ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION

Pollution is the release of substances into the environment i.e. air, water or land in quantities or to the level that are harmful to man, animals and plants.

The substances that cause pollution in the environment are called pollutants.

 

TYPES OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION

There are three main types of pollution. These are:

  • Air pollution.
  • Land pollution.
  • Water pollution.

 

  • AIR POLLUTION

Causes

  1. Discharge of solid substances like smoke, dust and soot from industries, machines and coal into the air.
  2. Fumes from industrial processes such as sulphuric acid, mist from coal mining and cement factories.
  3. Gases such as sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide from exhaust pipes of motor vehicles and airplanes.
  4. Radioactive rays from industrial processes such as electric plants that use radioactive substances.
  5. Spray of liquid (vapor) and gaseous herbicides and pesticides.
  6. Noise from loud speakers, cars, sirens, airplanes, horn blaring, construction and mining sites.
  7. Poor refuse disposal.
  8. Nuclear waste.
  9. Fumes from explosion of bombs and other dangerous war weapons.
  10. Artificial cloud seeding.
  11. Dust storms from deserts/harmattan.
  12. Emission of smoke into the atmosphere.
  13. Volcanic eruptions can also cause serious air pollution.

Effects

  1. Air pollution causes impaired health such as the irritation of eyes, lungs and skin cancer.
  2. Formation of thin layer on leaves leading to reduction in transpiration.
  3. It causes acid rain which can corrode materials and burn green plants.
  4. It causes suffocation.
  5. Noise pollution affects hearing by causing temporary deafness and reduces concentration and relaxation.
  6. It can increase or decrease the temperature.
  7. It causes the destruction of the ozone layer.
  8. It can cause accidents as a result of poor visibility.
  9. It affects plant growth and aquatic life.
  10. It can also affect the economy.

Control

  1. Chemical waste should be discharged high into the air through fume chambers.
  2. Industries should be sited away from residential houses.
  3. Creation of conditions for complete combustion of fuel.
  4. Provision of filters or absorbers to reduce pollutants from waste gases.
  5. Controlling the level of noise from loud speakers, car sirens and horns through legislation.
  6. There should be government legislation on air pollution.
  7. Proper education on waste disposal.
  8. Proper monitoring of air pollution.
  9. There should be international cooperation and control on air pollution.
  10. Improved technology should be developed e.g. waste recycling.

 

  • LAND POLLUTION

Causes

Land pollution is caused by dumping of refuse, sewage, metal scraps, plastic waste, chemicals, oil spillage, toxic wastes, pesticides and fertilizers in an area or place.

Effects

  1. Land pollution causes offensive odour.
  2. Some are poisonous to man and animals.
  3. Some can kill useful soil organisms.
  4. Some can render soil infertile.

Control

  1. Refuse should be burnt in an incinerator.
  2. Urban waste should be buried.
  3. Proper disposal of sewage.
  4. Legislation by government against dumping of harmful or toxic wastes at any place.
  5. Pesticides, fertilizers, etc. should be applied as instructed.
  6. Oil pipes lines should be maintained and checked regularly to prevent oil spillage.

 

  • WATER POLLUTION

Causes

  1. Discharge of industrial effluents or wastes into water sources.
  2. Discharge of domestic waste into water.
  3. Utilization of same water source by man and animals.
  4. Oil spillage.
  5. Chemical discharge into water.
  6. Discharge of effluents from ships at harbors.
  7. Use of agro-chemicals e.g. fertilizers.

Effects

  1. It can cause water borne diseases.
  2. Destruction of aquatic life e.g. fishes and plants.
  3. Lack of fresh water for domestic use.
  4. Inadequate water for industrial use.
  5. Loss of man-hours in search of useable water.
  6. Unemployment among fishermen.
  7. There may be possible migration of people.
  8. It may lead to health hazards and food poisoning.

Control

  1. Legislation against waste discharge into water.
  2. Enlightenment on the dangers of water pollution.
  3. Discouraging the use of chemicals for fishing.
  4. Monitoring of ships, pipe lines and chemical discharge.
  5. Building of public utilities e.g. toilets for the public.
  6. Provision of pipe-borne water for the public.
  7. Treatment of industrial wastes.