5 Everyday Activities that Affect the Environment

Everyday activities that affect the environment are; plastic disposal, toilet flushing, consumerism, car driving, and electricity usage.

This article discusses everyday activities that affect the environment, as follows;



1). Plastic Disposal (as an Example of Everyday Activities that Affect the Environment)

The disposal of plastic products is an everyday activity.

On a yearly basis, millions of tons of plastic in the form of bottles, bags and other products, are released into the environment in landfills, open dumps and water bodies [2].

Synthetic plastics are particularly harmful as they do not readily undergo biodegradation. These plastics may clog waterways, causing flooding and stormwater pollution.

They may also pollute soil as a result of the presence of toxic chemical components.

The natural ecosystem is significantly affected by plastic disposal. This could be in the form of marine pollution, which affects the purity and circulation of nutrients in seas, thereby posing a threat to marine organisms.

When plastics finally decompose, they release toxins and greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide, which facilitate global warming and climate change [3].

Everyday Activities that Affect the Environment: Plastic Disposal (Credit: Fquasie 2022 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)
Everyday Activities that Affect the Environment: Plastic Disposal (Credit: Fquasie 2022 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)


2). Toilet Flushing

While toilet flushing has been helpful to control open defecation and dumping of waste in water bodies, it also has some negative environmental impacts.

The first of these is resource depletion. Studies have shown that toilet flushing accounts for a major portion of indoor water consumption [8]. Given the rate and scale of use of toilet facilities, this can lead to loss of significant amounts of water resources.

Water is lost through flushing, because flushing converts fresh water to grey water, which is sent down to sewer systems.

Wastewater treatment facilities are not always available to treat this grey water and restore its purity and value. Although the ecosystem is equipped with natural recycling mechanisms like evaporation, condensation, and precipitation, the rate and effectiveness of these natural processes are not always sufficient to match the rate at which water is consumed in toilet systems.

The theme of water conservation is an important one with regards to sustainable development efforts, because water is an essential resource for the survival, sustainability and continuity of the ecosystem [6].

Efforts to address this issue so far include the concept of water-less and electricity-independent toilets, although the practical use and adoption of this concept are limited.


3). Consumerism (as an Example of Everyday Activities that Affect the Environment)

Consumerism is a socioeconomic factor that has significant environmental impact.

Specifically, overconsumption is a potential cause of environmental degradation because it implies that resources will be depleted at a higher rate [5].

High consumption rates imply high resource depletion rates, as a result of overproduction, excessive waste production, and minimal recycling efforts.

It is also one of the causes of energy waste, since all forms of production consume energy.

Overconsumption increases the demand for electricity and hence the rate (and scale) of electricity generation [7]. As a result, the risk of energy-related degradation may increase, in the form of soil and water pollution, greenhouse emission, global warming, climate change, and general decrease in air quality.

Such effects on the environment can reduce ecologic productivity to result in biodiversity loss, low soil fertility, and desertification among other outcomes. In turn, these could lead to food insecurity, hunger, and economic recession.


4). Car Driving

The transport sector is known to have significant impacts on the environment.

Most vehicles depend on fuels for power. These include fossil fuels, liquid hydrogen, and biofuel.

The byproducts of fuel combustion in vehicle engines include greenhouse gases and toxins, which can cause pollution when released into the environment [4].

Limited energy efficiency also implies that combustion of fuel in the engine of a vehicle is not always complete. Incomplete combustion and low efficiency are potential causes of energy waste and resource depletion.

Lastly, car driving leads to landform changes which may not always be positive. These changes occur in the process of road and bridge construction, and can facilitate hazards like soil erosion and mass movement.

Efforts to achieve sustainability in the transport sector have led to the optimization of vehicular technology to produce electric cars and hybrid cars, as well as to integrate artificial intelligence into transport systems, among others.

Everyday Activities that Affect the Environment: Car Driving (Credit: Emmanuelkwizera 2019 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)
Everyday Activities that Affect the Environment: Car Driving (Credit: Emmanuelkwizera 2019 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)


5). Electricity Use (as an Example of Everyday Activities that Affect the Environment)

Most of the major methods used to generate electricity, affect the environment.

This is because electricity generation usually involves some form of physicochemical transformation and resource consumption. It can also be attributed to the scale and demand of electricity for various purposes.

Nuclear power plants, biorefineries, electric generators, large turbine facilities and other power-generating systems are known for their environmental impacts.

Some renewable energy facilities also have environmental impacts, such as hydroelectric water dams, which are not always conservative in their use of water resources. Others such as solar panels and wind turbines also affect the environment, through aesthetic pollution, and environmental degradation after disposal.

Aside electricity generation, energy storage also has environmental impacts. Deep cycle batteries comprise of materials like heavy metals, which pollute the environment [1].

Energy wastage during use, may occur as a result of unmonitored usage, and inefficient appliances, among other causes. This is a problem for the environment, as wastage of electricity increases the risk of environmental pollution and resource depletion.



Everyday activities that affect the environment are;

1. Plastic Disposal

2. Toilet Flushing

3. Consumerism

4. Car Driving

5. Electricity Use



1). Afolayan, A. O. (2018). “Accumulation of Heavy Metals from Battery Waste in Topsoil, Surface Water, and Garden Grown Maize at Omilende Area, Olodo, Nigeria.” Global Challenges 2(3). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/gch2.201700090. (Accessed 3 October 2022).

2). Isangedighi, I. A.; David, G. S.; David, G. S.; Obot, O. (2018). “Plastic Waste in the Aquatic Environment: Impacts and Management.” Environment Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 2(1):1-31. Available at: https://doi.org/10.31058/j.envi.2018.21001. (Accessed 3 October 2022).

3). Kida, M.; Ziembowicz, S.; Koszelnik, P. (2022). “CH4 and CO2 Emissions from the Decomposition of Microplastics in the Bottom Sediment—Preliminary Studies.” Environments 2022, 9(7), 91. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9070091. (Accessed 3 October 2022).

4). Ogunkunle, O.; Ahmed, N. A. (2021). “Overview of Biodiesel Combustion in Mitigating the Adverse Impacts of Engine Emissions on the Sustainable Human–Environment Scenario.” Sustainability 13(10):5465. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105465. (Accessed 3 October 2022).

5). Orrechia, C.; Zoppoli, P. (2010). “Consumerism and Environment: Does Consumption Behaviour Affect Environmental Quality?” CEIS Working Paper No. 261. Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1719507. (Accessed 23 September 2022).

6). Randhir, T. O. (2012). “Water for Life and Ecosystem Sustainability.” Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change 3(01):1-2. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4172/2157-7617.1000e107. (Accessed 3 October 2022).

7). Westskog, H.; Winther, T. (2014). “Electricity consumption: should there be a limit? Implications of people’s attitudes for the forming of sustainable energy policies. consilience.” Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285069707_Electricity_consumption_should_there_be_a_limit_Implications_of_people’s_attitudes_for_the_forming_of_sustainable_energy_policies_consilience. (Accessed 3 October 2022).

8). Zaied, R. (2018). “Development of water saving toilet‑flushing mechanisms.” Applied Water Science 8(2). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13201-018-0696-8. (Accessed 3 October 2022).

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