What is Environmental Pollution?
Environmental pollution is defined as “the contamination of the physical and biological components of the earth/atmosphere system to such an extent that normal environmental processes are adversely affected.”
Environmental pollution is the unfavorable alteration of our surroundings, wholly or largely as a byproduct of man’s actions, through direct or indirect effects of the changes in the energy pattern, radiation levels, and chemical and physical constitution and abundance of organisms.
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the environment that cause harm, discomfort, or harm to people or other living organisms, which may be in the form of chemical substances or energy such as noise, heat or light.
Pollutants can be naturally occurring substances or energies but are considered contaminants if they exceed the natural content.
Pollution occurs when the environment cannot process and neutralize harmful by-products of human activities (toxic gas emissions) in due course without structural or functional damage to its system.
Pollution occurs, on the one hand, because the natural environment does not know how to decompose the unnaturally produced elements (i.e. anthropogenic pollutants) and, on the other hand, humans lack knowledge of how to decompose these pollutants artificially.
It can take many years for nature to try to break down the pollutants. In one of the worst cases, radioactive pollutants, it can take thousands of years for such pollutants to decompose.
Why does pollution matter?
This is especially important to most as it negatively impacts key environmental services such as the provision of clean air and water, without which life on earth as we know it would not exist. People are the reason we have pollution.
Pollution affects our environment as water pollution can affect the living conditions of people and plants. Pollution can cause our environment to begin and fall. If we don’t have clean water for plants and trees, how are we going to make paper and grow vegetables for people to eat? Because of this, the big idea affects the environment and people are the main cause of pollution.
Causes of Environmental Pollution
- Global warming/climate change
- Green House Effect
- Acid rain.
- Impact of plastic on soil/water
- Oil spills
- Indoor air pollution
- Ozone layer depletion
1. Green House Effect
Have you seen a glasshouse or a greenhouse? It is a specially built environment for growing plants; In places where outdoor temperatures are not suitable for some plants. Sunlight enters the greenhouse through glass or plastic and heats the air inside; The outer cover does not allow heat to escape quickly.
Similarly, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere also trap the heat and radiation released and heat the atmosphere. Studies have shown that an increase of 5.6 ° C is possible by the late 2000s if the greenhouse effect continues.
The main greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide – most of the carbon dioxide is generated from the burning of fossil fuels and emissions from vehicles. Other greenhouse gases are ozone and water vapor and solid pollutants in the atmosphere. Chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide also catch heat and radiation.
2. Global Warming
The Earth’s atmosphere is heating up due to increased emissions of greenhouse gases. It is happening in the closest layer of the Earth i.e. in the troposphere. Usually, when the sun’s rays reach the surface of the Earth, the extra radiation is reflected back from the surface into space.
Gaseous and solid pollutants in the atmosphere trap this radiation, without allowing it to escape and as a result heat the Earth.
The warmest year since 2000 has been recorded by NASA. Is higher than normal temperature
- The rapid dissolving of glaciers at the poles
- Many meters of sea-level rise, affect coastal lands all over the world. The seas gradually encroach on the beaches and these will gradually disappear, Causing the continents to shrink.
- Because heating the surface of the oceans emits large amounts of energy, light storms predominate. The number and intensity of hurricanes and cyclones have increased worldwide. The damage and loss of life and property have become regular news.
- Heatwaves are happening all over the world, taking a huge toll on life again.
- Heavy floods due to heavy rainfall and severe droughts on the contrary are evidence of climate change.
- Changes in sea temperature cause damage to many important coral reefs and aquatic habitats that are important for the survival of various deep currents and many ocean species.
- Increased temperatures are conducive to the spread of infectious disease epidemics and respiratory diseases.
3. Acid rain
Various gases from industries are released as burning fossil fuels, manufacturing and processing chemicals, and plastic products. Sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide specifically react with oxygen and water vapor to form sulfuric and nitric acids.
In acid rain, the pH is between 4 – 4.5. This causes the acidity of the land or water bodies to fall on it. In large quantities, there are changes in the ecosystems associated with them.
- When materials containing fertilizers, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, are dumped from the fields into the water, they create a nutrient-rich environment in the water. This is called nutrient enrichment. It promotes plant growth.
