In the post-industrial world that we reside in, pollution is one of the ill effects of the rapid progress made by mankind. Pollution is nothing but the contamination of the environment around us. Mainly caused due to human activities, it can also result due to natural disasters. It has a severe form of detrimental effect on any living organism, making it virtually impossible to sustain. Without pollution control, the waste products, emitted due to human activities, tend to accumulate or disperse and degrade the environment. As such, control of emissions and effluents into the air, water or soil is required, along with other methods of pollution prevention and waste minimization. In order to curb the growing menace of pollution of various forms, many nations all across the globe have enacted legislation of pollution control. This article entails the different kinds of pollution which affect us.
Different Kinds Of Pollution
A disturbance in the composition of the compounds which make up the atmosphere is called air pollution. The imbalance can occur due to the excessive emission of gases or vapors into the atmosphere, saturation of the chemical compounds or particulate matters or atmospheric chemical reactions of various reactive and non-biodegradable compounds. Few commonly seen effects of air pollution are global warming, acid rain, smog and ozone depletion. Major activities which lead to contamination of atmospheric air include motor vehicle exhausts, fertilizer plants, industrial processes, automobile manufacturing, demolition of buildings, construction of roadways, disposal of solid waste, volcanic eruption, manufacturing of electrical components, extraction of metals, forest fires and numerous other activities.
When the original quality of water deteriorates due to the contamination by foreign matter, it is called water pollution. This form of pollution can occur due to release of toxic substances, pathogenic germs, substances which require a large quantity of oxygen to decompose, or radioactive substances which tend to accumulate and interfere with the aquatic ecosystem. For instance, when a water body is enriched with nutrients, it leads to an excessive growth of algae, which, in turn, leads to lack of oxygen in the water body. This condition is called eutrophication. The major sources which lead to water pollution are petroleum products, synthetic agricultural chemicals, heavy metals, hazardous wastes, excess organic matter, sediment and infectious organisms. Even, air, thermal and soil pollution lead to water pollution as well.
Any form of alteration in the soil chemical composition leads to soil pollution. This form of pollution occurs due to deposition of solid waste in the soil, accumulation of non-biodegradable substances or toxification of chemicals into poisons. Not following proper soil management methods, excessive tillage of soil resulting in the deterioration of soil structure, improper irrigation practices, no proper supply of organic matter in the soil or poorly drained soil can lead to soil pollution. Few major sources of this category of pollution include agriculture, mining and quarrying, demolitions and construction activities, sewage sludge and industrial wastes.
The amount of noise pollution is synonymous to the standard of living of a particular country. This form of pollution is caused when a particular sound reaches an unfavorably high intensity and in turn causes adverse effects on our daily mechanisms. The intensity of noise is measured in decibels and the scale by which it is measured is logarithmic. This implies that a 10 decibel increase in noise results in the doubling of loudness. While noises above 45 decibels can disturb a person’s sleep, noises above 120 decibels can cause hearing impairment.
Although nuclear energy is said to be a clean form of energy because it does not release pollutants such as carbon dioxide, the waste resulted from a nuclear reaction leads to a form of pollution known as radioactive pollution. When a radioactive element becomes unstable and begins to decay in order to regain molecular stability, the process is known as radioactivity. There are three types of radiation: alpha rays, beta rays and gamma rays. While alpha radiation can be blocked by a piece of paper as well as human skin, beta particles can penetrate through the skin but can be blocked by a piece of glass or metal. Gamma rays, in turn, penetrate through the human skin and damage cells on its way. They can be only blocked by a massive piece of concrete. Major sources which can cause radioactive pollution are nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons, improper disposal of nuclear waste and uranium mining.