In nowadays world pollution occupies one of the first and the most pivotal places among the global problems. Pollution is a process of discharging of pollutants into the atmosphere that causes divergent changes. In other words pollution is a kind of a supplement to the environment which in all cases brings negative and destructive effects on it. For over the centuries pollution affected the lives of millions of people in many ways that led to numeral health problems and a lot of deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that environmental exposures conduce to more than 19 % of cancer rate around the globe. Moreover, WHO reported five environmental issues that are responsible for 10 % of diseases and deaths. Among them sanitation and hygiene, urban air pollution, perilous water, indoor smoke caused by solid fuels and climate change (Phipps, 1995).
Basically, there exist three main types of pollution:
- Water pollution;
- Air pollution;
- Land pollution (Phipps, 1995).
Water pollution occurs when toxic material reaches the streams, rivers, lakes, seas, oceans and other water terrains and start to disintegrate or simply lie down there. Such a pollution tremendously modify the ecosystem. In many cases pollutants also flow down and have influence on the groundwater deposits.
Conventional pollutants (or classical) are the kind of pollutants that are produced directly through the human input of waste disposals. They are dangerous due to the quick urbanization and increase of population while treatment resources cannot cope with them. Conventional pollutants usually cause innumerable quantity of water pollution issues. For instance, the excess of solids stop the Sun energy causing the carbon dioxide-oxygen conversion process. As a result of this process, the water becomes undesirable for drinking and for crop irrigation. Moreover, in the places where organic-carbon is too high, excessive oxygen consumption can lead to the oxygen depression, as a result of which a big amount of water organisms, that require oxygen, are killed or stop to grow (Kjellstrom, 2008).
To the contrary, nonconventional pollutants are toxic and nontoxic metals which dismiss into the water as a by-product of manufactures or as a fundamental part of marketable products. Approximately 13000 oil spills of different size happen in the United States of America every year. Furthermore, coal mining releases acid wastes that get into the water. Nonconventional pollutants range from biologically inert materials (iron and clay) to very toxic and insidious ones (mirex, kepone and polychlorinated biphenyl).
There are several types of water pollution, which are:
- Toxic substances. These are chemical pollutants which are forming in water system in unnatural ways. They are pesticides, herbicides and other manufacturing elements.
- Organic substances. It happens in cases when a surplus of organic materials, such as sewage and manure get into the water. It means that when the number of these elements grow in a pond or river, the quantity of decomposers will definitely get bigger. These kinds of decomposers grow fast and utilize a great number of oxygen while growing. Moreover, this causes the depletion of oxygen that kills the water organisms. As a result, the death of the organisms leads to the further depletion of the oxygen levels. The other way of forming the organic pollution is when phosphates and nitrogen gather in a water system. The excess of these elements result into a rapid growth of plants and algae. When they die, they turn into the organic elements that usually lowers the level of the oxygen in the water.
- Thermal pollution. It occurs in cases when water system is utilized as a coolant at the power plant and then is returned to its primer surrounding with the higher temperature than usually. In most cases this kind of pollution causes the oxygen level decrease in the water; however, at the sme time it increases the biological need for oxygen of water organisms.
- Ecological pollution. It happens when organic pollution together with the chemical and thermal pollution are the results of nature intrusion rather than human. One pattern of ecological pollution is an escalated level of siltation of a waterway after landslip that increases a number of deposits in the runoff water. Another pattern is the situation when a big animal, such as bear, drowns in a flood and, as a result, a huge number of organic elements get into the water. Besides, one more example of ecological pollution occurs after a volcano eruption (Kjellstrom, 2008).
One of the most serious sources of water pollution is farming. Farms usually utilize a big amount of pesticides and herbicides which are considered to be extremely toxic pollutants. These elements are totally hazardous to life in streams, lakes, and rivers. Farms often utilize chemical fertilizers, which are washed into the waterway and ruin the water supply. These fertilizers are able to enlarge a number of nitrates and phosphates in the water that usually leads to eutrophication (Kjellstrom, 2008).
Another important source of water pollution is mining. It appeared that ore is very toxic and hazardous when getting into water. Other elements, such as nickel, chromium and copper are considered to be fundamental micronutrients, however, in large amounts they can damage the health. The copper availability in the water is a result of corrosion of water pipes. The surplus of it can make the water bluish green and give it a taste of a metal (Kjellstrom, 2008).
