Jobs that are Bad for the Environment

Jobs that are Bad for the Environment

Certain jobs affect the health conditions of people working in as well as contribute to the environment pollution and degradation. The jobs that are harmful to the environment also contribute to the poor health of workers and their workplaces. These jobs not only deteriorate the physical health but also the mental and psychological well-being of the workers. Here are the Jobs that are Bad for the Environment.

Certain jobs contribute to various pollutants with the resultant climate change and deteriorating environmental conditions. These types of work also predispose workers to potential health-harming conditions- physical and psychosocial. In addition to causing harm to humankind, they pose danger to marine life as well as wildlife in several ways. 

Professions that contribute to environmental pollution are-

  1. Mining and smelting jobs
  2. Foundry jobs
  3. Construction jobs
  4. Chemical Industry jobs- Chemical manufacture, chemical repackaging, and storage
  5. Manufacturing jobs
  6. Aerospace jobs
  7. Dry cleaning jobs
  8. Auto repair shops
  9. Gas station jobs
  10. Textile Industry jobs
  11. Some research-based jobs
  1. Mining and Smelting jobs

They cause tremendous deterioration of both environments- terrestrial and aquatic. The wastes from these industries are either accumulated on lands or dumped into water bodies. The heavy metals released from mining industries cause huge devastation to air, soil, water bodies, and groundwater. 

The smelting of sulfide ores emits the resultant gas, Sulphuric Dioxide. This gas reacts chemically in the air to form sulphuric acid participants. This results in acid rain which when falls on the earth elevates the acidity of water bodies and soil as well as deteriorates the health of aquatic and wildlife populations.

  1. Foundry jobs

The foundry jobs involve melting and pouring the metals into the mold and finishing the final product after removing the metal. The Foundry industry contributes majorly to air pollution. Foundry jobs can cause respiratory diseases in a man like a silicosis, increased risk of lung cancer, and many other diseases. 

Sources of Foundry pollutants-

  • Effusion from dust-generating by operations within the plant
  • Odors and gaseous compounds
  • Effusion from furnace operations
  1. Construction jobs

Construction jobs highly contribute to air pollution. The activities like land clearing, functioning of diesel engines, demolition, burning, working with toxic materials, etc. contribute to air pollution. The harmful materials produced like dust, smoke, solid waste, air pollutants, water pollutants, etc. contribute to the climatic change and deterioration of vegetation and air.

According to recent research, the construction sector contributes to-

  • 23% of air pollution
  • 505 of climate change
  • 40% of water pollution
  • 50% of landfill waste

According to research by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the construction sector contributes to 40% of global usage of energy. By 2030, the emission from construction units will increase by 1.8%. 

  1. Chemical Industry jobs

Chemical industries discharge wastewater directly into water bodies and underground water systems. These industries emit noxious gases and hazardous waste and contribute to air pollution as well. Chemical Industries contribute to a major environmental footprint. 

Some health diseases caused by chemical wastes from industries include-

  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Birth defects
  • Diseases of the nervous system and reproductive system
  1. Manufacturing jobs

Manufacturing industries contribute to the major source of water pollution worldwide. The contaminated water, gases, chemicals, heavy metals, radioactive materials are discharged into major waterways and devastate marine life and the environment as a whole. It contributes to ocean acidification, climate change, loss of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, and many more huge environmental impacts. 

  1. Aerospace jobs

Aircraft engines discharge harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Waste from airports is discharged into streams, rivers, and wetlands. Noise from airports contributes to noise pollution. The aviation industry contributes to the global CO2 emission, thus responsible for global warming up to some extent. Along with CO2 emission and discharge of other greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere accelerate global warming and ocean acidification. 

Gases emitted are- CO2 and Nitric Oxide (NO).

  1. Dry cleaning jobs

These contribute to air pollution due to the use of petroleum solvents in the dry cleaning process. These petroleum solvents emit toxic air pollutants and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). This results in the formation of Smog (ground-level ozone) when these chemical substances react in the air. The resultant smog contributes to several respiratory diseases. 

The main pollutants in dry cleaning are-

  • PCE (Perchloroethylene)
  • TCE (Trichloroethylene)
  • Trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene
  • VC (Vinyl Chloride)
  • 1,4-Dioxane

other chemicals associated with dry cleaning are-

  • CCl4 (Carbon Tetrachloride)
  • Freon
  • Kerosene
  • Mineral spirits
  • Petroleum solvents
  1. Auto repair shops

Repair works like replacement of auto parts, cleaning, and dismantling of engines and car components, painting, and regular change of fluids- generate environmental pollution by emitting chemicals into the air by accidental leakage or volatilization of auto repair solvents during handling. 

