Keeping Our World Green | Joseph Merlo Discusses the Major Sources of Pollution
Environmentalist and American businessman Joseph Merlo weighs in on the state of today’s environmental conservation movement, particularly the major sources of pollution.
Joseph Merlo ranks industrial production as the primary producer of pollutants on the planet. The industrial process, explains Joseph Merlo, creates hundreds of harmful chemical by-products. Joseph Merlo says that these substances exist as gases, liquids, and solids. A typical oil refinery or metal works facility, points out Joseph Merlo, spews enough gaseous waste into the sky that it affects local weather and eventually settles into the surrounding soil. Joseph Merlo cites a study of a metallurgy facility that established a 25-mile radius of polluted soil around the factory. For 25 miles around the factory, clarifies Joseph Merlo, the soil was tainted simply from the facility’s smokestacks. This high-density industrial pollution, adds Joseph Merlo, has been going on at the hands of humanity for at least two centuries.
It should come as no surprise, continues Joseph Merlo, that the environmental havoc wreaked by large-scale industrial production also trickles into the home. Joseph Merlo explains that housekeeping is another significant pollution producer. Consumers buy tons of harsh and powerful cleaning supplies every year, says Joseph Merlo, and most of these chemicals end up in our water system. Joseph Merlo also draws attention to the astonishing amount of packaging supplies wasted on cleaning chemicals and basic household wares. All of this packaging is thrown away, notes Joseph Merlo, and only some of it is recycled. Bottles, cans, plastic wrap, blister packaging and cardboard – Joseph Merlo explains these are just a short list of the ecosystem cluttering by products the typical household adds to the waste flow. Joseph Merlo also lists bleach, detergent, floor cleaner and furniture polish as common chemicals that either add greenhouse gases to the air or deliver ecologically unsound chemicals to the ground and water.
Joseph Merlo explains that humans are not the only culprits denigrating the environment. The natural world itself produces atmosphere-clogging pollutants, says Joseph Merlo, like volcanic eruptions. Joseph Merlo points out that volcanic eruptions spew dust, ash and water vapor into the atmosphere. Joseph Merlo also notes the cloud of detritus produced by a large volcanic eruption can remain suspended in the atmosphere for over a year. The CO2 concentrations of volcanic clouds, adds Joseph Merlo, rival any one instance of human generated pollution.
But Joseph Merlo says that it is unfair to rank volcanoes as gross polluters just to take the responsibility off of humanity. Humans and their industrial processes produce more pollution than natural disasters, says Joseph Merlo, and they produce it faster. Another distinguishing characteristic, adds Joseph Merlo, is that we, as a species working together, can reduce volume of pollutants emitted into the ecosystem. While a volcano can’t go green, concludes Joseph Merlo, people definitely can.