Water pollution control (WPC) is insisting on measures to be taken in order to reduce the amount of chemicals getting into the water. A big variety of technical methods are available to sieve the waste from industrial processes in order to reduce several serious diseases which may occur as a result of drinking contaminated water. Some of them are:
- Typhoid fever;
- Hookworm, ascariasis, giardiasis;
- Hepatitis, encephalitis, diarrhea and stomach ache;
- Liver and kidney damage;
Another type of pollution is called air pollution. It can damage the environment and human health in several ways. A lot of scientists assume that nowadays air pollution causes a big variety of health problems, which are: exacerbation of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases; deterioration of lung functioning; high possibility of difficulties with breathing and coughing; high receptivity to respiratory infections; disastrous effects on the nervous system, such as nervous breakdown, memory worsening, IQ loss; cancer and early death. Some people suffering from pre-existing heart and lung disease (for instance, asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart failure) are more vulnerable to air pollution effects. According to statistics, in 2008, more than 127000000 habitants lived in cities where the level of air quality standards surpassed the norm twice (Daly, 2007).
Air pollutants are grouped into suspended particulate matter (PM) (mists, smokes, fumes and dusts); gaseous pollutants (vapors and gases); and odors. Suspended particulate matter are classified in accordance with total suspended particles, such as: finer fraction PM 10, that usually reaches and hurts the alveoli and more dangerous PM 2,5. Kinds of suspended PM involve coal fly ash, mineral dust (limestone, asbestos, and cement), wood smoke, acid mists, metal dust and pesticide mists. Gaseous pollutants consist of SO2 and sulfur trioxide, nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, polycyclic, and ammonia (Daly, 2007).
Generally, outdoor air pollution is a result of combustion of petroleum products or coal by power stations or motor vehicles. In some places, agricultural waste and wood combustion is an additional significant source of air pollution.
As it was said before, air pollution can also destroy the environment. Indeed, ozone can ruin greenery, namely influencing on growth of pplants and trees. As a result of this, it may decrease the capacity of plants to absorb carbon dioxide which may further lead to affection of the entire ecosystem. Furthermore, visibility is decreased by these particles in the air which disperse and absorb light. In fact, the standard visual level in the east of the United States is approximately 15-30 miles, while in the western parts it ranges from 60 to 90 miles (Daly, 2007).
There are different kinds of air pollution, some of them visible and others are not; however both of these kinds lead to global warming. Smog which is hovering over the world is one of the most apparent and recognized type of air pollution. Carbon dioxide, known as a greenhouse gas, is the core pollutant that contributes to the Global Warming. People absorb elements of carbon dioxide when they breathe. Typically, these elements are results of emissions of cars, planes, power plants and many other factors that include burning the fossil fuels (Daly, 2007).
Another element of pollution that results into climate changes is sulfur dioxide, one of the components of smog. This element is also known for its ability to cause acid rains. Nevertheless, it also reflects light when emitted in the atmosphere that gives the possibility to keep sunlight out and make Earth cool. Volcanic eruptions can produce a huge amount of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere that may cause cooling for many years.
The last, but not the least type of pollution is land pollution. It is known as a conglomeration of toxic elements, radioactive materials and chemicals in the soil that lead to damaging effects on flora growth and fauna health. There are numeral ways of polluting the soil, some of them are as follows:
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- Dismiss of the manufacturing waste into the soil;
- Penetration of contaminated water into the soil;
- Fracture of underground storage tanks;
- Surplus of pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides into the soil.
There are three basic types of land pollution:
- Agricultural soil pollution. It includes pollution of surface soil and underground soil pollution;
- Soil pollution due to the manufacturing flow and solid wastes. It involves surface soil pollution and interference in soil profile;
- Pollution as a result of urban activities. It occurs in consequence of surface soil pollution and pollution of underground soil (DeGeorges, 2010).
Faced with the numerous issues which concern to environment pollution, government all over the world takes considerable measure in order to improve the situation. These measures are called pollution prevention that promises serious steps for saving the environment and human being. It provides a deep examination of the root of the problem and then its exclusion or, at least, improvement. Pollution prevention program includes:
- Rebuilding products in order to cause less pollution at manufactures;
- Adjusting the process of production as a means to decreasing the utilize of toxic elements;
- Establishing better and advanced housekeeping practices in order to reduce leaks and releases from production;
- Reducing the consumption of energy (DeGeorges, 2010).
All in all, we are the part and parcel of the planet and we have to do our utmost to save our doubly precious environment. It is the pivotal question on the agenda, how to do that? For years people investigated the ways of turning the water into an alternative source of energy. But, to be honest, it’s in vain. Nobody really have a clue how to do it properly. If only every person in this world would leave no stone unturned in order to save the Earth, things would be different. This is a vital issue to speculate about. Everything that happens in our environment is not a haphazard process. That is why we must never lose sight of environmental protection and must keep in mind that we are humans in this world and our role is to cherish it.
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