While passing from the road we see many people covering their nose and moving faster than usual. Why did they do so? Of course,
The answer is environmental pollution.
Environmental pollution is the accumulation of unwanted or harmful matter in the wrong place or anything released into the environment.
In other words,
pollution is the undesirable change in the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of the environment which may cause adverse effects on all the living beings.
The problem that humans and other species face making in their life is nothing but environmental pollution.
Environmental pollution affects various components of the environment such as air, water, soil, etc, which is one of the major causes of imbalance in the ecosystem.
As a result, it causes negative impacts on living beings.
For example, air pollution results in various airborne diseases, water pollution causes various waterborne disease and so on.
The rate of environmental pollution is higher than ever before.
Only about a handful of countries are free from this devastating problem of pollution.
If we will not solve the problem of environmental pollution, we may suffer from different diseases and infections.
Now, we are going to study the causes, effects, and preventive measures of air, water and land pollution as well as the management and conservation of forests and sources of water.
For the well being of living beings, fresh air is the most important element.
Air pollution is the undesirable change in the physical or biotic elements of the environment which may cause adverse effects to the biotic community.
We can divide pollutants into two categories on the basis of their production. They are
1. Primary pollutants
Primary pollutants are the pollutants which are directly emitted to the environment from the source.
For example, nitrogen derivatives, oxides, halogens, etc.
2. Secondary pollutants
Secondary pollutants are the pollutants which are not directly emitted but are formed when primary pollutants chemically react in the atmosphere.
For example, ozone, formaldehyde, acetyl nitrate, etc.
Dust particles which emit from industries and factories, pollutants from burning coal and improper management of waste products, smoke which emits from vehicles, etc. are the major cause of air pollution.
Sources of air pollution
a) Natural sources
These sources of air pollution are directly related to the activities of nature. Example, volcano eruption, forest fire, dust storms, etc.
b) Artificial sources
The sources of air pollution which are not naturally made but caused due to human activities are called artificial sources.
CO, CO2, NO, NO2, SO2, CL2, NH3, etc, gases that emit by burning fuel, industrialization, overpopulation, deforestation, automobile, nuclear explosions, etc are the artificial sources of air pollution.
Effects of air pollution
Air pollution may cause various short and long term effects in the elements of the environment and human health. The effects of air pollution are as follows
a) Reduction in the visibility
When various gases and dust particles mix in the atmosphere, it makes the sky blurry. This is why people living in the city areas cannot enjoy the clear sky.
Due to fog and smog, people cannot see nearby objects clearly which makes it much risky to drive vehicles and fly aeroplanes.
b) Reduction in solar radiation
The areas where air pollution is high, dust particles absorb solar radiation and move it to various places.
Because of this, the amount of solar radiation require to reach the surface cannot get there and there will be a reduction of solar radiation.
On the other hand, the temperature of other areas increases drastically which is harmful to living beings.
c) Greenhouse effect
Because of air pollution,
various greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, ozone, sulphur dioxide, etc are continuously produced, act as a blanket in the atmosphere, which traps the radiation and it does not let the heat escape to outer space.
This causes a rapid increase in the temperature of the earth.
We know this as a greenhouse effect.
d) Adverse effect on human health
Air pollution directly deteriorating health condition of humans.
Gases like carbon monoxide cause headache, nausea, difficulty in breathing, etc.
Nitrogen oxide causes stinging of the eyes, coughing, headache, dry throat, congestion, etc.
It may also cause insomnia, laziness, etc.
e) Depletion of the ozone layer
The chemicals causing ozone layer depletion are mainly chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, methyl bromide, etc, emits from the air pollution.
These compounds decompose in the atmosphere and from nascent hydrogen, chlorine, bromine, etc, and deplete the ozone layer.
f) Acid rain
The process of deposition of acid gases like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, etc from the atmosphere on land in the form of water is called acid rain.
In the atmosphere, these oxides are unable to remain in the gaseous state and hence they react with moisture to form acids which fall into the earth as acid rain.
Acid rain destroys buildings, monuments, statues, bridges, etc.
g) Destruction of historical monuments
Over a long period of time, air pollution can damage various monuments and buildings of historical importance permanently lowering their eastern.
We can take the example of Taj Mahal in India which is damaging because of excessive pollution.
h) Inhibition in biological growth of plants
Sunlight is very important for plants to prepare their food through photosynthesis.
But increasing air pollution reduction in solar radiation because of which plant do not get enough light for their proper growth and development.
This causes inhibition in biological growth of plants.
i) Change in climate
Air pollution causes dust as well as gases to collect in the atmosphere which increases the temperature in some places and decreases the temperature in other places.
Because of this, ice melts and it may cause floods in some region and drought in other regions.
Measures to control air pollution
In order to prevent any further air pollution, we can implement the following measures are as follows
1) We can control the emission of air pollutants from industries by using electrostatic precipitators or filters.
2) People must construct industries and factories far from human settlements.
3) We should control overpopulation.
4) The government should ban cheap fuels with higher sulphur content and the use of desulphurized coal should be encouraged.
5) Along the sides of roads, we should plant trees which helps to minimize the content of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
6) We should use alternative sources of energy such as solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, etc.
7) We should conduct various awareness programmes about the effects of air pollution.
Water in its purest form is colourless and odourless. But due to various human as well as natural activities, many pollutants enter the sources of water. This causes the water to be unsafe for daily usage.
