Trash, chemicals, radiation, energy, noise, and light of unnatural amounts affect soil, water, air and the planet's resources in more ways than currently obvious. These effects will compound over time, causing changes to nature, industrial food supply, human health, and the economy.
The most obvious effect of pollution is on the environment. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, contribute to climate change, which causes sea level to rise, drought, stronger storms, hotter temperatures, and decreased snowpack. Climate change alone has irreversibly altered the Earth. The environmental effects of pollution are more than visual; pollution's effects follow the food chain to humans.
Pollution impacts the food supply in a number of ways. Air pollution and acid rain harms crops. Water supply issues from decreased snowpack could reduce crop yields. Soil erosion from intense storms and drought will reduce the amount of available farmland. As the growing human population requires more food, any decrease in food supply will negatively affect society.
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Human health will be affected on all fronts. The food we consume will be inundated with pollutants. Many pollutants cause cancer, reducing lifespan. The water supply in certain regions, such as the Western U.S., will be reduced. Caloric deficiencies from limited food supply negatively affect health. Premature death, in certain circumstances, can result from pollution.
Worker productivity decreases simply with an increase in ground-level ozone. Healthcare costs will increase as overall health decreases, which also represents lost opportunity for economic output. This overall reduced efficiency could inhibit society's ability to mitigate pollution problems.