Pollution is when something is added to the environment harmful or poisonous to all living things. Smoke or dust in the air is a type of pollution. Sewage in drinking water is another type of pollution, containing germs and viruses. There are 3 kinds of pollution: water pollution, land pollution, and air pollution.
As pollution grows, ways to combat it have grown too. Solar energy and wind energy give people other ways to power their homes. When people use these alternative forms of energy, they put less carbon dioxide into the environment. Air can be polluted by many things. Air can be polluted by various substances such as poisonous gases, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and very small particulates. Smoke and harmful gases released by fires, industries, and thermal power plants cause air pollution. Using coal and wood as fuels for fire cause a lot of air pollution. Petroleum produces less pollution per ton, but it causes a lot of pollution since a lot of it is burned globally. Air pollution may cause breathing problems such as asthma or other health problems. It also causes diseases like cancer.
Air pollution causes global warming and acid rain, which can lead to unpredictable levels of drought worldwide. This makes it difficult for the living organisms to survive. Water pollution is the presence of harmful materials in water, such as sewage, dissolved metal, waste from farms, factories and crude oil spilled from oil tankers. The three main substances that pollute water are nitrates from fertilizers, sewage and detergents.
Activities such as bathing and washing clothes near lakes, ponds or rivers add nutrients like nitrate and phosphate into the water bodies. This leads to excessive growth of algae on the surface of water. It blocks the penetration of sunlight and air, thus reducing oxygen.
It causes harm to organisms living in water and can also harm people’s health. In extreme cases, it may cause diseases like cancer. Noise pollution (also known as sound pollution) is harmful to the brain and hearing of all animals and humans. This includes the sound of vehicles, loud speakers, airplanes, jets, train horns etc. Noise pollution can cause ear problems or even permanent deafness, especially to older people. It also causes brain related problems. Soil pollution (also known as land pollution) is caused when man-made chemicals, such as hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and solvents, get into the soil. These chemicals come from industrial activities and from improper waste in disposal in leaky landfills. Soil pollution can cause health risks. The chemicals can produce harmful vapours, or they can contaminate water supplies underneath the polluted soil.
Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, or humans. It is caused because plastic takes thousands of years to decompose or mix in the earth. Thermal pollution is the harmful release of heated liquid into a body of water or heat released into the air as a waste product of a business.
A common cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power stations and industrial manufacturers. This puts back warm water, and so raises the temperature and decreases the oxygen content of the water.
Every action or inaction of any person has an effect on the environment be it good, neutral, or negative. By becoming aware and doing the right thing, we choose to be part of the solution. Here are some things you can do:
Stop smoking or don’t throw your butts on the ground. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and contain extremely toxic soluble chemicals. One butt thrown on the ground can remain for up to 25 years, leaking chemicals like arsenic, ammonia, acetone, benzene, cadmium, formaldehyde, lead, and toluene into the environment.
Drive an electric or hybrid car or at least one that uses unleaded gasoline.
Keep your car in good running condition to avoid emissions.
Share a ride or carpool.
Choose to walk or ride a bicycle whenever possible.
Never use open fires to dispose of waste, especially chemicals and plastic.
Adopt the 3 Rs of solid waste management: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Use sustainable, reclaimed, or recycled building materials.
Start composting leaves and clippings from your yard and food scraps from your kitchen to reduce waste while improving your soil.
Use the power supplied abundantly and freely by wind and sun. Hang your laundry to dry to minimize your use of gas or electricity and open a window or put on a sweater rather than turning on the air conditioner or heater.
Buy local foods and goods. In this manner, the use of fuel for transporting goods can be minimized.
Look around you house or place of business for ways you could conserve water.
Use and buy products that are eco-friendly or made with biodegradable materials. Avoid plastic.
Always bring a bag when you shop.
Get rid of your lawn: Plant bee-friendly, drought-tolerant, native plants instead.
Plant more trees. They clean the air, provide oxygen, and beautify your surroundings.
Take care to properly dispose of your pet’s waste.
Do not litter. Start an anti-litter campaign to educate your community.
If you own a business, make sure you have considered the environmental impact of your business practices. If you work for someone else, take the time to assess your company’s environmental impact and try to implement positive change.
Say a big “NO” to pesticides. One person alone cannot save the planet’s biodiversity, but each individual’s effort to encourage nature’s wealth must not be underestimated.