INTRODUCTION

What is pollution?

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Pollution is the contaminated, impure,
unwanted material of physically and biologically that causes discomfort or harm
to the human body or any other living organism. It can damage the environment
in form of chemical substance or energy such as noise, heat or light. Due to
excess of natural levels substance pollution can be caused which can damage the
land, water and atmosphere.

What is
environmental pollution?

Since the industrial revolution took place in
the 19th century, the environmental pollution has started to increase
substantially. Environmental pollution occurs when the environment itself is
unable to destroy the harmful human activity by-products. It is a problem faced
in both developed as well as the countries undergoing development. But since
the start of the industrial revolution a vast number of resources have been
exploited within a few hundred years, with all the waste going into the
environment, significant amount of damage can be noticed in our surroundings,
causing disruption in the natural process of rehabilitation of natural
resources.

Urbanization and rapid growth of population is
perpetually putting greater demands for planet’s natural resources and it is being
stretched to its maximum limits.

Types of
Environmental Pollution

Several types of Environmental Pollution
causing harm to the human, plants, animals can be identified. But the main
types are listed below:

1.     Air
Pollution

2.     Land/
Soil Pollution

3.     Water
Pollution

4.     Light
Pollution

5.     Noise
Pollution

 

SOURCES OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION

Air
Pollution

What is Air Pollution and its causes

Air pollution is referred to as
the release of harmful particulars into the air irrespective it is indoors or
outdoors. The alteration to the atmosphere in terms of physically, biologically
or chemically in the air can be termed as air pollution. There are different
types of air pollution, some are visible and some are invisible. Furthermore,
there are two types of air pollutants, primary and secondary. The pollutants
that are a direct outcome of a course is called primary pollutants, for example
chemicals like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, released from the factories.
Secondary pollutants are caused by the inter blending and reactions of primary
pollutants, for example smog. Sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and
carbon monoxide react with water particles in the air, this can cause acid rain
mainly due to air pollution. Natural causes of air pollution are volcanos,
forest fire and dust storms. Dust and dirt lifted from the ground is another
source of air pollution.

 

The largest cause of air pollution in urban cities is the poisonous,
odorless and colorless gas that is created from burning of fossil fuel like coal,
petroleum and natural gas. Fumes released by cars, buses, trucks, coal operated
trains, heavy artilleries (agriculture based machineries), airplanes, ships and
motorcycles also play a vital role in increasing the levels of pollutants in
the air. Exhaust from factories and industries, agricultural activities,
burning of fossil fuels, mining operations, indoor air pollution
(Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFs) released by
refrigerators, deep freezer and aerosol sprays are also known reasons for air
pollution. A classic example for this kind of pollution is the M. A. Jinnah road
located in Karachi, such that it has be listed as the most health hazard
infrastructure of Karachi in article by DAWN published on 31st October
2001. Yet little or nothing has been done on institutional level to reduce its
adverse effects, the hospitals near by are filled up with smog generated by all
forms of transportation.

 

Effects of Air Pollution

Irritation in throat, nose, lungs and eyes can be caused by air pollution.
Breathing problems and other health issues like emphysema and asthma can be
aggravated. Cardiovascular diseases may increase by frequent exposure to
polluted air. People working-out outdoors are also easily prone to diseases due
to heavy and fast breathing during exercising. Trees, crops, marine animals are
also profoundly damaged by the acid rain produced by air pollution. Hence heart
affected people, children, older people are extremely sensitive to air
pollution. It can cause diseases, allergies or in extreme cases it may even
cause deaths of human or other living organisms like animals or food crops.
Global warming, is a direct effect of air pollution such that the smog traps
the ultra violet radiations causing the increase in earth’s temperature. Ozone
layer that protects the earth from harmful rays is now depleting due to the
presences of CFCs and HCFCs, which can cause skin and eye related problems.

