What is Pollution?
Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment. These harmful materials are called pollutants. Pollutants can be natural, such as volcanic ash. They can also be created by human activity, such as trash or runoff produced by factories. Pollutants damage the quality of air, water, and land.
Many things that are useful to humans cause pollution. Cars spit pollutants from their exhaust pipes. Burning coal to generate electricity pollutes the air. Industries and households generate rubbish and sewage that can pollute land and water. Chemical toxins from pesticides used to kill weeds and insects, seep into waterways and harm wildlife.
Introduction of Pollution:
Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment. These harmful materials are called pollutants. Pollutants can be natural, such as volcanic ash. They can also be created by human activity, such as trash or runoff produced by factories.
All living things, from unicellular microbes to blue whales, depend on the earth’s air and water supplies. When these resources are polluted, all life forms are threatened.
Pollution is a global problem. Although urban areas are usually more polluted than the countryside, pollution can spread to remote places where no people live. For example, pesticides and other chemicals have been found in the Antarctic ice sheet. In the middle of the northern Pacific, a huge collection of microscopic plastic particles forms the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Air and water currents are polluted. Ocean currents and migratory fish carry marine pollutants far and wide. Winds can pick up radioactive material accidentally released from a nuclear reactor and distribute it around the world. Smoke from a factory in one country drifts to another.
In the past, visitors to Big Bend National Park in the US state of Texas could see 290 kilometers through the vast landscape. Now, coal-fired power plants in Texas and the neighboring state of Chihuahua, Mexico, have spewed so much pollution into the air that visitors to Big Bend can sometimes only see 50 kilometers.
“In the easiest term’s pollution involves the addition of harmful substances to our environment /surroundings that make it challenging for us to live in.”
What are The Causes of Pollution?
Various Causes of pollution:
The Burning of Fossil Fuels
Sulfur dioxide, which is produced by burning fossil fuels like coal, petroleum for power generation in power plants, and other combustibles in the plant, is a major cause of pollution.
Billions of vehicles on the road are powered by gasoline and diesel engines that burn petroleum to release energy. Petroleum is made up of hydrocarbons and engines don’t burn them cleanly.
As a result, pollutants such as PM, nitrogen oxide and NO2 (collectively referred to as NOx), carbon monoxide, organic compounds, and lead are emitted from vehicles such as trucks, jeeps, cars, trains, and airplanes, causing high levels of pollution. These modes of transport are part of our basic daily needs, so we rely heavily on them.
But overuse of them kills our environment as dangerous gases pollute the atmosphere. Carbon monoxide, caused by improper or incomplete combustion and generally emitted by vehicles, is another major pollutant besides nitrogen oxides, produced from both natural and man-made processes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to outdoor air pollution accounts for 0.6 to 1.4 percent of the disease burden and 4.2 million deaths annually.
Ammonia is a very common by-product of agricultural activities and one of the most dangerous gases in the atmosphere. The use of insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers in agricultural activities has increased significantly. They release harmful chemicals into the air and can also cause water pollution.
Farmers also set fire to the field and old crops to keep them clean for the next sowing. Burning in clean fields is said to cause pollution by releasing harmful gases into the air.
Waste in Landfills
Landfills are areas of land where waste is deposited or buried. This deposited or buried waste produces methane. Methane is an important greenhouse gas that is highly flammable and very dangerous.
E-waste is another serious problem that involves many unscientific dismantling such as chemical washout, burning of wires, and others.
Exhaust from Factories and Industries
The manufacturing industry releases a large amount of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, organic compounds and chemicals into the air, which affects air quality.
Manufacturing can be found in every corner of the world and there is no area that is not affected by it. Petroleum refineries also release hydrocarbons and various other chemicals that pollute the air and cause land pollution.
Mining is a process of extracting minerals underground using large equipment. During the process, dust and chemicals are released into the air, resulting in massive air pollution.
This is one of the reasons responsible for the deteriorating health conditions of workers and residents in the area.
Indoor Air Pollution
Household cleaning supplies and painting supplies emit toxic chemicals into the air and cause air pollution. Have you ever noticed that painting the walls of your house creates an odor that literally makes it impossible for you to breathe?
Particulate matter, known by the acronym SPM, is another cause of pollution. Regarding the particulate matter floating in the air, SPM is usually caused by dust, combustion, etc.
According to the WHO, around seven million premature deaths are caused each year from the combined effects of air pollution in the environment (outdoors) and in the home.
There are certain natural events such as volcanoes, forest fires, and dust storms that originate from nature and cause pollution.
Types of 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.
Air pollution refers to the release of harmful pollutants (chemicals, toxic gases, particles, biological molecules, etc.) into the earth’s atmosphere. These contaminants are very harmful and, in some cases, pose serious health problems. Some of the causes that contribute to air pollution are:
- Burning fossil fuels
- Mining operations
- Exhaust gases from industries and factories
The effects of air pollution vary based on the kind of pollutant. But generally, the impact of air pollution ranges from:
Among the other types of pollution, air pollution is believed to have a global impact. Scientists have even speculated an apocalypse-like scenario in which air pollution if left unchecked, can create an extreme form of global warming known as the runaway greenhouse effect. Although this is purely speculative, it is a phenomenon that has already occurred on Venus.
