all types of environmental degradation, but we contribute a lot to it. We can also help clean up our habits and use fewer resources that result in habitat destruction.

9. Deforestation

A biomass power plant that burns chipped trees to generate electricity - causing deforestation.

Deforestation happens when trees are stripped away or burned away. It can be human-caused or the result of a natural disaster.

Sometimes humans and nature work together to create deforestation. Examples include when a hydroelectric dam bursts due to catastrophic rainfall, or a volcano like Mt. Saint Helens flattens a forest.

Human-caused deforestation is two-fold. Sometimes managed forests owned by timber companies are stripped and then replanted. This happens for lumber and to create biomass for power plants.

While habitat loss and environmental degradation are heartbreaking, the trees will regrow within a few decades. However, the animals and birds must shift from place to place to survive.

On the other hand, forest fires caused by human activity will deforest an area that may not ever recover. Habitat loss is sometimes permanent .

Deforestation Solutions

The most obvious solution to deforestation is to replant trees in areas that are logged or burned for any reason. Replanting with native species is a must.

The second solution to deforestation is to decrease the demand for paper products and lumber. Choose things that are reusable as much as possible.

The alternative to lumber is steel which creates a different problem because it requires mining and uses non-renewable resources .

However, steel can be recycled forever. One of the benefits of recycling steel is that the recycled steel is just as strong and pure as virgin steel.

So while the recycled steel industry can’t keep up with the need for new steel, as more steel is recycled for construction purposes we should see it gradually relieve some of the need for lumber.

10. Recycling Inefficiencies

Bales of recyclable paper waiting to be processed into new paper products.

The final huge environmental problem that we must solve domestically is our recycling inefficiencies.

Most Americans don’t realize that our recycling system is strained and largely broken because we don’t recycle our trash at home.

The story of US recycling is a long one that’s full of problems, even from the beginning. China used to handle the bulk of our recycling, but it is so polluted that they banned it in 2018.

Now America’s recycling waste is shipped to developing countries like Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia where it is piled waiting to be sorted and recycled into usable materials.

The problem is that anywhere from 20 to 70% of our recyclables end up in a landfill overseas or are burned. This is an outrage that has sparked a lot of discussions but it needs to be addressed at home.

Here are the reasons our recycling is not being recycled.

All of this is discouraging because those of us who recycle carefully realize that in spite of us our clean, sorted recyclables might still be ending in a landfill.

Recycling Solutions

The keys to our recycling disaster are expensive, and we have to play the long game to win.

We can help at home by ensuring that our recyclables are clean and generating less of a need for recycling by decreasing our dependence on single-use items.

It would also be helpful to limit plastic production to only types that are safe to use and can be recycled.

The benefits of recycling clothes and textiles can’t be overstated. Engaging in this circular economy saves money, eliminates fabric waste, and turns fabric into a renewable resource!

Causes of Environmental Problems

The causes of environmental problems usually come back to excess consumption . As the human population expands we are also collectively demanding more resources per person.

Humans want to use more energy, more precious metals, more water, more food, and more luxurious items like fashionable clothing and multiple vehicles.

All of these demands can be met, but only by expending more of the earth’s natural resources. Metals and fossil fuels are non-renewable so as demand increases the price goes up and the supply goes down.

The key to so many of our major environmental problems is to decrease personal consumption.

Why are environmental problems common in developing countries?

Good question and the answer comes back to excess consumption . Many developing countries receive our excess clothing, recyclables, and used goods.

They develop a market around these used goods, but there is simply too much. It ends up in massive waste piles because many of the goods we discard are low-quality and non-recyclable.

Developing countries lack the infrastructure to deal with polluted water, overflowing landfills, and piles of unused recyclables so they stay in the environment creating health and environmental hazards.

One example is electronics recycling. While we all want to reap the benefits of recycling electronics , when they’re sent overseas for recycling the results are dangerous.

“Informal” recyclers are exposed to extremely high levels of neurotoxins and carcinogens as they break down e-waste by hand to recover gold, silver, copper, and other precious metals.

Instead of exposing the poor to these hazardous materials we should be doing the recycling at home and helping to develop a clean recycling industry abroad.

Final Thoughts

We’ve discussed 10 global environmental problems, and most of them center around the demands of the economically developed world.

The problems we face on planet earth can seem overwhelming, but they aren’t. We can solve them beginning with our own buying and consumption habits .

We can become involved in clean-up efforts in our own communities. We can lobby for domestic recycling plants.

We can help educate our own community members about why recycling is important and why it’s vital to do it right.

What do you think about these environmental problems and solutions? Do you have more ideas for how we can help to solve these environmental problems? Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Global airlines group to boost focus on non-CO2 emissions

The setting sun illuminates an aircraft's contrail as it flies, as viewed from Glastonbury

LONDON, May 31 (Reuters) - Global airlines are setting up a task force to deal with non-carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, stepping up efforts to tackle cloudy streaks formed by aircraft known as contrails, an environmental threat that until now has taken a backseat to carbon pollution in the response to global warming.

The move comes as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), representing some 300 major airlines, is preparing to discuss the warming effect of contrails for the first time at its annual meeting in Istanbul next week.

The streaks are formed in moist atmospheric conditions and are made up of frozen ice crystals. While they don't emit CO2, scientists say they can trap radiation and reflect it back down to earth, creating a harmful warming effect.

Starting this year, the task force will coordinate efforts by researchers and airlines to limit the creation of contrails in an effort to encourage the sector to do more, IATA said.

The idea is to "accurately predict conditions favouring the formation of contrails and minimize the risks of increased fuel when avoiding them," an IATA spokesperson said in response to a Reuters query.

But some researchers and environmental groups - supported by companies claiming to be able to help solve the problem - say airlines have done too little to handle the issue.

According to such experts, research shows that non-CO2 emissions can actually be more harmful than carbon emissions.

"(Up to) 10% of all flights contribute to 80% of the warming effects," said Roger Teoh, a researcher at Imperial College London, adding that "the annual warming effects of contrails could be two times larger than the cumulative effects from CO2."

Firms like SATAVIA in the UK and Paris-based Estuaire use digital modeling to help track patches of moist air deemed most likely to cause contrails, in some cases offering up alternative routes that don't create the distinctive tails in the sky.

To date, only a handful of airlines have announced investments in preventing contrails, with others arguing the new flight plans dodging moist air actually cause higher fuel burn and therefore release more carbon.

Others say the science behind the impact of contrails isn't robust enough.

European regulators are also putting greater focus on the issue following pressure from green groups. New European Union rules on emissions trading that will come into force in 2025 will force airlines to track and report their non-C02 emissions.

