Environmental Pollution | 7 Types of Pollution and their Alarming Effects

Environmental Pollution | Image Source: Freepick created by vectorpocket

Environmental pollution is described as “the contamination of the earth/atmosphere system’s physical and biological components to the point where normal environmental processes are negatively affected.”

Environmental pollution is not a new issue, but it is still the world’s most serious problem and one of the top causes of disease and mortality among humans. Human activities such as-

  • urbanisation,
  • industrialisation,
  • mining
  • exploration

All contribute to global environmental degradation. This responsibility is shared by both developed and developing countries, with developed countries doing a better job of environmental preservation due to increased awareness and tighter legislation.

Despite the fact that pollution has garnered widespread attention, the consequences of its severe long-term consequences are still felt.

It is also a barrier to the profitable extraction of coal reserves.

  • The standards for environmental protection in developed countries are stricter than in underdeveloped countries.
  • As a result, obtaining a licence to open mines entails time-consuming procedures that generate delays.
  • In addition, Indian authorities have begun to impose strict environmental pollution regulations.
  • As a result, environmental problems can be completely avoided, although such solutions are expensive.
  • Deforestation, land degradation, water pollution and hydrological damage, air pollution, noise pollution, ground vibration and rock dispersal, and aesthetic impact are some of the environmental repercussions of mining and processing coal reserves.
  • Because the scope of individual mining operations is expanding as mining of lower-grade resources expands, such environmental repercussions are increasing day by day.
  • Pollution of soil and water is one of the most serious issues that threaten biodiversity, ecosystems, and human health around the world. To combat the harmful effects of environmental contaminants, plants use a variety of physiological, biochemical, and molecular processes.

●⫸ What are the Pollutants:

Pollutants are numerous contaminants that have entered the environment as a result of both human and natural sources, resulting in pollution. Both life and the environment are endangered by these toxic substances. Pollutants are defined as “waste substances that contaminate the water, air, or soil,” according to the WordWeb Dictionary.

In a developing country like India, the application of environmental standards as a decision-making factor must be carefully evaluated. If developed-country criteria are adopted in India, expenses will skyrocket. As a result, the standards chosen should be suitable for the economic status of the country.

There are different types of pollutants, according to environmentalists and scientists, and they are categorised according to the type of pollution they create, such as water, air, soil, noise, and radioactive contamination. Thermal, plastic, agricultural, and light pollution are some of the other forms.

What are the major outdoor pollutants?

1. Ozone:

The emissions from a mechanic or a print shop are not only unhealthy to breathe, but they also add to the haze that plagues our cities. Ground-level ozone (sometimes known as “bad” ozone) is produced by a chemical interaction between man-made VOCs and nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight. 

This helps to explain why ozone levels are higher—and thus more dangerous—during the summer. Ground-level ozone is produced by toxic industrial chemicals and the combustion of fossil fuels.

2. Nitrogen Oxides:

A collection of chemicals known as nitrogen oxides is another harmful type of urban air pollution. They are highly reactive as well as odorless. Particulate matter (PM) and ozone are formed when they react in the air.

Vehicles, power plants, and other forms of fuel combustion are major contributors to nitrogen oxides.

3. Carbon Monoxide:

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is colourless and odourless. While it is commonly viewed as an interior issue, it is also a significant source of outdoor pollution.

4. Sulphur dioxide:

If you ever walk alongside a busy road, a large truck or bus may pass you by, enveloping you in a thick cloud of noxious fumes. The sulfur dioxide in that cloud is one of a group of extremely reactive gases known as sulfur oxides, and it comes from burning fuel.

These gases react in the air to generate particulate matter, which causes smog in high concentrations.

Fuel combustion from industry and power plants, as well as ships and heavy equipment vehicles, are all significant sources of SO2. Natural sources of SO2 emissions include volcanoes.

5. Particulate Matter:

You’ve probably strolled outside your apartment in a metropolis and seen a layer of grey haze that makes it difficult to see the landscape kilometers ahead.

