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  • The assignment is to write an analytical research paper addressing the following: “Identify two major environmental problems that Canada is facing today and describe their potential short term and long term impacts on ecosystem and human health. Critica

The assignment is to write an analytical research paper addressing the following: “Identify two major environmental problems that Canada is facing today and describe their potential short term and long term impacts on ecosystem and human health. Critica

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23 July, 2016.

Air pollution and Deforestation in Canada and its Associated Consequences


Whereas, the 19th century was regarded as the industrial age, the 21st century is termed as the age of technology. The century is characterized by great technological development. Great inventions in the infrastructure have facilitated local as well as cross-border communications. The resultant effects are increased local and international trades. Michael (12) states that currently multinational companies have embraced the emerging technologies such as Information Technology to augment their business in foreign nations. Subsequently, this has triggered increased demand for commodities which has caused over-exploitation of natural resources causing environmental degradation and climatic changes. Canada prides for its richness in natural resources such as minerals, wildlife as well as large forest. Nonetheless, increased demand for its resources both locally and internationally has resulted to increased emission of greenhouse gas, air pollution and deforestation leading to extensive damage of its ecosystem.

Air Pollution and Deforestation in Canada

The high level of industrialization in Canada has great negative impacts on its atmosphere. Canada is one of the world leading countries in air pollution. Air pollution in Canada occurs in form of smog or acidic rain. Smog is regarded as the yellow-brown cloud in the sky. It is mainly composed of a mixture of gases and minute particles. Smog has two primary pollutants, the ground-level ozone and the particular matter. Although, smog pollution occurs in all seasons, it is noted to be highest during the summer period because of the warmer temperatures associated with sunlight. During winter, Canadians use their vehicles and burn wood more often. Thus, the increased wood heating and use of vehicles during the summer makes dormant air to cause an upsurge of air pollutants referred as winter smog. The Canadian government has a great concern on the Southern Atlantic region, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec where most smog pollution occurs. Most of the smog in these regions originates from the smelter industries that are located in these regions. Many industries in these areas rely on coal as their main sources of energy. Thus, the high smoke that emanates while burning the coal to generate the required energy can be linked to the high smog in the regions. High smog in the regions can also be associated with the heavy traffic n the area (Jacobson 161).

Canada is extremely industrialized and thus its industries emits considerable amount of nitric oxide and sulphur dioxide into the. Significant number of industries in Canada burn coal to generate the required energy to run the industries. Burning of coal and other fossils fuels from heavy traffic in the region emits significant amounts of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. When in the atmosphere these chemicals can either be converted into moist or dry pollutants that are referred as nitric acid, sulphuric acid and ammonium nitrate which can be transported miles of kilometers. These chemicals are either deposited in their dry or wet form. Dry deposition occurs when elements such as nitrates, sulphates, nitric oxide or sulphur dioxide are absorbed or deposited on the ground. Later these gases are converted into acids when they come into contact with water. Wet deposition occurs when acids with a PH value of less than 5.6 are removed from the atmosphere inform of snow, rain or hail into the surface. Acidic precipitation is a major concern in Canada mainly in the Windsor region stretching to Quebec City corridor. These regions are highly industrialized and therefore the aforementioned chemicals records most of Canada’s emissions. Study indicates that majority of the chemicals recorded originate from heavy traffic in these regions. In 2011 emission of sulphur dioxide in Canada was 1.85 million tones. The main sources of these emissions were oil, gas, electricity fuels and non-ferrous smelters Likewise, in the same year Canada produced 1.94 million tones of nitric oxide with most of the emission originating from the transportation sector. Oil and gas sectors were also noted to emanate a substantial amount of the chemical (Wood and McKitrick 20).

Canada is the leading nation in deforestation, with only 20% of its forest being under protection. Canada ecosystem has greatly deteriorated as a result of continuous illegal cutting down of trees for fuel. Canada’s deforestation is economically motivated to get timber for making paper and furniture at home. Trees are also cut down in Canada to supply the highly prized palm oil that is considered an important consumer commodity in the region and internationally. Other reason that motivates Canadians to cut down trees is to get room for ranching or growing foods for their animals. Nowadays, there has been a great global shift in the nature of farming brought about by high adoption of the concept of fast food. This concept has revalorized traditional farming methods and resulted into commercial farming, where farmers focus on farming for commercial purposes. This type of farming involves large scale farming and as thus, the Canadians are cleaning many acres of forest to get room for growing crops for their animals. Although most of Canadian forests have been damaged by man activities, forest fires originating from overheating that is associated with global warming effects has increased its deforestation to a greater extent (Wood and McKitrick 29-30).

Ecological and Human consequences of Deforestation and Air Pollution

Smog been a combination of ozone and particular matter pollutants has an underlying healthy issue that depends on a number of factors such as; type and level of pollutants, age and health status as well as the period of expose. Although, many Canadians spend most of their times indoors, the high level of smog originating from its industries is worrying. Short term effects of smog include irritation of the throat, eyes and nose. However, smog can cause serious respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Consequently, prolonged expose to smog can cause lung cancer and subsequent early death. The people who are most vulnerable to smog are the aged who have lung problems and children whose respiratory systems are still under development. Here, Canadians are advised to avoid engaging in strenuous activities outside the house in the afternoon when the smog level is at its peak (Khallaf 130).

