The positive environmental impact of the world’s invisible organisms

Usually, people only appreciate what they see; often, they don’t appreciate what they can’t see. Many processes in nature are carried out by invisible organisms (specifically micro-organisms) that are too tiny for the unaided human eyes to see; probably, the chief among these processes includes nurturing of plants, and continuous provision of food.

Micro-organisms are everywhere! Billions of them can be found in the human body, on the human body, in any quantity of soil or water. So important are micro-organisms that one could be tempted to view them as “minute” or “tiny” rulers of the universe. They exist in different forms and thousands of species: fungi, bacteria, phytoplankton, protozoa—and many others that are too small to be viewed directly with physical eyes.

The importance of micro-organisms is often overlooked

Because people concentrate more on negativity or the negative side of things, micro-organisms are mostly viewed as threats (which is quite true), and infectious to human and animal health in various forms: “germs” or bacteria, fungi that cause skin diseases/athlete’s foot, and protozoa that cause malaria, etc.

But compared to the vast number of micro-organisms that have helped human, animal and plant life to be sustained for ages, harmful micro-organisms are much lesser.

The growth and continuous existence of human and animal life are as a result of the work of multitudes of micro-organisms which are completely out of the range of normal human sight.

The valuable activities of micro-organisms

Many processes in nature won’t be able to work without the valuable and invisible activities of micro-organisms. Science informs us that the presence of micro-organisms in human nostrils helps prevent harmful bacteria from reaching the lungs, while bacteria helps the human intestinal tract to break down eaten food.

Bacteria and other micro-organisms help reduce the concentration of pollutants in wastewater by breaking down animal and plant wastes that are usually present in wastewater, and other less-polluted waters.

Fungi (for example: yeast) and bacteria help to produce foods such as yogurt, bread, soy sauce, cheese, wine and beer.

The fungi and bacteria present in the soil help to break down, biodegrade, or decompose organic wastes into similar nutrients usually absorbed by the plants that humans and animals eat.

So it can be safely agreed that without these invisible creatures, humans and animals would go hungry and produce much more unuseful waste.

Micro-organisms (a.k.a. microbes), particularly phytoplankton, provide much of the Earth’s oxygen, and help to regulate temperature by removing part of the carbon dioxide produced from the combustion of coal, natural gas, and gasoline.

Scientists use micro-organisms to develop new fuels and medicines.

Genetic engineers input genetic material into microorganisms and convert them into micro-organisms that can remove contaminants and pollutants from soil and water environments.

Some micro-organisms help to control diseases that affect plants; others help to control insects that attack food crops. It would benefit the environment immensely if micro-organisms are relied upon much more in pest control, rather than potentially harmful chemical pesticides.

In summary, micro-organisms are an important part of the Earth’s natural resources.


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