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The Ecological problems in the Galapagos Islands(Equador)

In 1959 the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands was established under the aus­pices1 of UNESCO. A field research station was set up in the following years in the Galapagos.

The main objective of this project consists in assisting the Government of Equador by promoting conservation measures in the island, particularly in relation to the establishment of a National Park. Important survey of the status of a National Park and its fauna and flora were carried through.

Two components of direct human pressure threaten Galapagos wildlife: the growth of the colonist population and tourism.

The vast majority of the settlers now living in the four colonization areas came to the Galapagos after the Second World War. Their number has roughly doubled in the past ten years to a total of 5,000. Cattle raising and farming are possible forms of land use in the highlands of these islands, where there is same adequate soil and sufficient precipitation. The same areas are of highest interest because of their unique fauna and flora. Settlers in the coastal villages live from fishing, trade and tourism.

The limits between a National Park and the colonization area were finally surveyed and drawn in 1971.

Potential pressure on all wildlife is created by projects which are aimed at the big-scale exploitation of marine turtles, lobster, black coral and salt deposits, or is caused by the local need for sand, gravel, wood and salt. No marine areas are protected yet.

Tourism started in the Galapagos in an organized way in 1969 and now represents by far the most important Galapagos’ export product’ of the country. A study on tourism influences is in progress. There is good evidence that this interference is caused primarily by small groups traveling on private boats and by large groups that visit this island without guides. This problem can be solved if obligatory paths in critical areas are established.

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In the North-Kazakhstan region uranium measuring devices with two non-registered sources of ionizing radiation were found on the territory of an elevator in Smirnovo village. They were placed into a secure storage place. Each kind of wastes requires a special kind of disposal procedures. For example, wastes of ore extracting and processing industries containing radioactive materials are buried in firm thick rocks, layers of salt and clay. Wastes of the uranium industry are stored in mines. The largest location of radioactive wastes is concentrated at uranium extracting and uranium processing plants which are located in Mangystau (Joint-stock company “Kaskor”), Kokshetau, Jambul, Kyzyl-Orda and other regions.

There is a lack of appropriate storage facilities on the territory of the Republic. The appropriate plants have their own storage places serving only their needs. In accordance with the information provided by the specialists, there are about 100 temporary storage places in the Republic. But the amount of low radioactive wastes is about 230 million tons. Currently many plants are transferred to foreign management. The new owners openly state that they will not solve the problems remaining from the old owners. Kazakhstani plants because of their economic difficulties do not have funds to solve the problem of radioactive wastes burial. It is not possible to rely on anyone; the state has to take care of the radioactive wastes.



In accordance with the analysis of ecological problems of the Mediterranean Sea, primary processing of industrial wastes will cost 10-20 % of the cost associated with full processing, but it will neutralize from 50 to 90 % of the most dangerous toxic substances. Drastic decrease in the amount of industrial wastes using the primary processing mentioned above will probably ensure stronger ecological effect than the persistent attempts to achieve complete processing and cleaning of the much smaller quantity of municipal wastes. The question is not whether there is not enough water , but the question is that having enough water it is distributed irrationally and non-proportionally.

The quality of water resources is also decreasing. Together with being polluted by city and industrial wastes they are also significantly polluted by drained water from the fields. The situation with the city sewage system is much worse than with the water supply systems. Many of those who have access to these services use water closets or other non-hygienic devices which often do not work because of unstable water supply. However, even in those places where these devices do not cause any troubles for their owners, they are dangerous for the environment since the wastes are thrown without being processed.




Aluminium recycling is possible

Aluminium cans were the first products which were recycled on a large-scale in the USA and they still remain as one of the leading recyclable products. In 1990 88 billion cans were produced and 55 billion cans were recycled, which constitutes 62% of the total amount. And this number continues to grow thanks to educational programs for the people and to state laws regarding the use of special containers. Within last 20 years serious achievements were made in the sphere of aluminium recycling which can be explained by the influence of market economy. In the beginning of 1070s producers of steel cans widely advertised the fact that steel cans, unlike aluminium ones, can be biologically disintegrated. At that time garbage collecting campaigns were popular and aluminium cans producers were afraid of losing their market shares, so they decided to unfold an unprecedented network of aluminium cans collection. Currently this network supported by endless public relations campaigns serves as a foundation for recycling of half of the produced, sold and used cans within 2 months from the moment of their production. Based on this system aluminium won the largest share of the market and 85 % of the cans are made from aluminium. Now other producers are entering the fight creating the infrastructure for collection of their own products. Steel industry has set a goal to achieve 65 % recycling level for its products.



Development of the ecologically clean production program represents the main goal in the sphere of environmental protection management at the plants. The priorities have been defined and the shortened list of them includes:

· Installation of dust consumption systems and filters at non-ferrous metallurgy plants (lead, copper, zinc, aluminium) situated in the distance of 5 km from the cities;

· Installation of the equipment reducing levels of steam, dust, ashes and carbon oxides thrown by ferrous metallurgy plants;

· Replacement of coal by gas or non-smoke solid fuel for Heat Power Plants, for commercial plants and households in the cities where the average level of concentration of aerosols exceeds ISO mg/cubic meter;

· Installation of preventing processing devices for sewage of small and medium size plants such as galvanic and metal processing, working in the areas where heavy metal pollution represents a significant problem;

· Assistance to the proper placement of locally-produced septic tanks and proper clearing of manure from intensive animal growing installations of the agricultural sector, where the level nitrates in the water of wells exceeds 10 mg/liter;

· Monitoring of disposal of dangerous wastes and control over the leakage from storage places especially in those places where the risks of drinking water pollution exists.

So, ecologically clean production is not an utopia. And the reglamentation of ecologically clean production is not only the concern of the tops but also the test of our creativity, our group generation of ideas and suggestions. But do not forget that there 10 obstacles on the way to creation:

1) the fear of making mistakes, 2) the fear of being considered a fool, 3) the fear of being criticized, 4) the fear of being misunderstood, 5) the fear of being alone, 6) the fear of breaking tradition and introducing changes, 7) the fear of agreement with setting bans, 8) the fear of everything new, 9) the fear of losing group support, 10) the fear to remain the individual.

We have nothing to be afraid of because we are losing our planet.


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