Land/ Soil
Pollution

What is Land Pollution and its causes:

It can be
termed as the degradation or annihilation of the land, which may be as a direct
or indirect result of anthropogenic activities. We are unable to see the
effects but the deposition of solids or liquids wasted material on the land or
under the ground that contaminate the soil and the underground water are the
main cause of land pollution. It is one of the serious concerns. Waste material
that causes land pollution can be categorized as the garbage of food materials
like poultry and vegetables; dry material like paper, glass, textile, plastic
objects etc.

 

Deforestations
and soil erosions, cutting down of trees in order to provide wood for human
activities such as building houses, burning wood in winters or clearing space
for urbanization. However, what is not realized is that these forests are our
safeguards against floods and heavy rainfalls, without them the nearby
civilization can be wiped out. Moreover, when they are cut down it becomes easy
for the rain or flood to cause soil erosion as the roots of the trees prevents
the same. Agricultural activities, increased population results in overused of
agricultural land in order to meet the food demand, this can also cause loss of
fertile land due to over use of land. Overcrowded landfills: Over population
also results in large waste lands crowded with human byproducts of humans such
as aluminums, plastics, papers, clothes and woods, which are also termed as non-biodegradable
compounds (products that do not break down in the environment naturally).

Industrialization,
the industrial revolution has brought a high influx of finish products, which
makes the lives of people easy in the short run. In the long run the waste
products are in higher magnitude then the output such that the waste such as
wood, bricks, metal and plastic is visible to us. Nuclear waste, the huge
amount of waste produced by plants as a result of fusion and fission, which are
dumped underneath the earth’s surface. Sewage treatment, leftover solid waste
from the treatment is relocated to a landfill site are also main causes of land
Pollution.

 

Effects of Land Pollution

Another
form of land pollution is soil pollution, in which the upper layer of the soil
is damaged. Agriculture products such as chemical fertilizers and pest controls
when used in heavy quantities can lead to land pollution, such that the
fertility of the agricultural land can be lost because of it. Directly or
indirectly land pollution also affects the climate changes. Contaminated land
with chemical toxics, pesticides can lead to skin problem such as skin cancer
and effects the human respiratory system also. Through foods and vegetables
toxic chemicals enter our body which are gown in polluted land. Landfills that
keep growing around the city and when burned which pollutes the air as well as
land. Wildlife is also suffering and has been suffering for the past decade.
Human activities that creates non-biodegradable garbage is also a polluting
factor of lands hence forcing the wildlife to die or move away from region they
have been living due to which many species of animals have become extinct. Acid
rain discharges chemicals on trees and plants which decompose of them causing
land pollution. It also effects a country’s economic growth; the landfill makes
it unattractive to the tourist.

Water
Pollution

What is water pollution and its causes

Two third
of the earth surface is covered with water including lakes, rivers, seas, ocean
as well as underground water and the remaining one third is land. As the
population is growing, the water resources are being pressurized. Exceeded
chemical from medical, industrial and household waste found in water may
cause water pollution and harm human health and environment. Under water
species and plants are also being affected. Agriculture crops which are high exposed
to fertilizers, when washed out, due to rain or watering of plants, into the
rivers and lakes which pollutes the water highly. Disposing of sewage waste is
also affecting our marine life, Karachi being a prime example of the drainage
system setup by the Defence Housing Authority (D.H.A), such that the byproducts
are released into the Arabian Sea. Another major factor for the destruction of
our seas is the oil spills.

 

Effects of Water Pollution

A large
variety of diseases can be caused by water pollution. Since we are drinking
polluted water, bathing and showering in it, swimming in polluted water, breathing
polluted water, sitting next to chemically effected water, consume polluted washed
food and meat. Stomach aches to deadly diseases can be affect by drinking
contaminated water. When the oil is spilled in the ocean, due to its light weight
it floats on the surface of the water, which results in difficulty for the
marine life to breath and causing death eventually. Such species includes sea
otters, fish, shell fish and also sea birds. Plastic materials are
non-biodegradable substance which is not only causes water pollution but is
also aesthetically unappealing to human eye.

