What is Industrial Pollution?- Their Causes, Effect

What is industrial pollution?

Pollution whose source originates directly from industry is known as industrial pollution. After the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing and technology made advances, which resulted in more factories and more industry. These factories emitted smoke into the air.

The effects of the smoke, along with the pollution that industries caused to water and even the land beneath and around the factories were becoming obvious. 

Industrial pollution was also pointed out as a major factor in wildlife extinction and eventually, even global warming. The global environment, even areas that are not industrial, has been impacted. Arctic and Antarctic ice samples have been shown to have high levels of pollutants, demonstrating the great distances that pollutants can travel.

It became clear that environmental degradation was happening as a direct result of industrial pollution and something needed to be done.

The Clean Air Act in 1963 had the United States federal law looking to the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and enforce regulations that would protect its citizens from airborne pollutants that are known to cause health issues to humans.

Several amendments in more recent years have expanded the Act to address ozone depletion and acid rain, among others. With its introduction in 1972, the Clean Water Act (CWA) was put in place to maintain or restore the nation’s waters by preventing pollution sources.

Industrial Pollution

Causes of Industrial Pollution

  • Lack of Policies to Control Pollution: It allowed many industries to bypass laws made by the pollution control board, which resulted in mass-scale pollution that affected the lives of many people.
  • Unplanned Industrial Growth: In most industrial townships, unplanned growth took place wherein those companies flouted rules and norms and polluted the environment with both air and water pollution.
  • Use of Outdated Technologies: Most industries still rely on old technologies to produce products that generate a large amount of waste. To avoid high costs and expenditures, many companies still make use of traditional technologies to produce high-end products.
  • A large number of Small Scale Industries: Many small-scale industries and factories that don’t have enough capital and rely on government grants to run their day-to-day businesses often escape environmental regulations and release a large number of toxic gases in the atmosphere.
  • Inefficient Waste Disposal: Water pollution and soil pollution are often caused directly due to inefficiency in the disposal of waste. Long-term exposure to polluted air and water causes chronic health problems, making the issue of industrial pollution a severe one. It also lowers the air quality in surrounding areas, which causes many respiratory disorders.
  • Leaching of Resources: Industries do require a large amount of raw material to make them into finished products. This requires the extraction of minerals from beneath the earth. The extracted minerals can cause soil pollution when spilled on the earth. Leaks from vessels can cause oil spills that may prove harmful to marine life.
  • Natural Resource Use: Raw material is a must for industries, which often requires them even pulling out underground elements. One of the most common forms of leaching from natural resources is fracking for oil. When industries extract minerals, the process causes soil pollution and also causes oil leaks and spills that are harmful and even deadly to people and animals.

Major pollutants in industrial pollution:

Poisonous gases such as nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur oxide, chlorine gas, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfuric acid, mercury, particulate matter, smoke call dust, fly ash, fluorine, inorganic waste pigments, alkalis, phenols, chromates. Organic waste, heavy metals, and even hot water.

Types of industrial waste

  • Process waste: They are generated during the washing and processing of raw materials in the industry. It can be organic or inorganic depending on the raw material. Both are toxic to living organisms
  • Chemical waste: Chemical substances produced as a by-product during the preparation of a product are chemical waste products. These include heavy metals and their ions, detergents, acids, and alkalis, etc.

Effects of Industrial pollution

Industrial pollution can also impact air quality, and it can enter the soil, causing widespread environmental problems. Industrial activities are a major source of air, water and land pollution, leading to illness and loss of life all over the world.

1. Water Pollution

The effects of industrial pollution are far-reaching and can affect the ecosystem for many years. Most industries require large amounts of water to work. In a number of processes, the water comes into contact with heavy metals, harmful chemicals, radioactive waste and even organic sludge.

These are either dumped in the open oceans or in rivers. As a result, many of our water sources contain a large amount of industrial waste, which is seriously affecting the health of our ecosystem. The same water is then used by farmers for irrigation purposes, which affects the quality of the food produced.

Read more: Water pollution

2. Soil Pollution

Soil pollution is creating problems in agriculture and destroying local vegetation. It also causes chronic health issues to the people that come in contact with such soil on a daily basis.

Read More: Soil Pollution

3. Air pollution

Air pollution has led to a large increase in various diseases and continues to affect us on a daily basis. Given the many small, medium, and large industries, air pollution has affected human health and the environment.

