Industrial Pollution: Its Causes, Effect and Prevention

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  • Use of Outdated Technologies: Most industries still rely on old technologies to produce products that generate a large amount of waste.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

FAQ

1. 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.

2. What are the causes of industrial pollution?

Causes of Industrial Pollution:

1. Lack of Policies to Control Pollution.
2. Unplanned Industrial Growth.
3. Use of Outdated Technologies.
4. A large number of Small Scale Industries.
5. Inefficient Waste Disposal.
6. Leaching of Resources
7. Natural Resource Use.

3. What are the Effect 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.

4. How to prevent industrial pollution?

Ways to Control or Reduce Industrial Pollution:

1. Source Control.
2. Recycling.
3. Cleaning of Resources.
4. Industry Site Selection.
5. Proper Treatment of Industrial Waste.
6. Rebuilding Habitats and Afforestation.
7. Stricter Laws and Enforcement.
8. Regular Environmental Impact Assessments.

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