When there are excessive levels of particulate matter (PM) in the air, a haze emerges.PM is a size-categorized mixture of solids or liquid droplets in the air:

    • PM10 refers to inhalable particles with a diameter of less than or equal to 10 micrometres. Dust, pollen, and mould are examples.
    • PM2.5: Particles with a diameter of less than or equal to 2.5 micrometres. To put this in context, they are about 1/30th of a human hair strand (too small for the human eye to see).
6. Plastic:

This is one of the most common pollutants in the environment, and it has one of the most serious consequences.

The phrase “plastic pollution” was coined as a result of the world’s excess of plastics.

Plastic is utilised practically everywhere, including to contain and package foods, drinks, and chemicals, as well as to serve as a raw material for a variety of items. Plastic is used in the production of more than 60% of all items.

To make matters worse, nearly all single-use objects are composed of plastic, which is discarded after use. These plastics wind up in landfills, waterways, oceans, rivers, and streams, poisoning drinking and residential water supplies.

●⫸Types of Pollution:

The seven different types of Pollution are:-

1. Water Pollution:

The contamination of bodies of water, especially groundwater, is referred to as this sort of pollution. Because all living things rely on water to survive, water contamination has an impact on every level of the ecosystem, including human health. Industrial waste, insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, detergents, and oil spills are all common sources of water contamination.

These contaminants can kill organisms through toxicity (industrial waste, insecticides) or reduce oxygen levels in the water (a process known as Eutrophication) by shutting out sunlight (detergents, oil).

2. Air Pollution:

Partially combusted exhaust gases, dangerous gases produced as a by-product of industry, such as sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide, and carcinogenic gases generated by the burning of plastic, rubber, and wood are the most prevalent sources of air pollution.

When a substance, such as friable asbestos fibers, is disturbed and released into the air, particle pollution can result.

Air pollution poisons live species that breathe it in, or it disturbs the atmosphere, causing acid rain by combining with their air and clouds. Particle pollution occurs when particles such as asbestos fibers become airborne and inhaled, irritating the respiratory system and causing cancer.

3. Soil Pollution:

Soil can be depleted of nutrients (and thus fertility) by a variety of chemical agents, and this is referred to as soil pollution.

Pesticides, insecticides, agricultural chemicals, industrial waste, and radioactive waste are all common sources of soil pollution. Plants rely on the nutrients in the soil to thrive, yet many of these chemical compounds absorb the nitrogenous molecules that the plants need to thrive.

Soil contamination, in addition to leaving a region barren, is a common cause of erosion, as plants and other living organisms play a critical part in holding the soil together. The earth cracks and begins to disintegrate when they die.

Types of Pollution
Types of Pollution | Image Source: LTG
4. Thermal Pollution:

Many industries produce heat as a by-product, and this thermal energy, if released into the environment, contributes to global warming.

Thermal energy is released into the air and bodies of water by manufacturing businesses. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, however, it can have a significant impact on local ecosystems.

The issue is caused by an oversupply of carbon dioxide in the environment. Because carbon dioxide prevents heat from leaving the atmosphere, the heat from the sun, combined with surplus thermal energy produced as a by-product of many businesses and vehicles, cannot escape, raising the temperature of the atmosphere.

5. Radioactive Pollution:

Radioactive contamination occurs when radioactive metals dissolve, releasing beta rays that can cause a variety of mutative disorders in living creatures. As the name implies, radioactive contamination is mostly caused by the nuclear power industry, either through the inadvertent release of radioactive compounds when a nuclear reactor is damaged or through the dumping or improperly disposed of radioactive waste that finds its way into bodies of water.

Once the radioactive waste has been released into the environment, it can stay for decades, rendering vast swaths of land unfit for human habitation.

6. Noise Pollution:

Noise pollution is defined as an excess of unpleasant sounds discharged into the environment by industry, infrastructure, heavy machinery, transportation, and even human activities. Noise pollution has been associated with increased stress levels, hearing loss, hypertension, depression, sleep difficulties, and an increase in the prevalence of coronary artery disease in humans.

