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How can golf be bad for the environment?

In terms of a significant negative impact on the environment, golf is a sport that raises concern. The golf courses covered a huge landscape, with soil and water together due to the high demand for natural green space. The golf course is a source of pollution and environmental hazards. For playing golf, different types of structures are required, like water bodies such as ponds, streams, or rivers with wild areas. Later, for the maintenance of a golf course, several activities were performed, including irrigation, applying pesticides and chemicals, and cutting grasses. These activities lead to major issues. 


Loss of natural habitats with land use


The requirement for land in golf is much higher than in any other sport, and this leads to deforestation and distortion of natural habitats. A large piece of land has to be cleared before the construction of a golf course; this results in the destruction of natural habitats like trees and forests and sets a great disaster for creatures like birds, animals, insects, and many others. Once destroyed, it takes a long time for the natural habitat to recover. Besides the loss of wildlife habitats, there are other negative impacts. 


Water scarcity due to water usage: 


The use of a lot of water may put strain on local water resources and lead to water scarcity, especially in dry regions. Golf courses have a requirement for plenty of water. In the United States, over 9 billion liters of water go to waste for maintaining the course. Eventually, a single course in Thailand wastes water, which can fulfill the required needs of 60,000 rural villagers. One of the news articles by CNN Sports stated that in Salt Lake County, Utah, there are 30 golf courses, and 9 million gallons of water were used in a day just to make the course pristine green. 


The use of toxic chemicals is enough to raise pollution:


To make grass more vibrant, green fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals are sprayed. These sprayed chemicals are more toxic not only to our environment but also to our ecosystem as well. Massive use of chemicals breaks down the food chain by killing insects. Also, after rain, these chemicals wash into the ponds, streams, or river water and cause water pollution. The eutrophication will raise algal blooms, deplete oxygen in the water, and block sunlight from reaching it. This surface water contamination kills aquatic organisms and disrupts the balance of the aquatic ecosystem. This definitely is a concerning issue and also affects the human population. Moreover, chemicals reach groundwater and the water systems. The pesticide contamination or gasoline in groundwater makes the water useless for drinking and other purposes as well. Pesticides on golf courses are also harmful to human health. Direct exposure to freshly applied pesticides or herbicide-treated courses can cause skin irritation, respiratory issues, and headaches. 


The maintenance of courses and the use of machinery contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Golf's negative impacts on our environment are never beneficial. To mitigate these environmental impacts, golf courses have started to use more sustainable methods, like organic methods for pest control, planting trees that require less water, and practicing drought-resistant grasses to conserve water resources. 


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