Pollution of the air results into sulphur dioxide and nitric oxide in the air that is associated with visibility problems and pose great impact on public health. Acid deposition is widely spread in the eastern Canada. Acidic depositions have significant detrimental effects to the buildings and aquatic life. Acidic deposition in this region over many years has resulted to acidity in lakes and rivers. Areas such as Ontario, Nova, Scotia, Quebec and Brunswick are the mostly hit as their soil lacks lime which plays a significant role in neutralizing the acidic effect of the water. Walker (95) argues that acidic deposition reduces the PH level to less than 5.5 which greatly affects the aquatic vegetation and fish. A PH level of below than 5.5 is associated with a decreased variety of aquatic vegetation and reduced fish. Reduction of the PH level to less than 4.5 in the Ontario region has eradicated most fish species because of reproductive failure. Similarly, acidic rain in the region has affected forests and vegetation. Acidic precipitation has damaged plant foliage, led to retardant growth as well as contributed to seed germination failure. Equally, it has contributed to deterioration of vegetation roots because acidity causes leaching of important nutrients as well as making the plants more vulnerable to insects and diseases. Subsequently, Canada has experienced significant reduction in food production as associated with the climatic changes in the region emanating from environmental degradation (Khallaf 278).

Canada has been noted for its great deforestation that has resulted to extensive areas of land rendered bare. The huge Deforestation is one of the leading causes of the significant climatic changes in the region. Cutting of trees disrupts the carbon cycle that is essential in regulating the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Trees are believed to contain 300 billion tons of carbon. It is noted that greenhouse-gas emanating from fossil fuels is stored in trees. Lal, Kimble and Steward (245), assert that deforestation is the second major source of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is because when trees are cut down, carbon dioxide released from fossil fuels ends up in the atmosphere as there are no trees to absorb it. Similarly, the carbon stored in the trees is released in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide when these trees decay. Trees regulate water cycle by controlling the rate of evaporation and available moisture in the atmosphere. However, deforestation affects water vapor concentration in the atmosphere by upsetting the normal exchange of water between land and atmosphere. This alteration combined with high accumulation of greenhouse -gas in the atmosphere results to global warming effect that is associated with devastating effects such as prolonged droughts and heavy rains. Heavy rains have resulted to floods causing great damages to property, animals and even deaths. Similarly, global warming has resulted into overheating that can cause significant health issue such as fever that is life threatening. Overheating has also been linked with forests fires like the one witnessed in Canada.

Deforestation in Canada has also enhanced soil degradation by facilitating soil erosion, leaching and loss of living organisms in the soil as a result of deliberately or accidental forests fires. Microorganisms in the soil play an essential role in the soil. They help in the decomposition of organic matter. In addition, they facilitate in the aeration of the soil to avoid acidifying of the soil. The aeration is also important for the roots. Increased soil erosion in Canada as a result of deforestation has negatively affected crop production in the region. This has resulted into farmers’ overreliance on artificial fertilizers which have also a detrimental effect to aquatic life when they are washed into water bodies. Overdependence on fertilizer is dangerous as it may lead to overexploitation of the natural phosphorus rock which is used in manufacturing the fertilizer. Scarcity of phosphorus rock can lead to food shortages as well as worldwide unrests. Canada is famous for its rich fauna and flora. The country is regarded as the richest region in wildlife and varieties of vegetation species. However, the recent high rate of deforestation in the region is greatly damaging its wealth. Deforestation in Canada has lead to loss as well as extinction of some wildlife species because of damaging their habitants (Larramendy, and Soloneski 87)


Environmental degradation in Canada by air pollution and deforestation has greatly hurt the country socially, economically and ecologically. The consequences of environmental degradation have impacted negatively on the biodiversity, contributed to increased illness and even death as a result of floods and respiratory illness. Continued environmental degradation pose Canada at a high risk of suffering from greater damages such as ecological extinction emanating from the degradation.

Works Cited

Lal, Rattan, Kimble, John M. and Steward Bobby, A. Soil Processes and Carbon Cycle.

New York: Prentice Hall, 1997. Print.

Larramendy, Marcelo and Soloneski, Sonia. Organic Fertilizer- From Basic Concepts to

Applied Outcomes. New York: Prentice Hall New, 2016. Print.

Jacobson, Mark Z. Air Pollution and Global Warming: California: Stanford University,

2012. Print.

Khallaf, Mohammed K. The Impact of Air Pollution on Health, Economy, Environment

and Agricultural Sources. Oxford: Oxford University, 2011. Print.

Michael, Michael S. and Lahiri, Sajal. ”Globalization, Cross- Border Pollution and

Welfare.” Canadian Journal of Economics 10 (2005): 143-167. Print.

Walker, Nick. “Pollution in the Great Lakes.” Canadian Journal on environment 6.5. pp

56(2013): 78-99. Print.

Wood, Joel and McKitrick, Ross. “An Examination of the Relation between Air Quality

and Income in Canada.” Canadian Journal of agriculture and economy

9(2016): 10-30. Print.