Employee Insights: What industries contribute the most to pollution?

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What industries contribute the most to pollution? An easy guide to understanding pollution 

First, let’s talk more about the impact of pollution! Pollution doesn’t only affect the environment (streams filled with toxic chemicals, rivers with nutrients from farms, rubbish flying away from landfill), but also affects humans. For example, an increased amount of exposure to air pollution e.g. nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide etc. can result in respiratory disease, cancer’s such as lung cancer and multiple other diseases. With this information becoming more apparent to our knowledge many people want to know what exactly causes this pollution and how to prevent it.

Knowledge is power so let’s get educated on some of the industries which are big contributors to pollution:

  1. Energy: 

This is probably an industry which you are not surprised about – it makes up approximately 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Fuel is used every day to complete everyday tasks such as turning on a lamp, charging your phone or to fly around the world (not so much in the pandemic).

The demand for oil and coal is forever increasing due to the increasing population. This need for energy is increasing the temperature of the planet which puts the lives of many species in danger. Furthermore, this also means a higher potential for oil spillages which is extremely harmful for the sustainability of sea life.

What can be done to minimise this impact: 

  • Try and use sustainable energy options 
  • Preserve as much energy as you can (simple things such as turning the lights off)
  • Use renewable energy 

2. Transport

Carbon emissions from transport come to over 20%. There are currently many cars on the roads which emit a large amount of carbon dioxide per year – of course having a negative impact on the environment. 

What can be done to minimise the impact: 

  • Use public transport when possible e.g. train, bus, bike, walk 
  • Reduce international travel 

3. Agricultural

As mentioned above the population is growing which requires a greater amount of food from the meat and dairy industries which requires agriculture. The main emissions from agriculture are methane and nitrous-oxide (gasses from cows). 

What can be done to minimise the impact and danger of increased agriculture:  

  • Eat less meat 
  • Eat organic meat 
  • Be more conscious in where your produce is coming from

4. Fashion

This might not be an industry that you would have thought of when thinking about pollution. Of course this is not from all fashion but a large majority of the impact is from fast-fashion which is made up of low-quality materials and they are manufactured in countries which over-rely on coal and gas (usually third world countries – e.g. Bangladesh, Indonesia). You can find where your clothes have been made on the label. 

What you can do to prevent your impact: 

  • Buy from second hand stores/thrift shops 
  • Sell unwanted clothes 
  • Rent clothes 
  • Buy high quality pieces (will last longer too) 
  • Food retail:

5. Food Retail

Tonnes of food is being wasted everyday! In the UK, people waste as much as 1.9 million tonnes every year. This is clearly a huge problem. 

As many of you would know, there is packaging attached to almost every product when going to the supermarket, especially plastic. Much of this packaging is causing an increase in plastic pollution which unfortunately means a high volume of marine mammals’ deaths e.g. whale, dolphin, shark etc. These animals consume the plastic and sadly die shortly after. 

To reduce the risk: 

  • Use reusable shopping bags 
  • Opt for the loose products such as vegetables and fruit, compared to the packaged ones 
  • Help to stop plastic packaging

The goal from all of these industries and humans is to continue receiving the things we need e.g. food, shelter, clothing without compromising the future and other living things in a sustainable way! 

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