Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into our environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollutants, the elements of pollution, can be substances, energies, or naturally occurring. Pollution can be natural and man-made. Natural pollution occurs naturally and does not cause excessive harm to our lives due to its regeneration ability. While the man-made pollution is caused by human activities, and is hard to get rid of. The backbones of man-made pollution are human population and technology.
By the increase of human population, the contact with natural resources is getting more intensive, because needs are increasing. And by the findings and development of new technologies, human can apply them to get the resources. And it is common that new technologies would bring their respective side effects besides their advantages.
Types of pollution
There are four common types of pollution that I know, which are:
Land or Soil Pollution
Air pollution is indication of disturbances to the composition of compounds in the atmosphere, as it may be summarized as: •excess emission of gases, vapors or air pollutants like carbon particals, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, lead, CFCs into the atmosphere •saturation of chemical compounds or particulates
•emergence of new chemical reactions of reactive and non-biodegradable compounds.
We can classify major causes of air pollution into the following categories:
•Motor Vehicle Exhaust
•Heat And Power Generation Facilities
•Automobile And Electrical Components Manufacturing
•Solid Waste Disposal
•Global warming- it is an increase in the earth’s atmospheric and oceanic temperatures widely predicted to occur due to an increase in the greenhouse effect. •Acid rain-it is any precipitation, including snow, that contains a heavy concentration of sulfuric and nitric acids. It makes the soil acidic, affects plants and damages buildings, monuments, etc. •Smog-it is a fog made heavier and darker by smoke and chemical fumes.
It is caused due to hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen especially from automobile exhaust •Ozone depletion- the ozone layer in the atmosphere protects us from the harmful ultra violet rays of the sun. However, CFCs, and some other air pollutants that diffuse into the ozone layer, destroy ozone. •Health problems- carbon particles cause respiratory problems, carbon monoxide causes headaches, dizziness, nausea and even death and lead affects the liver, kidney and the alimentary canal and causes mental disorders.
Prevention of air pollution:
•Using smokeless sources of energy like smokeless stoves
•use smokeless fuels like biogas and LPG at home and CNG in cars. •Using wet scrubbers and electrostatic precipitators (air pollution control devices) for filtering smoke in chimneys of factories and powerhouses. •Planting more trees that absorb excess CO2 and give out O2. •Locating industries away from residential areas.
•Strictly checking pollution levels in automobiles’ exhaust emission. •Using unleaded petrol.
•Using other sources of energy like wind energy, solar energy and tidal energy.
Water pollution is contamination of water by foreign matter that deteriorates the quality of the water. Water pollution covers pollutions in liquid forms like ocean pollution and river pollution. It involves the release of toxic substances, pathogenic germs, substances that require much oxygen to decompose, easy-soluble substances, radioactivity, etc. that interfere with the condition of aquatic ecosystems.
We can classify the major causes of water pollution into the following categories:
•Synthetic Agricultural Chemicals(fertilizers, pesticides) •Heavy Metals
•Hazardous Wastes from homes and factories
•Excess Organic Matter
•Direct disposal of waste into natural waterways causes waste to build up within the water. •When the acid rain falls, it contaminates local natural waterways including streams, rivers and lakes. This causes the death of many aquatic animals. Other animals drinking the water may become ill and die, too. •Thermal pollution occurs when water used to cool hot machinery is released into waterways and the temperature of the water is drastically increased. This temperature change may cause aquatic life to die and numbers to be reduced. Additionally, such a temperature increase decreases the amount of oxygen in water, causing more of a chance of death to organisms.
•Drinking polluted water can cause cholera or typhoid infections, along with diarrhea. The consumption of highly contaminated water can cause injury to the heart and kidneys. •Toxins within water can harm aquatic organisms, thus breaking a link in the food chain. •Causes algae in water. They decrease oxygen in water. Overgrowth of algae and surface life leading to loss of light and nutrients to deep aquatic life. •The erosion of soil into waterways causes flooding, especially with heavy rainfall. •Harms animals when they eat dead fish in contaminated streams.
•Treat domestic sewage water and use it to irrigate crops. •Convert sewage sludge to generate biogas
•Use residue from biogas for regeneration as organic manure. •Reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers
•Treat wastewater from industries in effluent treatment plants before disposing them •Reduce consumption of water in industries.
Land or Soil pollution
Soil pollution or land pollution involves the following mechanism: •Deposition of solid waste
•Accumulation of non-biodegradable materials
•Toxification of chemicals into poisons
•Alteration of soil chemical composition (imbalance of chemical equilibrium to soil medium)
We can classify the major causes of land pollution into the following categories: •Agriculture (pesticides, insecticides)
•Cutting of trees for agriculture, mining, quarrying and constructions •Sewage Sludge
•Dumping of household waste, industrial waste, non-biodegradable wastes
•Land pollutions leads to loss in the forest cover of Earth. This is in turn going to affect the amount of rain. Less rains mean lesser vegetation. •One of the biggest threats to the eco-system caused by land pollution is chemical contamination. The biodegrade particles poison the ground itself. Animals eat the plants growing on such grounds and even humans are all affected by these chemicals. •When land pollution is bad enough, it damages the soil.
This means that plants may fail to grow there, robbing the eco-system of a food source for animals. Invasive weeds that choke off the remaining sources of native vegetation can spring up in areas that have been weakened by pollution. •In some cases, pollution can damage the soil to the point that vegetation no longer grows. This may lead to erosion of the soil. •Polluted land has a negative impact on surrounding environments. Land pollution that contaminates soil can also contaminate waterways. Contaminated water that evaporates into the atmosphere can fall back to the earth as acid rain, causing the cycle of contamination and pollution to continue.
•Separate wastes into biodegradable and non-biodegradable. •Biodegradable wastes could be used as manure while non-biodegradable wastes should be recycled. •Treat industrial effluents physically, chemically and biologically until they are less harmful. •Use manures or biofertilisation
instead of their chemical alternatives •Use designated pits for dumping of solid wastes.
Noise pollution means excessive noise in the environment which is annoying and potentially harmful
•Loss of working efficiency
•Interference in speech communication
•Physical disorder like stress, nausea, high blood pressure, sleep loss and increase in heartbeats. Preventions
•Turning down the volume of music systems, radios, and televisions so as not to disturb others.
•Ban on loudspeakers in public places
•Creating green belts between residential and industrial sectors.
Pollution is a growing pain. Pollution is not a problem that came suddenly; it’s our fault and has been a part of our life through many years. We must be wise in managing our resources, and take positive action towards preventing any forms of pollution to the environment.
Courtney from Study Moose
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