Global Warming and Climate Change
Climate change is one of the most significant environmental threats that exacerbates other problems experienced by the inhabitants of the Pacific region. Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from global warming have devastating effects ranging from heat waves and droughts to forest fires on the land, such as the recent Australian fires. At the seas, ocean temperatures are rising in the Pacific region. Oceans absorb excess heat from the atmosphere, setting new ocean heat records. Ocean water becomes acidified and losses much of its oxygen content. Coral bleaching and loss of marine life result in a population that relies on oceans to survive.
These small temperature changes disrupt the systems of survival among the Pacific Islanders. The inhabitants depend on fish from the oceans, farmlands, corals, and other ocean resources as their means of survival. On the other hand, climate change has led to fish depletion due to deaths or migration of fish species, salinity in agricultural lands, and biodiversity degradation, making survival an uphill task. Rising temperatures also lead to melting glaciers, leading to a rise in pacific sea levels, which predispose them to floods and storms. In the majority of the pacific states, hurricanes are a real threat due to climate change.
Pollution is a significant threat to achieving sustainable development goals in the pacific islands and the surrounding areas. It is worth noting that the Asia-Pacific states have prioritized economic growth and urbanization at the expense of preservations against pollution. Industries in the regions release their wastes to water bodies, affecting the livelihood of millions of inhabitants who depend on it for agricultural purposes. Australia, for example, emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with devastating effects.
Significant pollutants in the Asia Pacific region include hazardous wastes, chemicals, and related shipping pollution that disrupt marine life. Plastic waste is also a considerable ocean pollutant that impacts aquatic ecosystems. Most marine species, such as whales and sea birds, die from starvation due to plastic ingestion. Air pollution in the pacific region is associated with severe health consequences. The burning of plastics and industrial fumes is a constant health risk to Pacific Islanders.
Pollution in the Asia Pacific region is exacerbated by surging population demand and a quest for economic supremacy while overlooking the adverse impact on the environment.