Light
Pollution

What is light pollution and its causes

Also
known as photo pollution, light pollution is the excessive misuse of artificial
outdoor lighting. Excessive or mismanaged light washes out the view of the
universe, alters the colour and contrast of the nighttime sky, eclipses, which
results increase effects of effecting the human life and wild life. When
talking about light pollution it is said that man made light is changing the
environments natural light. There are plants and animals that depend on the
natural night light but due to manmade lights the night illuminated is
compromised hence it is important to maintain natural lights. Five main types of light pollution are
over illumination, this means lights are left turned on and even street lamps
which not adjusted according to day light saving causes light pollution. Second
is the glare, it is when the intensity of the light is very strong causing
disruption visually, for example, glaring headlights in the night. Light
clutter, it is when the objects around us are emitting a lot of bright light and
all at once, for example street lights combined with billboards, headlights and
other sources. When the light is directly emitted in the atmosphere causing up
the sky to brighten up is known as sky glow, which may prohibit us from star
gazing, and also it can create issues for nocturnal animals as they use moon
light for navigation and lastly, light trespass, as the name suggest, when one’s
light shines over the others and others shine over yours, creates a flood of
lights, which can be unwanted at many instances. The main causes of light
pollution are poor planning, irresponsible use and over population.

 

Effects of Light Pollution

Also
known as luminous pollution, have many harmful effects not only to our natural
resources by also to all living creatures around us, either directly or
indirectly.

 

Wild
animals’ life patterns can be highly affected such as their feeding, sleeping,
migration and mating cycles. Nocturnal animals and other mammals such as bats,
raccoons and deer can face difficulties when fending for their food. Birds such
as owls and hawks use moonlight and starlight to hunt and migration, however
due to pollution it can cause visual impairment. Female turtles lay their eggs
on a dark beach however due to illuminated beach it risks the exposer of the
nest to the surrounding animals such as dogs, which increases the chances of
the hatchlings been eaten by predators.

Noise
Pollution

What is noise pollution and its causes.

Regularly
exposed to elevated sound that may lead to adverse hearing effects for human or
other living creatures is known as noise pollution. Sounds and noises are
explained as unnatural in either volume or in their production. The environment
becomes such that is difficult to escape the noise. Noise pollution cannot be
easily measured, because its depends on the context of the sound and the effect
on the person hearing. Some loud music can be joyful for someone and torture
for another. The types of noise pollution are so universal (omnipresent)
nowadays that one often fails to even notice them anymore. Common examples are
street traffic sounds from vehicles such as cars, buses, ambulances, police
sirens and bikes. The sound of drilling or heavy machinery operation at
construction sites; industrial sounds like generators, compressor, mills, fans etc.;
trains passing by and air planes while landing and taking off, are all
considered a form of sound pollution. Noises from household sounds such has
television sets, radio, music playing on stereos or computers, vacuum cleaners,
washing machines, lawnmowers, dishwashers, fan, coolers, juicer, blenders etc.,
noise pollution can also be caused by the noise made in events such like
loudspeakers, fireworks, firecrackers etc. It is also caused by explosions, gun
fires etc.

Effects of Noise Pollution

Noise
pollution can be harmful to health in various ways such as it can elevate blood
levels for a longer period of time causing hypertension. Sleeping disorder,
constant stress, fatigueness are also caused by noise pollution. Listening to
loud music in your headphones or loud drilling noise in your surroundings,
heavy traffic on regular basis can lead to loss of hearing. Constant sharp noise
can give severe headaches and can disturb a person emotionally. Loud noise can cause
difficulty among people when communicating. Along with humans, wildlife also
faces problems due to noise pollution as they have a sharp sense of hearing
which enables their habitual activities such as mating calls, hunting their
preys and migration.

