Pollution in the environment

polluting gas emissions

When we talk about environmental pollution we refer to the contamination and degradation of the natural environment caused by various harmful substances and activities. The Earth constantly serves as a reminder, with increasing frequency, that when we upset its balance, the results are catastrophic. Droughts, massive forest fires, floods, the extinction of countless species and the intensification of natural calamities are testimony to the reality of climate change. Its impact is already being felt by thousands of people, animals and plants. The pollution in the environment It causes serious consequences for humans and biodiversity.

Therefore, in this article we are going to tell you what the consequences of pollution are in the environment and where it comes from.

Context of pollution in the environment

pollution in the environment

The advance of the climate crisis is driven by pollution, which acts as a catalyst. Environmental pollution is the term used to describe the introduction of harmful chemicals into a specific environment. This fact alters the balance of the environment, making it dangerous and unsafe.

The harmful impacts of environmental pollution are inflicted on the environment and its ecosystems. This form of pollution represents a harmful deviation from the natural state of the organisms that reside on our planet. The factors that contribute to this type of pollution depend on several agents, which differ depending on the ecosystem they impact.

The main cause of pollution on Earth throughout history has been human activity. As a result, our environments have become contaminated and the planet's delicate ecological balance has been disrupted. The consequences of environmental pollution They extend to the health and well-being of all living organisms on the planet.

According to the World Health Organization, a significant portion of the world's population currently resides in regions where environmental pollution levels exceed recommended healthy thresholds. This widespread pollution not only poses a threat to human health, but also alters the habitats of numerous animal and plant species, causing detrimental effects on their well-being.

Causes of pollution in the environment

plastic waste

There are various forms of pollution that pose a threat to the environment. Chemicals, including pesticides, cyanide, and herbicides, along with Urban waste, oil and ionizing radiation are various forms of polluting agents. Despite their differences, they share a common trait: they contribute to the rapid deterioration of the environment and the spread of diseases. The growing issue of climate change only serves to exacerbate this global problem, acting as a catalyst for its devastating effects.

To understand the reasons behind environmental pollution, it is essential to develop a clear understanding of the different types of pollution and their respective sources. These may include:

  • Natural disasters, such as Forest fires, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes are the result of various phenomena.
  • Man-made disasters are the result of human actions, such as the harmful effects caused by industrial activity, chemicals, and other factors. This includes the alteration of the natural cycles of ecosystems, the inappropriate use of natural resources and the inadequate management of waste.

What factors contribute to pollution in the environment?

The environment suffers pollution due to the interaction of two important elements: the expansion of the human population and the relentless progress of industrialization. These factors alter the balance of the environment by introducing various physical, chemical and biological pollutants. Other factors are:

  • The chemical industry produces toxic substances, including acids, organic solvents, plastics, petroleum derivatives, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which results in the presence of chemical contaminants.
  • Physical agents encompass a variety of factors, including noise, radioactivity, heat and electromagnetic energy, all derived from human activities.
  • Biological contaminants are the result of the decomposition and fermentation of organic waste, including excrement, sawdust from the forestry industry, paper, and waste from factories or drains.

The causes and effects of these pollutants differ depending on whether they impact water, air or soil, but it is important to note that each of them has a detrimental impact on the natural environment, as we have discussed previously.

Factors that contribute to water pollution

water contamination

The presence of a substance or polluting agent is responsible for altering the composition of water, causing its contamination. Contaminated water refers to water that not only does not meet the conditions required for consumption but also represents a threat to ecosystems.

The crystal clear, translucent waters of the Ganges River, once a symbol of purity, are now emblematic of the widespread problem of water pollution. Surprisingly, one in three people around the world is already affected by this environmental crisis, according to United Nations (UN) estimates.

Given the vital role that water plays in supporting life on our planet, the contamination of this resource by various pollutants stands out as one of the most important contributors to environmental pollution.