Read more: Air pollution

4. Wildlife extinction

By and large, the industrial pollution problem shows us that natural rhythms and patterns are failing, which means that wildlife is badly affected. Habitats are being lost, species are becoming extinct, and it is more difficult for the environment to recover from any natural disaster.

Serious industrial accidents such as oil spills, fires, the release of radioactive substances and property damage are more difficult to eliminate because they have a higher impact in a shorter time.

5. Global Warming

With the rise in industrial pollution, global warming has been increasing at a steady pace. Smoke and greenhouse gases are being released by industries into the air, which causes an increase in global warming.

Melting of glaciers, extinction of polar bears, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes are few of the effects of global warming.

6. Biodiversity Loss

Industrial pollution continues to cause significant damage to the earth and all of its inhabitants due to chemical wastes, pesticides, radioactive materials etc. It affects wildlife and ecosystems and disrupts natural habitats. Animals are becoming extinct, and habitats are being destroyed.

The increasing liquid, solid and hazardous wastes undermine ecosystem health and impact on food, water and health security. Industrial pollution disasters, including oil spills and radioactive leakage, take years to decades to clean up.

7. Atmospheric Deposition

Cadmium enrichment of soil can also be associated with industrial pollution. Topsoils contaminated by mine spoil showed a wide range of Cd concentrations.

Industrial effluents are commonly discharged to surface water drainage systems after clarification in tailing ponds. Recent investigations have disclosed very high concentrations of Cd in the overbank and bottom sediments of the rivers.

Prevention and Control of industrial pollution

  • Control at source: Source control is by careful selection of raw material, proper maintenance of machinery, adoption of newer technologies and know-how, setting up efficiently functioning waste treatment facilities, etc.
  • Selection of industry site: This is a very important factor considering the environment around the factory
  • Treatment of industrial wastes: Wastes must be treated before disposal.
  • Plantation: Need to plant and grow more trees as these acts as buffers and natural purifiers for the environment
  • Stringent Government Action Government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency must be allowed to take stringent action against defaulters and corporations that flout the rules laid down by such agencies.
  • Assessment of Environmental Impact: Environmental impact assessment should be carried out regularly which intends to identify and evaluate the potential and harmful impacts of the industries on the natural ecosystem.
  • Strict implementation of the Environmental Protection Act


What is Industry Pollution?

Pollution whose source originates directly from industry is known as industrial pollution. After the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing and technology made advances, which resulted in more factories and more industry. These factories emitted smoke into the air.

What causes industrial pollution?

Burning fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, and petroleum; chemical solvents used in dyeing and tanning industries, untreated gas and the liquid waste being released into the environment, improper disposal of radioactive material are some of the main causes of industrial pollution.

What are the four types of industrial pollution?

Industries are responsible for four types of pollution: (a) Air (b) Water (c) Land (d) Noise. The polluting industries also include thermal power plants.

What are examples of industrial pollution?

  • Industrial Pollution Facts
  • Burning coal.
  • Burning fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, and petroleum.
  • Chemical solvents used in dyeing and tanning industries.
  • Untreated gas and liquid waste being released into the environment.
  • Improper disposal of radioactive material.

What are 3 types of industrial pollutants?

The major industrial pollutants affecting air quality are sulfur dioxide, volatile organic solvents, and particulate materials, such as metal dust. Burning waste, particularly plastics, can also produce dioxins and other hazardous chlorinated compounds.

How does industrial waste affect the environment?

Water that is discharged from factories, for example, can pollute rivers and lakes with substances like chemicals, waste, and dyes. This water pollution can kill wildlife and harm the overall ecosystem, and the effects of polluted water have left several plants and animal species endangered.

What type of hazard is industrial pollution?

Technological hazards originate from technological or industrial conditions, dangerous procedures, infrastructure failures or specific human activities. Examples include industrial pollution, nuclear radiation, toxic wastes, dam failures, transport accidents, factory explosions, fires, and chemical spills.

What are the two types of industrial pollutants?

Industry produces both traditional pollutants such as organic substances, sulfur dioxide, particulates, and nutrients, etc., and newly-recognized pollutants such as dioxin and other specific toxic substances. The pollutants are mainly in gas, water, and solid forms that can cause serious damage to the biosystems.

