By Ashar Ali
August 9, 2022
UPDATED 12:00 PM EST
[Photo credit: UNEP]
Extinction is a process best known as dying out or termination of any species. The process is not just a thing of modern times; millions of years ago, dinosaurs were wiped out from the face of our planet due to a combination of factors. What is new, however, is the fact that the rate of extinction of species has exponentially increased in today’s world. Plant and Animal extinctions, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) reports, are occurring at a rate of at least 1000 times faster than the time before humans. What are we doing wrong and how is it linked with the rate of extinction of these species?
Pick up any environmental crisis the earth is facing and take a look at the reasons, you'll find Pollution up there in almost every single case. Here, the case is no different. Air, water, land and noise pollution, all are culprits to this disaster. Air pollution like acid rain, for instance, does not only degrade the quality of habitat of the species, but can also affect the availability and quality of the food supply. In addition, water pollution like oil spills and presence of microplastics can add to the misery.
While no organism is immune to the harmful effects of pollution, Animals high up in the food chain are more likely to be affected as they accumulate these toxins in their bodies. This process
is called Biomagnification. The miseries of these organisms include, but are not limited to, birth defects, diseases and genetic mutations.
When talking about pollution, it is imperative to mention global warming and climate change. From snow leopards to monarch butterflies, a vast variety of species have become endangered due to climate change. Other species endangered due to pollution include Black Rhino, cross river Gorilla, hawksbill turtle, and south china tiger.
According to a recent UN report, Marine Plastic Pollution has affected at least 267 species, including 86% of marine turtles, 44% of sea birds and 43% of marine mammals. Such a grave situation calls for immediate action. On an individual level, we should make sure that we are creating as little waste as possible and practicing the 3 R’s in all walks of life. As for the authorities, they should make sure that they not only raise awareness among people about the threats faced by many animal species due to pollution, but should also take practical steps to diminish it. All types of organisms play an important role on our planet and extinction of any of them inflicts enduring and irreversible issues.
- Justin Sculletti “ Humans increased species extinction rate by 1000 times, new study says’’ PBS.org - Newshour, Science, Animal Extinctions, 29 May 2014,
- John. L. Gittleman “ Extinction’’ Britcannica.com - Explore, Saving Earth, Extinction, https://www.britannica.com/explore/savingearth/extinction
- Olivier H. et al “ Animal species endangerment: The role of environmental pollution’’ pubs.er.usgs.gov - Publications,
- “ Endangered species due to pollution” naturalenergyhub.com - Pollution, https://naturalenergyhub.com/pollution/endangered-species-due-pollution/