The report is related to one of the most important problem which has to be dealt with in the environment, pollution. Our report commences with a brief introduction of pollution. The report then explains what air pollution is and how various pollutants causes’ air pollution. It is then followed by the impact of air pollution on living beings and the environment. It also discusses how air pollution can be prevented like using different energy sources, managing vehicles, reducing deforestation, etc. As the report progresses, it explains what water pollution is and the various sources which cause water pollution through disposal of wastes. ………………..Furthermore, the report gives ‘Dell’ as an example, an industry which highly contributes towards reducing pollution by taking some measures like, recycling products and minimizing waste during their procedures. The report then shows that while working towards reducing pollution, it still has some ill effects towards the environment. It is given that sulphur dioxide helps in cooling the planet and carbon dioxide is also very important for plants. Thus, reduction of these gases in the environment still affects the environment. To round up our report, we conclude that preventive measures have to be taken by people such that we all live a healthy life in a sustainable and a clean environment.
Pollution can be defined as an adverse state or condition of the natural environment. When impurities and other contaminations affect the earth’s assets, pollution is caused. In most cases it is the human activities that increase the intensity of pollution in the environment. It is said by Richard Buckminster Fuller that “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.” Here, the writer has defined pollution to be a result of human ignorance towards the value of natural resources. With so much diversity in the environment, the presence of several kinds of pollution is also evident. The two main classifications are Air pollution and Water Pollution. Each one has varied causes and preventive measures that are discussed further.
When certain kinds of substances have been emitted into the atmosphere such that they have a damaging effect on humans as well as the environment, air pollution is caused (National Geographic Society, n.d).
The substances causing air pollution are called pollutants. Various pollutants are responsible for this ongoing disaster; however the chief pollutant is carbon dioxide. Even though, all living creatures exhale carbon dioxide, pollution is caused by the release of carbon dioxide from automobiles, aircrafts, industries and due to various other human actions that include burning of fuels like petroleum and coal. Statistics show that in the last 150 years, the amount of carbon dioxide has increased tremendously as compared to earlier decades, and all of it due to activities executed by humans. Methane is also another, highly dangerous, green house gas. This is emitted from several sources like swamps, animal waste and also from chlorofluorocarbons. Fortunately, the use of chlorofluorocarbons as aerosol propellants and refrigerants has been banned due to its destructive impact on the earth’s ozone layer. The other major pollutant causing drastic climatic issues is sulphur dioxide that mainly is considered to cause pollution because of its presence in smog (National Geographic Society, n.d). Smog is composed of smoke and fog, and smoke consists of sulphur dioxide. Researchers have shown that smog causes the lining of the human nerves and throat to be stimulated. (National Air Emissions Inventory, 2008)
The impact of air pollution towards both, living beings and the environment has been very high. For humans, air pollution proves to be highly lethal and life taking. The World Health Organization reports that about 2 million people are suffering from diseases and fatalities caused by polluted air. Continuous exposure to pollutants causes various respiratory and cardiac diseases like acute vascular dysfunction, pneumonia, wheezing, coughing, asthma, cardiopulmonary disease, heart attack and more (Borade, 2010)
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The environment is also significantly affected due to the increasing pollution rate. As mentioned earlier, global warming is being caused due to growing levels of green house gases. The green house gases have been creating certain kind of “Holes” in the ozone layer of the earth’s atmosphere. The ozone layer above Antarctica and the Arctic has already started getting depleted, but if the pollution rate continues the way it is now, the depletion will spread further over various other continents and nations. This dangerous depletion is allowing ultraviolet radiations to reach the earth. Hence damaging and destroying several plantations, crops, vegetations and more. Mankind is also severely affected, as these ultraviolet rays cause skin cancer and cataracts which mostly prove to be life taking diseases (Columbia University Press, 2007).
Acid rain is another phenomena caused due to mixing of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide with atmospheric moisture, leading to formation of acids like sulphuric and nitric acid. In polluted countries, during monsoon, the rain which is otherwise supposed to be healthy for plants instead creates a negative effect on them. Microorganisms present on plants and also in the soil that are responsible for plant respiration, growth, and other plant processes, get destroyed in this rain, hence leading to inhibiting plant growth (Maya et al, 1998).
