5 Ridiculous (But Serious) Ways Humans Are Destroying Earth
Humans are terrible at cleaning up messes. Just look at the average dorm room. Or, y'know, our entire planet. Pollution is a hotly debated issue, and it's getting hotter by the minute (literally). And the troubles keep coming. We fix one kind of emission, but then we start dumping lead-filled plutonium tampons in a river without a care in the world. Hidden pollutants are being discovered all over the place. And it turns out the next ecological disaster may have started in your bathroom -- and no, we're not referring to what happens in there after chili night.
A River In Mumbai Dyed All The Stray Dogs Blue
India, the nation of colors, has many, many dye manufacturers. One of these companies was shut down in 2017 after being suspected of dumping their waste in the Kasadi River. What gave them away? Well, it could've been a carefully orchestrated police sting, or maybe people started getting suspicious of the when the Kasadi started turning dogs blue.
In 2017, locals around Mumbai were surprised by the arrival of a pack of sky-blue canines. After confirming these weren't some designer half-Dalmatian, half-Smurf breed, townsfolk look a little harder at what the dye companies were doing to their local ecosystem. It was discovered that the dogs had blue'd themselves by taking baths in the cool Kasadi. Fearing pollution, the spectral dogs were taken in for inspection, though we couldn't confirm whether the authorities used dogcatchers or Ghostbusters.
As many as 12 canines were thought to be affected by the wastewater. What had turned their coat blue was simply coloring dye; the dogs seemed otherwise healthy, and the color mostly washed out of their fur. It didn't take long for authorities to trace the pollution back to one particular local dye manufacturer, which was then promptly shut down. Guess you could say that the tide had turn- *self inflicted gunshot*
Glitter Is Destroying The Oceans
Sometimes, in order to give our children a bright future, we have to take a bit of brightness away. Unknowingly, children, arts and crafts hobbyists, and strippers everywhere are destroying the planet with their razzle-dazzle. We're talking, of course, about glitter.
We all joke about how glitter gets everywhere, but it truly does get everywhere. It's made of microplastics, bits of plastic that have a nasty habit of finding their way into the environment. Worst of all is when they end up in the ocean, where these shiny little flecks quickly get eaten by fish and other marine life. That's not only bad news for fish, but also for eaters of fish -- like people, or birds, which can then die of starvation because they can't digest the large disco ball of misery forming inside their stomachs.
One study found that these kinds of plastics were present in the bellies of a third of all fish caught in the English Channel. But while we should be wary of the kind glitter that winds up on birthday cards and then every item of clothing you've ever worn, it's the microbeads that make our cosmetics and shower gels look extra fancy that are the real bad stuff. In the UK, a mass revolt is happening against the sparkly evil that is glitter. A whole slew of preschools there began banning the stuff recently, which touched off a movement that stretched as far as New Zealand. And now the government is set on banning plastic microbeads altogether this year. In response, some companies have already started switching to non-plastic glitters like "starched-based lusters," which sounds less like a cosmetic product and more like the kind of bait you'd use to trap hungry ravers.
Your Euthanized Pet May Be Poisoning Other Animals
There are only two ways your relationship with your beloved pet can end: Either they die first and your heart gets broken, or you die first and your face gets eaten. The former is more likely, and there are few backyards that aren't filled with shallowly buried companions like they're mobster dumping grounds. You can rest easy, however, in the knowledge that your dead friends are giving their remains to nourish the earth, as nature intended. Cue the circle of life.
Record scratch! Sorry to bum out all animal lovers, but humans have even found a way to poison animals with their dead pets. The killer here is sodium pentobarbital, which is used in animal euthanasia. Like with any drug, some lingers in the biological remains, which is bad news for predators who like a free lunch. One case in British Columbia entailed 29 bald eagles that fell ill after feasting on a euthanized cow.
