Monitoring the environment

Ecologic research is more and more oriented towards an assessment of the quality of the environment and its resources. The techniques and instruments that are required for carrying out such a demanding task are many and increasingly sophisticated. Often the realization of an environmental assessment plan must take into account the complex nature of the factors that influence the environment (direct and indirect anthropical factors and natural factors), the large number of criteria that condition the choice of the type of intervention (types of polluting agents, characteristics of the environment in which operations are carried out, the aims, times, etc.) and in particular it must overcome the main obstacle that  prevents constant surveillance operations of the natural/environmental heritage : the economic expense.
An example is clearer than many words: discovering that a particular area houses a dangerous pollutant, as for example dioxin, does not indicate the possible presence, in the same area, of other pollutants that may be equally dangerous. In fact it isn’t possible to search for each and every pollutant that may theoretically be found in the environment because a similar strategy would probably subtract resources from those areas in which the environmental risks have been documented and verified.
For this reason scholars turn more and more frequently towards the contribution that is made available by a scientific sector that is rapidly growing, that of environmental biomonitoring: the study of the quality of the environment with the help of biological indicators.
Environmental biomonitoring not only proves how useful natural sciences can be to point out the damages caused on the environment by human activities, it also provides proof of how the environment can be kept under control at lower costs respect to those foreseen by other methods. In this case, furthermore, the results of a basic naturalistic science are a useful source of information for other fields of inquiry, specially in the biomedical field.

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