World Environment Day is June 05 every year
For better or for worse, the effects of human activity on the environment are hard to ignore. Our planet's temperature is on the rise causing changing climate patterns, rising sea levels and melting glaciers. On World Environment Day - June 05, we assembled the following 50 images that show how our activities are affecting the earth.
An aerial view of the Atibainha reservoir during a drought in Sao Paulo state in November 2012. Brazil's worst drought in 80 years has left major cities and farming areas without water for extended periods of time.
Fisherman row a boat in the algae-filled Choha Lake in China's Anhui province. Struggling to meet pollution reduction targets, the Chinese government has pledged to spend millions of yuan to help meet those targets.
Solar panels have been erected to produce renewable energy at a photo voltaic park at Las Mees in southern France. The solar farm of the Colle des Mees is the largest in France and consists of 112,780 solar modules.
Fishermnan, Fumio Suzuki stands in a boat about 40 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. After waiting two years without a catch due to the radiation leaks, he hopes to resume fishing later in the year.
A paddle boater floats by Lone Rock on Lake Powell near Big Water - Utah. With parts of the United Sates under grip of drought for the third consecutive year, this reservoir is currently at 45% of its normal capacity. The Colorado River supplies water to 40,000,000 residents in 7 Western states and it is a major source of irrigation.
A Hungarian soldier cleans a yard flooded by toxic mud at Devecser, Hungary. The European union feared an environmental catastrophe if the red sludge contaminated the Danube River. The red sludge is waste liquid which burst out of an aluminum factory.
A tailings dam at the Rio -Tinto - Alcan aluminum and bauxite mining operation in Australia's Northern territory.
A boy swims along the algae-filled coastline of Qingdao in China's Shandong province.
An aerial view shows an area under development as a palm oil plantation which has been cleared of remaining trees. This work will be completed by Indonesian companies in Indonesia's West Kalimantan province.
A Chinese man wears a mask to protect himself from heavy smog generated by factory which produces Christmas decorations for Europe and North America.
An oil slick seen on the surface of a river near an illegal oil refinery which is located only a few kilometres from Port Harcourt in Nigeria.
People sort plastic bottles for recycling at a reclamation depot in China's Qingdao province. The waste recycling industry provides a meagre income for poverty- stricken individuals in China.
A boy takes a dip in a river which is filled with froth from industrial pollution floating on the surface of the Yamina River in New Delhi - India.
An aerial view of a several hectares of the Amazon rainforest near Santerem - Brazil, where companies have cut down the jungle to make way for an agricultural project. Santarem is a city of over 300,000 people.
Children play in polluted water which is pumped into the Buriganga River near Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh.
An electronic pixel board stands out as the only visible object amid heavy smog in Shenyang - China.
Due to industrial pollution, thousands of dead fish surface at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil. Low levels of oxygen and high level of toluene and other solvents in the water have been recorded causing death to all marine life and birth defects in humans.
Oil pumps owned by the Chevron Corporation at Kern River near Bakersfield - California pump oil for gasoline production. Though most of the crude at this site has been removed, enhanced production technologies such as steam flooding have made it possible to extract oil once considered unfeasible to bring to the surface.
Villagers collect oil when an oil tanker crashed into a passenger ferry on a river in the Sundarbans region at Joymani village in Bangladesh in December -2014. The tanker loaded with crude oil sank and dumped most of its cargo polluting over 70 kilometres along the Shela River. The mangrove forest and the Bengal tiger are all at risk and yet, the government in Dhaka says they no idea how to remedy the caked-on crude.
At Al-Dakahlya in Egypt, a farmer holds up a handful of soil to show the scorched, parched, dryness of the land due to drought. The farmer's land, at one time, was irrigated by the Nile river. Not any more. Al-Dakahlya is about 120 km from Cairo.
A turquoise lake forms from melting snow near Cape Folger on the Budd Coast in the Antarctic Territory. Researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industries Research Organization have found that the world is warming faster than predicted by the United Nations top climate body, with harmful emissions exceeding worst-case scenarios.
A volunteer holds up an oil-covered crab after it was rescued at Muelle Viejo Beach in Spain's Canary Islands.
An aerial view of Kimberlite diamond pipe at Peace in Yakutia province in Russia.
The Fresno Clovis Regional Waste Water Treatment Facility which treats sewage from big cities lies right next to fields of lettuce, tomatoes and romaine which is routinely shipped to Canada and beyond. California water regulators adopted first-ever rules for manipulating cutbacks in urban areas as the region's catastrophic drought enters its fourth straight year.