Airlines have pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, mainly by adopting Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), scarce alternative fuels made from renewable sources - like biofuels or synthetic fuels - that are used to power aircraft.

Based in Cambridge, England, SATAVIA says that by focusing so heavily on carbon emissions, the industry will be paying more money for a solution that could take years to have an impact.

"The cost of scaling SAF is in the trillions, but the cost of solving this non-CO2 problem is probably just in the tens of millions," Chief Executive Adam Durant told Reuters.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

how to solve the environment problem

Thomson Reuters

Joanna reports on airlines and travel in Europe, including tourism trends, sustainability and policy. She was previously based in Warsaw, where she covered politics and general news. She wrote stories on everything from Chinese spies to migrants stranded in forests along the Belarusian border. In 2022, she spent six weeks covering the war in Ukraine, with a focus on the evacuation of children, war reparations and evidence that Russian commanders knew of sexual violence by their troops. Joanna graduated from the Columbia Journalism School in 2014. Before joining Reuters, she worked in Hong Kong for TIME and later in Brussels reporting on EU tech policy for POLITICO Europe.

A view shows a departures board at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow

More from Reuters

Illustration shows smartphone with TC Energy's logo displayed

Canada's TC Energy is cutting some jobs to "optimize value" a company spokesperson said on Tuesday, without giving details of how many positions have been impacted.

Tesla Model 3 vehicles shown for sale in Long Beach


how to solve the environment problem

Solving Environmental Problems


A Saltmarsh Sparrow. Credit: Getty Images

Environmental problems can be complex and hard to resolve. The complexity arises because the components of the environment are linked, and their interactions may be separated by both time and distance. With the emergence of humans as a significant component of the environment, this complexity has been exacerbated by the sheer scale of human needs and by the social diversity of cultures and values that hampers collaborative action. Examples of major environmental problems include climate change, pollution, and the depletion of natural resources. Solutions to environmental problems often treat symptoms and stop short of discovering and fixing root causes. When this happens, the symptoms invariably return. For example, ride-hailing services (e.g., Uber, Lyft) were thought to reduce air pollution by reducing individual ownership of automobiles—a symptom. However, because of the way in which these services are scheduled, studies show that they actually produce more climate risk than individual automobile ownership. In other words, the solution to the symptom was worse than the original symptom.

Today’s blog introduces a simple but powerful problem-solving technique for finding root causes. It is called relentless root causes analysis . We will illustrate its use for an environmental problem of concern to the Connecticut River Estuary (as well as other estuaries). Problem-solving starts with an observation that defines the problem.


Our environmental problem originates with the observation that the population of saltmarsh sparrows is declining. After investigating this phenomenon with his graduate students, Professor Chris Elphick of the University of Connecticut discovered that the ground-level nests of brooding saltmarsh sparrows were being destroyed by sporadic flooding of the host marshes. [1]

Uncovering Root Causes

When humans are about two years old, we manifest a latent curiosity that spawns a string of “Why?” questions. It turns out that asking “Why?”, until the last why cannot be answered further, is a powerful problem-solving technique that can lay bare the root causes of a problem and help to identify potential solution options. The next figure demonstrates how this technique works to diagnose the plight of the saltmarsh sparrow’s declining population. Just by asking “Why?” repeatedly we arrive at five actionable root causes—answers in the lowest “Why?” boxes in a branch—that suggest solutions.

Note that the causes in the “Why?” boxes often need to be validated by further observation and analysis. When feasible, one should perform a “nasty” test by devising a way to turn a cause on and off.

how to solve the environment problem

Problem Solutions

Evidently, there is not enough time left before the extinction of the saltmarsh sparrow species to make meaningful progress on abating climate change. That leaves three other causes that can be tackled with the following suggested solution options: upstream tributary dam removal, cutting new channels into the marsh, and removing structures that block marsh migration. A fourth solution, adding soil to build up marsh elevation, is suggested by the symptom that the marsh surface is not renewing fast enough from (natural) sedimentation. The next step would be to benchmark the lessons learned by other regions (for example, Narrow River, Rhode Island) that solved similar marsh habitat issues. Then develop marsh restoration plans with cost-benefit analyses that would also consider the other occupiers of this habitat.

Understanding how to alter a river’s capacity for increased sediment transport and deposition on marshes is a longer-term research project that would undoubtedly require modeling and sophisticated data collection by scientists, but it is a feasible undertaking. In the Connecticut River Estuary, we are fortunate that this work has already been accomplished; the results show that the Estuary has favorable, almost unique flow patterns for sediment transport and deposition. For our Estuary, then, we would turn our attention to the other options for elevating marsh surfaces to rescue the brooding habitat of saltmarsh sparrows and to steward other fauna and flora that share the marshes.

The engineering and project management skills needed to realize these plans would require a lead organization having the necessary resources, a role that could be played by Connecticut’s National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) when it is officially designated (see upcoming article about this NERR in the fall 2020 issue of Estuary magazine). Finally, the chosen solutions should be monitored to ensure that they were implemented correctly and are working effectively.

[1] Elphick, C.S., J.M. Hill and M. Rubega 2008. “State of the saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrows.” In: Connecticut State of the Birds: Conservation of birds and their habitats . (M. Bull, ed.) Connecticut Audubon Society. pp. 5-9.

All about protecting the environment

Ways to solve environmental problems

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the first programs aimed primarily at protecting (saving) the environment began to appear, but by the end of the century it became clear that humanity needs more radical and effective measures. Over the last decades mankind has realized the danger of the current ecological situation in the world and began an active struggle for the protection and restoration of our nature. The measures developed and practiced are usually divided into several categories.

In addition to existing projects and programs for the preservation and protection of the environment, scientists are already working on ambitious future projects, including the construction of complete waste recycling plants, construction of thermal power plants on the moon (operating on Helium-3), a worldwide rejection of gasoline engines and the transition to electric cars and the use of cold nuclear fusion – an efficient and environmentally friendly method of producing energy from water.

But beyond these global plans, there is the responsibility of each of us, each inhabitant of the big house called “planet Earth. To preserve it for future generations, do not be lazy to follow a few simple universal rules: throw away batteries in special containers, give up disposable bags (buy a fabric bag, it is cheaper), give unnecessary things to the poor, sort waste and teach these simple recommendations to your children. It is important to realize that there is no shame in being frugal. Instead of throwing away and buying, look for new uses for old things.

Yes, right now the environmental situation on our planet gives us a lot to worry about. However, it is worth recognizing that in the 21st century we have made serious progress in terms of awareness and activism. Despite all the damage we have done to our planet, we still have enough chances to restore it to its former form.

