Have you ever wondered what a cow, steel and cement had in common? Well , it is not by the fact that they all help us build our lives 🙂 but they have been cited as the leading pollutants of the environment.
Impact of Cement , Cows and Steel to the Environment
When combined, cement , cows and steel contribute to an estimated 40 percent of the total carbon emissions globally. Here is how they contribute:
Cement is the most widely used compound after water. According to a report by theguardian.com, concrete is the most destructive material in the world.
It is estimated that in almost very few minutes, over 19000 concrete tubs are poured in the construction industry. You may ask how is cement a key pollutant? Well cement is the glue that ensures concrete adheres to all its components and metal used to hold construction in place.
However, the most pollution and contamination comes from the cement production industry. Due to this , cement has been labelled to produce 7 percent of the total carbon emissions , which is more than that produced by all the trucks in world.
According to a report by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, cement producing plants lead in the emission of highly toxic gases into the environment.
These gases include, Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxide and Carbon Monoxide. All these gases causes severe health problems to people and even more damage to the surrounding environment.
Cows are basically harmless animals that give us all goodies such as cheese, milk , leather and best cuts of steak. However, the grass is withering due to the high carbon emission produced by commercial cow farming.
Agriculture produces about 25 percent of the total carbon emissions. These emissions have been cited as more damaging than CO2 produced by cars!
The question is How do these gentle animals harm the environment more than the 4-stroke engine?
How Cow farming pollutes and Contaminates the Environment
1. Cow dung
Cow farming produces over 5 billion tonnes of cow dung every year. You may think that this means more manure will be used for organic farming. However , much cow dung is essential in organic farming, a significant amount of the cow dung ends up in rivers causing serious contamination.
When decomposing, cow dung produces a myriad of gases , which include ammonia. Despite , being used in sustainable biogas production, most of the ammonia is lost into the surrounding environment.
Ever wondered how you get that juicy cut on your plate either at home or your favourite restaurant? Well millions of cows are slaughtered every day to meet the every rising demand for beef and other products.
To make meat production economical , cows are kept in large commercial farms that require vast amounts of food, water and chemicals to kill pests. These chemicals contaminate the soil , air and water. Furthermore, these farms require vast tracts of land for food and cow pens, hence they clear the existing vegetation. Water, on the other hand, is misused and can cause drying of natural springs.
Steels is one of the most common metals used in construction and other manufacturing. However , the steel manufacturing process consumes vast amounts of energy that require the use of coal. For instance, in China, the over 900 millions tonnes of steel require vast amounts of coal to fire the furnaces.
China, Being the largest producer of steel , contributing half of the global demand, exploits coal mines to keep up the supply. Coal mining leaves the environment degraded while gases from the steel plants contribute to air pollution and contamination.
However all is not lost , measures have been taken bu various authorities to curb and use sustainable method in cow farming , steel and cement production.
Here are some measures been taken to control these industries
Since 2017, China has replaced and converted steel plants to use other sources of energy other than coal. 80 percent of the steel mills in China are expected to fully convert by the year 2025. Additionally stringent measures have been put in place to limit the amount of gases produced by these mills. They are expected to comply and reduce their emissions to 60 percent by the year 2050.
Furthemore, one of the biggest measures is steel recycling. Used steel from car parts and building is being recycled and reused to make new products.
The cow farming industry has very many green solutions that are expected to significantly reduce CO2 reductions. Here are few;
- Feeding cow sea weed will reduce methane production
- Using Feed additives that reduce carbon emission
- Rearing of Hybrid cows that do not produce harmful gases
The cement industry also has a few sustainable methods to reduce the environmental pollution and contamination. Changing the Cement production process is a chemistry nightmare. However, one of the most promising is the Green Cement process. Green cement is produced using an environmental friendly process that reduces emission.
The world has existed for years depending on these elements. It’s time that greener solutions are utilized so that the future can be brighter.