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The facts about Environmental damage in the UK
In recent times it has been accepted by scientists that climate change and man made emissions are causing climate changes throughout the world. The ten most warmest years recorded globally since records began have occurred from 1994 onwards with considerable carbon dioxide concentrations increasing considerably. Carbon dioxide from the business sector is responsible for 40% of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions. If we do not take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the global average temperatures could raise as much as 5.8 centigrade higher than average by the end of the century. This will result in devastating effects on human society and the natural environment.
Scientists have predicted that this climate change will lead to increased drought, extreme rainfall which will have a dramatic effect on agriculture particular in vulnerable under developed countries around the world. Businesses are one of the main sources of these damaging greenhouse gas emissions which in recent years have been targeted by government legislation to tackle climate change including a levy placed on the use of energy by businesses. Environmental legislation requires all businesses to ensure their work activities do not harm the environment. It is estimated that in 2002/ 03 industry in the UK produced around 68 millions tonnes of waste which without action the figure is expected to rise to 85 million tonnes by 2020. The environmental agency estimates that there were over 25,000 pollution incidents which affected air, land and water in the UK in 2003.
With 1,100 recorded has having a significant serious impact on the environment. Business was accountable for over half of the serious reported pollution incidents in 2004. 45% of the 68 million tonnes of industrial and commercial waste produced in the UK in 2002/ 03 was recycled. The UK is however on course to meet its target set by Government for reducing the amount of industrial waste sent to landfill which is 15% against 1998 recorded figures. To prevent further damage to the environment companies must become responsible for Environmental management. This will include recycling as much waste produced, conserving energy, reducing waste to landfill and reducing carbon dioxide emissions produced by your company’s activities. In my next article I will expand on what a company needs to do in more detail to fulfil their legal requirements in environmental management. If you are concerned or interested about what your employer can do to manage environmental issues at work, please feel free to use my articles as guidance on how to manage environmental issues.
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