Recent Posts

Global problems.

The environment is gradually deteriorating, resources that seemed to be replenishable are already close to complete depletion; the air we breathe is not as clean as it once was; not only people but also animals are beginning to suffer… So already today we need to think and take, to redouble all our efforts to preserve what we have left.

Federal environment minister says Alberta and Ottawa can come to terms on climate policy

Guilbeault says forcing emissions cap on provinces is not a conversation he wants to have.

how to solve the environment problem

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault faces both a personal and political challenge as he seeks to push the government's climate change agenda forward in the face of intense opposition from a newly re-elected Alberta government.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said she's been "very frustrated by the posture" Guilbeault has taken toward her province. In her election night victory speech, she said she would not allow the federal government to impose policies on Alberta she views as damaging to the province's energy sector.

In an interview with CBC's The House airing Saturday, Guilbeault insisted the federal government is working successfully with Alberta on a number of issues, including biodiversity and tailings pond remediation.

Asked about Smith's comments, Guilbeault struck a conciliatory tone.

"I wouldn't say things are great," he said. "I'm saying we have our differences, but we have also the capacity to work them out."

how to solve the environment problem

Smith has been especially critical of the federal government's planned emissions cap for the oil and gas industry, which is expected to be in place by the end of the year. Smith has called it a "de facto production cap" and has claimed it would devastate the Alberta economy.

"I'm very optimistic that with technology we'll solve the problem," Smith told CBC's Power & Politics earlier this week. "But if you short-circuit that and try to achieve an unachievable target too early, you end up chasing investment away."

Guilbeault said it's government regulation that helped to guide that technological development.

"I mean, what will drive technological investment in de-carbonization is regulation," he said. "By putting in place smart regulations, we are ensuring in fact that those investments will be made so that we have jobs in Alberta in the energy sector 20 years, 25 years, 30 years down the road."

Guilbeault added that the coming draft regulations on an emissions cap will be open for comment and conversation.

"But we need [the emissions cap] for a number of different reasons," he said. "In a carbon constrained world, we will still need some oil even all the way to 2050. But what those people who still buy oil and gas will be looking for is oil that has a very low carbon footprint."

Guilbeault also implied that, outside of the public eye, there's room for cooperation with outwardly confrontational governments.

"I think we have to make a distinction between what is being said publicly and and when we sit down, when there's no camera, when there's no journalist[s]," he said. "People usually tend to be very reasonable and get down to business."

A woman smiles at a crowd from a podium with the Alberta flag behind her.

Hanging over the climate change policy debate is the Alberta Sovereignty Act, passed by the Smith government late last year. The legislation was billed as enabling Alberta to ignore federal laws.

Guilbeault said the idea of forcing Alberta to comply with new pieces of policy like the emissions cap is "not a conversation I want to have," adding that his government is still undertaking consultations.

The environment minister said that despite initial opposition from provinces to the federal carbon tax, each jurisdiction has since complied with that policy — either by creating their own systems or by adhering to the federal backstop.

"I'm not saying everybody's happy, I'm saying everyone's doing it," Guilbeault said.

Green tech hopes for cross-party commitment

The debate between the federal government and some conservative premiers over climate policy comes at a time when governments across the country are spending billions of dollars on clean energy investments in an increasingly competitive international climate.

A group of industry executives met in Ottawa this week to tell politicians that support for green technologies needs to be ramped up even further. The gathering included a concerted effort to reach out to the federal Conservative opposition.

Speaking to The House , Jeff Cyr, CEO of Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, said a multi-party approach is the most sensible one, given the fact that governments come and go on shorter timescales than many major investment projects.

how to solve the environment problem

"The issue of the energy transition is a long term one. It's for decades and decades … So why would you limit that to the governing party of the day? It's strategically not sensible to me to do that. So you talk to all parties. To me, it's a non-partisan issue in that context," he said.

"At the end of the day, we're making hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in multi-decade projects. And so we need to know that there's a sense of durability in this country so that it's a place that can attract our capital, as opposed to other parts of the world," said Colleen Giroux-Schmidt, a vice-president at Innergex Renewable Energy.

"The opportunity is there if we choose to seize it, but we have to choose to seize it and we have to be intentional about it as a country."


how to solve the environment problem

Christian Paas-Lang covers federal politics for CBC News in Ottawa as an associate producer with The House and a digital writer with CBC Politics. You can reach him at [email protected].

With files from Catherine Cullen and Kristen Everson

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Forgotten password

Please enter the email address that you use to login to TeenInk.com, and we'll email you instructions to reset your password.

  • Poetry All Poetry Free Verse Song Lyrics Sonnet Haiku Limerick Ballad
  • Fiction All Fiction Action-Adventure Fan Fiction Historical Fiction Realistic Fiction Romance Sci-fi/Fantasy Scripts & Plays Thriller/Mystery All Novels Action-Adventure Fan Fiction Historical Fiction Realistic Fiction Romance Sci-fi/Fantasy Thriller/Mystery Other
  • Nonfiction All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & Culture All Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies All Hot Topics Bullying Community Service Environment Health Letters to the Editor Pride & Prejudice What Matters
  • Reviews All Reviews Hot New Books Book Reviews Music Reviews Movie Reviews TV Show Reviews Video Game Reviews Summer Program Reviews College Reviews
  • Art/Photo Art Photo Videos
  • Summer Guide Program Links Program Reviews
  • College Guide College Links College Reviews College Essays College Articles

Summer Guide

College guide.

  • Song Lyrics

All Fiction

  • Action-Adventure
  • Fan Fiction
  • Historical Fiction
  • Realistic Fiction
  • Sci-fi/Fantasy
  • Scripts & Plays
  • Thriller/Mystery

All Nonfiction

  • Author Interviews
  • Celebrity interviews
  • College Articles
  • College Essays
  • Educator of the Year
  • Personal Experience
  • Travel & Culture

All Opinions

  • Current Events / Politics
  • Discrimination
  • Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
  • Entertainment / Celebrities
  • Environment
  • Love / Relationships
  • Movies / Music / TV
  • Pop Culture / Trends
  • School / College
  • Social Issues / Civics
  • Spirituality / Religion
  • Sports / Hobbies

All Hot Topics

  • Community Service
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • What Matters

All Reviews

  • Hot New Books
  • Book Reviews
  • Music Reviews
  • Movie Reviews
  • TV Show Reviews
  • Video Game Reviews

Summer Program Reviews

  • College Reviews
  • Writers Workshop
  • Regular Forums
  • Program Links
  • Program Reviews
  • College Links

Ways to Solve Environmental Problems

I think there are many ways to solve environmental problems, and its simple you just have to take part in helping to improve it by recycling more. And I think running campaigns or clubs in the communities will encourage more people to make a difference to the environment and benefit them as well. And maybe even advertising ways to help improve the environment on bill boards for example, cutting down less trees or put rubbish in bins and expressing those ways in strong clear messages and images saying how important the environment is to us and what as a community can we do to help it. As there are many harmful effects like polluting, rubbish and cutting down trees which can slowly destroy our ecosystem, by putting rubbish in the waters and streets instead of bins, gives the environment a dirty polluting atmosphere and can contaminate the waters causing other living creatures like fish to die. And less trees means less carbon dioxide which also means very few habitats for birds and woodland creatures. We live in this environment and should do everything as possible to keep it safe and beautiful which means to put rubbish in bins, recycle every material, maybe even walk more as car fumes can also contaminate the air and makes it polluted. So there are many ways in which we can improve our environment not just because it’s the right thing to do it will also benefit us as the environment is part of the world we live in because without it where are we going to leave.