Noise pollution also limits the quantity of desirable wildlife habitat because it interferes with sounds and communication, making it difficult for animals to navigate, mate, and detect predators or prey.

7. Light Pollution:

Light pollution is caused by the excessive, intrusive, and misguided use of light in human habitation and industry. Light pollution is described as the human-induced change of natural light levels in both indoor and outdoor situations. Headaches, weariness, worry, and anxiety are all symptoms of light pollution.

Light pollution disturbs ecosystems by making animal navigation more difficult, changing predator-prey relationships, disturbing plant growth and pollination, and modifying competitor interactions.

●⫸ Causes of Pollution:

◆ The combustion of fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal.

◆ The fumes from your automobiles’ exhaust.

◆ Garbage contamination causes landfill waste mismanagement.

◆ Noxious odors or off-gassing from plastics, paints, and other materials Nuclear accidents or radiation leaks.

◆ Oil spills Litter on every corner or by the side of the road.

◆ Unsustainable forestry operations have left a trail of debris and harm.

◆ Pesticides and other chemicals are used in agriculture.

◆ Accidents involving nuclear power plants or radiation spills.

◆ Humans and their activities, garbage collectors, and waste disposal contractors all contribute to the mishandling of solid waste.

◆ After a picnic or get-together, irresponsible beachgoers litter and leave their rubbish behind.

◆ Non-biodegradable plastic, both hard and soft, remains on the soil for thousands of years or forever.

●⫸ Effects of Pollution:

◆ Excessive fuel burning, which is a requirement in our daily life for cooking, driving, and other industrial activities, emits a massive amount of chemical chemicals into the atmosphere every day. These pollutants damage the atmosphere over time.

◆ We inhale every contaminated particle in the air, thereby increasing our risk of asthma and lung cancer.

◆ Water pollution causes severe contamination over time, resulting in the extinction of aquatic organisms.

◆ If left unchecked for a long time, the same groundwater will become toxic, resulting in a variety of health problems in the future.

◆ Eutrophication blocks sunlight from penetrating, reducing oxygen levels and making the water uninhabitable.

◆ Water pollution not only damages aquatic creatures but also contaminates the entire food chain, causing serious consequences for humans who rely on them. Water-borne diseases such as cholera and diarrhea have also become more prevalent in all areas.

◆ The use of insecticides and pesticides removes nitrogen molecules from the soil, rendering it unfit for plant feeding.

◆ Plants that are unable to grow effectively are unable to hold the soil in place, resulting in soil erosion.

◆ Noise pollution has an impact on human health, sleep, and total rest hours. It could also hurt children’s growth and cause blood pressure and heart rate imbalances in the elderly.

◆ When radioactive pollution occurs, it is extremely harmful. It can happen as a result of nuclear plant failures, inappropriate nuclear waste disposal, accidents, and so on. It causes cancer, infertility, blindness, and birth deformities; it sterilizes soil and affects air and water.

◆ Because of the large number of industrial plants, deforestation, urban sprawl, and pollution, It raises the temperature of the globe, resulting in significant climatic changes and the loss of biodiversity.

●⫸ Prevention of Environmental Pollution

Some effective ways to reduce pollution are :-

Save The Earth
Save The Earth | Image Source: Freepick

◆ Conserve energy wherever you are: at home, at work, and everywhere else.

◆ When purchasing a home or office equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR label.

◆ Whenever possible, carpool, take public transportation, bike, or walk.

◆ For optimum vapor recovery, follow the gasoline refilling instructions, be cautious not to spill fuel, and tighten your gas cap securely.

◆ Consider buying “spill-proof” portable fuel containers if they are available.

◆ Make sure your car, boat, and other engines are tuned properly.

◆ Make sure your tires are filled appropriately.

◆ Use environmentally friendly paints and cleaning chemicals whenever possible.

◆ Leaves and yard waste should be composted or mulched.

◆ Instead of using wood, consider using gas logs.