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EFFECTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION
The pollution of the environment & its natural resources such as water, air or land with different pollutants is known as environmental pollution. The biggest & main harmful effect of pollution is on the environment as it breaks up the environment & also the different ecosystems present in it. Environmental pollution has adverse effects on both the humans & the other environmental living and non-living things. Environmental pollution is a worldwide problem & it causes hazardous effects on humans & natural resources. Environmental pollution is defined as the state of contamination of different natural resources of the environment with the introduction of the poisonous chemicals & gases in the atmosphere of the earth which leads towards the destruction of natural resources of the environment such as land, air or water. The different pollutants which pollute the environment may be regarded as primary or secondary pollutants & the pollutants having short term or long term effects on the environment due to their vitality & nature of causing damage to the environment. It is the state of the buildup of toxic chemicals & poisonous gases in the breathing zone of the atmosphere of the earth which leads to many harmful disorders & discomforts to all the life species relying on natural resources of the environment. Environment pollution occurs in pollution of different forms of the environment such as land, water, air, noise, thermal, radioactive or light pollution. When the pollutants enter in the different zones of the environment, the species dependent on these natural resources would suffer & face difficulties in surviving. The environment is polluted when the different types of pollutants such as greenhouse gases, harmful heavy metals & harmful chemicals. The pollutants cause the long term as well short-term changes in the environment which have very dangerous effects.
Kinds of environmental pollution
1. Water pollution
2. Land or soil pollution
3. Air pollution
4. Noise pollution
5. Light pollution
6. Thermal pollution
7. Radioactive pollution
The wide spreading pollution problem in the environment causes both the physical & biological effects which vary from mild to severe in the intensity of causing problems. The different physical effects of pollution are such as the effects which are visible to us or direct physical damage to the environment & humans. For example the splitting of oil into the earth’s resources like land or water from the pipelines or oil ships which will produce deadliest of the effects on the aquatic ecosystems & the different ecosystems flourishing on the land masses. Also, the emission of air pollutants in the atmosphere also produces physical effects on the earth’s atmosphere by producing the different diseases of lungs in humans by the taking of polluted air. The different biological effects can be seen in the human population & on the different food chain of animals. The pollution produces biological effects by the destruction of the natural balance of environment very seriously & in extreme cases also leads to the death of human & animal species. Biological effects will be produced on the environment by the use of pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilisers etc. for the crop production in the farm lands will lead to the determinant effects on the humans & other biological species of nature. The various effects of pollution are shown in the diagram below:
The different harmful effects of environmental pollution on the different living or non-living things of earth are discussed in detail below:
Pollution cause very dangerous & hazardous effects on the environment which depletes the natural balance of the environment. The environment is degraded due to the addition of pollutants in the natural resources of the environment such as air, water or soil. The different examples of environmental degradation are as:
1. The emission of greenhouse gases by various means into the atmosphere will lead to the global warming & the depletion of natural ecosystems of earth.
2. Carbon dioxide emissions in the oceans leading to the acidification of water resources by the large concentrations of carbon dioxide in water.
3. Biomagnifications: It is defined as the addition of several toxins like those of heavy metals in the food chains or trophic levels of different species of environment causing depletion of species.
4. Sulphur dioxide & different nitrous oxides will lead to acid rain which decreases the pH value of soil making it difficult for crop production purposes.
5. The formation of smoke & haze will reduce the sunlight received by the plants leading to the decrease in photosynthesis & the production of tropospheric ozone which damages the plants.
6. The addition of heavy metals & oil splits in oceans will lead towards the pollution of land masses & water resources making them unsuitable for use.
Effects on human health
The decrease in quality of air will lead to several respiratory problems like asthma or lung cancer, different cardiovascular diseases, chest pain, congestion, throat inflammation etc. in humans due to the ingestion of polluted air. The consumption of polluted water due to different contaminant addition will cause skin problems like skin cancer or rashes on the skin, water-related diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria, several fevers etc. Noise pollution in the environment will also lead to the production of different psychological effects on the humans & also on the environment. The effects of different gaseous pollutants on humans are shown below in table:
|Pollutant||Health effects at very high levels|
|Nitrogen Dioxide||This gas irritate the airways of the lungs, increasing the symptoms of those suffering from lung diseases.|
|Sulphur Dioxide||This gas will irritate the airways of the lungs, increasing the symptoms of those suffering from lung diseases.|
|Ozone||This gas will irritate the airways of the lungs, increasing the symptoms of those suffering from lung diseases.|
|Carbon Monoxide||This gas prevents the uptake of oxygen by the blood. This can lead to a significant reduction in the supply of oxygen to the heart, particularly in people suffering from heart disease.|
|Particles||Fine particles can be carried deep into the lungs where they can cause inflammation and a worsening of heart and lung diseases|
Ozone layer depletion
It is the emission of greenhouse gases in the environment leading towards the increase in their concentration in the atmosphere causing the global increase in earth’s temperature which has many hazardous effects on precipitation quantities & on other harmful effects. Global warming occurs due to the emission of several greenhouse gases like those of methane, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, carbon oxide etc. from the industrial infrastructure or from agricultural units by different means. The melting of ice caps or glaciers of the earth is also an effect of pollution as the rise in earth’s temperature will result in melting of ice.
It is also an adverse effect of pollution. It occurs due to the emission of the CFCs in the environment from the use of different commercial & household products by humans which will destroys the ozone layer present in stratosphere leading to the entry of high wavelength UV rays directly on earth & resulting in many skin related diseases like skin irritation, skin cancers, allergies in humans & animals.
Infertility of land
The increased use of herbicides, fertilisers, pesticides or synthetic manures for the performance of increased crop production will lead to the depletion of soil fertility due to the addition of harmful chemicals or heavy metals into the soil. Also, the addition of untreated sewage or industrial wastes directly or indirectly into the soil will also make it infertile for crop production or for the growth of vegetation.
Effects on animals
The increased levels of pollution will also adversely affect the different animal species of the earth due to the depletion of the natural resources such as air, water or land units on which the wildlife depends fully for habitat & food. Also, the addition of toxicants into the food chain of animals will destroy them.
Effect on plants
The increased level of pollution will have hazardous effects on the all kinds of vegetation present on the earth. The pollution of land will destroy the growth & development of plants as they will do not flourish on the land containing harmful heavy metals and chemicals. The roots of plants do not absorb the polluted water due to different contaminants added into water bodies supplying water to plants. Also, the leaves of plants do not prepare food in the polluted air of atmosphere due to less reception of sunlight.
Effects on buildings or infrastructure formed by humans
The most important example of the effect of pollution on the human buildings is on one of the world heritage monument, the Taj Mahal in India which has a depletion of the wall sandstones due to polluted air around it. It also changes the colour of the monuments or buildings and damages them.
Eutrophication of water & land bodies
The rain water will increase the addition of a nitrogenous pollutants concentration in the land & water resources which will lead to the algal growth on large scales causing depletion of naturally present nutrients in those resources which will cause harmful conditions for the growth of other species & organisms.
Destruction of different ecosystems
The pollution of atmosphere will also lead to the destruction of different ecosystems present in the environment like those of water bodies such as lakes, rivers, oceans, seas etc. due to water pollution & of crop lands, wastelands, forest lands etc. due to land or soil pollution.
Depletion of earth’s atmosphere
The atmosphere of earth is depleted due to the presence of high quantities of polluted gases into the atmosphere by their large scale emissions from the industries & household sectors. These large emissions will produce harmful effects on the atmosphere by the changes in gaseous concentrations of earth.