Similar Articles

Join the discussion.

This article has 0 comments.

  • Subscribe to Teen Ink magazine
  • Submit to Teen Ink
  • Find A College
  • Find a Summer Program

Share this on

Send to a friend.

Thank you for sharing this page with a friend!

Tell my friends

Choose what to email.

Which of your works would you like to tell your friends about? (These links will automatically appear in your email.)

Send your email

Delete my account, we hate to see you go please note as per our terms and conditions, you agreed that all materials submitted become the property of teen ink. going forward, your work will remain on teenink.com submitted “by anonymous.”, delete this, change anonymous status, send us site feedback.

If you have a suggestion about this website or are experiencing a problem with it, or if you need to report abuse on the site, please let us know. We try to make TeenInk.com the best site it can be, and we take your feedback very seriously. Please note that while we value your input, we cannot respond to every message. Also, if you have a comment about a particular piece of work on this website, please go to the page where that work is displayed and post a comment on it. Thank you!

Pardon Our Dust

Teen Ink is currently undergoing repairs to our image server. In addition to being unable to display images, we cannot currently accept image submissions. All other parts of the website are functioning normally. Please check back to submit your art and photography and to enjoy work from teen artists around the world!

how to solve the environment problem

how to solve the environment problem

  • Thursday 8 Jun 2023
  • updated: 5:18 am IST
  • Classifieds
  • Top Stories
  • Infrastructure
  • Life in the City
  • B'luru 2040
  • Coronavirus
  • North and Central
  • East and Northeast
  • NICE DH Cup 2022
  • Other Sports
  • Business News
  • Family Finance
  • Budget 2022
  • Budget 2023
  • In Perspective
  • Right in the Middle
  • Your Bond With Bengaluru
  • On The Move
  • Entertainment News
  • DH Showtime
  • Arts, Books & Culture
  • Latest Videos
  • Point Blank
  • Sunday Spotlight
  • Health 'n' Well-Being
  • Fashion Folio
  • Food Fiesta
  • SH Top Stories
  • Entertainment
  • Articulations
  • Art & Culture
  • Pics of the Day
  • DH Galleries
  • 70 Years of DH
  • DH Education


  • Is by-poll likely in Wayanad?
  • Pope undergoes surgery
  • Messi to Inter Miami: Report
  • PM Egypt visit likely in June
  • 'FIFA's climate claims false'
  • How Kohli fared in ICC finals?
  • 'Flowgame' helps audience to solve environmental issues

How use of ‘flowgame’ enthused audience to solve environmental issues  

The flowgame, developed by danish professionals committed to the environment, peace, and participation, is based on a north american aboriginal medicine wheel.


  • Jun 08 2023, 00:52 ist
  • updated: Jun 08 2023, 05:09 ist

Zafer Mohiuddin, President, Alliance Francaise in Bangalore, with the other participants at the event on Wednesday. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Participants at an environment day event organised by Power Nest at Alliance Francaise had questions like: How can we use plastic more effectively? why have we not been able to reuse plastic? how can we move towards living in natural environments like forests?

The answers were not provided by experts or panellists. Instead, a set of cards from a 'flowgame' were used. This tool promotes reflection, dialogue, and action in addressing environmental crisis.

The flowgame, developed in the 90s by Danish professionals committed to the environment, peace, and participation, is based on a North American aboriginal medicine wheel.

Many members of the audience attended the event to make a difference in preserving green spaces.

Zafer Mohiuddin, President, Alliance Francaise in Bangalore, said: “We are cutting trees to build roads and high rises; we kill insects that are so useful in their roles. We have no right to do it, but we are greedy and interfering disastrously in the environment.”

Architect Ravindra Kumar, experienced in working on IGBC sustainable smart buildings, residential, commercial, and industrial parks, said how working on creating an alternative habitat on Mars during his youth has brought the realisation that the challenge was not about saving the planet, but saving ourselves.

Sanjeev Singh, alumnus of IIT-Delhi and director of SAS Precision Engineering, a manufacturing unit of high-precision parts for aerospace and automobiles, noted how collective action can reverse the bad situation.

Encouraging mindful resource usage, Singh stressed on the 3Rs: Reduce, reuse, and recycle. He also urged the youth to raise awareness among people, even if they could not directly engage in action.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Deccan Herald News now on Telegram - Click here to subscribe

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Dailymotion | YouTube

  • Top News of the Day
  • Tune in to DH Radio
  • DH Video on Demand
  • Best of DH Opinion
  • DH Sportsletter
  • Best Of DH On Weekends
  • Political Theatre

Related videos

Related stories.

how to solve the environment problem

Bengaluru's public transport must be economical: HC

how to solve the environment problem

2 inspectors suspended for framing doctor in drugs case...

how to solve the environment problem

BBMP may propose increasing number of zones to 12...

how to solve the environment problem

Free bus travel for SSLC students

how to solve the environment problem

Bellandur traffic police repairs potholes

how to solve the environment problem

Lokayukta reveals KR Circle underpass drainage issues

What's brewing.

how to solve the environment problem

Canada wildfires force evacs, threaten infrastructure

how to solve the environment problem

Scientists discover a virgin birth in a crocodile

how to solve the environment problem

James Webb scope detects smoke, but no 'fire' in space

how to solve the environment problem

Double decker seats on planes? No thanks, say some

how to solve the environment problem

Rise of Germany's most successful far-right party—AfD

how to solve the environment problem

Byju's inducts generative AI for guiding students

how to solve the environment problem

World's first swine fever vax nears approval in Vietnam

how to solve the environment problem

Woman fakes husband’s death in Odisha mishap for money

Audit finds California water agency not adequately considering climate change in forecasts

Water cascades down the face of Folsom Dam.

