This paper takes a look at the serious environmental problems caused due to water pollution and deforestation in Costa Rica (Donald Smith, Costa Rica Deals with Environmental Pressures, for National Geographic News, news.nationalgeographic.com December 14, 2000).
The population of Costa Rica was 862,000 with a per capita water supply of 110,209 cubic meters in 1950. By 1995, population rose to 3,424,000 and water depleted to 27,745 cubic meters (Tom Gardner & Robert Engelman, Sustaining Water, Easing Scarcity: A Second Update, Country Profile: Costa Rica, ncseonline.org). Covering 19,560 square miles, Costa Rica boasts of almost five percent of all known species in the world. Dense rainforest, rare tropical dry forests, the montane cloud forest cloaking the slopes of volcanoes, the dry savanna, the soft white beaches, and the coral reefs make Cost Rica an environmentalist's favored destination.
Costa Rica alone has as many plant species as the whole of Europe, and the number of insect species in a hectare of rainforest is so great that no successful count has been made. Biologist L.H. Holdridge said in 1847 that Costa Rica had 12 zones ranging from tidal mangrove swamps to subalpine param based on a system he devised to analyze temperature, rainfall, and seasonality (Christopher Baker, Flora, Ecosystems, www.photo.net). Biologists believe that deforestation and river contamination has imbalanced the eco system leading to premature extinction of species. Forests, grasslands, wetlands, and coral reefs continue to disappear as human ecological footprint continues unsparingly across the globe.
Today the world is warmer by about 1F (0.6C) than it was a century ago. It may not sound alarming, but the fact that scientists have shown a lot of concern makes for introspection. The effect of earth warming has seen many species of seabirds failing to breed because of the sharp decline in sand eels, which these birds eat. Sand eels in turn are dwindling because the cold-water plankton on which they feed is replaced by plankton that thrives in warm water. Tens of thousands of seabirds like kittiwakes, terns, and guillemots that feed on sand eels have shown a distinct decline in breeding.
Insects play an important role in pollination. Without pollination, fruits and vegetables will disappear. People fail to realize that insects are a part of the food cycle and play an important role in sustaining life on earth. Insects also eat other insects to control the population insects we call pests. The praying mantis is a supreme example of an insect that helps control the population of other insects. Insects have been around for over 400 million years. They have an exceptional ability to evolve into new species when faced with new environmental conditions, and they are quite resistant to extinction.
3.0 The Impact of Pesticides
Use of pesticides to terminate harmful insects can endanger the helpful and immunize