Now, as long as you properly bury or cremate it, wild animals can't get to your beloved pet's remains. But if you're like most people and have never dug a grave in your life, you likely won't dig deep enough (it should be at least four feet). As a result, wild animals won't have a lot of trouble digging through and picking out their favorite pieces of your furry companion. Regrettably, leaving euthanized animals exposed like that has caused so many calamities that it has started requiring some policy enactments. Some states have changed how often landfills are being covered, while others require that a dead animal be disposed of within a day, i.e. zombie rules. But veterinarians suggest that burning the contaminated carcass is still the safest way. As long as it isn't a barbecue, of course.
Painkillers Nearly Caused Nepal's Vultures To Go Extinct
The epidemic of over-prescribing drugs in America is well-documented and terrifying. We don't even give other countries the chance to get hooked on sweet sweet painkillers, we take so many of them. But, oddly, it's not our pill-popping that Nepal is worrying about, but that of their animal friends.
In predominantly Hindu countries like Nepal, vultures are counted on to dispose of dead livestock, as the population isn't allowed to apply the usual method of turning them into burgers. But during the 1990s, Nepal suffered from an astounding drop in its vulture numbers. One might ask how. They're vultures. They eat rotting carcasses and live to tell the disgusting tale. But the problem isn't their meals, but what their meals have been digesting.
During the '90s, a new pain-relieving drug was used to treat cattle, Diclofenac. In humans and cows, Diclofenac acts as a pain reliever, but to vultures it's straight up poison, causing acute kidney failure and death. So if a cow died while under medical care, there would still be enough of the drug in its system to poison the vultures. Again, these are creatures that vomit acid and experience botulism as if it's mild indigestion. So for goodness sake, people, read the labels on your pill bottles carefully.
It was only in the early 2000s that scientists figured out the cause, and Diclofenac was banned in Nepal, India, and Pakistan in 2006. However, by then, the damage had already been done, and the region had lost 95 percent of its vulture population. It was the first case of ecological harm caused by a pharmaceutical drug, and like with any drug, it had some pretty weird side effects. As vulture populations dwindled, hordes of rabid dogs started roaming the countryside. It even changed a native people, the Parsis of India, who could no longer uphold their ancient Zoroastrian custom of leaving corpses to be cleaned up by nature because the bodies were piling up everywhere.
Fortunately, since then, wildlife conservationists stepped in. Though they've had to do things like erect "vulture restaurants" so that the birds have a safe place to eat. Imagine the smell ...
Human Medications Cause All Sorts Of Crazy Behavior In Animals
Pharmaceuticals have always been the wild cards of the healthcare industry. Sure, they'll cure your ulcer, but side effects may include a list of afflictions so long and horrific that reading the label feels like sneaking a peek at Satan's to-do list. So if medicine tailored for people can mess us up so badly, imagine all the weird shit it does to the animal kingdom.
With people and clinics flushing medicine down the toilets, scientists became worried about what this cocktail could do to marine life. To see what would happen, they dosed a bunch of Oregon shore crabs with Prozac. When the supposed antidepressant kicked in, the crabs starting acting very ballsy, scouring for food during the time of day when they should be hiding from predators. They also started fighting other members of their species out of sheer aggression. We might as well be pouring bottles of Jagermeister into the sea.
Frogs aren't safe from our pill-popping, either. Human birth control usually contains estrogen, which can pass through a woman's body sometimes unadulterated. Once that hormone seeps into the waterways, it's been known to lower the number of frog babies. But the affected aren't the female frogs -- it's the frog fellows who are taking the brunt of the birth control. An increase in estrogen caused a lot fewer "advertisement calls" and a decrease in their horny toad levels, leading to less mating. Estrogen in the water turning frog boys into lazy shy guys who can't talk to girls? Who conducted this study, a 4chan board?
Finally, in our quest to lead more comfortable lives through pharmaceutics, we're giving fish vaginas! Well, not quite, but metformin, a drug used to treat type II diabetes, has been found to make guy fish develop female organs, and even cause them to lay eggs. It's amazing to think that of all the things we flush into the ocean, our shit is the least horrifying.
We're not gonna recommend dying your dog blue, even if Tobias did it to himself on Arrested Development.
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