New York City faces several environmental challenges that affect the lives of its citizens. Although several states across the globe have experienced natural disasters, New York is more likely to be affected by the catastrophes due to its close proximity to the ocean, economic and social activities conducted in the region. Sea-level rise, climate change and water pollution are the major environmental issues that threaten the livelihood of New York City.
Sea Level Rise and Climate Change
Long Term Threat
The rise in sea level and climate change cause floods to occur in the city. Hence, the upsurge in ocean waters increases the artesian basin, thus creating a wetland. Mimura (294) asserts that surge sea waters raise aquifer, causing the risk of flooding. Coastal areas have loose soil that allows runoff to sip into the ground. With the increase in the sinkhole, deep water filtration is hindered while runoff intensifies, which leads to flooding.
Immediate and Intermediate Threats
Displacement of people staying along the coastline and destruction of natural beaches are immediate and intermediate threats. The upsurge will make the ocean waters reach the land previously used by people for settlement or business activities. Since the population of the city is primarily composed of businessmen, most dwellers can be declared bankrupt in case their source of income is affected. Moreover, New York City is also known to have a decent seashore. As a result, the coastline attracts many tourists, thus generating taxes for the city. In addition, climate change and sea-level rise can similarly lead to the destruction of the city’s seaside (Horton et al. 36). Therefore, recreational activities and businesses conducted on the shoreline will be stopped, hence depriving the city of the returns.
Water Pollution Including Bay and Ocean Acidification
Immediate and Intermediate Threats
Water pollution and ocean acidification tremendously affect aquatic habitats and life. Since ocean waters surround New York City, some people depend on sea products, such as fish, to earn a living (Kremer et al. 7). Contamination of water resources will lead to a decline in the number of animals, making it difficult for the fisherman to capture quality commodities sold both to the national and international markets. As a result, many residents’ economic livelihoods will be affected, leading to an increase in crime rates. Therefore, alteration of the quality of water will immediately affect the lives of sea animals and the source of revenue for the inhabitants depending on the products.
Long Term Threats
Water pollution and ocean acidification can cause diseases among people and corrosion of buildings. Human beings are delicate creatures who are easily affected by pollutants in the environment (Hsieh et al. 5). Reduction in the quality of water will affect humans, although this may not be realized immediately. Several health complications that are currently witnessed result from the contamination that occurred many years before. For instance, cancer infection experienced in the modern world is instigated by consuming toxins in small bits. Moreover, increased pollution in the troposphere hinders buildings by speeding corrosion, making the structures not last for long. Consequently, many families are forced to spend more on refurbishing their homes frequently.
Possible Protection and Mitigation Strategies to Cope with Threats
Protection and Mitigation Strategies against Sea Level Rise and Climate Change
One of the protection and mitigation procedures that can be taken against the threats of sea-level rise and climate change is constructing a wall to create a coastal defense. Although it may be a temporary option since it can be viable for high sea waters, it will protect the infrastructure (Hunt and Byers 790). Sea waters will reach the maximum carrying capacity gradually, giving the residents ample time to relocate to high areas. The wall prevents the rising ocean waters from reaching the nearby settlements.
Secondly, a form of inundation should be conducted to protect New York City from being affected by sea-level rise and climate change. Inundation can include constructing a flood-proof structure that can withstand increased surface water (Wong 25). Floating platforms for agriculture and transport can also be involved. The resistant structures provide shelter, while the raft will enable people to move effectively even in case of an overflow.
Protection and Mitigation Strategies for Water Pollution Including Bay and Ocean Acidification
Enacting laws and providing policy frameworks can be an effective strategy to mitigate water pollution and ocean acidification. Although there are some laws and guidelines to regulate water pollution, the lack of political goodwill has hindered their implementation. The city should ensure that the laws are enforced, and no business is allowed to release CO2 into the atmosphere. Water pollution is mainly experienced when manufacturing companies offload effluents and CO2 into the water bodies and the atmosphere.
Conducting research is another mitigation strategy that can be useful. Although the federal government has financed studies on water contamination, there are limited resources allocated for managing pollution in New York. As a result, it is difficult for scientists to conduct an informative study to eliminate the issue in the city. A detailed examination will determine both the known and unknown contamination sources and suggest a possible solution to the problem.
Succinctly, the city of New York faces several threats, including sea-level rise and water pollution. Flooding, displacement of people, and destruction of coastline are some of the major effects of climate change. However, due to water pollution, the city is subjected to such threats as the loss of aquatic life and habitat and an increase in human diseases incidence. Unless the necessary mitigation measures are taken, such as building walls, providing a policy framework, and conducting research, the city will suffer tremendously.
Horton, Radley, et al. “New York City Panel on Climate Change 2015 Report Chapter 2: Sea Level Rise and Coastal Storms.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 1336, no. 1, 2015, pp. 36-44.
Hsieh, Jennifer L., et al. “Drinking Water Turbidity and Emergency Department Visits for Gastrointestinal Illness in New York City, 2002-2009.” Plos One, vol. 10, no. 4, 2015, pp. 5-7.
Hunt, Julian David, and Edward Byers. “Reducing Sea Level Rise with Submerged Barriers and Dams in Greenland.” Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, vol. 24, no. 5, 2019, pp. 779-794.
Kremer, Peleg, et al. “The Value of Urban Ecosystem Services In New York City: A Spatially Explicit Multicriteria Analysis of Landscape Scale Valuation Scenarios.” Environmental Science & Policy, vol. 62, 2016, pp. 57-68.
Mimura, Nobuo. “Sea-Level Rise Caused by Climate Change and Its Implications for Society.” Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B, vol. 89, no. 7, 2013, pp. 281-301.
Wong, Kaufui V. “Mitigation and Adaptation Responses to Sea Level Rise.” The Open Hydrology Journal, vol. 9, no.1, 2015, pp. 25.