There are several types of pollution, and while they may come from different sources and have different consequences, understanding the basics about pollution can help environmentally conscious individuals minimize their contribution to these dangers. In total, there are nine recognized sources of pollution in the modern world. These sources of pollution don't simply have a negative impact on the natural world, but they can have a measurable effect on the health of human beings as well.
Air pollution is defined as any contamination of the atmosphere that disturbs the natural composition and chemistry of the air. This can be in the form of particulate matter such as dust or excessive gases like carbon dioxide or other vapors that cannot be effectively removed through natural cycles, such as the carbon cycle or the nitrogen cycle.
Air pollution comes from a wide variety of sources. Some of the most excessive sources include:
- Vehicle or manufacturing exhaust
- Forest fires, volcanic eruptions, dry soil erosion, and other natural sources
- Building construction or demolition
Depending on the concentration of air pollutants, several effects can be noticed. Smog increases, higher rain acidity, crop depletion from inadequate oxygen, and higher rates of asthma. Many scientists believe that global warming is also related to increased air pollution.
Water pollution involves any contaminated water, whether from chemical, particulate, or bacterial matter that degrades the water's quality and purity. Water pollution can occur in oceans, rivers, lakes, and underground reservoirs, and as different water sources flow together through the water cycle the pollution can spread.
Causes of water pollution include:
- Increased sediment from soil erosion
- Improper waste disposal and littering
- Leaching of soil pollution into water supplies
- Organic material decay in water supplies
The effects of water pollution include decreasing the quantity of drinkable water available, lowering water supplies for crop irrigation, and impacting fish and wildlife populations that require water of a certain purity for survival.
Soil, or land pollution, is contamination of the soil that prevents natural growth and balance in the land whether it is used for cultivation, habitation, or a wildlife preserve. Some soil pollution, such as the creation of landfills, is deliberate, while much more is accidental and can have widespread effects.
Soil pollution sources include:
- Hazardous waste and sewage spills
- Non-sustainable farming practices, such as the heavy use of inorganic pesticides
- Strip mining, deforestation, and other destructive practices
- Household dumping and littering
Soil contamination can lead to poor growth and reduced crop yields, loss of wildlife habitat, water and visual pollution, soil erosion, and desertification.
Noise pollution refers to undesirable levels of noises caused by human activity that disrupt the standard of living in the affected area. Noise pollution can come from:
- Manufacturing plants
- Construction or demolition
Some noise pollution may be temporary while other sources are more permanent. Effects may include hearing loss, wildlife disturbances, and a general degradation of lifestyle.
Radioactive pollution is rare but extremely detrimental, and even deadly, when it occurs. Because of its intensity and the difficulty of reversing damage, there are strict government regulations to control radioactive pollution.
Sources of radioactive contamination include:
- Nuclear power plant accidents or leakage
- Improper nuclear waste disposal
- Uranium mining operations
Radiation pollution can cause birth defects, cancer, sterilization, and other health problems for human and wildlife populations. It can also sterilize the soil and contribute to water and air pollution.
Thermal pollution is excess heat that creates undesirable effects over long periods of time. The earth has a natural thermal cycle, but excessive temperature increases can be considered a rare type of pollution with long term effects. Many types of thermal pollution are confined to areas near their source, but multiple sources can have wider impacts over a greater geographic area.
Thermal pollution may be caused by:
- Power plants
- Urban sprawl
- Air pollution particulates that trap heat
- Loss of temperature moderating water supplies
As temperatures increase, mild climatic changes may be observed, and wildlife populations may be unable to recover from swift changes.
Light pollution is the over illumination of an area that is considered obtrusive. Sources include:
- Large cities
- Billboards and advertising
- Nighttime sporting events and other nighttime entertainment
Light pollution makes it impossible to see stars, therefore interfering with astronomical observation and personal enjoyment. If it is near residential areas, light pollution can also degrade the quality of life for residents.
Visual pollution - eyesores - can be caused by other pollution or just by undesirable, unattractive views. It may lower the quality of life in certain areas, or could impact property values and personal enjoyment.
Sources of visual pollution include:
- Power lines
- Construction areas
- Billboards and advertising
- Neglected areas or objects such as polluted vacant fields or abandoned buildings
While visual pollution has few immediate health or environmental effects, what's causing the eyesore can have detrimental affects.
Personal pollution is the contamination of one's body and lifestyle with detrimental actions. This may include:
- Excessive smoking, drinking or drug abuse
- Emotional or physical abuse
- Poor living conditions and habits
- Poor personal attitudes
In some cases, personal pollution may be inflicted by caregivers, while in other cases it is caused by voluntary actions. Taking positive steps in your life can help eliminate this and other sources of pollution so you can lead a more productive, satisfying life.