Water pollution occurs when harmful substances often chemicals or microorganisms contaminate a stream, river, lake, ocean, aquifer, or other body of water, degrading water quality and rendering it toxic to humans or the environment.
Other significant causes of water pollution include:
- Dumping solid wastes in water bodies
- Disposing untreated industrial sewage into water bodies
- Human and animal wastes
- Agricultural runoff containing pesticides and fertilizers
The effects of water pollution are very pronounced in our environment. In addition, toxic chemicals can bioaccumulate in living things, and these chemicals can find their way through the food chain and ultimately reach humans.
Among the other types of pollution, water pollution has more catastrophic consequences for humans. For example, a serious case of water pollution in 1932 caused an entire city in Japan to suffer from neurological and mental illnesses for decades.
The immediate cause, however, was not apparent, but was ultimately attributed to acute mercury poisoning. Methylmercury was dumped in the surrounding bay and eventually bioaccumulated in the fish. The local population then consumed these fish, and this led to the manifestation of side effects and neurological diseases.
Other consequences of water pollution include:
- Disruption of the ecosystem
- Threats to marine life
- Increased risk of water-borne diseases
- Increases toxic chemicals (such as mercury) in water bodies
Soil pollution, also called soil contamination, refers to the degradation of land due to the presence of chemicals or other man-made substances in the soil. The xenobiotic substances alter the natural composition of soil and affect it negatively.
These can have a drastic impact on life, either directly or indirectly. For example, any toxic chemicals present in the soil will be absorbed by the plants. Since plants are producers in an environment, they are directed through the food chain. Compared to the other types of pollution, the effects of soil pollution are a little darker, but their effects are very evident.
Some of the common causes of soil pollution are:
The effects of soil pollution are numerous. Certain wastes, such as radioactive waste, become particularly dangerous if they are not properly contained. A well-documented example is a nuclear accident in Chernobyl in which an area of 2,600 km2 has been uninhabitable for several thousand years.
Other effects of soil pollution include:
- Loss of soil nutrients, which renders the soil unfit for agriculture
- Impacts the natural flora and fauna residing in the soil
- Degrades vegetation due to the increase of salinity of the soil
- Toxic dust (such as silica dust) can cause respiratory problems or even lung cancer
Noise pollution is generally defined as regular exposure to elevated sound levels that may lead to adverse effects in humans or other living organisms. According to the World Health Organization, sound levels less than 70 dB are not damaging to living organisms, regardless of how long or consistent the exposure is.
Noise exposure refers to the excessive amount of noise in the area that disturbs the natural balance. Usually it is man-made, although certain natural disasters like volcanoes can add to the noise pollution.
In general, any sound above 85 decibels are considered harmful. The length of time a person is exposed also affects their health. To perspective, a normal conversation is about 60 decibels, and a jet taking off is about 150 decibels. As a result, noise pollution is more evident than the other types of pollution.
Noise pollution has several contributors, which include:
- Industry-oriented noises such as heavy machines, mills, factories, etc.
- Transportation noises from vehicles, airplanes, etc.
- Construction noises
- Noise from social events (loudspeakers, firecrackers, etc.)
- Household noises (such as mixers, TV, washing machines, etc.)
Noise pollution has now become very common due to dense urbanization and industrialization. Noise pollution can bring about adverse effects such as:
- Hearing loss
- Sleeping disorders
- Hypertension (high BP)
- Communication problems
Any undesirable effect caused to the environment due to radioactive substances or radiation is called nuclear pollution. The major source is Nuclear power plants. If traces of radioactive substances are present in the water that is released from the plant, it will cause nuclear pollution.
- Nuclear contamination is one that is not commonly seen but when it occurs it has a devastating effect on the entire atmosphere of the region.
- This is when natural or man-made disasters or accidents cause damage to nuclear plants and reactors. This causes leakage of radioactive material into the air soil and water causing immediate damage to all living things in that area.
- The result does not end there. Radioactive materials remain active in the environment, causing damage to the land for years to submerge.
- The most popular examples of large-scale nuclear contamination were the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 and the recent Fukushima Daichi nuclear disaster in 2011 in Japan.
Light pollution is excessive, misdirected, or obtrusive artificial (usually outdoor) light. Too much light pollution has consequences: it washes out starlight in the night sky, interferes with astronomical research, disrupts ecosystems, has adverse health effects, and wastes energy.
- Then, a little-known type of pollution due to excessive light at night. These affect the body’s rhythm and the sleep cycle of humans and even other creatures.
- Migratory birds deviate from their normal routes from city lights.
- Excessive light is also known to affect children’s sleep cycles.
Thermal pollution is defined as a sudden increase or decrease in temperature of a natural body of water, which may be ocean, lake, river or pond by human influence. This normally occurs when a plant or facility takes in water from a natural resource and puts it back with an altered temperature.