  • Show more sharing options
  • Copy Link URL Copied!

The state auditor has issued a report strongly criticizing the California Department of Water Resources, saying the agency has overestimated the state’s water supply during drought and continues relying on forecasts that don’t adequately factor in the effects of climate change.

The report by State Auditor Grant Parks said the Department of Water Resources has “made only limited progress” in improving its water-supply forecasts to account for climate change, despite acknowledging more than a decade ago that it needed to improve its forecasting methods.

The audit also concluded that DWR “has not developed a comprehensive, long-term plan” for the State Water Project, the system that delivers water from Northern California to Southern California and supplies almost 27 million Californians, to proactively respond to more severe droughts.

The auditor said that in 2021, amid the driest three-year period on record, DWR significantly overestimated the state’s water supply. In February of that year, the report said, the department projected that runoff would be at least twice the volume that actually flowed in the majority of the watersheds that are included in forecasts.

“DWR has continued to rely heavily on historical climate data when developing its forecasts,” the auditor said in the report. “DWR has since begun planning to adapt its forecasting model and associated procedures, but it could better ensure that it is using the best approach available if it adopted a formal process for evaluating the quality of its forecasts.”

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2016, file photo, a sign opposing a proposed tunnel plan to ship water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to Southern California is displayed near Freeport, Calif. The powerful Metropolitan Water District voted Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 to pay its share of the $16 billion project to build two massive tunnels to pipe water from Northern California to Southern California cities. The vote gives Gov. Jerry Brown's ambitious project an important boost of support after an influential agricultural group withdrew its support last month. The tunnels, which have been discussed in one form or another for generations, would pipe water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — where Sierra Nevada water flows toward the sea — to a system of canals that deliver water to farms and residents mostly in the southern half of the state. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Climate & Environment

Report urges Metropolitan Water District to abandon Newsom’s $16-billion delta tunnel plan

A California water advocacy group is criticizing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed Delta Conveyance Project, saying it would be a fiscal disaster.

The audit found that significant errors in runoff forecasts can cause problems for other water agencies. For example, it said that in 2021 the department’s overestimate of inflow into Folsom Lake meant that El Dorado Irrigation District “had to forego diverting water into storage that it would have otherwise been able to capture in its reservoir.”

The report noted that California endured the driest three-year period on record from 2020 through 2022, followed this year by heavy rain, snow and flooding. It pointed out that scientists project global warming will cause more extreme fluctuations in severe weather, including prolonged drought.

The state auditor found that in contrast to the Department of Water Resources, some local and federal agencies “use forecasting models that leverage additional data that may allow them to better account for the changing climate and its effects on the water supply.” It said some of the agencies that incorporate additional data in this way include Turlock Irrigation District, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Merced Irrigation District and the California Nevada River Forecast Center.

The audit also found that DWR lacks sufficient records explaining some of its water releases from Lake Oroville, the state’s second-largest reservoir, and has at times released more water into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta than required under existing flow standards.

San Luis Resevoir, CA - April 16: . A series of heavy rainstorms this winter has replenished the San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos. The reservoir stores water from the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. It is a key water supply for millions of Californians from Silicon Valley to San Diego, and has risen 144 feet since 2022 . It is presently almost at full capacity. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A wet California boosts water allocations to 100% for first time in nearly 20 years

State and federal officials expect to deliver 100% of requested water supplies to communities across California, as reservoirs fill with epic snowmelt.

The report said the agency “lacks a formal process for periodically evaluating certain State Water Project operations to identify opportunities for improvement.”

Among the audit’s recommendations, the report said the department should:

  • Start to evaluate the accuracy of its monthly forecasts on an annual basis, including an assessment of whether actual runoff matched the range of scenarios.
  • Follow through on a plan to adopt an updated water-supply forecasting model to better account for the effects of climate change.
  • Develop a long-term plan for mitigating and responding to the effects of drought on the State Water Project.
  • Establish procedures to determine monthly and annual plans for operating the State Water Project, including the amount of water that will be held in dams and released.
  • Reevaluate the data the agency relies on in planning reservoir operations at Lake Oroville.

The Department of Water Resources disagreed with the report’s main findings. “DWR has been actively engaged in climate change adaptation since 2008, and we respectfully disagree with the audit’s assertion that DWR has been slow in addressing the impacts of climate change,” Karla Nemeth, the department’s director, said in an email.

Nemeth said the conditions in spring 2021 “were extreme and outside the bounds of historical experience.”

“DWR reacted quickly to the extreme hydrology and recognized the runoff forecasting error of 2021 as an opportunity to learn, adjust, and improve,” Nemeth said. “Conditions like those experienced in 2021 speak to the importance of forward-looking forecasting and developing new tools for an era of extremes.”

In a letter responding to the audit , Nemeth said DWR established a climate change program in 2008 and has since released five updates of its climate plan.

“While there is always more that DWR can do to adapt to a changed climate, DWR has demonstrated leadership in accounting for the effects of climate change,” she said in the letter.

“Many of the audit report recommendations would layer additional processes and procedures on reservoir operations,” Nemeth wrote. “No amount of paperwork will solve the challenges of climate change. However, a collaborative team of scientists, academic partners, and water managers dedicated to improved forecasting and water management through extreme flood and drought will help keep Californians safe, with secure water supplies, and that is DWR’s approach.”

An aerial image shows workers removing snow from rooftops after record snowfall from winter storms in Mammoth Lakes, California on April 6, 2023. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Scientists take flight to map California’s vast snowpack and measure flooding threats

Flying over the Sierra Nevada, teams are using lasers to measure California’s vast snowpack, tracking flood risks as the snow melts.

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Democrat whose district includes parts of the San Joaquin Valley, said she’s concerned about poor data and mismanagement of water supplies, and the report helps identify issues that need to be addressed.

“I think that the auditor is spot on,” Hurtado said. “The Department of Water Resources needs to take the recommendations from the state auditor.”

Hurtado has introduced a bill that would require state agencies to update a report on the feasibility and costs of a coordinated water measurement database, which she says would ensure water-supply forecasts are based on accurate data .

Hurtado said DWR needs to “break free from a reliance on outdated data to ensure proper water allotments.“

The report validates criticisms that environmental groups have raised for years about the agency’s “failure to proactively plan for droughts and failure to adequately account for the effects of climate change,” said Doug Obegi, director of the California river restoration program for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The report should be a wake-up call that leads DWR to make significant changes in how they estimate runoff from snowpack and storms,” he said, “and in developing a proactive plan for droughts, rather than simply waiving environmental protections and sacrificing salmon and other native fish and wildlife during droughts.