Pollution Types Are Connected
All types of pollution are interconnected. For example, light pollution requires energy to be made, which means the electric plant needs to burn more fossil fuels to supply the electricity. Those fossil fuels contribute to air pollution, which returns to the earth as acid rain and increases water pollution. The cycle of pollution can go on indefinitely, but once you understand the different pollution types, how they are created, and the effects they can have, you can make personal lifestyle changes to combat poor conditions for yourself and others around you.
Different Types of Pollution
Environment refers to the natural world. Environment refers surrounding (such as air, water, land) and their inter-relationship with human beings and other living species.
The flora anywhere on the earth, the soil and the stones, the rivers and water bodies, the sky and the air, the seas and the oceans, the fauna everywhere in the world, the climate and the interior of the earth – all combine together to form the environment.
Pollution comes from the Latin ‘polluere’ which means to contaminate. So, pollution is something that contaminates the environment.
Pollution means the presence of substance in the air, water, and land, which has adverse effects on living organs and on environment. Our environment is in danger due to pollution.
The atmosphere is being polluted by discharge of emissions from industrial plants, domestic sources, running vehicles, which burns fossil fuel and from thermal power etc. Public health and hygiene are seriously effected in the cities of developed and developing countries by presence of Sulphur dioxide, Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen oxide, Carbon monoxide, Hydro carbon substance, etc.
Also read: Essay on Environmental Pollution: Causes, Effects and Solution
The various types of environmental pollution includes air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, radioactive pollution, noise pollution, light pollution, oil pollution, marine pollution, plastic pollution, etc. They are each discussed below:
1. Air pollution
Air pollution means the presence of pollutants in the atmosphere is such concentration that causes injury to human being and plants.
Air pollution is the name for anything that makes the air dirty. Thus, air pollution is anything that contaminates the air and makes it harmful to breathe for humans, animals and birds.
Of course, air pollution will depend on the context: some things may be counted as air pollution in some contexts, but not in others. But, in sum, air pollution can be defined as:
- Anything that contaminates the air.
- Something that makes the air dangerous to breathe.
- Potentially dependent on the context.
Air pollution can be both indoor and outdoor as follows:
- Indoor air pollution: Indoor air pollution is the pollution of the air in enclosed spaces such as our homes, shops, schools and other businesses. It can be caused by numerous things, like smoke from a domestic fireplace or the emission of gases inside a factory. It can be controlled by using detectors to detect pollution within the home or business and then controlling emissions. Chimneys may be used but these can simply cause outdoor air pollution instead.
- Outdoor air pollution: Outdoor air pollution is the pollution of the air outdoors. It is usually caused by the emission of polluting gases from the burning of fossil fuels in industry, car exhausts and air travel. It can be limited by reducing the emissions that we create in both homes and businesses, by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and by traveling less by car and by plane.
Causes: Air mainly polluted by Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen oxide, Sulphur dioxide, etc. Example of air pollutants.
- Smoke: this can fill the air with particles of soot that make it physically dirty.
- Gases: poisonous gases are particularly dangerous.
Effects:The problems of air pollution.
- Damaging to respiratory health.
- Makes buildings grimy.
- Aggravates allergies.
- Causes diseases.
- Reduces biodiversity.
Solution: Air pollution can be checked by increasing forest and protecting forests. Industry should be placed long distance from residential areas.
We should be careful and alert that our surrounding on our houses, streets, drains are cleaned. Smoke free furnaces should be used. Electric engines should be used more and not steam or diesel engines. Lastly air pollution can be better controlled by way of combined effort of Government and by private efforts.
Also read: Short essay on air pollution
2. Water pollution
Water pollution means contamination of water with physical, chemical or biological properties of water due to discharge of industrial effluent or any other liquid, gases or solid substance into water which is harmful for public health of commercial activities or in agriculture.
Sources: Domestic waste water and dirty municipal waste or sewage are the chief source of water pollution. Also read, major sources of water pollution.
Effects: Water pollution has had effects on human life. Water are polluted in different sources such as by gases, dirty soil, minerals, humans’ materials, dead body of animals and other living organisms.
Solution: Water pollution can largely be controlled by proper treatment of domestic and municipal effluents. Domestic water and sewage can rightly be mixed with soil which will increase fertility. The industries must not discharge toxic water in the land. Also read, different ways to prevent water pollution.
Also read: Short paragraph on water pollution
3. Soil pollution
Soil pollution mainly occurs through agricultural chemicals. These are pesticides and fertilizers. These pesticides directly or indirectly injure other animals and human being.
Reasons: Land-ship, volcanic eruption, very strong wind current, torrential downpour, etc. are the natural phenomena which may partly contribute to creating soil pollution. The chief reason of soil pollution lies in the multifarious activities of man.
The contaminated sweepings and all sorts of refuses and garbage of the industrial establishment and of homes and homesteads, various types of chemicals and radio-active left-over etc., mainly cause soil pollution.
