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Environmental issues

Environmental issues

enviromental

Air Pollution

Air pollution is caused by the introduction in the atmosphere of harmful substances or chemicals. It can harm or cause discomfort in human beings and other living organism when inhaled and it can also contaminate food and water sources. Excessive quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphereof the Earth, which are a direct result of air pollution, have contributed to climate change and deterioration of the physical and social conditions for agriculture.

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Water Mismanagement and Contamination

Water mismanagement and contamination occur when the quality and/or quantity of water resources available are altered by human activities. Inefficient and ineffective use of water resources can lead to the over-use of water or water stress and create problems of scarcity; this is defined as water mismanagement. In the food and beverage sector this problem is often associated with over-irrigation but it can also be linked to the overuse of water during industrial processes of food production. Water contamination happens when harmful chemicals, pesticides or other dangerous residues are discharged into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove damaging compounds. Run-off from chemicals sprayed on fields and animal waste can enter local water systems, leading to significant problems if not properly treated.

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Harmful agricultural practices

Harmful agricultural practices are those that cause significant depletion and/or degradation of soil, contamination of water and/or air. These practices can include abuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, unsuitable waste management, monoculture planting or land use change, among others. These practices are intensively used by farmers in order to get higher production yields.

Reliance on harmful practices can lead to a range of environmental problems such as soil erosion, water and air contamination, contribution to climate change and loss of biodiversity. The use of harmful practices for a long period of time can also decrease land’s productivity in the long run, threatening the amount of food available worldwide.

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Harmful livestock rearing and aquafarming practices

Harmful livestock rearing and aquafarming practices are those that can cause degradation of ecosystems (air, water and soil) as well as loss of biodiversity and threaten the health and wellbeing of farmed animals and fish. They can be due to the intensification and geographical concentration of livestock or aquaculture, unsuitable waste management or land use change. In many occasions, these practices can also lead to lack of animal health and welfare. This happens when there is high stocking density, an overuse of antibiotics of hormones or whenever animals’ physical and mental health well being are threatened and not fully protected.

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Soil degradation

Soil degradation occurs when a natural soil loses its natural equilibrium due to human activity. It happens when soil loses its nutrients, its structure is damaged or is heavily polluted, reducing the capability of soil to produce goods or services. It can be due to several mechanisms such as abusive use of pesticides, loss of original vegetation cover, monocultivation, intensive use of machinery, overgrazing or deforestation.

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