SOLUTIONS

Although
mankind has become proactive to prevent further damage to our environment,
however reversing the current depleted situation would require years before a
change can be noticed. An important factor to consider here is that everything
on earth is interrelated, such that the all living organisms help in creating
fossil fuels and use them as well, therefore it is important to understand that
we cannot survive without them. The quicker we our to take our stand on eliminating
pollution and its adverse reactions the quicker the healing process of our
earth and its resources can begin.

 

Following
are the recommendations to increase the longevity of our natural resources and
the environment.

To reduce
the carbon footprint each individual needs to reduce their waste products, such
as walking or taking bicycles to nearby places. Using catalytic convertors for
the cars (used to convert carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide) or use a hybrid
car all together; carpooling and use of public transportation is also an
efficient way to conserve energy. An individual should ensure conserving energy
by turning off lights when not in use, electrical appliances and computers.
Adopting three Rs of solid waste
management i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle is also important. Also, papers,
plastic, cans, glass and biodegradable items should be deposed of separately to
insure the three Rs of solid waste
management.

 

Awareness
programs should be launched by local bodies to ensure others are aware of their
by-products and the steps they can take individually to prevent pollution.
Drainage system should not be released in the ocean. Moreover, the industrial
areas should be relocated from the residential areas. Solid waste should be
properly disposed of in the landfills.

 

Go green
campaign should be introduced in every organization ensuring paperless
environment, which in turn will save a lot of forest, also avoiding soil
erosions. Afforestation, planting of native trees would boost the oxygen levels
in turn it will ensure the low levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

 

The
government should also limit the carbon emissions of the companies and also
enforce catalytic convertors. Moreover, the oil spills should be heavily
controlled such that taxes should be levied on the spiller. Dumping of waste
products such as plastics and metals should be completely banned. Instead of
fertilizers to ensure crop yield, manure should be used.

 

Use of
aerosol sprays should be banned completely this would reduce the emissions of
CFCs and HCFCs. Lighting throughout the city should be better planned in order
to ensure energy is not being wasted, for example during day light saving the
street lamps should also be ensured is running according to the needs of
others. However, in Pakistan, the issue of illuminous pollution will not arise in
the near future since we barely have any street lighting anywhere except our
capital, Islamabad. All other cities are poorly managed when it comes to public
domain which include lighting of the streets. Loud noises should be controlled
internally and externally to ensure well-being of the surrounding organisms.

 

Renewable
energy resources such as wind, solar and hydraulic resources should be utilized
to create electricity instead of non-renewable resources such as coal, fossil
fuels and methane as they leave a bigger carbon foot print then the former
resources. Pakistan is known for its geographical location that can allow it to
harvest the renewable resources all that are listed above. The vast agricultural
lands are ideal place to set up turbines that allow wind to generate
electricity, furthermore, our days in summers and winters are longer compared
to countries in the northern and southern hemisphere, making it ideal for us to
set up solar panels. The advance researches have allowed the solar panels to be
technological developed in order to store electricity in their battery which
can be later used at night, at the same time providing necessary electricity
during the day time. The only issue that has been highlighted is that it is expensive
investment

CONCLUSION

Although
much is being done to avoid further degradation of the environmental pollution,
due to the vast nature of the problem, there is no easy and quick solution. It
is important to identify and keep a close control over the pollution. Each
individual and each societal structure has to ensure their efforts to reduce
the further degradation, this would bring about a chain effect, such that in
the long run improving of atmosphere would be witnessed. It is important for
each and every one to understand the consequences if little or nothing is done
to save the atmosphere. The developed and the developing nations need to work
hand in hand to bring about the improvement needed on climate, also government
needs to be greatly involved in flood risk assessment and management, this will
ensure the safety of the people living near agricultural lands such as Punjab
and Sindh where flooding during monsoon season is common. Drainage systems need
to be properly set up and not directed towards the sea, which includes planting
a proper sewerage treatment plant. We as a country and as a society need to
think about our future generations to come and not be caught up in the moment
we are living in.

 

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