Also read: Sources of water, wir and soil pollution
Control: The very harmful garbage and the unwholesome sweepings can be used to produce Bio-gas and manure. Use of pro-environment fertilizers and insecticides in agriculture are to be restored to. Proper precautionary measures are to be adopted while using the radio-active ingredients or implements.
Propagation of consciousness regarding soil pollution and other such means may materially help top control land or soil pollution.
Also read: Essay on soil pollution
4. Radioactive Pollution
Radioactive pollution refers to the presence of unwanted and undesired radioactive substances that radiates ionizing radiation in the environment and its surroundings. Such radiation is very harmful for the environment.
Sources of Radioactive Pollution: Various types of atomic refuses are the main sources of radioactive radiation. The cosmic rays coming down from the outer space are the sources of radioactivity. Again, the radioactive elements lying inside the earth are the sources of the radioactivity on earth.
Effects of radioactivity: The influence of radio-activities on human beings has become very harmful in the present century. The effects of radioactivity are generally divided into three classes, such as, instantaneous reaction, long-term reaction and a very retarded reaction.
Preventive measures: Various preventive measures are being resorted to today through the world for getting rid of this terrible danger of radiation of radioactive rays. These measures include:
- Adoption of special anti-radiation measures.
- The atomic refuses must be shifted scientifically to any safe area of the environment for proper interpolation.
- All people connected with radioactive production or program must be made aware of the direct or indirect adverse reaction of radioactivity.
- Properly trained people should only be allowed to work the nuclear research centers and treatment centers as well.
- All people professionally connected with any such project must put on their special type of radioactive preventive costume.
- The well-defined rules and regulation related to Nuclear energy ought to be abided by all.
Also read: Radiation pollution: Sources and effects of radiation pollution
5. Noise Pollution
One of the greatest problems of modern times is the sound or noise pollution. It refers to the presence of excessive sound or noise in the environment. It is often harmful for human and animal health.
Noise pollution is caused by large industries, vehicles such as cars, buses and lorries, etc. Besides these, the periodic sounds of hammering connected with some construction or repair work can be quite maddening.
Loud speakers blaring film music during festive occasions and speeches at political rallies or some other obscure cause add to the cacophony. The silence we so desperately long for seem unattainable.
Also read: Short paragraph on noise pollution
6. Light pollution
Light pollution is caused by excess light contaminating the dark sky and making it artificially light.
Causes of light pollution: Lights that are left on – in both commercial premises and private residences – throughout the night are key causes of light pollution.
Effects of light pollution: Light pollution can disrupt the habitats of animals who rely on natural cycles of light and darkness to tell them when to wake up and when to rest. It can cause stress and disrupted sleep to humans. It can also make stargazing and astronomy difficult due to blocking out starlight.
Control measures: Turning lights off at night time and installing street lamps that do not scatter light up towards the sky will help to control light pollution.
Also read: Light Pollution: Meaning, Causes, Effects, Solutions
7. Oil pollution
Oil pollution means oil that has contaminated the land or the sea.
Causes of oil pollution: Oil spills as a result of oil tankers being wrecked or breaking are the main causes of oil pollution.
Effects of oil pollution: Damage to marine habitats and to marine animals (such as fish, gulls and whales).
Control measures: Reducing our dependence on oil as a fuel, and ensuring the safety of all ships that use oil as fuel or transport oil tankers.
Also read: Oil Pollution: Meaning, Causes, Effects, Preventive and Control Measures
8. Marine pollution
Marine pollution is presence of substances that contaminates the sea.
Causes of marine pollution: Sewage, oil spills, chemical runoff from industry and plastics and other waste from human lives are major pollutants in the sea. Polluting gases such as CO2 or sulfur dioxide can also dissolve in the sea and pollute it.
Effects of marine pollution: The acidification of the oceans and the destruction of marine habitats (thus in its turn leading to the death of marine organisms and the extinction of several species) are some of the main effects of marine pollution.
Control measures: Reducing waste and fossil fuel use and preventing chemical runoff and oil spills will help to protect the sea from pollution.
Also read: Marine Pollution: Meaning, Causes, Effects, Control Measures
9. Plastic pollution
Plastic pollution means plastic products – such as old milk cartons – contaminating the land or the water on planet earth.
Causes of plastic pollution: Humans throwing away plastics carelessly rather than placing them in landfill responsibly or recycling them.
Effects of plastic pollution: Large ‘islands’ of plastic waste have formed in our seas. When ingested by marine animals, as they frequently are, they can cause digestive complications and death.
Also read: Plastic Pollution: Meaning, Causes, Effects and Solutions
Control measures: Reducing our use of plastics, recycling them wherever possible, and disposing of them in environmentally responsible ways.
Contributors: (1) Vikash, (2) Laura.
Compiled by Editor.
Category: EnvironmentTagged With: Pollution