Monthly Archives: April 2014

Smart Phones Affecting the Youth from All Sides

NHT- Blog- XXXIV- 28 January 2014Mobile phones are another revolutionary invention of our times, besides computer and Internet technologies. However, excessive use of cellphone is having negative effects on youth. The researchers have found that excessive use of cell phones by college students is a cause for poorer academic performance, anxiety and unhappiness.

Here are some of the side-effects of mobile phone use in kids:

Cell phones disturb the studies of students during class or lecture. It is noticed that often students are busy texting during class. They become sleep-deprived and lack concentration during school hours.

Small texts and bright screens strain the eyes of the child. Since these devices are designed for reading at close range, the eyes must constantly refocus and reposition to process the graphics and text on screen. Symptoms of digital eye strain that include eye redness or irritation, dry eyes, blurred vision, back pain, neck pain and headaches are often seen in the youth.

Another effect of cell phone is that the youngsters are now far from away from their families. They don’t have time for their families.

It causes disruption in learning, whether it is at home while doing homework, or during class time. A ‘conversation’ starts with an incoming message as kids are not able to exercise strong self-control.

Another problem with cell phones is the peer to peer interaction that goes on daily. Sexting is not uncommon in the society where mobile users transmit and share inappropriate or images among friends, including those of violent or sexual nature. Mobile phones are used as a viral communication tool to send a message to a large number of contacts at once.

Besides the academic performance and nature of students, mobile phones also adversely affect their health. Not only they carry important data, but germs too. Most of the mobile phone users put their phone in places where it can pick up germs. The bacteria might remain confined to the skin, or burrow deeper into the body and cause infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, heart valves and lungs.

Rising Sea Level – An Effect of Global Warming

NHT- Blog- XV- 15 Jan 2014We have known the consequences of global warming for a time. One of these consequences is the current sea level rise which is about 3 mm/year worldwide. This rise in the sea level affects human populations living in coastal regions and on islands and also the natural environment. Over the past century, sea level over much of the United States has risen by 25 to 30 centimeters relative to land. According to the scientists, the sea level rise by the year 2100 is predicted to be 70-120 centimeters whereas 200-300 centimeters by the year 2300, if the greenhouse gas emissions are not lessened.

There are three primary reasons responsible for the sea level rise:

Thermal Expansion: Water expands as it heats up. Human activities such as burning coal and oil and cutting down tropical forests have caused a rise of 1.4 degree Fahrenheit since 1880. These rising temperatures are warming ocean waters, which expand as the temperature increases.

Melting of Glaciers and Polar Ice Caps: The higher temperatures caused by global warming have resulted in greater-than-average summer melting as well as reduced snowfall due to later winters and earlier springs.

Ice Loss from Greenland and West Antarctica: The massive ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica are melting at an accelerated rate due to the increased heat. Higher sea temperatures, on the other hand, are causing the ice shelves extending out of Antarctica to melt from below and break off.

Consequences of Sea-level Rise:

  • The rising sea levels allow the waves to perforate further inland which increases the risk of shoreline erosion and degradation.
  • With rising seas, storm surges occur on top and reach farther inland causing heavy damage to homes and infrastructure.
  • The rising sea levels will lead many low-lying coastal land areas to submerge. More than $1 trillion of property and structures in the U.S. Will be at the risk of inundation.

We must be prepared for the rising seas and work to prevent the pace and magnitude of sea level rise by reducing global warming emissions.

Impact of Climate Change on Human Health

impact of climate changeClimate change is referred to the changes in the weather conditions that now threaten to transform life on the Earth. Seasonal shifts, increase in temperatures and rising sea levels are some of the deleterious effects of climate change on the environment. One of the major causes of recent climate change involves certain human activities, biotic processes, solar radiations and volcanic eruptions. These changes pose a great risk to human life.

Climatic changes have a great impact on the agricultural sector. The increasing floods and droughts increase malnutrition especially in countries where majority of the population depends on rain-fed subsistence farming. The periodic droughts leading to malnutrition are a cause for about 3.5 million deaths each year.

The extreme weather conditions lead to more frequent storms and floods that cause more deaths. The water and sanitation services destroyed by these floods lead to diseases such as cholera and diarrhea spread that through contaminated food and water. Diarrhea accounts for a total of about 1.8 million deaths each year.

