Pollution- What is Pollution, its Types and How to reduce it?

Last Updated on October 14, 2020 by Ranjan R

Pollution in a Metro City

Introduction

Pollution is a phenomena that is related to modern world. In the last one decade we have started feeling the effects of pollution in our day to day life. The low visibility around us is a clear indication that the air is terribly polluted. As the human race is spearheading to develop new technologies our health has started giving us warning signals.

Our elderly people had not faced such issues as the urbanization and industrialization was not rampant in those days. They lived in those times when air was pure and vegetables were pesticide free. That is the reason why many elderly people have better health than youngsters of today.

As per Britannica, Pollution, also called environmental pollution, the addition of any substance (solid, liquid, or gas) or any form of energy (such as heat, sound, or radioactivity) to the environment at a rate faster than it can be dispersed, diluted, decomposed, recycled, or stored in some harmless form.

Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment. These harmful materials are called pollutants. Pollutants can be natural or manmade. Natural pollutants can be forest fires, wind storms, volcanoes etc. There are many examples of manmade pollutants, e.g. Power plants, factories, automobiles, crackers, chemicals used in paint industry, chemicals used in detergents, Plastic and polythene, etc.

The major difference between the two is we cannot stop natural pollutants to mix up in the environment but we can stop certain activities that create man made pollutants. Man made pollutants are the aftermath of human activities which he does for the sake of urbanization and growth, whether it is industrial growth or infrastructural growth.

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Pollution can be further divided into three major categories:

  1. Air Pollution
  2. Water Pollution
  3. Land Pollution

Air Pollution

Air pollution is easily visible and more rampant in cities than villages. In our present time, there is a persistent demand for new  and  swanky cars, gadgets, mobiles and what not. The major cause of air pollution is moving towards urbanization for the sake of growth. We can see high rises in metro cities and there is lot of construction work going on round the year. It’s a major concern for the government to monitor these activities as the construction material pollutes the air and it is extremely hazardous for our health.

The smoke emanated from automobiles, factories, power plants etc are a major cause of air pollution because they burn fossil fuel and the smoke which comes out contains carbon mono oxide which is a very harmful gas. They also produce nitrogen oxide, Sulphur Dioxide and hydrocarbons. These chemicals react with sunlight and create smog. Smog is extremely dangerous for our health. We have seen smog engulfing Delhi’s skies. The state government has to implement odd-even scheme to counter this problem.  It was also advised to people from health authorities not to go out in the park and do exercise and other physical activities in the home itself. People were forced to use face masks as the PM 2.5 level was exorbitantly high.  Sale of air purifiers increased as the manufacturers claimed that the machine will curtail down the level of PM2.5 in the household area and make it breathable.

Water Pollution

Water is a prerequisite for our survival like oxygen  and sunlight. Without water no living creature can survive. Water is a very big concern for all of us as the drinkable water is only 0.3% of the total water available in our planet.

Water pollution can be visible and we can see garbage and water bottles all over the riverside. But  many a time, water looks clean but it is contaminated with pollutants.

As per WHO data, Contaminated water can transmit diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio. Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 485 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year.

One of the main causes of water pollution is factory runoff. This chemical run-off creates havoc for aquatic life.

Lack of proper sewage system is also a very prominent factor for this omnipresent problem.

Fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture system also lead to water pollution.

Land Pollution

There are many factors responsible for land pollution. One of the main reasons is inefficient garbage collection system and lack of recycling. Sometimes, communities produce so much garbage that their landfills are filling up. They are running out of places to dump their trash.

Fertilizers and pesticides are also responsible for land pollution.

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Steps towards Reducing Pollution

Pollution can be reduced in many ways, on micro and macro level. Government bodies and relevant organizations can take steps that will reduce pollution on macro level. In micro level every individual has to take responsibility and do whatever he or she can do to make this planet pollution free.

There should be strict monitoring on factories and industries. Government will have to keep a sharp eye on what quantity they are emitting pollutants and whether they are following the rules and regulations or not. Strict rules and regulations should be in place to curb pollution. There should be capping on the amount of fertilizers and pesticides that can be used in our agriculture. International agreements like the Kyoto Protocol can play an important role in curbing the pollution. The Kyoto Protocol restricts the amount of emission of Green House gases by every country. There should be strict fines on oil spills in the ocean. A good public transport system in place can encourage people to use the public transport system rather than taking their personal conveyance.

E-waste is a matter of grave concern these days. Efficient recycling of e-waste is a dire necessity in today’s world.

Companies should make bio-degradable products and there should be proper recycling of electronic products like laptop, mobile phones, batteries etc because they carry toxic materials which can be released into the environment if they are not properly recycled or disposed. There are also chances of identity theft, if the mobile phone or laptop is not properly recycled or disposed off, as a result many valuable data can be stolen.

In micro level every individual has to be responsible towards the environment. Every individual can play a part and do not fall to any of the activities which lead to pollution. They can regularly get their vehicles serviced and follow traffic rules. Generally people don’t follow traffic rules and these result in excessive congestion and traffic jams. People should also make efficient garbage collection system on community level and local level.

Alternative energy like solar power can lead to bringing down the pollution at a drastic level.  Planting trees on certain occasions like on somebody’s birthday or anniversary is also a good idea.

Therefore, we can say that the ever increasing pollution can be curbed only when it will be tackled on micro and macro level. Every individual has to be responsible towards the environment and the governing bodies should come out with strategic plans along with corrective measures so that the mega threat can be kept in reins.

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