- Algae also benefit greatly from this nutrient-rich environment. When they flower and bloom, they use most of the oxygen in the body leaving very little water for the remaining life forms. This kills fishes and other organisms that cannot swim for protection.
- Algae blooms prevent the entry of sunlight into the water which affects the photosynthesis of plants which further impairs oxygen levels.
- The water eventually becomes unfit to support any form of life.
- Some algae also release some toxins that travel up the food chain and adversely affect higher life forms.
5. Oil Spills
Crude oil is transported all over the world from the place of production. These are mostly done in large oil carrier areas on oceans and seas. Ships are caused by natural wear and tear or by accident.
They can also occur at sites of production at drilling or refining sites. Oil spills pose a great danger to aquatic and marine life forms. These are isolated incidents but are largely polluting factors.
Apart from being huge, it is very expensive to clean and takes a long time to do so. Even the birds and mammals of the area are affected when the oil coats their fur or feathers. This widespread leads to destruction.
Smog is used to refer to a compound of smoke and fog. But in recent times it is much higher than this. Acting sunlight on nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds, both are air pollutants, producing ozone gas that remains close to the ground.
VOC s are caused by heavy industries, smoke from vehicles, many chemicals found in plastics, products of paints. Such smog is called photochemical smog due to the involvement of sunlight in the reaction.
Smog is usually seen
- High traffic cities
- Hot days with very light air
- Places that are surrounded by mountains on every side, because there is less air circulation
Ozone increases the incidence of respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and difficulty breathing. It also causes eye irritation.
Effect of plastic on soil/water
Plastic is a substance that we find in every aspect of our life. It is inexpensive, easy to make, and reasonably durable depending on the way it is manufactured. But at the same time, it is not biodegradable which means it will not break into its individual components.
It is found everywhere due to mass production. Although a certain percentage of plastic is brought for recycling in large quantities, it still finds its way into landfills, oceans, beaches, etc.
The plastic is swallowed by animals and birds, not being able to digest it causes obstruction and death. In the ground it blocks root growth, transmitting toxic chemicals into the ground leading to poisoning of groundwater.
In the oceans, discarded plastic traps are fatal to marine organisms that get entangled in them. Many chemicals that are carcinogenic are released over the long term and consumed by algae plankton and eventually enter the food chain that reaches humans.
Indoor air pollution
- Non-circulation of the air; Mechanical heating and cooling, insufficient ventilation, and poorly maintained air conditioners
- Chemicals released from cleaning materials in washrooms and kitchens
- Kitchen and toilet fumes
- Dust particles on furnishings and carpets that thrive in hot humid environments
- Mold found in damp locations on walls with poorly constructed pipelines or water leaks
- Domestic insects and their droppings and remain.
- household pet
- Tobacco smoke damages active and passive smokers.
- Carbon monoxide from indoor furnaces and chimneys, gas stoves, etc.
- Emissions from paints and their solvents, air fresheners, sprays, pesticides and repellents, disinfectants, glues, etc.
- Asbestos is found in building materials
- lead from paint
Ozone layer depletion
The ozone layer is a component of our atmosphere. Its main purpose is to filter the sunlight passing through it and prevent harmful ultra-violet rays from reaching the earth. These UV rays are recognized to be carcinogenic affecting the skin and eyes.
In some places, man-made chloro-floor-carbs and other halogens are responsible for the thinning and destruction of the ozone layer. CFCs were used in aerosols and refrigerants. Their production is now banned in various parts of the world.
The rise of UV radiation has led to a rise in skin cancer, cataracts, damaged plant life, and altered plankton levels in the oceans.
Isn’t it heartbreaking to know the effects of environmental pollution? It should feel like … what has man done to this beautiful planet? I wish, what are we doing to improve it? We are exploiting the remaining good things to push ourselves into deep trouble.
Environmental pollution is defined as “the contamination of the physical and biological components of the earth/atmosphere system to such an extent that normal environmental processes are adversely affected.
Any unnatural and negative changes in all the dimensions like chemical, physical, and. biological characteristics of any component of the ecosystem i.e. air, water, or soil which can cause harmful effects on various forms of life and property is called environmental pollution.
The three major types of pollution are air pollution, water pollution, and land pollution. Sometimes, air pollution is visible. A person can see dark smoke pour from the exhaust pipes of large trucks or factories, for example. More often, however, air pollution is invisible.