Major contributors to water pollution include:

  • Insufficient wastewater treatment, urban and industrial fluids cause the discharge of these substances into the environment.
  • Oil spills occur as a result of accidents or improper practices during oil extraction.
  • Fumigation of fields with phytosanitary products is a common practice. These products are absorbed by the soil and eventually reach the groundwater.
  • The act of felling trees indiscriminately, Known as deforestation, it causes bacteria to appear in the soil. These bacteria infiltrate the soil and contaminate groundwater.
  • The increase in temperature due to thermal pollution causes a reduction in oxygen levels in the water, causing a significant alteration of its overall composition.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ingestion of contaminated water causes more than 50.000 deaths annually worldwide and facilitates the spread of diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever. Water is an essential element for sustaining life. However, the shortage of this vital resource presents a pressing global problem that requires an immediate solution.

The presence of plastics, phosphates and inadequate waste treatment in certain areas of the world poses a significant threat to water safety, making it a dangerous resource for all living organisms.

The problem is significantly aggravated by the climate emergency. The increase in CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere causes a corresponding increase in global temperatures, which in turn affects ocean temperatures. As a result, water warms and oxygen levels decrease, making seas and rivers inhospitable environments for marine species.

Water pollution is further aggravated by the act of dumping waste into the sea. The United Nations has confirmed that More than 80% of wastewater is dumped into the oceans and seas without any type of purification.

Factors that contribute to air pollution

The air we inhale is contaminated with a combination of gases and solid particles known as air pollution. The main culprits of this form of pollution are directly related to the combustion of fossil fuels, including coal, oil and gas. These fuels come mainly from industrial activities, oil well extraction and road transportation.

The main contributors to the emission of harmful gases are the main sources.

  • The process of extracting hydrocarbons from fields containing oil, coal, and gas.
  • The burning of fuels for transportation purposes.
  • The digestive process of livestock is significantly affected by the expansive agricultural-livestock industry.
  • The presence of microorganisms and their metabolic processes in wastewater.
  • Burning tropical forests.

Environmental pollution is mainly caused by the escalation in the release of greenhouse gases. It is worth noting that the atmosphere contains essential natural gases that play a crucial role in supporting life on our planet. These gases possess the ability to trap the sun's rays as they penetrate the various layers of the Earth, effectively regulating temperature and protecting humans from harmful ultraviolet radiation.

The alteration of the natural balance It occurs when there is a significant increase in these gases. The consequences are serious and include, among others, global warming, the melting of the polar ice caps, the depletion of water resources, the endangerment of numerous species and climate changes that have a profound impact on all living organisms.

The acceleration of these phenomena can be attributed to climate change. Emphasize renewable energy, promote recycling and encourage greater environmental awareness between people are crucial to ending environmental pollution and its consequences.

Factors that contribute to soil contamination

soil contamination

Soil pollution is mainly attributed to the increase in the use of chemical compounds in various products and inadequate waste disposal practices. The human population is solely responsible for these factors, which ultimately result in the modification of the Earth's surface. Examples of this form of environmental pollution can be seen in the following examples:

  • Pipe leaks They allow liquids and gases derived from petroleum to come into contact with the ground, causing their storage in underground facilities.
  • The excessive presence of chemicals Pesticides are the main factor contributing to soil contamination, since these substances are absorbed by the soil and eventually reach groundwater.
  • Poorly managed domestic and commercial waste, commonly known as urban waste, pose a significant threat to the environment. When waste is not treated effectively, it can have harmful and long-lasting effects on soil and water. Non-biodegradable waste persists for hundreds of years, further compounding the negative environmental impact.
  • Industrial waste consists of pesticides, chemical liquids, and fuel and metal residues from textile, paper, food, and oil manufacturing processes.
  • Extraction of minerals from mines It has a significant ecological footprint, causing substantial alterations in the landscape and contributing to air and soil pollution. These detrimental effects on the environment are evident through observable transformations in the morphology of the terrain and the presence of contaminants in the surrounding air and soil.

The main pollutants of the earth consist of heavy metals, hydrocarbons, pesticides and acidic substances. These substances pose a major problem as they are absorbed by the soil and ultimately affect the quality of crops. The pollutants are then absorbed by vegetation which, when consumed by animals and humans, become part of the food chain.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the consequences of pollution in the environment and where said pollution comes from.

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