Anything that spoils the natural environment is called pollution. According to Wikipedia, pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Pollution usually comes as a byproduct of industrial advancement and population growth. The main forms of pollution are air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, and noise pollution.
Primarily, the under-developed countries are suffering more from these kinds of pollution. Generally, the unchecked activities of humankind in the name of development and advancement are directly responsible for pollution. It is sad how mankind is spoiling its own habitat. Each form of pollution has its own specific causes and adverse impacts on natural habitats. There is a dire need for a proper mechanism in place to restrain the activities that are polluting the environment.
Different Forms of Pollutions
As we have already discussed that there are four major types of pollution, i.e. air pollution, water pollution, land (soil) pollution, and noise pollution. It is pertinent to shed light on their causes and their adverse impacts individually.
Air pollution is a major form of pollution that is increasingly becoming a great cause of concern for the entire global community. It is also posing a threat to the survival of life on the earth. Generally, the emission of smoke or carbon from the burning of fuel in industries, vehicles, etc causes air pollution. The increase in industrialization followed the increase in carbon emissions and smoke into the atmosphere. The emission of smoke and other types of pollutants when get mixed with fog in winters result in smog. Consequently, smog has its own adverse effects on human health.
The other major cause of air pollution is deforestation. Today, deforestation is occurring on a massive scale to accommodate the fast-growing population. Trees clean the air and atmosphere by absorbing odors and pollutant gases and filtering particulates out of the air. Hence, the lesser the number of trees are, the more there will be air pollution.
Air pollution is causing adverse impacts on the global level. For example, the emission of carbon into the atmosphere is causing fast Ozone depletion. As a result, the hazardous ultra-violet radiation from the sun is reaching the earth unfiltered. These radiations are adversely impacting life on earth. Global temperatures are rising, and glaciers are fast melting. This further results in a number of social issues like floods, droughts, rising sea levels, water crises, mass migration, etc.
Moreover, air pollution is also causing severe health issues. Long-term exposure to polluted air can have permanent health effects such as accelerated aging of the lungs, loss of lung capacity, and decreased lung function, causing the diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and possibly cancer.
Thus, in order to curb air pollution, various international covenants like the Paris Climate Accord were signed to control carbon emission, but the world at large failed to act responsibly. The most developed and industrialized nations are the greatest contributors to the carbon and smoke emission into the atmosphere. As a result, the underdeveloped countries and the least contributors suffer the most.
The second major form of pollution is water pollution. To a great extent, this pollution also occurs as a result of rapid industrialization. Water pollution is mainly caused when industrial waste and harmful substances—often chemicals or microorganisms – get mixed with the running water or streams and flow down to the river and eventually to the sea. Thus, contaminated streams, rivers, and seawater become harmful to the survival of aquatic life.
Moreover, when contaminants—from pesticides and fertilizers to waste leaching from landfills and septic systems—make their way into an aquifer, it contaminates the groundwater rendering it unsafe for human use.
There are multiple adverse impacts of polluted water. Firstly, drinking or consuming polluted water has many disastrous effects on our health. It causes typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, and various other diseases. Secondly, disruption in food chains occurs when aquatic animals consume toxins and pollutants in the water, which are then consumed by humans. Thus, Water pollution can cause an entire ecosystem to collapse if left unchecked.
The third form of pollution is ‘land pollution’. Land pollution is a major problem around the world. There are many causes of land pollution. Some of the main causes of soil pollution include deforestation and consequent erosion, agriculture, industries, mining, landfills, and illegal dumping of waste as well as urbanization and construction.
The contamination of land has disastrous consequences especially for the survival of animals and humans and the quality of soil and water. For example, plastic waste often contains acrylic, polyvinyl chloride, polycarbonate, and phthalates. These chemicals result in cancers, skin diseases, respiratory disorders, and birth defects for pregnant women. Moreover, Chemical components such as cadmium, asbestos, mercury, cyanide, arsenic, and chromium commonly found in pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and fertilizer industrial wastes also have devastating effects on human health. They have cancer-causing elements and can also lead to lung and kidney disease as well as liver damage.
In addition, solid agricultural and industrial waste lead to an increase in landfill sites across the city. The landfills become breeding grounds for mice, rodents, flies, and birds that can transmit diseases. These landfills are contaminated with toxic chemicals that can reach the human body via vegetables and foods that are grown in polluted lands. They can also seep into water bodies used for consumer purposes or could be inhaled by humans from polluted dust. Moreover, the huge pile of wastes also results in tourist distraction and can be a loss of revenue for the tourism industry.
Landfills and dump sites also cause repugnant smells. Also, soil pollution leads to infertility of land which in result leads to loss of agriculture and crop production. This gives rise to food insecurity and loss of agricultural exports.
To prevent land pollution, the 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) rule/formula must be strictly implemented. By recycling and reusing waste materials like tin, plastic, paper, etc. we can curb land pollution to a great extent. Moreover, there is a dire need to reduce the use of plastic bags or even banning them where possible.
The fourth form of pollution is noise pollution. Major sources of noise pollution are industries and transport in overpopulated urban areas. Poorly planned urbanization and the construction of industries close to residential areas result in excessive noise pollution. Moreover, excessive honking due to congested roads and huge traffic, particularly in cities is another major reason for noise pollution. Lack of awareness in citizens and poor civic sense further exacerbate the issue.
Although apparently, noise pollution does not appear to be as big a problem as the other three, yet sometimes its impacts are very severe. For example, noise pollution may lead to respiratory agitation, racing pulse, high blood pressure, headaches, and, in case of extremely loud, constant noise, gastritis, colitis, and even heart attacks.
To curb noise pollution, there is a need for properly planned urbanization. Industries or factories should be established away from the mainland and residential areas. Developing awareness and civic sense in people are more important. People should know when to use horns and how much volume should they keep in vehicles.
To cap it all, pollution in various forms is adversely impacting the entire life on earth no matter whether it is aquatic life or terrestrial. The more mankind is making industrial development, the more it is posing a threat to survival. Therefore, it is high time we must make policies and take pragmatic steps to tackle the growing pollution in the world. Otherwise, the whole world especially the third-world countries would keep bearing the brunt.
Note: Do not make headings in the essay. Headings in this essay are for better understanding.
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