POLLUTION : A THREAT TO THE ENVIRONMENT

What is pollution?

The condition in which harmful and hazardous materials get mixed with the environment making it impure is called pollution . The harmful materials that make the environment impure are called pollutants. Pollutants can be natural as well as man made. For example volcanic ash is a natural pollutant whereas trash or runoff produced by factories are the pollutants created by humans. Pollutants damage the quality of air, water, and soil.

Types of pollution

Usually there are three types of pollution. They are as follows :-

Air pollution : When the harmful hazardous substances mix with the air making it impure to breathe, it causes air pollution . According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year almost seven million deaths occur because of air pollution. Nine out of ten human beings currently breathe air that exceeds the WHO’s guideline limits for pollutants, with those living in low- and middle-income countries suffering the most.
Water pollution : Water pollution (or aquatic pollution) is the contamination of water bodies, usually as a result of human activities. Therefore when harmful pollutants and chemicals mix with the water of water bodies like lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers and groundwater leads to water pollution. Water pollution is the leading worldwide cause of death and disease, e.g. due to water-borne diseases.
Soil Pollution : The removal of useful substances from the soil or the addition of harmful substances to it is called soil pollution. Garbage, cotton clothes, newspapers, tree waste, are the causes of soil pollution. Plastic, glasses and metal objects may also cause soil pollution.

Causes of pollution in environment :

There are many causes of environmental pollution. The causes of pollution are as follows :
Industries
From the time of the industrial revolution,Industries have been polluting our environment. This is caused due to the increasing use of fossil fuels. In the 19th century and for a significant part of the 20th century, human force was being replaced by coal to make machines work faster.

Pollution by industries is the main cause of air pollution but it also causes contamination in soil and water. This is particularly the case for power-generating industries, such as plants producing electricity (May they be a dam, a nuclear reactor or some other type of plant).
Transportation can also be harmful for the environment like petrol is transported through pipelines. A leak in the pipeline will automatically pollute the soil.
At the same time, if the tanker transporting petrol from its production plant to the place where it will be consumed leaks or sinks then it will contaminate the water.

2. Transportation
After the time when people r using petrol vehicles for transportation instead of using animal power the rate of environmental pollution has increased. Its levels have only been increasing day by day. Similarly to industries, pollution caused by transport can mainly be attributed to fossil fuels.

3. Agricultural Activities
Agricultural waste is mainly a cause of water and soil pollution. This is caused by the increased use of pesticides, as well as by the intensive character of its production. Most of the pesticides are made from chemical substances and are meant to keep diseases and threatening animals away from the crops.
However, by keeping these forms of life away, the harm is almost always made to the surrounding environment as well.

4. Trading Activities
The production and exchange of goods and services fall under this category. As regards goods, pollution can be caused by packaging (which often involves the use of plastic, which is made from fossil fuels) or transport, mainly.


5. Residences
Finally, residential areas provide their fair share of pollution as well. To build homes, the natural environment has to be destroyed in one way or another.
Wildlife and plants are driven away and replaced by human constructions. As it requires the work of industries, construction itself is also a source of contamination of the environment.

Effects of Environmental Pollution

Now that we have identified the main causes of environmental pollution, let us study the negative effects it has:

1. Effects on Humans
The effects of environmental pollution on humans are mainly physical, but can also turn into neuro-affections in the long term. It causes respiratory infections, in the form of allergies, asthma, irritation of the eyes and nasal passages, or other forms of respiratory infections. Environmental pollution has been proven to be a major factor in the development of cancer. This can happen, for example, when we eat reminiscences of pollutants used in the production of processed foods or pesticides from the crops. Other rarer diseases include hepatitis, typhoid affections, diarrhea, and hormonal disruptions.

2. Effects on Animals
Environmental pollution mainly affects animals by causing harm to their living environment, making it toxic for them to live in. Acid rains can change the composition of rivers and seas, making them toxic for fishes; an essential quantity of ozone in the lower parts of the atmosphere can cause lung problems to all animals.
Toxic algae overgrowth will be caused due to Nitrogen and phosphates present in water preventing other forms of life to follow their normal course.

Soil pollution will cause harm and, sometimes, even the destruction of microorganisms, which can have the dramatic effect of killing the first layers of the primary food chain.

3. Effects on Plants
As for animals, plants, and especially trees, can be destroyed by acid rains ozone in the lower atmosphere block the plant respiration, and harmful pollutants can be absorbed from the water or soil.


4. Effects on the Ecosystem
In short, environmental pollution, almost exclusively created by human activities, has a negative effect on the ecosystem, destroying crucial layers of it and causing an even more negative effect on the upper layers.

Prevention of environmental pollution

Environmental pollution can be reduced in many ways. The ways are as follows:
The most important thing we can do is reduce , reuse and recycle goods like plastic things etc.
We should lower the use of non biodegradable wastes
Uses of chemical fertilizers must be reduced.
To avoid pollution we should start afforestation.
We must take care during sewage disposal so that the chemical does not contaminate the soil or water.

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https://www.britannica.com/science/pollution-environment

https://www.journals.elsevier.com/environmental-pollution