Warmer average temperatures lead to hotter days and more frequent and longer heat waves. These heat waves directly increase the number of deaths, especially people suffering from cardiovascular or respiratory disease. Higher temperatures can also lead to increase in ground-level ozone. These changing temperatures and patterns of rainfall can also lead to diseases like malaria and dengue.

Though controlling natural calamities and procedures is not in our hands, there are preventive measures we can take to control the climate change for future. The greenhouse gas emissions caused by vehicles can be reduced by carpooling or car sharing and also by using fuel-efficient vehicles. Other than environmental perspectives, this will also help you in saving some money. The next thing we can do is being energy efficient by changing the light bulbs to LEDs and using energy-efficient appliances.

The garbage buried in the landfills produces methane. We can recycle plastic, paper, metal and glass and use products with minimal or recyclable packaging. We can also buy organic and locally grown food.

Whale Hunting Affecting the Environment

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Whales have been killed by humans for thousands of years at a pace which did not disturb the balance of nature. However, the 20th century witnessed increased whaling activity as a result of the improvements in technology. Whaling has pushed some of the species of whales to endangered or threatened status.

Seeing the consequences of the sharp increase in whaling, many countries have banned commercial whaling in agreement with the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) 1982 moratorium which was introduced in 1986.

Many of the thirteen great whale species are endangered or seriously threatened by whaling. These species include the gray, blue and right whales. Sperm and humpback whales are at less risk of extinction from whaling. Large boats and explosion-fired harpoons are used to catch more and more whales.

One of the immediate effects of whaling is the multiplication of species such as jellyfish. This has led to jellyfish plagues in places where they were once uncommon.

As a result of whaling, bacteria in the ocean are increasing. Bacteria remove oxygen from water. Removal of too much oxygen will lead the marine life to suffocate and die. This increase in bacteria may also effect the growth of plant life in the ocean. This, in turn, will affect the earth’s atmosphere as plants in the ocean take carbon dioxide from the air.

Although many organizations are working to save whales, more needs to be done. There is a lot that we can do at our own to save endangered whales from extinction. First and foremost, we must dispose off pollutants and hazardous wastes properly. This is the major factor for polluting the oceans. Oppose commercial whaling operations and write letters to the companies opposing their involvement. Another step you can take is to join organizations dedicated to protecting whales. The long term need is to protect all the ocean’s inhabitants including the beautiful, intelligent and enigmatic whales.

Earth Girl – How Badly We Treat Our Oceans?

Earth Girl- Blog- XIV- 14 Jan 2014
A few days back, I was reading an article regarding an accident in which an oil tanker met a watery grave but not before spilling gallons of oil. Other than the loss of life, the article reported about the damages caused by the oil into the ocean.

Regular people are unaware about the massive damage such oil spills cause. These result in death of thousands of fish and other aquatic animals along with corals. Oil spill is one of the major causes of ocean pollution. Another major cause is ocean dumping.

There are many causes to ocean dumping, such as carelessness, no understanding of environmental concerns and lack of a place to put the trash. Some sewage pipes run directly to the ocean with all the contaminants that include bacteria, virus and other harmful chemicals. The sewage usually comes from homes, factories, ships and industries. People dump trash into the ocean water without bothering about the ill effects.

Oil spills are dangerous for marine life and greatly affect their life cycle. The spilled oil causes clogging in the gills of fish which can block respiration. The garbage dumped into the oceans causes the oxygen in the water to deplete resulting in poor health for marine life due to lack of oxygen. This also leads to the death of animals such as seals, dolphins, penguins, sharks, whales and herring.

Bottles and other plastic including bags can suffocate sea creatures. Plastic items are one of the major causes of death among turtles. They treat these plastic products as food, resulting in a painful death. Other than marine life, ocean dumping affects human health as well. For instance, if fish is contaminated and a human consumes it, it will have adverse health effects.

There is a lot that we can do to save our oceans. The best thing to start is to keep them clean and stop throwing trash and waste materials in them. Another thing we can do is stop pouring chemicals down the drain such as paint and oil. Now that you know the cause and effects of ocean dumping, I hope you will understand that it is just something that you should not do.