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Europe - Europe What are the major environmental problems...

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Europe What are the major environmental problems faced by European countries? Compare and contrast Europe’s environmental problems with those of another region. What are the sources of acid rain and what are its effects? Which areas in Europe have been heavily affected by acid rain? I. Air and water pollution caused by long history of agriculture, resource-extraction, industrial manufacturing, and urbanization A. Poland 1. 90% Poland’s rivers have no aquatic or plant life 2. 1/3 Poland’s population expected to suffer from environmentally induced diseases such as cancer or respiratory illness B. Czech Republic 1. ¾ of the forests are damaged from air pollution and acid rain 2. Human life expectancy is 11 years less than the national average C. Bulgaria 1. 2/3 of its rivers are badly polluted 2. Half of its trees show environmental damage II. *Comparison with Latin AmericaLatin America: -major environmental problems caused by natural disasters (El Nino causes floods hurricanes, droughts, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes Deforestation is the most common environmental problem in Latin America – Affected regions: Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil and Pacific forests of Central America – Primary cause is land use conversion (for livestock ranching, for agriculture) • A majority of clearings are NOT directly due to population pressure, but to rising speculation – Growing interest to harvest lumbers and forest products result in loss of biodiversity III. Sources of Acid Rain and its effects A. Sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are the primary causes of acid rain. 1. Acid rain occurs when these gases react in the atmosphere with water, oxygen, and other chemicals to form various acidic compounds. Sunlight increases the rate of most of these reactions. The result is a mild solution of sulfuric acid and nitric acid. B. Trans-boundary environmental problem: 1. *half of the pollution causing acid raid comes from Great Britain 2. Sweden receives 6 times more SO2 from other countries than what is produces itself C. Effects 1. Acidification of lakes and streams and contributes to damage of trees at high elevations (for example, red spruce trees above 2,000 feet) and many sensitive forest soils. 2. Accelerates the decay of building materials and paints, including irreplaceable buildings, statues, and sculptures that are part of our nation's cultural heritage. 3. Prior to falling to the earth, SO2 and NOx gases and their particulate matter derivatives, sulfates and nitrates, contribute to visibility degradation and harm public health.
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