What are the effects of Air Pollution ?
The human health affects due to poor Air Quality. Principally, air pollution affects the body's respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. Though the individual reactions to air pollutants depend on the type of pollutant a person is exposed to, the degree of exposure. Air pollution may cause long term health problems. The health effects caused by air pollutants may range from biochemical and physiological changes like difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing and aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiac conditions.
How to reduce Air Pollution ?
You can help to reduce Air Pollution by driving good condition vehicles, walking wherever possible, bicycling, and using mass transit. Stop burning wastes, refusals and dry grass & leaves. Plant trees and avoid purchasing products un-friendly to environment. Support and follow Air Act / Laws. Let us help each other in making cleaner and healthier atmosphere where we live.
What is water pollution?
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies (e.g. lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers and groundwater), very often by human activities.
facts on water pollutionWater pollution occurs when pollutants (particles, chemicals or substances that make water contaminated) are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without enough treatment to get rid of harmful compounds. Pollutants get into water mainly by human causes or factors.
Water pollution is the second most imperative environmental concern along with air pollution.
facts on water pollutionAny change or modification in the physical, chemical and biological properties of water that will have a detrimental consequence on living things is water pollution.
stop water pollutionThe water pollution problem Water covers over 70% of the Earth’s surface. It is a very important resource for people and the environment.
Water pollution affects drinking water, rivers, lakes and oceans all over the world. In many developing countries, it is usually a leading cause of death, by people drinking from polluted water sources.
Causes of water pollution.
Industries cause huge water pollution with their activities. These come mainly from:
Sulphur – This is a non-metallic substance that is harmful for marine life.
Asbestos – This pollutant has cancer-causing properties. When inhaled, it can cause illnesses such as asbestosis and many types of cancer.
Lead and Mecury – These are metallic elements and can cause environmental and health problems for humans and animals. It is even more poisonous. It is usually very hard to clean it up from the environment once it get into it because it in non-biodegradable.
Nitrates & Phosphates– These are found in fertilizers, are often washed from the soils to nearby water bodies. They can cause eutrophication, which can be very problematic to marine environments.
Oils – Oils forms a thick layer on the water surface because they do not dissolve in water. This can stop marine plants receiving enough light for photosynthesis. It is also harmful for fish and marine birds. A classic example is the BP oil spill in 2012 with killed thousands of animal species.
Sewage and waste water
Everyday, we cook, do laundry, flush the toilet, wash our cars, shower and do many things that use water. Think about how we use water in schools, hospitals and public places.
Where do you think all the water, liquid waste, toilet and urine ends up? In many developed communities, all this water and soluble waste (called sewage) is treated, cleaned and dumped into the sea. Even though they are treated, they are never the same as fresh water.
Click this red button to see how sewage is treated:
Types of water pollution
There are many types of water pollution because water comes from many sources. Here are a few types of water pollution:
1. Nutrients Pollution
Some wastewater, fertilizers and sewage contain high levels of nutrients. If they end up in water bodies, they encourage algae and weed growth in the water. This will make the water undrinkable, and even clog filters. Too much algae will also use up all the oxygen in the water, and other water organisms in the water will die out of oxygen from starvation.
2. Surface water pollution
Surface water includes natural water found on the earth's surface, like rivers, lakes, lagoons and oceans. Hazardous substances coming into contact with this surface water, dissolving or mixing physically with the water can be called surface water pollution.
3. Oxygen Depleting
Water bodies have micro-organisms. These include aerobic and anaerobic organisms. When to much biodegradable matter (things that easily decay) end up in water, it encourages more microorganism growth, and they use up more oxygen in the water. If oxygen is depleted, aerobic organisms die, and anaerobic organism grow more to produce harmful toxins such as ammonia and sulfides.
stop water pollution4. Ground water pollution
When humans apply pesticides and chemicals to soils, they are washed deep into the ground by rain water. This gets to underground water, causing pollution underground.
This means when we dig wells and bore holes to get water from underground, it needs to be checked for ground water pollution.
In many communities in the world, people drink untreated water (straight from a river or stream). Sometimes there is natural pollution caused by microorganisms like viruses, bacteria and protozoa. This natural pollution can cause fishes and other water life to die. They can also cause serious illness to humans who drink from such waters.
