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Introduction

Environmental pollution is a multi-disciplinary science involving chemistry, physics, life


science, agriculture, medical science, public health, sanitary engineering etc. In broader
sense, it is the study of the sources, reactions, transport, effect and fate of chemical
species in the air, water and soil and the effect of human activity upon these.
Pollutant: A substance present in nature, in greater than natural abundance due to
human activity, which ultimately has a detrimental effect on the environment and
therefrom on living organisms and mankind. Eamples are- lead, mercury, sulphur
dioide, carbon monoide, etc.
!ontaminant: A material which does not occur in nature, but is introduced by human
activity into the environment, affecting its composition. A contaminant is classified as a
pollutant when it eerts a detrimental effect. Eample- chlorine gas
"ypes of Pollution
Air
!auses of air pollution:
motor vehicle ehaust
power stations
car manufacturing
fertili#er factories
demolishing buildings
solvent evaporation
volcanic eruption
building roads
forest fires
Effect of air pollution:
$lobal warming, acid rain, smog, o#one depletion are some effects of air pollution
pollution
%ater
!auses of water pollution:
man-made chemicals used in farming
heavy metals
waste from factories
sediment from the river bed
air pollution
thermal &heat' pollution
soil pollution from rubbish dumps
Effects of water pollution:
"he water in the earth(s biosphere is used and reused again and again by all living
things
water pollution
)oil
!auses of soil pollution:
farming
mining and *uarrying
household waste
demolition and putting up buildings
factory waste
Effects of soil pollution:
Eperts say that lots of land each year becomes unusable for humans or animals.
soil pollution
+oise
!auses of noise pollution:
noisy roads and traffic
air traffic
rail traffic
household noise
industrial noise
Effects of noise pollution:
%e hear and make sounds nearly all the time but too much noise can make us feel
angry or depressed. "he time of day that noises are heard is very important.
noice pollution
,adiation
Pollution from radiation can be caused by:
nuclear power plants
making nuclear weapons
disposal of nuclear waste
mining for uranium
radiation
%hat can happen-
,adiation occurs naturally at low levels and is a useful source of power when
concentrated.
It can also be very harmful to all living things if they are eposed to too much of it.
.ight
.ight pollution happens when outside lights, such as a streetlight or a security light,
points light upwards into the night sky.
"his light gets scattered in the sky and makes an orange foggy glow to appear above a
town.
%hat can happen-
It is likely that we won(t be able to see the stars in the night sky if the amount of light
pollution isn(t closely controlled.
bio
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It is imperative that we carefully utilise our renewable resources of soil, water, plant and
animal life to sustain our economic development. /ver eploitation of these is reflected
in soil erosion, siltation, floods, and rapid destruction of our forest, floral and wildlife
resources. "he depletion of these resources often tends to be irreversible and since the
bulk of our population depends on these natural resources to meet the basic needs, it
has meant a deterioration in their *uality of life.
$lobal petroleum deposits are likely to be ehausted within this century. ,esearch is
going on for alternatives to fossil fuel &petroleum' based on biomass &green energy'.
!ontrolled nuclear fusion holds the prospect of abundant energyif the relatively difficult
deuterium-deuterium fusion reaction can be utilised for energy production. "his energy
source will become unlimited.
)olar energy is both renewable and non-polluting and provides ideal energy source. /n
a global scale, tapping of only a small fraction of solar energy the earth can supply the
entire energy re*uirement.
In any new development pro3ect, due consideration must be given to the environmental,
social and cultural impacts. 4or this purpose, environmental eperts must be involved in
pro3ect planning.
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)ometimes there are drastic changes in environment due to natural disasters, e.g.
cyclone, typhoon, hurricane, tornado, earth*uake, volcanic eruption etc. within a short
time.
6ush fires, are another type of natural disasters, are of common occurrence in some
regions of the world due to hot summer and lightning. 1uring the hot summer months
bush fires are common in Australia and in the Pacific coast arid areas in 5)A.
2an developed science and technology but over the years since the Industrial
,evolution &789:- todate' he continued to plunder natural resources thereby polluting
the environment. ;e degraded lands, destroyed forests, threw toic wastes into rivers
and seas and also harmful gases into the atmosphere. "his continuous load of
manmade pollutants into environment brought about adverse changes, which ultimately
back-fired into series of disasters from time to time.
)ome eamples of manmade disasters are: .ondon smog, 2inamata disease, nuclear
eplosions, 6hopal disaster, !hernobyl disaster and $ulf %ar ;a#ards.
+uclear Eplosions. "wo bombs were dropped by 5)A during %orld %ar II &Aug < and
=, 7=>?' on ;iroshima and +agasaki in @apan. "hese instantly killed about < lakhs
people, wiped out the two cities and unleashed radioactive fallout which has caused
generations to suffer from various diseases including genetic disorder. ,adiation
continues to damage plants, soil and biosphereA in the region.
Athe environment consists of four segments- atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and
bioshphere.
$lobal %arming or $reen ;ouse Effect
Among the constituents of the atmosphere, only carbon dioide and water vapour
strongly absorb infrared radiation &7>::: to B?::: nm' and effectively block a large
fraction of the earth(s emitted radiation. "he radiation thus absorbed by carbon dioide
and water vapour is partly re-emitted to the earth(s surface. "he net result is that the
earth(s surface gets heated up by a phenomenon called the greenhouse effect.
"he current global trend in deforestation along with increased combustion of fossil fuels
have a cumulative effect on the net increase in carbon dioide content &present C?<
ppm, ?:D'. !arbon dioide has the potential to rival nuclear wars in terms of massive
irreversible damage to the environment. It is the ma3or greenhouse gas but there are
other greenhouse gases- methane &!;>, 7=D', chlorofluorocarbons &!4!, 78D', nitrous
oide &+B/, >D' and water vapour &BD'.
/#one ;ole
In september, 7=9: scientists reported a large hole in the o#one layer over Antarctica.
!4! was the prime suspect for causing o#one depletion. It was established that one
molecule of !4! is capable of destroying one lakh /C molecule in the stratosphere. "he
etreme chemical stability and nontoicity of !4!s enable them to persist for years in
the atmosphere and to enter the stratosphere. 1epletion of o#one layer above the earth
surface helps to penetrate harmful rays from the sun to the earth.