Finish Line & Beyond
POLLUTIION OF AIIR AND WATER Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into an environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances, or energy, such as noise, heat, or light energy. Pollutants, the elements of pollution, can be foreign substances or energies, or naturally occurring; when naturally occurring, they are considered contaminants when they exceed natural levels. Pollution is often classed as point source or non point source pollution. Air Pollution Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or damages the natural environment, into the atmosphere. The atmosphere is a complex, dynamic natural gaseous system that is essential to support life on planet Earth. Stratospheric ozone depletion due to air pollution has long been recognized as a threat to human health as well as to the Earth's ecosystems. How does Air Get Polluted? The substances which contaminate the air are called air pollutants. Sometimes, such substances may come from natural sources like smoke and dust arising from forest fires or volcanic eruptions. Pollutants are also added to the atmosphere by human activities. The sources of air pollutants are factories, power plants, automobile exhausts and burning of firewood and dung cakes. Vehicles produce high levels of pollutants like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and smoke. Carbon monoxide is produced from incomplete burning of fuels such as petrol and diesel. It is a poisonous gas. It reduces the oxygencarrying capacity of the blood. There is thick fog-like layer in the atmosphere, especially during winters. This is smog which is made up of smoke and fog. Smoke may contain oxides of nitrogen which combine with other air pollutants and fog to form smog. The smog causes breathing difficulties such as asthma, cough and wheezing in children. Many industries are also responsible for causing air pollution. Petroleum refineries are a major source of gaseous pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Sulphur dioxide is produced by combustion of fuels like coal in power plants. It can cause respiratory problems, including permanent lung damage. Other kinds of pollutants are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which are used in refrigerators, air conditioners and aerosol sprays. CFCs damage the ozone layer of the atmosphere. In addition to the above mentioned gases, automobiles which burn diesel and petrol also produce tiny particles which remain suspended in air for long periods. They reduce visibility. When inhaled, they cause diseases. Such particles are also
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Finish Line & Beyond
produced during industrial processes like steel making and mining. Power plants give out tiny ash particles which also pollute the atmosphere. Case Study: The Taj Mahal Over the past 2 decades, India’s most famous tourist attraction, Taj Mahal located in Agra, has become a matter of concern. Experts have warned that pollutants in air are discolouring its white marble. So, it is not only living organisms that get affected by polluted air but non-living things like buildings, monuments and statues also get affected. The industries located in and around Agra like rubber processing, automobile, chemicals and especially the Mathura oil refinery, have been responsible for producing pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. These gases react with the water vapour present in the atmosphere to form sulphuric acid and nitric acid. The acids drop down with rain, making the rain acidic. This is called acid rain. Acid rain corrodes the marble of the monument. The phenomenon is also called “Marble cancer”. Suspended particulate matter, such as the soot particles emitted by Mathura oil...
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