What is industrial air pollution?

There are multiple sources of air pollution, which are industries, fossil fuels, agro waste, and vehicular emissions. Industrial processes up-gradation, energy efficiency, agricultural waste burning control, and fuel conversion are important aspects to reducing pollutants that create industrial air pollution.

What is the importance of industrial pollution?

Industrial pollution is considered an important factor to contaminate the environment. It results in environmental degradation and imposes heavy costs on society as well as on human health and safety. Textile, cement, glass, plastic, sugar, tanning, petroleum are major polluting industries.

What are the different types of industrial waste?

Industrial waste is defined as waste generated by manufacturing or industrial processes. The types of industrial waste generated include cafeteria garbage, dirt and gravel, masonry and concrete, scrap metals, trash, oil, solvents, chemicals, weed grass and trees, wood and scrap lumber, and similar wastes.

What is industrial pollution in water?

Wastewater discharges from industrial and commercial sources may contain pollutants at levels that could affect the quality of receiving waters or interfere with publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) that receive those discharges.

What are the problems caused by industrial pollution?

The pollutants emitted from industrial complexes enter the human body through the respiratory system or skin and can cause allergic reactions, respiratory symptoms, and various acute and chronic diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, lung dysfunctions, skin and eye diseases, acute bronchitis.

How does industrial pollution affect animals?

The major effects of industrial air pollution on wildlife include direct mortality, debilitating industrial-related injury and disease, physiological stress, anaemia, and bioaccumulation. Some air pollutants have caused a change in the distribution of certain wildlife species.

What are the effects of industries?

1. It leads to the depletion of natural resources. 2. It leads to air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution.

How do industrial pollution results in water pollution?

Dumping of various industrial waste products into water sources and improper contamination of industrial wastes often result in polluting the water. This water pollution disturbs the balance of an ecosystem.

How does industrial waste affect soil?

Industrial wastes have different amounts of toxic contents and hazardous chemicals such that when deposited in soil, they affect the soil layer strength in the topsoil, thus reducing the soil fertility and biological activity of the soil.

What do you do in an industrial disaster?

Precautions to be taken during and after the Chemical (Industrial) Accidents

  • Do not panic, evacuate calmly and quickly perpendicular to wind direction through the designated escape route.
  • Keep a wet handkerchief or piece of cloth/ sari on face during evacuation.

How does industrial waste cause water pollution?

One of the most devastating effects of industrial waste is water pollution. For many industrial processes, water is used which comes in contact with harmful chemicals. These chemicals may include organic compounds (such as solvents), metals, nutrients, or radioactive material.

How do industries pollute the environment?

Industries also discharge organic and inorganic wastes into the water causing water pollution. For instance, fertilizers, dyes, pesticides, soaps, etc. are released as wastes from industries mix with water and pollute it. Noise from generators, electric drills, and constructions causes noise pollution.

What is industrial pollution and environmental degradation?

Summary. Industries have caused severe pollution of our natural resources. Industries cause environmental degradation through four main types of pollution i.e. air pollution, water pollution, land pollution or soil degradation, and noise pollution.

What is the most common industrial waste?

Though the term “industrial waste” includes several different types, one of the most common is industrial solid waste. Each year, American industries generate and dispose of about 7.6 billion tons of industrial solid waste.

What does industrial wastewater contain?

Fossil-fuel power stations, particularly coal-fired plants, are a major source of industrial wastewater. Many of these plants discharge wastewater with significant levels of metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium, as well as arsenic, selenium, and nitrogen compounds (nitrates and nitrites).

What is industrial waste and example?

Waste is generated from the building, demolition, etc., in the construction industry. Waste acid, waste alkali. The liquid is used in various industrial manufacturing processes. Waste sulfuric acid, waste hydrochloric acid, coal waste liquid, ammonia waste liquid, photograph developing waste liquid, caustic soda waste liquid, etc.

How is industrial waste recycled?

5 Ways to Recycle Industrial Waste

  • Breaking the waste down. As an environment-friendly alternate to landfills, industrial composting systems are now being used increasingly.
  • Burn it to make it! Some materials can be remelted to form new objects.
  • Hot Treatment.
  • Harnessing the Harmful Gas.
  • Reclaiming the Waste.

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