An armed Turkana man walks towards the shore of Lake Turkan near a temporary fishing camp near the Kenya - Ethiopia border. The Turkana are traditionally nomadic farmers but the pasture is flooded so most of these nomads have turned to fishing as their livelihood.
Smog envelops the banks of the Songhua river in China's Jilin province. The air quality index reaches 260 indicating increasingly high content of coal tar and carbon monoxide. Jilin province is home to over 28,000,000 people.
Sun worshippers go sunbathing at a Dauphin Island beach in Alabama - United States. In order to "enjoy" their outing, these southerners need to protect themselves from the increasing threat of crude oil washing up on their beach. Hence, they've installed hay and straw bales to keep the oil away from their recliners. Proof positive that it doesn't take a lot to turn some people on.
An offshore drilling platform shown here at sunset in the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of California. Many Americans agree something's wrong with this picture.
An Emergency Task Force employee walks over thousands of barrels of pesticide encased in plastic ready to find a new home underground at a burial site in the forest, 5 km from the village of Savichi, Belarus. The question is, how long will the plastic contain the pesticide before it contaminates forever the fresh water supply for the children of his grandchildren?
A wind farm generates electricity near Pincher Creek - Alberta - Canada. This non-polluting source of renewable energy is fed into the provincial electrical grid which powers industries and residences. Pincher Creek is located just east of the Canadian Rockies about 210 km south of Calgary.
A young boy runs amid the polluted waters of the Yamuna river in New Delhi - India. The city contributes to over 50% of the river's pollution by discharging raw sewage and chemical waste through the many drains that empty into the Yamuna. The Central Water Commission has declared the water in the river is not a viable source for either irrigation or for domestic use. Water in the Yamuna, now polluted beyond repair, is also contaminating the ground water in the region.
A Kenyan Wildlife Services officer stands near a burning pile of elephant tusks. The 15 tonnes of ivory was officially burned by President Uhuru Kenyatta to mark World Wildlife Day and African Environment day. One wonders at the decisions of some people.
An oil clean-up crew works to try to remove crude oil which leaked from a pipeline at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana - United States.
A Cutlass caught in Guanabara Bay lays on a fisherman's bicycle in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil. Guanabara Bay is an oceanic bay area which has suffered extensive damage in recent years, particularly in the mangrove areas. Year after year, fishermans' catches have become smaller due to industrial and sewage pollution. More than 70% of the raw sewage from the 12,000,000 inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro flows into the bay untreated.
Smoke billows above an industrial zone after a large fire broke out at the Chemie Pack in Moerdijk which is about 40 km south of the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The toxic smoke created a large cloud which blew over the surrounding area mostly to the north of Moerdijk. Shell produces numerous chemical products in this facility including styrene, benzene, gasoline, ethylene oxide, naptha gas, hydrowax and ethylene glycol. The cause of the fire has "not yet been established" after all this time.
A man looks at a contaminated river in Cangnan County in China's Zhejiang province. Local authorities said the water turned red after several buckets of red dye were accidentally dumped into the river. The local environmental Protection Administration did not find any harm done according to media reports.
Am aerial view of the coastal area of Almeria -Spain where much of Europe's fruit and vegetables are grown. Using a technology known as hydroponics, orange and lemon seedlings are propagated in these greenhouses for planting outside. Also, tomato, zucchini, cucumber and bell pepper seeds are grown here under thousands of square metres of glass and mylar greenhouses.
Crude oil surrounds the feet of a local resident as he patrols a beach north of Goleta - California. Within hours of the tragedy, which occurred on May 21 - 2015, as much as 21,000 gallons of oil leaked out from an abandoned pipeline at Refugio State Beach, spreading oily glop along 6 km of the California coast.
Agricultural farm land which produces many of the tender, leafy vegetables we bring to our dinner table, is shown here in stark contrast to the arid, desert areas of Western California in the central valley near El Centro - California. Though the water for irrigation comes from the Colorado river, low water levels put pressure on these huge farm corporations to source water elsewhere or close down. California is currently suffering through the worst drought on record for the region. El Centro is the largest American city to exist 39 feet below sea level.
A villager witnesses a burning palm oil plantation in the Banko Pusako district of Indonesia.