Thermal pollution is mainly associated with water. Causing an increase in the temperature of a water body such as a lake or sea changes the content of the water and damages its fragile ecosystem. This is thermal pollutions.
- Can overheating be harmful? Of course, it can.
- Excess heat generated by engines, machines, and industries heats the atmosphere and changes weather patterns
- Extremely hot wastes released into water bodies raise their temperature and destroy their fragile habitats.
How to prevent and control pollution?
Pollution prevention (P2) is any practice that reduces, eliminates, or prevents pollution at its source. P2, also known as “source reduction,” is the ounce-of-prevention approach to waste management. Reducing the amount of pollution produced means less waste to control, treat, or dispose of.
Follow these Tips Every Day to Reduce Pollution:
- Conserve energy – at home, at work, everywhere.
- Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying a home or office equipment.
- Carpool, use public transportation, bike, or walk whenever possible.
Follow gasoline refueling instructions for efficient vapor recovery, being careful not to spill fuel and always tightening your gas cap securely.
- Consider purchasing portable gasoline containers labeled “spill-proof,” where available.
- Keep car, boat, and other engines properly tuned.
- Be sure your tires are properly inflated.
- Use environmentally safe paints and cleaning products whenever possible.
- Mulch or compost leaves and yard waste.
- Consider using gas logs instead of wood.
On Days when High Ozone Levels are Expected, take these Extra Steps to Reduce Pollution:
- Choose a cleaner commute – share a ride to work or use public transportation.
- Combine errands and reduce trips. Walk to errands when possible.
- Avoid excessive idling of your automobile.
- Refuel your car in the evening when its cooler.
- Conserve electricity and set air conditioners no lower than 78 degrees.
- Defer lawn and gardening chores that use gasoline-powered equipment, or wait until evening.
On Days when High Particle Levels are Expected, take these Extra Steps to Reduce Pollution:
- Reduce the number of trips you take in your car.
- Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
- Avoid burning leaves, trash, and other materials.
- Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
Prevention of Pollution
There are many ways to avoid pollution. When it comes to water pollution, the main priority is improving water, sanitation, and sanitation (WASH). If everyone has access to effective sanitary facilities (latrines) and there is no open defecation, contamination of the environment with human faces is prevented.
Linked to this is the need for safe drinking water to be available to everyone. In addition, by improving hygiene practices and ensuring that everyone washes their hands, the effects of biological pollutants on human health will be radically reduced. In practice, there needs to be a coordinated approach to improving all three aspects – water, sanitation, and sanitation – which is reflected in current WASH programmers.
Air pollution can be improved by reducing reliance on biomass fuels for home cooking, especially during indoor fires. Legislation to remove very old vehicles from the road or require regular maintenance and certification would also help.
Waste optimization should be used for pollutants from solid waste. This principle is based on the idea that, ideally, waste should not be generated at all. However, this main goal is not always possible. So, when waste is generated, there are a number of waste management options, ranging from the most desirable to the least desirable.
The principle of waste optimization includes the application of the so-called “3 R” – reduce, reuse and recycle. The reduction refers to minimizing waste at the source through efficient use of raw materials and changing the technology used to manufacture items.
Reuse means that an item is used several times, e.g. B. the use of plastic bottles to collect water. Recycling refers to the use of discarded materials as raw materials that are fed back into the factory process. The use of discarded and broken bottles in a glass factory to make new glass bottles is an example of recycling.
The waste hierarchy also includes the recovery of materials or energy, for example through composting or incineration. Composting is a good example of recovering materials from organic waste, which can then be used to constructively improve the soil instead of the decomposition process resulting in environmental pollution through careless disposal.
The concept of waste optimization is applied in industry through the process of cleaner production. Cleaner production aims to reduce the industrial impact on the environment through minimizing waste and applying the 3 R, as well as other practices such as replacing toxic chemicals with less toxic alternatives, and process and product modifications to use less energy.
Conclusion of Pollution
Much is being done to control, monitor, and rectify the damage done by pollutants. The problems are diverse and some are only being recognized but it is important to keep close control over pollutants so that we can maintain the environment in an acceptable condition for future generations.
Top Ask Questions
What is pollution?
Pollution occurs when an amount of any substance or any form of energy is put into the environment at a rate faster than it can be dispersed or safely stored. The term pollution can refer to both artificial and natural materials that are created, consumed, and discarded in an unsustainable manner.
What is pollution and types?
There are different types of pollution: Water pollution, air pollution, solid waste pollution, and noise pollution. Air pollution can be caused by gases or solid particulates. Soil pollution is linked to groundwater pollution. Solid waste can produce highly polluting leachate which contaminates soil groundwater.
What are the Causes of Pollution?
1.The Burning of Fossil Fuels.
3.Waste in Landfills.
4.Exhaust From Factories and Industries.
6.Indoor Air Pollution.
How to prevent and control pollution?
On Days when High Particle Levels are Expected, Take these Extra Steps to Reduce Pollution:
· Reduce the number of trips you take in your car.
· Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
· Avoid burning leaves, trash, and other materials.
· Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.