“Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value” – Richard Buckminster, Fuller
Pollution is releasing harmful contaminants in to the environment causing instability and harm to the eco system. Pollution is defined as “An unwanted change in the environment which involves the physical, biological and chemical changes involving air, water and land which affects the human life in one way or the other”. Pollution is in any form like noise, water and air. Pollution has become a serious issue after World War II in developing countries due to rapid industrialization and lack of regulations. Pollution is the root cause of many diseases that kill and disable living organisms.
The major types of pollutions and their causes are denoted as below:
• Air Pollution: Discharge of chemicals and particulates like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons and Nitrogen oxides produced by industries and motor vehicles in to the environment.
• Light Pollution: It is caused due to over illumination and astronomical interference.
• Noise Pollution: This occurs due to roadway noise, aircraft noise, industrial noise as well as high-intensity sonar.
• Soil Contamination: It occurs due to releasing of chemicals through underground leakage. Among the most significant soil contaminants are hydrocarbons, heavy metals, MTBE, herbicides, pesticides and chlorinated hydrocarbons.
• Radioactive Contamination: It occurs due to radioactive activities like nuclear power generation and nuclear weapons research, manufacture and deployment.
• Thermal Pollution: It occurs due to change in temperature and natural water bodies due to coolant in a power plant.
• Visual Pollution: It occurs due to overhead power lines, motorway billboards, and scarred landforms, open storage of trash or municipal solid waste.
• Water Pollution: Release or discharge of commercial and industrial wastewater into surface waters; discharge of untreated domestic sewage, and chemical contaminants, such as chlorine, from treated sewage; release of waste and contaminants into surface runoff flowing to surface waters, waste disposal and leaching into groundwater; eutrophication and littering.
Pollution creates great impact on human health and environment:
I. Effects of Air Pollution
• Impact on Lung functioning
• Itching of eyes, mouth and throat
• Respiratory disorders
• Cough and wheezing
• Reduced energy levels
• Negative impact on reproductive and immune systems
• Neurological disorders
II. Effects of Water Pollution
• Causes waterborne diseases like Typhoid, Amoebiasis, Giardiasis, Ascariasis and Hookworm diseases
• Rashes, earache and pink eye
• Hepatitis, encephalitis, gastroenteritis and vomiting, stomach aches and diarrhea
• Prostate cancer
• Lack of developmental growth
• Liver and kidney damage
• DNA damage
• Exposure to mercury causes Parkinson’s disease
III. Effects of soil pollution
• Effects children’s brain and causes developmental damage
• Kidney damage
• Damage to central nervous system
• Headache, fatigue, skin rash and eye irritation
• Contamination of crop brings up problems like food security
IV. Effects of Noise pollution
• Noise pollution decreases the human efficiency
• Reduced concentration
• Fertility problems in women
• Increased blood pressure
• Temporary/Permanent deafness
Prevention and control of pollution:
Pollution control is an approach to eliminate the release of pollutants into the environment. It is regulated by various environmental agencies that establish limits for the discharge of pollutants into the air, water, and land. A wide variety of devices and systems have been developed to control air and water pollution and solid wastes. Pollution is prevented by using the below strategies:
Noise pollution in India can be controlled by implementing following strategies:
• Control can be done by isolating noisy machines and also by using mufflers or noise reducers.
• Control of transmission by building enclosures and covering walls
• Protection from exposure by using ear plugs and ear muffs
• Legislation to restrict the use of loud speakers etc
• Education through films and newspapers about the hazards of noise pollution
• Use of noise barriers
• Limitation of vehicle speeds
• Alteration of roadway surface texture
• Limitation of heavy vehicles
• Use of traffic controls to reduce braking and acceleration and tire design
• Aircraft noise can be reduced to some extent by design of quieter jet engines
• Reconsideration of operations, such as altering flight paths and time of day runway use, has demonstrated benefits for residential populations near airports
How to control water pollution?
• Water pollution can be controlled by using non-toxic soaps, detergents and cleaning products
• Avoid chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn and gardens
• Dispose of paints, motor oil, gasoline, antifreeze and other harmful chemicals in accordance with your local laws and safety regulations
• Protect groundwater, which is critical for drinking water, irrigation systems and natural ecosystems
• Use chemicals in a proper way which may be harmful to the environment
• Use environment friendly washing powders, cleaning agents and toiletries to control water pollution
• Store chemicals in tightly sealed containers to avoid groundwater contamination
• Reduce the runoff that comes from your property
• Maintain your vehicle
• Replace your lawn and high maintenance plants with native plants
• Clean up pet waste
• Avoid using salt to de-ice walk ways
• Maintain your septic system
How to control soil pollution?
• Limit the use of fertilizers and pesticides
• Awareness about biological control methods and their implementation
• The grazing must be controlled and forest management should be done properly
• The afforestation and reforestation must take place
• Proper preventive methods like shields should be used in areas of wind erosion and wind breaks
• Remember to carry paper bags and minimize using plastic bags
• The soil binding grass must be planted and the large trees must be placed along the banks
• The industrial wastes must be dumped in the low lying areas
• There should be a definite technique of cropping which does not allow the weeds to settle on the fields
• The mining ways must be improved along with their transportation
• The area must not be left barren and dry
How to control air pollution?
• Maintaining a healthy distance between the industrial and residential areas
• The chimneys should be constructed tall in size so that the emissions must be released higher up in the environment
• The sulphur must be removed after burning
• The gasoline must have anti knocking agents
• The railway track must be electrified
• The mining area should be planted with trees
• The coal fuel should be replaced with gas fuel to control the air pollution
• The automobiles must be designed with emission control system
• The wastes must be removed and recycled in the industrial plants and refineries
• Plants like pinus and ribes need to be planted to metabolize the nitrogen oxides and other pollutants
• Timely servicing of the car helps to keep it in a good condition, and also minimizes fuel exhaustion
• Using public transportation helps to prevent the air pollution
• Using alternative energy sources like solar energy, hydroelectric energy, and wind energy
Pollution control measures by the Government of India:
• Water prevention and pollution Act, 1974
• Air prevention and control of pollution Act, 1871
• Cess Act, 1977 and Environment Act, 1986
• Public Liability Insurance Act, 1981
• National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995
• National Environment Appellate Act, 1997
Central pollution control Board provides assistance to the central government on below issues:
• Coordinate the state board activities
• Provide technical assistance to the state boards and conduct research related activities to control pollution
• Collection, compilation and publication of the manuals and code of conduct
• To lay down the standards.