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Kinds of Pollutions

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Danielle Loutfi
Environmental education

I. Definition
Pollution occurs when pollutants contaminate the natural surroundings; which brings about changes that affect our normal lifestyles adversely.

II. Why it is dangerous?
Pollution disturbs our ecosystem and the balance in the environment. With modernization and development in our lives pollution has reached its peak; giving rise to global warming and human illness.

III. Types & Causes of Pollution

A. Air pollution
It occurs when any harmful gases, dust, smoke enters into the atmosphere and makes it difficult for plants, animals and humans to survive as the air becomes dirty.
Causes of Air pollution
1. Burning of Fossil Fuels: pollution emitting from vehicles including trucks, jeeps, cars, trains, airplanes cause immense amount of pollution.
2. Agricultural activities: The use of insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural activities has grown quite a lot. They emit harmful chemicals into the air and can also cause water pollution.
3. Exhaust from factories and industries: Manufacturing industries release large amount of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, organic compounds, and chemicals into the air thereby reducing the quality of air.
4. Mining operations: Mining is a process wherein minerals below the earth are extracted using large equipment. During the process dust and chemicals are released in the air causing massive air pollution.
5. Indoor air pollution: Household cleaning products, painting supplies emit toxic chemicals in the air and cause air pollution.

Effects of Air pollution
1. Respiratory and heart problems: The effects of Air pollution are alarming. They are known to create several respiratory and heart conditions along with Cancer, among other threats to the body.
2. Global warming: With increased temperatures worldwide, increase in sea levels and melting of ice from colder regions and icebergs, displacement and loss of habitat have already signaled an impending disaster if actions for preservation and normalization aren’t undertaken soon.
3. Acid Rain: Harmful gases like nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides are released into the atmosphere during the burning of fossil fuels. Acid rain can cause great damage to human, animals and crops.
4. Eutrophication: Eutrophication is a condition where high amount of nitrogen present in some pollutants gets developed on sea’s surface and turns itself into algae and adversely affects fish, plants and animal species.
5. Effect on Wildlife: Just like humans, animals also face some devastating effects of air pollution.
6. Depletion of Ozone layer: Ozone exists in earth’s stratosphere and is responsible for protecting humans from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Earth’s ozone layer is depleting due to the presence of chlorofluorocarbons, hydro chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere. As ozone layer will go thin, it will emit harmful rays back on earth and can cause skin and eye related problems. UV rays also have the capability to affect crops.

Solutions for Air Pollution
1. Use public mode of transportation
2. Conserve energy (Switch off fans and lights when you are going out)
3. Understand the concept of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
4. Emphasis on clean energy resources (Solar, wind systems)
5. Use energy efficient devices

B. Water Pollution
Pollution of water occurs when substances that will modify the water in negative way are discharged in it. Thereby the abuse of lakes, ponds, oceans, rivers, reservoirs etc. is water pollution.

Causes of Water Pollution
1. Industrial waste: Industries produce huge amount of waste which contains toxic chemicals and pollutants which can cause air pollution and damage to us and our environment.
2. Sewage and waste water: The sewage and waste water that is produced by each household is chemically treated and released in to sea with fresh water. The sewage water carries harmful bacteria and chemicals that can cause serious health problems.
3. Mining activities: Mining is the process of crushing the rock and extracting coal and other minerals from underground.
4. Marine dumping: The garbage produce by each household in the form of paper, aluminum, rubber, glass, plastic, food if collected and deposited into the sea in some countries. These items take from 2 weeks to 200 years to decompose.
5. Accidental Oil leakage: Oil spill pose a huge concern as large amount of oil enters into the sea and does not dissolve with water; there by opens problem for local marine wildlife such as fish, birds and sea otters.
6. Burning of fossil fuels: Fossil fuels like coal and oil when burnt produce substantial amount of ash in the atmosphere.
7. Global warming: An increase in earth’s temperature due to greenhouse effect results in global warming. It increases the water temperature and result in death of aquatic animals and marine species which later results in water pollution.
8. Urban development: As population has grown, so has the demand for housing, food and cloth. As more cities and towns are developed, they have resulted in increased use of fertilizers to produce more food, increase in construction activities, landfills as more garbage is produced, increase in chemicals from industries to produce more materials.

