Environmental pollution is a gradual process that makes the air, land, water and any other component of environment dirty and polluted to such an extent that it becomes unsafe for use. This generally happens when one or more contaminant is introduced into the natural environment. The contaminant may or may not be tangible and may be anything like artificial light, sound, and temperature. According to the studies conducted by a non-profit organization named Pure Earth, over 200 million people are affected by toxic pollution globally. In places which are badly polluted, babies are born with birth defects and kids lack 30 to 40 IQ points while the life expectancy is diminished to as low as 45 years owing to life-threatening diseases.
There is hardly any person who is not affected by noise pollution. The noise coming from mills, vehicles, factories has become so common that people have become accustomed to it. This leads to numerous health ailments including chronic headaches, agony, tension and mental imbalances.
Water is an element of survival for all living beings which is now getting polluted through waste products from mills, factories, industries and agricultural practices. Drinking and even using polluted water for washing or bathing can lead to hazardous effects.
Air is one of the most essential components of the environment which gets polluted every single second. The air which is polluted contains carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and many others. The excessive rise of these gasses would pollute the air and we are left to breathe in that air which makes us vulnerable to developing various cardiopulmonary diseases.
Land pollution refers to degradation of the surface of the earth which can be caused either directly or indirectly through human activities. Land pollution paves the way for different issues, the most severe of which is the rising amounts of barren plots of land and the decreasing numbers of forest cover.
Soil contamination which is also referred to as soil pollution is generally caused by man-made chemicals or other unwanted changes in the natural composition of the soil. The most commonly found chemicals causing soil pollution is petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, heavy metals like leads and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons like naphthalene.
Causes of pollution
There are innumerable causes of pollution in this planet and these pollutants are increasing at an alarming rate. Some of the most crucial factors for air pollution include:
- Land pollution may be caused by the household as well as industrial waste products. Americans produced about 226.8 million kilograms of garbage in 2010 according to the Reports of Environmental Protection Agency.
- The waste materials may comprise of grass clippings, clothing, plastic items, scraps, paint, newspapers, and batteries among others. Just a meager 34 percent of these waste products are recycled.
- Food is another big contributor of landfill waste products. As per the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40 percent of food products in the United States are trashed every single year.
- Industrial and commercial waste also makes up a huge portion of solid waste. As per the research reports of the University of Utah, industries utilize 1.8 million kg of raw materials for providing an average family with the necessary items in a year.
- Hazardous waste can comprise of any liquid, sludge or solid waste containing the properties that are potentially detrimental to human and animal health. Such waste can come from petroleum and mining refineries, pesticide manufacturing establishments and other industrial firms.
- Water pollution can take place when dangerous chemicals or other foreign substances are introduced to water such as sewage, chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers or harmful metals like mercury.
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the most commonly found contaminants of the United States are mercury, bacteria, nitrogen and phosphorus.
- Nutrient pollution or eutrophication is also another potential cause of water pollution. It is caused when nutrients like nitrogen are added to water bodies via agricultural run-off. This leads to the growth of excessive amounts of algae that block the sunlight leading to the death of aquatic plants. The decomposition of these plants causes a dearth of oxygen and kills fishes and other aquatic animals.
How to reduce/prevent pollution
The survival of our planet can only be ensured by reducing the growing rates of pollution. It is no surprise that there are toxins in the air we breathe and the water we drink and pollution is everywhere surrounding us. If left unabated, this pollution would manifest its effects until saps away all lives from this planet. It is, therefore, important to take immediate steps for reducing pollution.
- We must opt for a cycle ride or even walk down the road for a short trip in place of traveling by People should also be encouraged to travel in public commutes for significant reduction of carbon emissions.
- You should make sure that your car is regularly maintained and serviced. The general rule of thumb is to get an oil change after every 3 months, keeping tires inflated and get the parts replaced as per the maker’s recommendations.
- Choosing organic products yielded by sustainable farming methods would also reduce soil pollution to a great extent.
- Opt for sustainable energy choices and turn off the lights, fans, heater or air-conditioner when you are not in the room.
- You must not only recycle whenever you can but also purchase reusable items. It is also important to learn how to dispose of waste products in the right way.
Pollution for kids
Kids breathe in more air than adults which makes them more vulnerable to air pollution. Their organs also develop till their late teen years and studies show that these developing organs including the lungs are more sensitive to the toxic effects of air pollution. Children belonging to any of the intrauterine or perinatal or early stages of their lives are at a greater risk of being affected by air pollution. The air pollutants also interact with other components of the environment such as allergens, bacteria, and virus which have a harmful impact on the overall health of a child.
Human activities are contaminating ecosystems all over the world and it has affected to such an extent that toxins can be found in the blood of animals residing in Arctic regions and even pristine Equatorial rain forests. It is crucial to take radical steps without any delay to save the mother earth.