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Introduction to Environmental Pollution

  • Samiksha Paria
  • Feb 16, 2022
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Any kind of pollution is bad for the environment. We are living on a blue planet which may seem just a pale blue dot as compared to the whole universe. But we need to save and protect our planet from ourselves. 


Most of the pollution is due to person-made elements. For example, a car is made by a group of people, and it emits harmful gases which lead to air pollution. 


The natural occurrences we can’t stop, but the things that we make, we must do something to prevent our environment from getting polluted. Here’s a recent news article showing how the Yamuna river is contaminated with high levels of Ammonia as stated in the article.


So, if such instances go on, then we won’t be drinking fresh water or breathing fresh air. Hence, let’s get into knowing environmental pollution a little better so that we can save our environment in the end.


“Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.” R. Buckminster Fuller


What is Environmental Pollution?


Pollution is defined as the introduction of pollutants into the environment that causes injury or discomfort to humans or other living species, or that impair the environment. These contaminants can take the form of chemical compounds or energy such as noise, heat, or light. Contaminants can occur naturally chemicals or energy, but they have termed pollutants when they exceed natural levels.


Environmental Pollution occurs when the surrounding is unable to handle and neutralize toxic byproducts of human activity (poisonous gas emissions) in a timely manner without causing structural or functional damage to its system.


How does pollution affect us?


It is primarily and most importantly because it has a negative impact on critical environmental services such as clean air and water supplies. There would be no life on Earth as we know it if it did not exist. People are the source of our pollution. 


Water pollution has an impact on our environment since it affects the living circumstances of humans and plants. Pollution may begin and harm our ecosystem. How can you create paper and grow vegetables for people if you don't have clean water for plants and trees? As a result, large ideas have an impact on the environment, and people are the primary polluters. (Source)


Also Read | AI for Environmental Sustainability



Types of Environmental Pollution


  1. Water Pollution


Water pollution is the contamination of bodies of water such as rivers, seas, lakes, streams, aquifers, and groundwater. It occurs when imported dangerous items such as chemicals, garbage, or polluted substances are dumped directly or indirectly into bodies of water. 


When contaminants enter a water body from a single identified origin, this is referred to as point source water pollution, whereas non-point source water pollution happens as a consequence of the cumulative impacts of varying levels of contaminants. Infiltration causes groundwater contamination, which impacts groundwater supplies such as wells and reservoirs.


  1. Air Pollution


Air pollution is the introduction of dangerous compounds into the atmosphere, which has a negative influence on the environment and mankind. 


Simply said, air pollution makes the air filthy or polluted. It happens when hazardous chemicals, such as foreign gases, scents, dust, or fumes, are released into the air at levels that are damaging to the comfort or health of animals and humans, or even damage plant life.


Hydrocarbons, organic compounds, dust particles, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen oxides are examples of air pollutants (substances that contaminate the air). Both human and natural activities contribute to air pollution.


Watch a video by World Health Organization on how air pollution affects us

  1. Soil Pollution


Soil contamination occurs when chemical pollutants pollute or deteriorate the soil as a result of activities such as mining, clearing of plant cover, or topsoil erosion. Typically, it occurs when human activities directly or indirectly introduce harmful chemicals, substances, or items into the soil, causing harm to the nearby terrestrial environment.


As a result, soil loses the value of its original mineral and nutrient compositions. Soil deterioration, which happens as a result of overgrazing, over-farming, or mining operations, also contributes to soil contamination.


Agricultural farming operations, trash dumping on land, industrial activities, mining, and acid rain are all significant contributors to soil contamination.


  1. Noise Pollution


Noise pollution is often defined as an unfavourable sound or sound that causes severe discomfort in the ears. Noise pollution is described as unpleasant and unacceptable sound levels that cause significant distress to all living beings. It is expressed in decibels (dB).


Sound levels above 100 decibels (dB) can induce lifelong hearing loss, while noise levels around 90 decibels (dB) create auditory weakness. 


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the industrial sound limit is 75 decibels (dB). Noise pollution has the same effect on marine and wildlife species as it has on people, and it can even kill them.


  1. Industrial Pollution


The discharge of wastes and pollutants caused by industrial activity into the natural habitat, including air, water, and land, is referred to as industrial pollution. 


Contaminants and pollutants produced by industry include air emissions, the discharge of spent water into water resources, and landfill disposal. Industrial pollution may harm plants, kill animals, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce people's quality of life. (Source)


Industrial pollution is caused by significant industries such as power plants, steel mills, sewage treatment facilities, heating plants, and glass casting, among other producing, refining, and manufacturing organizations.


Also Read | Global warming


Causes of Environmental Pollution


  • Carbon dioxide is emitted by all vehicles on the earth, as well as unreformed power plants and other industrial facilities. The ever-increasing human population, along with the clear-cutting of forests, has exacerbated the situation to the point that natural barriers are no longer available, and carbon dioxide levels are rising.


  • Fossil fuel emissions from power plants that use coal as fuel, as well as cars that use fossil fuels, contributed significantly to the development of smog. Smog is caused by the burning of fossil fuels in conjunction with sunshine and heat. 


  • Radiation also has a role. This is a very noxious pollution problem that necessitates a lengthy exposition. The sun is the primary source of radiation. As the natural ozone layer that surrounds the Earth has diminished.


  • Many enterprises dump garbage into rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams to conceal pollution from EPA inspectors.


Also Read | What are greenhouse gases?


Prevention of Environmental Pollution


  • Pollution from gas emissions is being reduced in a number of methods, including automotive emission control, electric and hybrid cars, and public transit networks.


  • New radiation alternatives are now being developed, and many environmentally friendly energy technologies are being constructed on a daily basis.


  • Solar energy is an excellent solution. Solar radiation has reached a climactic height, we may harness the sun's energy by employing solar panel systems.


  • Electricity is generated by constructing wind turbines to harness natural wind energy. Wind turbines and solar electricity are both formidable foes of fossil fuel and nuclear energy.


One of the preventive measures taken by Indians is currently Addressing Delhi Air Pollution using Machine Learning.




“Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented”. -Barry Commoner


Pollution has an influence on people's quality of life and affects biodiversity. The first credential for survival on our earth is always clean air, water, and soil. The government and citizens must share responsibilities for environmental pollution prevention and control.


Despite the fact that individuals do not have adequate money to restore the harm caused by environmental pollution, prevention will steadily increase. We should all endeavour to work together to reduce pollution and create a more pleasant atmosphere. 


Next Read | Renewable Energy 

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