Effects of water pollution
1. Death of aquatic (water) animals: The main problem caused by water pollution is that it kills life that depends on these water bodies.
2. Disruption of food-chains: Pollution disrupts the natural food chain as well. Pollutants such as lead and cadmium are eaten by tiny animals. Later, these animals are consumed by fish and shellfish, and the food chain continues to be disrupted at all higher levels.
3. Diseases: Eventually, humans are affected by this process as well. People can get diseases such as hepatitis by eating seafood that has been poisoned.
4. Destruction of ecosystems: Ecosystems (the interaction of living things in a place, depending on each other for life) can be severely changed or destroyed by water pollution.
Solutions for water pollution
1. You can help: Never throw rubbish away anyhow. Always look for the correct waste bin, use water wisely, do not throw chemicals, oils, paints and medicines down the sink drain, or the toilet.
2. Governments, local councils and laws: Many governments have very strict laws that help minimize water pollution. These laws are usually directed at industries, hospitals, schools and market areas on how to dispose, treat and manage sewage.
3. Liquid Waste (Sewage/Wastewater) Treatment: Wastewater (liquid waste) from flushing the toilet, bathing, washing sinks and general cleaning goes down the drain and into a pipe, which joins a larger sewer pipe under the road. The larger pipe also joins a major pipe that leads to the treatment center. The filtered water is then released into the river.

C. Land pollution
Land pollution, means degradation or destruction of earth’s surface and soil, directly or indirectly as a result of human activities.

Causes of Land Pollution
1. Deforestation and soil erosion: Deforestation carried out to create dry lands is one of the major concerns. Land that is once converted into a dry or barren land can never be made fertile again.
2. Agricultural activities: With growing human population, demand for food has increased considerably. Farmers often use highly toxic fertilizers and pesticides to get rid of insects, fungi and bacteria from their crops. However with the overuse of these chemicals, they result in contamination and poisoning of soil.
3. Overcrowded landfills: Each household produces tons of garbage each year. Items that cannot be recycled become a part of the landfills that hampers the beauty of the city and cause land pollution.
4. Industrialization: Due to increase in demand for food, shelter and house, more goods are produced. This resulted in creation of more waste that needs to be disposed of.
5. Construction activities: Due to urbanization, large amount of construction activities are taking place which has resulted in large waste articles like wood, metal, bricks, plastic…
6. Sewage treatment: Large amount of solid waste is leftover once the sewage has been treated. The leftover material is sent to landfill site which end up in polluting the environment.

Effects of Land Pollution
1. Soil pollution: Soil pollution is another form of land pollution, where the upper layer of the soil is damaged.
2. Change in climate patterns: The effects of land pollution are very dangerous and can lead to the loss of ecosystems.
3. Environmental Impact: When deforestation is committed, the tree cover is compromised on. This leads to a steep imbalance in the rain cycle.
4. Effect on human health: The land when contaminated with toxic chemicals and pesticides lead to problem of skin cancer and human respiratory system.
5. Distraction for Tourist: The city loses its attraction as tourist destination as landfills do not look good when you move around the city. It leads to loss of revenue for the state government.
6. Effect on wildlife: The animal kingdom has suffered mostly in the past decades. They face a serious threat with regards to loss of habitat and natural environment.

Solutions for Land Pollution
1. Make people aware about the concept of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.
2. Reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural activities.
3. Avoid buying packages items as they will lead to garbage and end up in landfill site.
4. Buy recyclable products.
5. Create dumping ground away from residential areas.

D. Light pollution
Light pollution is the excessive and prolonged use of artificial lights, in a way that results in brightening of night skies, disrupting natural cycles and activities of wildlife, health problems in humans, as well as preventing humans from observing stars and other planets.

The main sources of light pollution
1. Electronic Advertising Boards and Commercial Centers
2. Night Sports grounds
3. Streetlights and car lights
4. City Parks, Airports, public places
5. Residential Areas

Effects of light pollution
1. Waste of resources: It costs a lot of money to light up homes, public places, sports and commercial places.
2. Loss of historical and cultural value: Astronomers are concerned that not only do they have difficulty reading and viewing activities in the sky and outer space, but also we are losing the wonderful dark sky view with stars and other space objects that we used to enjoy.
3. Health implications: Our eyes naturally adjust during day and night so we can see things properly. Too much light can harm our eyes and also harm the hormones (such as melatonin) that do this job.
4. Wildlife: Many insects, birds, mammals and reptiles are photoperiodic in nature. Artificial lights, even in small amounts can distort their natural operations and cycle

Solutions for light pollution
1. Engineers must invest and use new lighting technology.
2. Government policies on the use of lights must be stepped in a way that forces consumers to buy more energy-reduced light (and also not too much bright lights). These policies must be enforced.
3. Research shows that too much light does not necessarily improve visibility. This means that smart choices can be made to improve visibility in the night without splashing too much light into the sky.

