Environmental problems are local. The earliest environmental problems were local in nature. The term “local” can refer to a municipal jurisdiction, neighborhood, or individual property. Examples of local environmental problems include air pollution, water pollution, and soil erosion. Other examples include the loss of wetlands, habitat for endemic species, and deforestation. What’s more, many of these issues occur in the urban areas of most industrial nations.
The rise of wildfires has altered the seasonal pattern of air pollution, creating spikes in unhealthy pollutants during the month of August. Recent findings indicate that microplastics have entered the water in the intertidal zone of some southern Australia’s beaches. Several environmental scientists have published reports urging countries to protect their coral reefs, the ‘canaries in the coal mine’ of climate change. These findings suggest that policies that address these issues can help reduce health risks in the near future.
The problems that local environmental managers face often conflict with international environmental politics. Less-developed nations generally do not have as broad an understanding of the problems that their cities and towns face. Meanwhile, rich countries have private managers of corporations that have sweeping powers and make decisions that impact the public without accountability to them. These corporate managers can make political campaign contributions and lobby against environmental laws. As a result, local environmental issues can sometimes be overlooked or ignored.
Soil erosion is another example of local environmental problems. As human populations have increased, so has the threat of environmental degradation. Many natural disasters are caused by unsustainable practices. Human populations are increasingly vulnerable to these disasters, and these may exacerbate their negative effects. For example, depleted uranium munitions are a major cause of soil erosion. This causes land pollution and has a ripple effect on the ecosystems that surround them.
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