A very effective way to prevent air pollution is the use of various other energy sources like solar energy, hydroelectric energy and wind energy. As technology is developing, solar water heaters are used to generate electricity and also for household use like the ‘wind turbine’ (Sandhyarani. 2011). Planting trees can also prove to be of advantage. Deforestation has kept on increasing in recent times. Trees reduce pollution because they inhale carbon dioxide which is released by many automobiles, industries, and various other sources. It is very essential to plant trees as it is a natural source of reducing pollution (How to do things n.d.).A reduction in fuel usage can immensely reduce air pollution. Alternatives can be used instead of these sources for energy like solar or tidal energy which is natural and more eco friendly (How to do things n.d.). It is very important that the vehicles owned by people are well maintained and kept in good condition as it can also affect the environment. Regular servicing of cars and minimizing fuel exhaust can help reduce emission of pollutants to an extent. Also, whenever possible, using the public transport also contributes to prevent air pollution as the number of vehicles used reduces (Ways to Control Air Pollution 2010).
Water pollution can be considered as any physical, biological, or chemical change in water quality that adversely affects living organisms or makes water unsuitable for desired uses. The sources of water contamination can be natural, such as poison springs, oil seeps, and sedimentation from erosion. Apart from that water pollution can be caused by humans as well which affect water quality or usability. (Cunningham, 2001)
Pollution-control standards and regulations usually distinguish between point and nonpoint pollution sources. Factories, power plants, sewage treatment plants and oil wells can be regarded as point sources because they discharge pollution from specific locations, such as drain pipes, ditches, or sewer outfalls. These sources can be relatively easy to monitor and regulate and can be identified easily. It is generally possible to divert effluent from the waste streams of these sources and treat it before it enters the environment.
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On the other hand, nonpoint sources of water pollution are scatter or diffuse, having no specific location where they discharge into a particular body of water, non point sources include golf courses, lawns and gardens, construction sites, logging areas, roads, streets and parking lots. Nonpoint sources are often hard to regulate and monitor due to the irregular timing of certain events such as rainfall or drizzle which may flush high concentrations of gasoline, lead, oil, and rubber residues off streets.
Point sources can be fairly uniform and predictable throughout the year, whereas nonpoint sources are often highly episodic (Cunningham, 2001).
One very good example of an industry which contributes to prevent pollution is Dell. It was the No. 1 company in NEWSWEEK’s 2010 Green Rankings (An American weekly news magazine published in New York City). The company focuses mainly towards minimizing environmental effects through regular process work done within the company like designing and disposing the product. It aims to minimize waste, reuse and recycle products and also to extend the products life span which reduces energy consumption (Michael. 2008). As compared to their laptops made in 2005, the new laptops use 25% lesser energy. It has recycled 7.2 million pounds of recycled plastic from previous customers to make new laptops and computers. With a purchase of new Dell laptops or peripherals, the company accepts used Dell products and also competitor’s products to recycle free of cost (Green Rankings: The Top 10 in Newsweek, October 2010).
Benefits from Pollutants
After scanning through all air and water pollutants, it is observed that, knowing its ill effects, the presence of selective pollutants is significant. Sulphur dioxide which is an air pollutant, and which has disastrous effects on the environment, also aids in reducing global warming to a certain extend. A recent study showed that there are certain negative effects of having lower levels of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere, one of which is, a possible increment in global warming levels. Sulphur dioxide released by volcanoes tends to create a cooling impact on the planet, by obstructing the path of sunlight, hence reducing global warming (National Geographic Soceity, n.d). Also carbon dioxide, which is the chief pollutant, is needed by plants for one of its important life processes i.e. photosynthesis. However, the current ratio of these chemicals in the atmosphere is high and hence the implementation of preventive measures is mandatory.
Seeing the catastrophic effects of pollution, it is necessary that the human race puts the preventive measures into action. This is because the principles of pollution prevention imply that by reducing pollution people will have a more efficient and sustainable environment. Therefore, it is very important to prevent pollution and it is the responsibility of all individuals and organizations like the government, citizens, industries, etc to contribute to pollution prevention for the environment (Cowan et al. 2005).
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