“Yet instead of admitting that there is a problem and working to fix it,” Obegi said, “DWR rejects the report’s findings and believes these recommendations will just lead to more ‘paperwork.’”

how to solve the environment problem

Ian James is a reporter who focuses on water in California and the West. Before joining the Los Angeles Times in 2021, he was an environment reporter at the Arizona Republic and the Desert Sun. He previously worked for the Associated Press as a correspondent in the Caribbean and as bureau chief in Venezuela. He is originally from California.

More From the Los Angeles Times

Malibu, CA - May 31: The owners of the properties at 27910 Pacific Coast Highway, center, and 27920 Pacific Coast Highway, left, installed fences, driveways, dumpsters and landscaping along the highway to obscure the public easement to Escondido Beach on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Malibu, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

‘Hidden’ no more: Coastal Commission OKs new public path to Malibu beach

A man talks on his phone as he looks through the haze at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., Wednesday, June 7, 2023. Intense Canadian wildfires are blanketing the northeastern U.S. in a dystopian haze, turning the air acrid, the sky yellowish gray and prompting warnings for vulnerable populations to stay inside. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

World & Nation

Canadian wildfire smoke spreads hazardous haze through northeastern U.S.

People take photos of the sun as smoke from the wildfires in Canada cause hazy conditions in New York City on June 7, 2023. Smoke from Canada's wildfires has engulfed the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the US, raising concerns over the harms of persistent poor air quality. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Wildfire smoke has given New York the world’s worst air quality. Californians have some tips

San Diego, CA - March 14: Before the expected rain arrives late Tuesday, a pair of paddlers enjoy the warm weather on a sprint canoe in the De Anza Cove of Mission Bay on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 in San Diego, CA. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

More recreation, fewer wetlands: Backlash prompts San Diego to compromise on plans to transform Mission Bay

Sign Up or Sign In to Read

Plastic pollution is a huge problem—and it’s not too late to fix it

Correcting our plastic waste problem requires a fundamental change in thinking about how plastics are made, used, and discarded, two new studies say.

The global campaign to gain control of plastic waste is one of the fastest-growing environmental causes ever mounted. Yet it hasn’t been enough to make a dent in the growing tonnage of discarded plastic that ends up in the seas.

In the next 10 years, the waste that slides into waterways, and ultimately the oceans , will reach 22 million tons and possibly as much as 58 million tons a year. And that’s the “good” news—because that estimate takes into account thousands of ambitious commitments by government and industry to reduce plastic pollution.

Without those pledges, a business-as-usual scenario would be almost twice as bad. With no improvements to managing waste beyond what’s already in place today, 99 million tons of uncontrolled plastic waste would end up in the environment by 2030.

These two scenarios, the result of new research by an international team of scientists, are a far cry from the first global tally published in 2015, which estimated that an average of 8.8 million tons flow into the oceans annually. That was a figure so startling to the world when it was published five years ago, it helped invigorate the plastic trash movement.

Jenna Jambeck, the University of Georgia engineering professor who calculated that number, also came up with a vivid analogy to put it in context. It would be the equivalent of one dump truck tipping a load of plastic into the ocean every minute every day for a year. Jambeck is also part of the team that came up with the new calculations. But coming up with a new way to visualize 22 to 58 million tons proved a challenge.

“I don’t know. We’re getting into the realm of what’s incomprehensible,” she says. “How about a football stadium filled with plastic every day? Or enough plastic to cover Rhode Island or the country of Luxembourg ankle deep?”

Neither of these new analogies, while accurate, capture the magnitude of what’s at stake. (More: We're drowning in plastic—find out why. )

Like climate change, a lot rides on how the global community responds in the next couple of decades. And, though the parallels between the problem of plastic waste and climate change are obvious—both are rooted in oil, the basic ingredient to make plastics, they are dissimilar in one key way: plastic’s persistence. While there is some possibility, however remote, that technology and restoration of natural ecosystems could remove CO 2 from the atmosphere, there is no such analog for plastic. Virtually indestructible, it doesn’t disappear.

“For me, the biggest issue is the question of permanence,” says George Leonard , the Ocean Conservancy’s chief scientist and a member of the team that produced this newest forecast. “If we don’t get the plastic pollution problem in the ocean under control, we threaten contaminating the entire marine food web, from phytoplankton to whales. And by the time the science catches up to this, perhaps definitively concluding that this is problematic, it will be too late. We will not be able to go back. That massive amount of plastic will be embedded in the ocean’s wildlife essentially forever.”

The power of two

The analysis is the second in recent weeks to look ahead to the future of the plastic economy and conclude that correcting the waste problem—40 percent of plastic manufactured today is disposable packaging—requires a fundamental change in thinking about how plastics are made, used, and discarded.

The new findings were made by a team of scientists funded by the National Science Foundation through the University of Maryland’s National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center ( SESYNC ). The other project, which looks ahead to 2040, was led by the Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ, a London-based environmental advisory and investment firm, and was first made public in July. Both studies were published together in the journal Science in September.

What’s unusual is that two independent scientific working groups, using differing methodologies and timelines, reached the same broad conclusions. Both laid blame for the rising tonnage of plastic in the seas on the growth of plastic production that is outpacing the world’s ability to keep up with collecting plastic trash. They also agreed that reducing surging waste requires reducing surging production of virgin plastic.

“The magnitude of the problem is the same. The difference is in methodology,” says Stephanie Borrelle, a marine biologist in New Zealand and lead author of the SESYNC study. “We have to do something about this and do it soon. Our annual count of leakage doesn’t account for what’s already in the oceans.”

Both projects also concluded that plastic waste could be significantly reduced, though not eliminated, using existing technologies. That includes improving waste collection and recycling, redesigning products to eliminate packaging made from unrecyclable plastics, expanding refillables, and in some cases substituting other materials. But solutions such as recycling, now globally hovering around 12 percent, would also require a massive scaling-up with many additional recycling facilities that don’t exist.

The SESYNC project also calls for cleaning up plastic waste from shorelines, where possible. To give an idea of the scale involved in achieving that goal, it would require a billion people to participate in the Ocean Conservancy’s annual beach cleanup that now attracts about one million volunteers.

“The inconvenient truth now is that this business-as-usual growth in production of new plastics is not compatible with ending plastics in nature,” says Ben Dixon, a former sustainability manager at Royal Dutch Shell and partner at SYSTEMIQ. “That’s the inconvenient truth both studies get to the heart of. We may see more pressures from investors, customers, and a changing of the world underneath the feet of these companies.”