E. Noise pollution
Noise pollution takes place when there is either excessive amount of noise or an unpleasant sound that causes temporary disruption in the natural balance.

Causes of Noise Pollution
1. Industrialization: Most of the industries use big machines which are capable of producing large amount of noise.
2. Poor Urban Planning: In most of the developing countries, poor urban planning also plays a vital role. Overfilled houses, large families sharing small space, fight over parking, frequent fights over basic services leads to noise pollution which may disrupt the environment of society.
3. Social Events: Noise is at its peak in most of the social events. Whether it is marriage, parties, pub, disc or place of worship, people normally flout rules set by the local administration and create nuisance in the area.
4. Transportation: Large number of vehicles on roads, airplanes flying over houses, underground trains produce heavy noise and people get it difficult to get accustomed to that.
5. Construction Activities: Under construction activities like mining, construction of bridges, dams, buildings, stations, roads, flyovers take place in almost every part of the world.
6. Household Chores: We people are surrounded by gadgets and use them extensively in our daily life. Gadgets like TV, mobile, mixer, vacuum cleaners, washing machine and dryer, cooler are minor contributors to the amount of noise that is produced but it affects the quality of life of your neighborhood in a bad way

Effects of Noise Pollution
1. Hearing Problems: Any unwanted sound that our ears have not been built to filter can cause problems within the body. Our ears can take in a certain range of sounds without getting damaged.
2. Health Issues: Excessive noise pollution in working areas such as offices, construction sites, bars and even in our homes can influence psychological health.
3. Sleeping Disorders: Loud noise can certainly hamper your sleeping pattern and may lead to irritation and uncomfortable situations.
4. Cardiovascular Issues: Blood pressure levels, cardio-vascular disease and stress related heart problems are on the rise.
5. Trouble Communicating: High decibel noise can put trouble and may not allow two people to communicate freely. This may lead to misunderstanding and you may get difficult understanding the other person.
6. Effect on Wildlife: Wildlife faces far more problems than humans because noise pollution since they are more dependent on sound. Animals develop a better sense of hearing than us since their survival depends on it.

Solutions for noise pollution
1. Tree Plantation: Effective solution for noise pollution is to plant bushes and trees around the sound generating sources. Sound passage is blocked by the dense shrubs and trees.
2. Soundproof Homes: To block unwanted noise from outside soundproof doors and windows can be installed.
3. Loudspeaker Prohibition: The major cause of noise pollution in public areas is loudspeaker. For the safety of the people it should be banned at any cost. Those who violate and play loudspeakers in crowded areas and public places strict laws should be imposed against them.
4. Factory Location: From the residential areas factories and industries should be located in far off places.

F. Radioactive pollution
It is highly dangerous when it occurs. It can occur due to nuclear plant malfunctions, improper nuclear waste disposal, accidents, etc. It causes cancer, infertility, blindness, and defects at the time of birth; can sterilize soil and affect air and water.
G. Thermal/heat pollution
It is due to the excess heat in the environment creating unwanted changes over long time periods; due to huge number of industrial plants, deforestation and air pollution. It increases the earth’s temperature, causing drastic climatic changes and extinction of wildlife.

IV. Effects of Pollution
1. Environment Degradation: Environment is the first victim for increase in pollution weather in air or water. The increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere leads to smog which can restrict sunlight from reaching the earth.
2. Human Health: The decrease in quality of air leads to several respiratory problems including asthma or lung cancer. Chest pain, congestion, throat inflammation, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease is some of diseases that can be causes by air pollution.
3. Global Warming: The emission of greenhouse gases particularly CO2 is leading to global warming. Every other day new industries are being set up, new vehicles come on roads and trees are cut to make way for new homes. All of them, in direct or indirect way lead to increase in CO2 in the environment. The increase in CO2 leads to melting of polar ice caps which increases the sea level and pose danger for the people living near coastal areas.
4. Ozone Layer Depletion: Ozone layer is the thin shield high up in the sky that stops ultra violet rays from reaching the earth.
5. Infertile Land: Due to constant use of insecticides and pesticides, the soil may become infertile. Plants may not be able to grow properly.

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