Improper waste management of generated waste can cause environmental pollution at and around auto repair shops. If the spilled waste is not properly disposed of, it can pose threat to humans and the environment. 

Auto repair pollution solvents include-

  • Chlorinated solvents like TCE (Trichloroethylene), Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)
  • Petroleum Hydrocarbons like Toluene, Xylene
  • Other organic solvents like MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone). 
  1. Gas station jobs

The emission of vapors from evaporation and the burning of gasoline contributes to air pollution. Burning gasoline produces gases like Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitric Oxides (NO), Unburned Hydrocarbons, CO2, a greenhouse gas, etc. 

Impact of gasoline inhalation-

Inhalation of gasoline vapors can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, nose irritation, throat irritation, confusion, and respiratory diseases, etc. 

  1. Textile Industry Jobs

The textile and clothing industry is responsible for water pollution, greenhouse gas emission, and landfill. Textile and clothing industries use a lot of water and land to produce cotton and other fibers. According to an estimate, 2,700 liters of water are required to make a single cotton T-shirt. This amount of water is enough to meet one person’s water need for 2.5 years. 

Jobs that are Bad for the Environment

The textile industry contributes to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

  1. Research jobs

Research activities for some projects also contribute to Greenhouse gas emissions. 

What is health-harming exposure at work?

Some physical and environmental risk factors, associated with a specific occupation, contribute to the health-harming issues of the workers. The level of exposure ranges from inhalation of dust or harmful particles to the particles getting lodged under the skin and affects health in several ways. There can be direct physical contact with toxins and radiation. All these contribute to the imbalanced hormonal level in the body with resultant somatic diseases and psychopathology and environmental degradation. 

For Example

  • Exposure to crystalline silica to the workers in the mining industry, stone workers, and sandblasting employers have an increased risk for silicosis-related fatality.
  • Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer.
  • Some psychosocial stress factors like job strain, noise, job insecurity, etc.

Symptoms of health ailments associated with the bad work environment

  • Musculoskeletal diseases
  • Insomnia
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Psychiatric diseases
  • Depression, etc.

Environmentalists at risk

The environmental workers are also at high risk of being contaminated by industry pollutants. They are at constant risk of exposure to hazardous materials and toxins. They can be prone to toxins by accidents or improper disposal of harmful wastes. 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environment Protection Agency (EPA) regulate safety procedures and preventive regulations to control pollution in the work environment for the safety of workers.  

The preventive procedures include-

  • Wearing protective equipment while handling hazardous wastes
  • Good air ventilation inside
  • Do not eat or drink in presence of hazardous wastes
  • Identify and avoid direct contact with toxins whenever possible

Factors that contribute to the environmental degradation

  1. Social Factors
  • Population- population when crosses the threshold limit of support mechanism, contributes to environmental degradation due to more utilization of natural resources.
  •  Poverty- inequality leads to unsustainability as the poor deplete natural resources more because they have no access or very little access to other resources. 
  • Urbanization- rapid expansion of cities and more utilization of resources results in depletion of freshwater. Urbanization also leads to the deterioration of air and water qualities, accumulation of wastes, landfills, etc. 
  1. Economic factors

Market failure and limitation of well-defined property rights contribute to the depletion of resources due to inequality of power and rights. This leads to environmental degradation due to the unsustainability of resources.  

  1. Institutional factors

Due to lack of technical staff and inadequate system, various government institutions like MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) are unable to perform their act of protection and conservation of the environment inappropriately. 

  1. Industrialization
  1. Increased energy usage
  1. Transportation, etc. 

Professions that save the environment

Jobs that are Bad for the Environment

Source- Pixabay

  • Sustainability manager
  • Environment engineer
  • Wildlife conservationists
  • Landscape architect
  • Urban planner
  • Environment pollution management
  • Environmental lawyer
  • Environmental scientist
  • Recycling officer
  • Water conservation officer
  • Environment health officer
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Fisheries officer

Climate emergency and the extinction of species are increasing gradually. These are the results of environmental pollution. The consequence is the deterioration of terrestrial as well as marine habitats.

The approach at the individual level is to choose professions that target minimizing environmental pollution and accelerate the sustainability of the environment. 

Jobs that are Bad for the Environment

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