On Monday, October 2, 2017, IELC Ambassadors were presented the environmental problems of each country, which ranged from water pollution to the critical endangerment of the saiga.

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First up was Changzhou, China, who focused on water pollution that inhibits access to clean drinking water. Amy, of Changzhou, noted that “most chemical plants are built near water,” which has lead to past incidents.

Yangzhou, China’s delegation focused on white plastic pollution from takeout containers. While there are many economic and personal benefits to takeout services, plastic from them can take 47 decades to decompose.

Land reclamation is one environmental challenge currently being faced by Malaysia. When speaking with Malaysian residents about the problem, Alda remembered that many “strongly oppose the idea” due to its environmental and economic consequences.

The students from Morocco presented on solid waste management, which has had a large impact on Morocco. In their newscast created for their presentation, Zack reported on the landfills in Morocco which “continue to overflow due to the amount of solid waste.” He also noted that the waste is “treated in an unsustainable manner.”

The Italy delegation focused on toxic waste, which can cause harm or even death to humans.

The United States focused on a problem close to Richmond which affects people all over the East Coast and beyond: the Chesapeake Bay Dead Zone. Claire, Kieran, and Lauren explained that fertilizer and other chemicals wash into the bay, polluting it. In dead zones, there is no oxygen, which kills the formerly abundant wildlife of the Bay.

South Africa presented on the impending water crisis, which has already reached a serious level. They explained that in some areas, such as Cape Town, people are being urged to conserve water. However, government had to resort to shutting off the water and restrict consumption to 20,000 liters per household per month.

The Indian Delegation demonstrated the urgency of the pollution of the Ganges River. This river is sacred to many in India, and is often where people bathe, wash clothes, wash animals, and leave cremated remains. This pollution has proven to have many economic and environmental impacts.

In Kazakhstan, the saiga, an antelope-like animal, is critically endangered. Its population has decreased from 1 million to just 40,000, and it has impacted the food supply of other animals, among others.

Mexico focused on mercury pollution, which is a large public heath risk. When ingested, mercury has many harmful effects including hearing, speech, and nervous system deficiencies.

Wildfires in Spain have shown to be a widespread issue. Trees provide essential oxygen, and uncontrollable wildfires have increased in frequency recently. Each environmental issue presented certainly has great effects on each country and the world.