Water pollution is an undesirable change in the physical and biotic element of water. It regarded the quality of water which may cause serious health problems.
Sources of Water Pollution
Although both human and natural activities cause water pollution, mostly human is only responsible for this problem.
Natural causes may be mixing of dust in sources of water, production of bacteria and harmful germs in the water.
Thus, the causes of water pollution are as follows
a) Sewage water
The liquid waste discharged from industrial as well as domestic sources is called sewage.
This sewage without any treatment is directly discharged into sources of water like rivers, lakes, etc, causes water pollution.
This activity results in the spread of water-borne diseases as well as the depletion of aquatic life.
b) Contaminated Water from Industries
Along with the production of various useful products from industries, they also produce various chemicals, papers and radioactive substances which directly discharges into the sources of water without any treatment. Thus, the water will neither be capable of holding aquatic life nor will be fit for human use.
c) Radioactive substances
Radioactive substances that release from mines through various means mix with the source of water. Because of this, it may be harmful to plants and animals including humans.
Measures to Control Water Pollution
We can control water pollution in the following ways. They are
1) We must recycle wastes.
2) We should properly dispose of the dead bodies of human as well as other animals.
3) We should keep clean to our surrounding sources of water.
4) We should encourage the use of compost manure during cultivation rather than using chemical fertilizers.
5) The government should build a proper drainage system.
Soil is a vital part of living beings because it provides a habitat to animals, plants, human and basically every living being in the world.
Soil provides necessary moisture as well as minerals to support plant life.
Plant prevent erosion and many natural disasters.
Many insects and microbes live in the soil. Therefore, the soil is an important element for insects, plants, animals and humans.
Soil pollution is the degradation of soil due to the presence of various harmful chemicals altering the natural state of the soil.
Soil pollution is harmful to plants as well as any other forms of life.
Farmers use insecticides, pesticides, and various fertilizers in an excess amount which not only degrades the quality of soil such as soil texture, water holding capacity, etc but also minimize the crop yield.
This also kills various useful animals living inside the soil.
In other words, we can say that Soil pollution is the physical and chemical properties of the land change and cause burn to plants as well as animals.
Sources of Soil Pollution
There are various sources of land/soil pollution such as domestic wastes, industrial wastes, use of pesticides, and use of chemical fertilizers, etc.
These sources of soil pollution are as follows
a) Domestic wastes
We use many products, both edible and non-edible in our daily life.
Domestic wastes include waste products such as dust, excreta, plastic, paper, etc.
When these wastes come in contact with land/soil, it may produce harmful microbes which also supports in the formation of various diseases and it causes soil pollution.
Soil pollution degrades the fertility of the soil which results in less crop production.
b) Industrial wastes
Industries manufacture many useful objects but also produces many harmful substances like chemicals, metals, nonmetals, waste products, etc which cause harm to the natural quality of the soil which pollute it and degrade the crop yield.
c) Use of pesticides
Farmer’s main job is to cultivate various crops. However, sometimes various insects and pests attack their crop.
In order to protect the crops from any damage, farmers use many chemical compounds.
These chemical compounds protect the crop from insect but they also pollute the soil.
Due to this reason, people consider insecticides, fungicides, weedicides, etc, as pollutants.
The most dangerous substances that cause soil pollution are DDT, Dieldrin, Aldrin, parathion, etc.
d) Use of chemical fertilizers
Farmer’s use many fertilizers to increase the productivity and fertility of the soil.
These fertilizers contain various elements such as Arsenic (As), Barium (Ba), Calcium (Ca), Cobalt (Co), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Mercury (Hg), Lead (Pb), etc.
These elements are responsible for killing various useful living organisms in the soil and also causing an imbalance in the nutrients if the soil.
Measures to Control Soil Pollution
The following measures to control soil pollution are as follows
1) We must replace the use of harmful chemical fertilizers by compost manure in order to maximize the crop yield.
2) Farmers should minimize the use of insecticides and pesticides.
3) People must establish proper disposal of domestic wastes.
4) Farmers should not irrigate the field by unsafe water.
5) People working in industries should decompose radioactive substances properly.
6) The government must build a proper drainage system for the disposal of human excreta.
7) People must plant trees in order to prevent soil erosion, landslides and floods, etc.
8) People must minimize the use of materials that do not decay over a certain period of time.
9) The government should run various agriculture programmes for farmers.
10) People must implement soil conservation methods to preserve the soil.
Conservation and management of forest
Forest plays a vital role in balancing the ecosystem. It provides habitats to various animals and micro-organisms.
Many insects as well as plant mix in the soil which increases the quality and fertility of soil every year.
Places with a high density of trees and forests do not suffer from natural calamities like landslides, soil erosion, etc.
Forests also cause rainfall and provide various herbs and medicines which doctor used to treat various diseases.
Forests also provide fresh oxygen which purifies air by inhaling the harmful carbon dioxide.
So forests are very important for all living beings and we must preserve our forests.
But, nowadays, forests are being cut down at a faster rate than ever.
Thus, if we will not control deforestation in time, the results will be very bad for us.
For the conservation of forests, we should implement the following measures. They are as follows,
1) We should use systematic and scientific ways to cut down and plant trees.
2) We should preserve forest fire.
3) The government should implement strict rules for the conservation of forests.
4) We should plant trees in bare fields and steep slopes and also we should encourage terrace farming.
5) The government should run an awareness programme about the importance of forests.