6. Suspended Matter
Some pollutants (substances, particles and chemicals) do not easily dissolve in water. This kind of material is called particulate matter. Some suspended pollutants later settle under the water body. This can harm and even kill aquatic life that live at the floor of water bodies.
7. Chemical Water Pollution
Many industries and farmers work with chemicals that end up in water. These include chemicals that are used to control weeds, insects and pests. Metals and solvents from industries can pollute water bodies. These are poisonous to many forms of aquatic life and may slow their development, make them infertile and kill them.
8. Oil Spillage
Oil spills usually have only a localized affect on wildlife but can spread for miles. The oil can cause the death of many fish and stick to the feathers of seabirds causing them to lose the ability to fly. marine oil pollution
Do you remember the BP Oil spill in 2010? (Read about it here) Over 1,000 animals (birds, turtles, mammals) were reported dead, including many already on the endangered species list. Of the animals affected by the spill that are still alive only about 6% have been reported cleaned, but many biologists and other scientists predict they will die too from the stress caused by the pollution.
Effects of water pollution.
You will notice in the previous pages that water pollution is very harmful to humans, animals and water life. The effects can be catastrophic, depending on the kind of chemicals, concentrations of the pollutants and where there are polluted. Below, we shall see a summary of the effects of water pollution. (Make sure you see the factsheet page for some very unfortunate incidents of water pollution in recent time)
The effects of water pollution are varied and depend on what chemicals are dumped and in what locations.
Many water bodies near urban areas (cities and towns) are highly polluted. This is the result of both garbage dumped by individuals and dangerous chemicals legally or illegally dumped by manufacturing industries, health centers, schools and market places.
facts on water pollutionDeath of aquatic (water) animals
The main problem caused by water pollution is that it kills life that depends on these water bodies. Dead fish, crabs, birds and sea gulls, dolphins, and many other animals often wind up on beaches, killed by pollutants in their habitat (living environment).
facts on water pollutionDisruption 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.
food chain and pollution
facts on water pollutionDiseases
Eventually, humans are affected by this process as well. People can get diseases such as hepatitis by eating seafood that has been poisoned. In many poor nations, there is always outbreak of cholera and diseases as a result of poor drinking water treatment from contaminated waters.
facts on water pollutionDestruction 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. Many areas are now being affected by careless human pollution, and this pollution is coming back to hurt humans in many ways.
Prevention of water pollution.
Dealing with water pollution is something that everyone (including governments and local councils) needs to get involved with. Here are a few things you can do to help. Learning about the issue (like you are doing) is the greatest and most important step to take. Here are a few more:
You can help bulletNever throw rubbish away anyhow. Always look for the correct waste bin. If there is none around, please take it home and put it in your trash can. This includes places like the beach, riverside and water bodies. Learn more about waste disposal here.
bulletUse water wisely. Do not keep the tap running when not in use. Also, you can reduce the amount of water you use in washing and bathing. If we all do this, we can significantly prevent water shortages and reduces the amount of dirty water that needs treatment.
bulletDo not throw chemicals, oils, paints and medicines down the sink drain, or the toilet. In many cities, your local environment office can help with the disposal of medicines and chemicals. Check with your local authorities if there is a chemical disposal plan for local residents.
bulletBuy more environmentally safe cleaning liquids for the use at home and other public places. They are less dangerous to the environment.
bulletIf you use chemicals and pesticides for your gardens and farms, be mindful not to overuse pesticides and fertilizers. This will reduce runoffs of the material into nearby water sources. Start looking at options of composting and using organic manure instead.
stop water pollutionbulletIf you live close to a water body, try to plants lots of trees and flowers around your home, so that when it rains, chemicals from your home does not easily drain into the water.
Governments, local councils and laws
Many governments have very strict laws that help minimize water pollution. These laws are usually directed to industries, hospitals, schools and market areas on how to dispose, treat and manage sewage. Do you know the laws in your country? This is the time to find out.
In many developed cities, waste or sewage treatment is very efficient, and designed to minimise pollution of water bodies. Click on the button below to see an example of how a good sewage (wastewater) treatment works.
