Geoengineering has been hailed as the option for saving the Earth from ourselves. With the rapid rise in temperature, it is no secret that human beings are driving the world into mayhem. The general idea of geoengineering lies in the fact that the climate of the planet is manipulated so that it suits its habitats and their habitation. Methods like spraying lots of aerosols to the atmosphere for the purpose of reflecting sunlight or using machines to absorb excess CO2 from the atmosphere using ‘artificial trees’ or machines are common.
However, there are dire consequences that arise from manipulation of the climatic conditions as nature has her own mind. There are various side effects that rise from geoengineering such as drought, mass extinction of certain species and an overall unbalance in nature. Apart from those, they can pose as hazards from a medical stand point. The hazards can give rise to new diseases and the problems it brings with it.
For instance, coal fly ash is one of the most common aerosols used in geoengineering. As mentioned earlier, aerosols are released into the atmosphere for the sole purpose of reflecting sunlight and decreasing the overall temperature of the planet. Even though that may seem like a success, it causes other side effects to the area such as droughts. But, the coal fly ash is also capable of releasing toxins which will give rise to possible pathogens. The toxins are considered to be carcinogens and may also be radio-active in nature. These toxic by-products of geoengineering are not at all safe for the well-being of living creatures and cause an off-balance to their habitats as well.
Biochar has also been considered as one of the products for implementing geoengineering. Biochar has been brought up to serve the purpose of reducing greenhouse gases and by mitigating their release into the atmosphere. While that also sounds like an ace solution, the effects of biochar on the soil are tremendous. Biochar is known to limit the nitrogen in the soil which is a negative impact on the plants and crops growing in the soil.
While geoengineering may seem like a futuristic solution to all problems, the effects from a medical point of view is harmful as well. The safest approach would be if there was no geoengineering at all. But since that looks like a long way off, the only way would be to first consider the occupational hazards and to limit the process in small doses.