Thermal Pollution: Its Causes, Effect, and Control Measures

Talking about pollution and going into detail about each type of pollution, we can realize that there is nothing that not polluted. This idea cannot be wrong because we come up with another type of pollution, called thermal pollution. Thermal pollution, as the name itself suggests, is hot or hot. Apart from air pollution, water pollution, environmental pollution, etc. it is indirect pollution, which is mainly due to the process of changing the temperature of the surrounding water. Let’s look in detail, how it happens, and what factors cause thermal pollution. The effects of thermal pollution well sketched with all effective controls or thermal pollution prevention.

What is thermal pollution?

When one thinks of pollution, the idea of ​​thermal pollution often does not come to mind. People will first think about things like carbon emissions, personal pollution and waste, and many other changing factors.

Thermal Pollution

However, thermal pollution is an original and determined problem in our modern society. In layman’s terms, thermal pollution happens when an industry or other man-made system uses water from a natural source and either cool it or heats it. They then withdraw that water into a natural resource, which alters oxygen levels and can have devastating effects on local ecosystems and communities.

Thermal pollution is defined as a sudden increase or decrease in the natural body temperature of the water, which can be an ocean, lake, river, or pond for human impact. This typically occurs when a plant or facility takes water from a natural resource and holds it back with an altered temperature. Typically, these facilities use this as a cooling method for their systems or to help improve their products.

Plants producing various products or wastewater facilities are often the culprits of this massive migration of thermal pollution. To properly regulate and control thermal pollution, humans and governments are taking several measures to effectively manage how plants prepared to use water. However, the consequences are still continuing today.

Causes of Thermal pollution

Industrial effluent discharge

Industries that use large amounts of water as a coolant, for example in power plants, steel industries, smelters, paper, and pulp mills, and chemical plants, leave hot water in nearby water sources without first cooling it Gives

Urban runoff water

In most parts, cities covered with concrete and other man-made materials also cause thermal pollution. Streets, parking lots, and other covered places heated by the sun. When rain or storm waterfalls on them, it absorbs heat and enters the drains. This water is sometimes 10 degrees warmer than the surrounding water. When untreated and rivers allowed to flow into the ocean or oceans, it causes thermal pollution in these waters.

Effects of Thermal pollution

Similar to the anecdote described above are ecological disturbances that occur when water temperatures rise.

  • First and foremost, the oxygen level in hot water decreases. This kills many species of fish and other organisms including plants.
  • High temperatures increase the metabolic activity of organisms in water, forcing them to consume more food. The resources of the ecosystem cannot last long in such a situation. Animals that can adapt to these conditions are able to find more food while others die.
  • Some fish, amphibians, and those who have migratory life will avoid places that are affected by thermal pollution. Biodiversity is affected as a result.
  • Low oxygen content leads to favorable conditions for anaerobic bacteria which will increase in number. They digest their food by fermentation, which combines the contaminated state of water and air.
  • Changes and adaptations at cellular levels lead to decreased productivity and shorter life spans. These can also occur at 2 ° C above normal.
  • What changes when the water is colder than normal? When water is released from dams, it is always cold water, which instead of hot water surface. In this case, also, ecological changes are caused by short life spans, loss of species, and changes in biodiversity.

Ecological impact

Hot water effect

Elevated temperatures usually reduce dissolved oxygen and water levels, as gases are less soluble in hot liquids. It can harm aquatic animals such as fish, amphibians, and other aquatic organisms. Thermal pollution can also increase the metabolic rate of aquatic animals, in the form of enzyme activity, resulting in more food consumed in a shorter period of time than these organisms if their environment not changed. Increased metabolic rate may result in fewer resources; Organisms with more adaptation more susceptible to organisms that are not used to warmer temperatures. As a result, food chains of old and new environments may compromise. Some fish species will avoid stream areas or coastal areas adjacent to a thermal discharge. As a result, biodiversity can be reduced.


Unnaturally cold-water residues from reservoirs can dramatically alter riverine fishes and macroinvertebrate fauna and reduce river productivity. In Australia, where many rivers have warm temperature management, native fish species have been killing, and macroinvertebrate fauna has been drastically changed. This can decrease by designing a dam to release warm surface water instead of cold water at the bottom of the reservoir

Thermal shock

When there is a sudden rise in the temperature of the water, it causes sudden death of all the fish and other organisms in the water which adapts to a certain temperature. This called thermal shock. This is seen when the power plant or an industry first starts working and also when it is opened after a break for repair.

Control of Thermal Pollution

Industrial wastewater

Hot water from industries can treat before being discharged into nearby watersheds. Several mechanisms have been developed for this.

  • Cooling ponds and cooling towers where heat is released through evaporative convection, heat transfer, and radiation. These are man-made structures.
  • Cogeneration: A process by which hot water is recycled for domestic use or industrial heat.
  • Stormwater runoff is directed underground by infiltration or bio-retention. These are included in the plan for the city and part of the green infrastructure. Stormwater basins are also in use but are not as effective as when exposed to the sun and its heat, not allowing the water to cool.
Urban runoff

During warm weather, urban runoff can have a significant thermal effect on small streams, as stormwater passes over hot parking lots, roads, and sidewalks. Stormwater management facilities that absorb runoff or direct it into groundwater, such as bioremediation systems and infiltration basins, mitigate these thermal effects. These related systems for managing runoff are components of an extended urban design approach commonly referred to as green infrastructure.

Retention basins (stormwater ponds) are less effective at reducing runoff temperatures. As water can be heated by the sun before it can achieve a stream.

The conclusion

Although it may seem that thermal pollution cannot directly affect humans, this is not true. Loss of biodiversity leads to changes. That affects all aspects of the environment, as nothing is independent. And no one fully survives without relying on their environment.

There is a clear impact on the food chain, where even now seafood collections have decreased dramatically. Even though there are all food shows on TV that encourage consumption of a largely dwindling food source.

Watching fish in an aquarium is very effective relaxation therapy. Having a picnic on the banks of a river or lake is very exciting. Hearing the buzzing of insects and the sound of a watchful frog. Watching friendly dolphins leap out of the water and rejuvenate smiling comfortably is inspiring.

It is not selfish to aspire to maintain the integrity of our environment and planning and moving in this direction is the right thing to do.

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