What is Noise Pollution?
Sound is essential to our daily lives, but noise is not. Noise is generally used as an unwanted sound, or sound which produces unpleasant effects and discomfort on the ears. niose pollution for kids
Sound becomes unwanted when it either interferes with normal activities such as sleeping, conversation, or disrupts or diminishes one’s quality of life. Not all noise can be called noise pollution. If it does not happen reqularly, it may be termed as 'Nuisance'
Scientists also believe that its not only humans who are affected. For example, water animals are subjected to noise by submarines and big ships on the ocean, and chain-saw operations by timber companies also create extreme noise to animals in the forests.
Generally, noise is produced by household gadgets, big trucks, vehicles and motorbikes on the road, jet planes and helicopters hovering over cites, loud speakers etc.
Noise (or sound) is measured in the units of decibels and is denoted by the dB. Noise which is more than 115 dB is tolerant. The industrial limit of sound in the industries must be 75 dB according to the World Health Organization.
Noise is considered as environmental pollution, even though it is thought to have less damage on humans than water, air or land pollution. But people who are affected by severe noise pollution know that it is a massive issue that needs attention.
What are the sources of noise pollution?
Noise can come from many places. Let us see a few good sources:
noise and nuisanceHousehold sources:
Gadgets like food mixer, grinder, vacuum cleaner, washing machine and dryer, cooler, air conditioners, can be very noisy and injurious to health. Others include loud speakers of sound systems and TVs, ipods and ear phones. Another example may be your neighbor’s dog barking all night everyday at every shadow it sees, disturbing everyone else in the apartment.
noise and nuisanceSocial events:
Places of worship, discos and gigs, parties and other social events also create a lot of noise for the people living in that area. In many market areas, people sell with loud speakers, others shout out offers and try to get customers to buy their goods. It is important to note that whey these events are not often, they can be called 'Nuisance' rather than noise pollution.
noise and nuisanceCommercial and industrial activities:
Printing presses, manufacturing industries, construction sites, contribute to noise pollutions in large cities. In many industries, it is a requirement that people always wear earplugs to minimize their exposure to heavy noise. People who work with lawn mowers, tractors and noisy equipment are also required to wear noise-proof gadgets.
noise and nuisanceTransportation:
Think of aero planes flying over houses close to busy airports like Heathrow (London) or Ohare (Chicago), over ground and underground trains, vehicles on road—these are constantly making a lot of noise and people always struggle to cope with them.
Effects of noise pollution
Generally, problems caused by noise pollution include stress related illnesses, speech interference, hearing loss, sleep disruption, and lost productivity. Most importantly, there are two major effects we can look at:
noise and nuisanceHearing
The immediate and acute effect of noise pollution to a person, over a period of time, is impairment of hearing. Prolonged exposure to impulsive noise to a person will damage their eardrum, which may result in a permanent hearing.
noise and nuisanceEffects on general health
Health effects of noise include anxiety and stress reaction and in extreme cases fright. The physiological manifestations are headaches, irritability and nervousness, feeling of fatigue and decreases work efficiency. For example, being pounded by the siren of fire fighters, police or ambulance in your city all night everyday leave people (especially elderly people) stresses and tired in the morning.
Its is worth noting that these effects may not sound troubling, but the truth is, with time, the consequences can be very worrying.
Noise pollution prevention and control tips
Below are a few things people and governments can do to make our communities and living laces quieter:
noise and nuisanceConstruction of soundproof rooms for noisy machines in industrial and manufacturing installations must be encouraged. This is also important for residential building—noisy machines should be installed far from sleeping and living rooms, like in a basement or garage.
noise and nuisanceUse of horns with jarring sounds, motorbikes with damaged exhaust pipes, noisy trucks to be banned.
noise and nuisanceNoise producing industries, airports, bus and transport terminals and railway stations to sighted far from where living places.
noise and nuisanceCommunity law enforcers should check the misuse of loudspeakers, worshipers, outdoor parties and discos, as well as public announcements systems.
noise and nuisanceCommunity laws must silence zones near schools / colleges, hospitals etc.
noise and nuisanceVegetation (trees) along roads and in residential areas is a good way to reduce noise pollution as they absorb sound.