Both projects captured the attention of the plastics industry, which was quick to praise the research, but dismissed the idea of reducing production of virgin plastic as “highly counterproductive and impractical,” in the words of the American Chemistry Council, a trade group for the petrochemical industry. In emailed responses, ExxonMobil and Dow Chemical, two of the world’s leading manufacturers of polyethylene, agreed.

“Reducing production to solve the waste problem will, in turn, aggravate the carbon and climate problem as alternative materials have higher emissions,” Dow said.

The manufacturing of plastic emits less CO2 and uses less water than for glass or aluminum. Some argue that such accounting doesn’t always factor in all the costs, such as environmental cleanup and weight. Glass manufacturing emits less CO2 per gram, but glass bottles are heavier. And, in the marine world, they say, it’s beside the point: Turtles eat plastic bags, not glass bottles and aluminum cans.

Todd Spitler, an Exxon spokesman, said the company’s focus will be on “increasing plastic recyclability, supporting improvements in plastic waste recovery and minimizing plastic pellet loss from our operations."

The SESYNC study calls for setting global limits on the production of virgin plastic, a recommendation unlikely to be realized. At the last United Nations Environmental Program meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2019, negotiations to pass a resolution calling for phasing out single-use plastic by 2025 and to draft a legally binding treaty on plastic debris ended in a stalemate.

The Pew/SYSTEMIQ study calls for reducing virgin production by 11 percent, arguing there is enough waste plastic that could be recycled and remade into new plastic to satisfy demand. The problem is that virgin plastic—new resin created from natural gas or oil—is so cheap to make that it undermines the economics of the recycling market. It is simply less expensive to manufacture new plastic than to collect, sort, and process disposable plastic into new feedstock. Especially now, with the collapse of oil prices. (Read more on the SYSTEMIQ study here.)

Plastic production to increase by 2050

In fact, production is forecast to more than double by 2050—increasing to 756 million tons anticipated in 2050 from 308 million tons produced in 2018, according to a report published by the American Chemistry Council in 2019. In the United States, $203 billion has been invested in 343 new or expanded chemical plants to produce plastics, according to ACC figures published last February. Production capacity for ethylene and propylene is projected to increase by 33 to 36 percent, according to an estimate by the Center for International Environmental Law.

Keith Christman , the ACC’s managing director of plastics markets, says the demand for plastic products, such as lightweight automobile parts and materials used in home construction, including insulation and water piping, is only going to grow.

“New technologies is the direction that we see the industry going,” he says.

Historically, plastic production has increased almost continuously since the 1950s, from 1.8 million tons in 1950 to 465 million tons in 2018. As of 2017, 7 billion of the 8.8 billion tons produced globally over that whole period have become waste.

The industry attributes future growth to two factors: the increasing global population and demands for more plastic consumer goods, fueled by the increasing buying power of a growing middle class. The UN projects that the world’s population, now about 7.8 billion, will add about two billion more by 2050, primarily in Asia and Africa. Globally, the middle class is anticipated to expand by 400 million households by 2039—and that is where the plastics market growth will occur.

Africa, to cite one example, shows the complications that lie ahead for gaining control of plastic waste in the coming decades. The continent today generates waste at a low rate by global standards, according to a UN report published last year. It also has limited environmental regulations, weak enforcement, and inadequate systems in place to manage waste. But as its population explodes and becomes more urban, and as buying habits change with higher standards of living, sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to become the dominant region producing municipal waste.

“Everyone is going to need to play a role along the whole value chain,” says Guy Bailey , a leading plastics analyst at Wood Mackenzie, a consulting firm specializing in energy, chemicals, mining and other research.

“If you are a recycler, it is difficult to make an investment when oil prices completely destroy the economics of your business. If you are a packing company, you are faced with so many choices of materials, it’s hard to know which to pick. If you are a chemical company, you clearly can see the reputational challenge. They risk losing their social license to operate if things go too far. They want to address those challenges.”

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, founded last year by 50 industry titans, committed to investing $1.5 billion in creating solutions to improve methods for collecting plastic waste and recycling into new products. So far, it has launched 14 projects, many in Southeast Asia and Africa, including in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Ghana.

Jacob Duer, president and CEO, said the new report “reiterates the necessity and the urgency in addressing the issue and underlines the importance of a paradigm shift.”

As the organization, based in Singapore, matures, he says the number of projects and capital investment will grow. But it opposes reducing virgin plastic production.

Both Duer and Martyn Ticknet, head of the Alliance’s project development, see similarities between tackling plastic waste and global efforts to close the hole in the ozone layer that began in the 1970s. Last year the hole had shrunk to its smallest size on record since its discovery.

“We’ve solved major crises before,” Ticknet says. “It takes some time to get going.”

Read This Next

Ai can help you plan your next trip—if you know how to ask., did this mysterious human relative bury its dead, this new birth control for cats doesn't require surgery.

  • History & Culture

How the Zoot Suit Riots changed America

  • Wildlife Watch
  • Environment

History & Culture

  • Mind, Body, Wonder
  • Paid Content for Advertiser

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with mars, how viruses shape our world, the era of greyhound racing in the u.s. is coming to an end, see how people have imagined life on mars through history, see how nasa’s new mars rover will explore the red planet.

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Your US State Privacy Rights
  • Children's Online Privacy Policy
  • Interest-Based Ads
  • About Nielsen Measurement
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information
  • Nat Geo Home
  • Attend a Live Event
  • Book a Trip
  • Inspire Your Kids
  • Shop Nat Geo
  • Visit the D.C. Museum
  • Learn About Our Impact
  • Support Our Mission
  • Nat Geo Partners
  • Advertise With Us
  • Customer Service
  • Renew Subscription
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Work at Nat Geo
  • Sign Up for Our Newsletters
  • Contribute to Protect the Planet

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society Copyright © 2015-2023 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved


  1. Environmental problems

    how to solve the environment problem

  2. Environmental problems and solutions

    how to solve the environment problem

  3. PPT

    how to solve the environment problem

  4. Water pollution solution

    how to solve the environment problem

  5. Ecological problems. Pollution and protection of our environment

    how to solve the environment problem

  6. Making every breath count

    how to solve the environment problem


  1. Issues in Environmental Science

  2. Environmental Problems

  3. Essay The environment problem || problems of environment || Environmental problem essay

  4. "Jordan Peterson's Advice: Surround Yourself with the Best for Positive Influence"#shorts

  5. 【Kale Fans】Industrial HVLS Ceiling Fans for Workshop

  6. The Tale of Luna and the Cozy Forest


  1. 10 ways you can help fight the climate crisis

    1. Spread the word Encourage your friends, family and co-workers to reduce their carbon pollution. Join a global movement like Count Us In, which aims to inspire 1 billion people to take practical steps and challenge their leaders to act more boldly on climate.