An aerial photo shows oil flowing into a tailings pond at the Suncor tar sands operation near Fort McMurray - Alberta on September 17 - 2014. In 1967, Suncor helped pioneer the commercial development of Canada's tar sands which is one of the largest petroleum resource basins in the world.
A woman walks past a polluted canal flowing through Oheravi which is one the largest slums in Mumbai - India.
Traces of poisonous cadmium, arsenic and lead from old mining operations are still found in the waters of north Clear Creek in Colorado.
Workers fill bags with oil-laden sand while a larger group of workers, off in the distance, works on clean-up operations at Refugio Beach , the site of an oil pipeline disaster north of Goleta - California in the United States.
Oil floats on water in the foreground as the half-sunk Cyprus- flagged carrier, Thmothmopolyseara lies in the Indian Ocean off the southern coast of Colombo - Sri Lanka.
People search for scrap metal in contaminated waters at the bottom of one of the largest trash dumps in Guatamala City, known as the "mine". One would hope they wash their hands before preparing their evening meal.
A raft lies on the polluted banks of the Yumana River in new Delhi - India.
Rapeseed blooms dance in the breeze in front of the former Wellington Power Station cooling towers in Wellington - England.
Graffiti art covers a wall next to the Regents Canal in London - England on December 22 -2009. British media have attributed this new work to acclaimed British street artist, Barksy Banksy
Due to Soviet intervention in 1960, former port city of Moynaq has no water
1. RUSTING SKELETONS: In the north of the autonomous Karakalpakstan Republic in Uzbekistan is a truly bizarre sight. Surrounded by sand, fishing vessels lie stranded in the scorching desert more than 100 km from the sea; victims of a terrible man-made disaster.
2. GHOST TOWN: Moynaq was once a thriving fishing community on the southern banks of the Aral sea. But now, the water is gone and all that remains is a desolate ghost town far away from the rest of the world.
3. WATER DIVERSION: The Aral Sea was once the fourth-largest saline lake in the world with an area of approximately 68,000 square kilometers stretching from Kazakhstan in the north to Uzbekistan in the south. But in the 1960's, when Soviet rulers under Kruschev diverted the course of the two rivers that fed the Aral Sea to develop cotton production in the region, the waters started to recede. The salinity levels also rose drastically, killing most of the fish. Over the next 56 years, this man-made, disastrous assault on the environmental caused the once-magnificent Aral sea to shrink to 10% of its original size.
4.WAITING FOR THE SEA :The Moynaq fishermen followed the retreat of the water believing that everything would soon return to normal. But as the years passed, the grim reality soon set in. The water was never coming back. The people who remain in the desert wasteland of Moynaq number almost 18,000 residents. More than 100,000 have left their homeland with many heading to Russia and Kazakhstan in search of work.
5. POVERTY AND SOLITUDE: There's nothing to do here. If you are young, you have to leave. Ironically,most of the people who still live here work hard and for low salaries in the cotton industry, the very industry that caused the tragedy.
6. AN EMPTY TOWN: Today, the sleepy town of Moynaq is populated mostly by livestock herders, cotton workers and all the elderly people who take care of their grandchildren whose parents have left to find work.
7. GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Rusty steel hulls 50 miles inland on the former sea bed of the Aral Sea are reminiscent of a lively, bustling economically-viable community.
8. HEALTH ISSUES: Those who remain are faced with numerous potential health problems. The toxic pesticides and fertilizers used in the production of cotton, polluted the dry seabed resulting in chronic diseases such as cancer, birth defects, respiratory and auto-immune disorders.
The rate of esophageal cancer in this in this area is 25 times higher than the world average.
The rate of esophageal cancer in this in this area is 25 times higher than the world average.
9. LAND OF EXTREMES: The weather has also changed over the last 5 decades. Before the water started to recede, the mediating effect of the water from the Aral Sea controlled the climate by reducing high temperatures and warming the harsh Siberian winds. The inhabitants of Moynaq now endure summers with temperatures topping 50 C and extremely cold winters with the thermometer plummeting to -40 C.
10. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? Although life has irrevocably changed in Moynaq, there is some vestige of hope on the horizon. With money from the World bank, Kazakhstan started the Northern Aral Sea Restoration Project. This initiative proposes to restore water to the northern section of the lake. Today, fishing is possible but on a much smaller scale and there are signs of life on the sea banks. Hopefully, one day this initiative will be replicated in Uzbekistan so that fishing boats will once again ply the waters around Moynaq.
Story and photographs by Pascal Mannaerts