9 Biggest Environmental Issues in the U.S.

Humans and the way we live have caused an array of environmental issues across the world, and those concerns are only appearing to get worse. In the U.S. alone, people are working every day to discover and help solve some of the most detrimental concerns facing our world. For some of the many environmental issues in the US, keep reading. We’ve compiled a list of the biggest, and most-important environmental issues in the US today.

1. Water Depletion

California drought

Around 70% of our world is made-up of water, which leads people to believe there is an unlimited supply. However, many experts claim that water will become a commodity or luxury in the near future. Across the world, less and less people have access to clean, drinking water and the U.S. will be no exception in the future.

The world’s water-supply is slowly dwindling down due to over-population, pollution, demand, and over-use. It has even become hard for some cities in the country to receive and maintain clean water. Decreased water-supply results in loss of marine life, biodiversity, and the human population as it dwindles further.

2. Air Pollution

One of the leading environmental issues in the US and around the world is pollution. There’s a variety of types of pollution, but our air-quality has been decreasing for decades. Humans have polluted the air for centuries, via the use of industry/vehicle fumes, substantial metals, and other contaminants that find their way into the atmosphere.

Not only does this affect the quality of the air you breathe in the U.S., but it has a serious effect on our ozone layer. Air pollution aides in diminishing the quality of our ozone layer, which protects the Earth from the harmful rays of the sun and other atmospheric concerns.

3. Water Pollution

Heavy metal contamination in Tar Creek

Not only is the planet’s supply of water beginning to dwindle, but the quality of that water is also dwindling. Waster, chemicals, and other toxins have been dumped in water and polluting its quality for centuries. Industrial and agricultural activities are mostly-responsible for this type of pollution, which can severely affect the health of water (and the life inside it), humans, and animals alike.

Dumping trash can have a harmful effect on the quality of life of aquatic life, as well as deplete the percentage of healthy, drinking water all over the world.

4. Soil/Land Pollution

Humans can have a serious impact on the planet’s soil and land, and it’s one of the leading environmental issues in the US. Behaviors like agricultural and industrial activities, deforestation, littering, mining, and waste disposal all effect the Earth and its surface. Chemicals and pollutants seep into the soil when you perform these types of activities. Not only does this create issues with healthy plant and animal life, but it can have serious effects on human health.

5. Deforestation

an area of land affected by deforestation

Trees and plant-life are responsible for creating new oxygen for us and the environment. They also help control the planet’s temperature and its precipitation-level. Deforestation has become a huge issue in the U.S. and all over the world, as people use more and more trees for products, services, and materials.

For a realistic look at the rate of deforestation, half of the world’s rainforests have been demolished or destroyed since only 1990. This rate has not slowed, and other environmental issues like overpopulation and pollution are only exacerbating the problem.

6. Climate Change/Global Warming

The subject of climate change and global warming is a controversial subject. Nonetheless, scientists all over the world overwhelmingly agree that this is one of the biggest environmental issues in the US and everywhere else. Scientists believe that the activities performed by humans over our time on the planet are affecting the overall climate of Earth.

By abusing our environment, humans discharge pollution and greenhouse gases that create environmental changes. These gases and pollutants decrease the strength of the ozone layer, which in-turn begins to heat the planet and change its environment.

7. Population


Certainly one of the most-pressing environmental issues in the US is overpopulation. Overpopulation is becoming a grave concern for most of the globe, with billions and billions of humans inhabiting the Earth. When you think about it, every human will use the world’s resources and leave their own footprint with pollution, etc. The more people are on the Earth, the more destruction is caused to the planet.

In addition, as populations grow you must make room for that growth. This means removing more natural land and bodies of water. Overpopulation of the country (and planet) results in the removal of resources before the Earth can replenish itself naturally.

8. Waste

Waste can come in many forms, but it always seems to find its way to the water, soil, or air. Household waste, industrial waste, and pollutants like plastics are not always disposed of properly. They wind-up in the areas of the planet that suffer most from it. The more time humans are on the planet and the more populated it becomes, the more waste will be created. Our planet is not designed to decompose or recover from un-natural, toxic substances.

9. Species Extinction/Loss of Biodiversity

Over time, a species can become extinct all on its own. This typically happens as a result of the lack of proper evolutionary adaptations. However, species and biodiversity can suffer from outside factors as well. Humans have played a direct role in the loss of biodiversity in the world. They continue to create an environment in which many species are becoming extinct.

When humans pollute, over-hunt, poach, and do other “unfriendly” behaviors that are not good for the environment, the animal and plant-life in it suffer. When a species is exterminated, it has an effect that trickles down the food chain. And since everything in the food chain is dependent on another, it can have catastrophic impacts.

Final Thoughts

The biggest environmental issues in the US will not be addressed without the proper education. The issues that you have seen here today are detrimental to the success of not only the U.S., but the world as a whole. Take what you have learned today and let us know: how will you address these issues and help better your environment?

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