  2. How to beat pollution

    How to beat pollution Pollution is everywhere — from the highest reaches of our atmosphere to the darkest depths of our oceans. And it's killing us. But together, we can stop it. Together, we can #BeatPollution How many people are dying from unhealthy environments?

  3. 13 ways to save the Earth from pollution

    Drink from a refillable water bottle, place your sandwich in cloth or a reusable container, and use bar soap instead of bottled. Garbage club Form a club in your classroom to reduce your waste at...

  4. 6 global environmental issues and ways you can help

    1. Loss of biodiversity In 2019, the United Nations published a groundbreaking report stating that more than one million animal and plant species are at risk of becoming extinct in the upcoming decades. Conservationists have been urging us to protect wildlife for years, and now it's a race against the clock. The world needs biodiversity.

  5. 5 Simple Ways To Help Solve Environmental Problems

    1. Replace disposable items with reusable Anything you use and throw away can potentially spend centuries in a landfill. See below for simple adjustments you can make to decrease the amount of disposable items in your daily life. Carry your own reusable cup or water bottle

  6. Causes and Solutions

    However, the world has solved global environmental problems before, like ozone depletion and acid rain. We tackled them by developing an understanding of the scope of the problem and coming together to develop sets of rules that eliminate the sources of the problem. We have what it takes to do it again!

  7. What You Can Do About Pollution Prevention

    Find EPA regional contact information, and state and local P2 technical assistance resources. Pollution prevention is not just the responsibility of businesses and government agencies. Citizens can help solve environmental problems by reducing pollution at the source, before it is created. We can all apply pollution prevention in our daily lives.

  8. 6 Ways to Help Stop Pollution

    Method 1 Making Sustainable Transportation Choices 1 Walk or ride your bike whenever possible. One of the best things you can do to help stop pollution is to stop using your car for short trips. If the weather is nice and you don't have too far to go, consider walking or riding your bike.

  9. Plastic Pollution Solutions

    7. Support a bag tax or ban. Urge your elected officials to follow the lead of those in San Francisco, Chicago, and close to 150 other cities and counties by introducing or supporting legislation ...

  10. 10 Environmental Problems and Solutions • EarthyB

    - NASA Climate change happens when greenhouse gases are released and trapped in the atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect creates a layer around the earth's atmosphere that traps heat from the sun, making our atmosphere warmer, similar to a greenhouse. Image courtesy of NASA

  11. Environmental Problems & Solutions

    The best solution for accidental spills and leaks is to create additional safety protocol using both computerized and human detection systems. Water Pollution Water pollution is a growing problem globally.

  12. Three Environmental Issues and Ways to Combat Them

    Let's look at three major environmental issues and some solutions which can help combat them: Global Warming and Climate Change Human activities have made global warming and climate change a global threat. The rising levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have caused an increase in average global temperatures, extreme weather events, rising ...

  13. Wind energy has a massive waste problem. New technologies may be ...

    The future of wind energy in the US is floating turbines as tall as 30 Rock. Blade waste is projected to reach 2.2 million tons in the US by 2050. Globally, the figure could be around 43 million ...

  14. How to fight microplastic pollution with magnets

    Following 5,000 tests, Ferreira's method was 87% effective at extracting microplastics from water. Ferreira is currently in the process of designing a device which uses the magnetic extraction ...

  15. Plastic recycling is failing

    EPA-EFE/Legnan Koula. Precarious workers in the informal waste sector collect, sort and sell recyclable materials and carry out 60% of global recycling. Waste reclaimers endure poor health and low ...

  16. Are there real ways to fight climate change? Yes.

    Yes. Humans have the solutions to fight a global environmental crisis. Do we have the will? The evidence that humans are causing climate change, with drastic consequences for life on the planet ...

  17. How recycled material could make fashion more sustainable

    Fast fashion has low prices but a high environmental cost, so tech enabling material to be recycled will be key in making the industry more sustainable. ... Recycled material could help tackle many of fast fashion's environmental problems. Here's how Jun 6, 2023. Recycled material could solve fashion's sustainability problem. Image: ...

  18. How solar farms took over the California desert: 'An oasis has become a

    Residents feel trapped and choked by dust, while experts warn environmental damage is 'solving one problem by creating others' Deep in the Mojave desert, about halfway between Los Angeles and ...

  19. 10 Environmental Problems and Solutions in 2023

    Climate Change Water Pollution Air Pollution Natural Resource Depletion Waste Management Urban Sprawl Energy Consumption Environmental Degradation Deforestation Recycling Inefficiencies We'll discuss these top 10 environmental problems in detail and offer some real-world solutions to each one.

  20. Global airlines group to boost focus on non-CO2 emissions

    Global airlines are setting up a task force to deal with non-carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, stepping up efforts to tackle cloudy streaks formed by aircraft known as contrails, an environmental ...

  21. Solving Environmental Problems

    Today's blog introduces a simple but powerful problem-solving technique for finding root causes. It is called relentless root causes analysis. We will illustrate its use for an environmental problem of concern to the Connecticut River Estuary (as well as other estuaries). Problem-solving starts with an observation that defines the problem.

  22. Climate change: The environmental disasters we've almost fixed

    There are no simple solutions to complex problems like climate change. But there have been times in the past when the world has come together to try to fix an environmental crisis.

  23. Ways to solve environmental problems

    Ways to solve environmental problems Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the first programs aimed primarily at protecting (saving) the environment began to appear, but by the end of the century it became clear that humanity needs more radical and effective measures.

  24. Federal environment minister says Alberta and Ottawa can come to terms

    Danielle Smith's victory in this week's provincial election in Alberta sets the stage for more conflict between the province and the federal government over energy and climate change policy.

  25. Ways to Solve Environmental Problems

    And maybe even advertising ways to help improve the environment on bill boards for example, cutting down less trees or put rubbish in bins and expressing those ways in strong clear messages and ...

  26. How use of 'flowgame' enthused audience to solve environmental issues

    The flowgame, developed in the 90s by Danish professionals committed to the environment, peace, and participation, is based on a North American aboriginal medicine wheel. Many members of the ...

  27. Audit finds problems in how California manages water

    The report validates criticisms that environmental groups have raised for years about the agency's "failure to proactively plan for droughts and failure to adequately account for the effects ...

  28. Plastic pollution is a huge problem—and it's not too late to fix it

    The global campaign to gain control of plastic waste is one of the fastest-growing environmental causes ever mounted. Yet it hasn't been enough to make a dent in the growing tonnage of discarded ...