How Do Humans Affect the Biosphere?

Humans affect the biosphere by increasing air pollution, damaging the ozone layer, worsening global warming, producing non-biodegradable waste and causing deforestation. The combined effect of human activity results in the destruction of ecosystems.

Air pollutants, such as carbon oxides, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and dust and soot particulates, damage the atmosphere in both the short and the long term. There is a risk of smog formation and acid rain in the short term.

The accumulation of air pollutants in the atmosphere over the long term increases the amount of energy absorbed from the sun, resulting in the greenhouse effect. This effect is responsible for rising temperatures in a phenomenon called global warming.

Humans also generate a huge amount of waste, and much of this is non-biodegradable. Fifty-five percent of 220 million tonnes of waste per year ends up in one of 3,500 landfill sites, according to Duke University. Landfill sites are a source of production of the greenhouse pollutant methane.

Human activity is also responsible for deforestation. Forests are the home of between 50 and 90 percent of the world's land species, claims Indiana University. Tropical rain forests also absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide, meaning their absence would result in higher temperatures on Earth.