We explain what pollution is and what its causes and consequences are. In addition, its general characteristics and solutions.
Pollution is the accumulation of harmful agents for living beings in some sector of the environment. These agents can be chemical, physical or biological. Various organisms can be affected: humans , animals or plants .
In the environment there are constantly harmful agents for living beings . However, pollution is only considered when substances have accumulated to such an extent that their concentration changes the balance of the ecosystem .
Pollution can be classified according to the causes that cause it (natural or artificial) or by the environments in which it is concentrated: air , soil or water . In recent decades, pollution has also been classified depending on the aspect of the ecosystem that it modifies: light, acoustic, or thermal.
Pollution is considered to have natural causes when it is caused by phenomena that were not triggered by human activity. For example:
The various economic activities of man cause pollution . The amount of pollution from man-made causes is significantly higher than that caused naturally. Global pollution has skyrocketed since industrialization , at the end of the 18th century.
Among the artificial causes of pollution, one of the main ones is transportation : the various fuels used for trains, cars, ships and planes generate toxic gases that are concentrated in the atmosphere worldwide.
Another of the great causes of pollution is the garbage generated by large cities . This garbage pollutes the soil, the air and can even contaminate the underground water layers.
Air pollution is the presence of toxic substances in the air. When the air is polluted, it can affect other sectors of the ecosystem. For example, when it rains where there are polluting gases in the air, the water washes away those pollutants forming acid rain , which in turn pollutes the water and the soil.
The main polluting gases are: Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide.
All living beings depend on the organic and inorganic balance of the soil, since plants come from it , which start the food chain. Plants cannot grow from polluted soils , or plants containing these pollutants grow and transmit them to animals or humans who consume them.
Just as toxic substances are dumped into rivers , they are also dumped on land, without taking into account the multiple organisms that live on it. In addition, contamination of the land can result in water contamination of groundwater layers.
Water pollution is the contamination of water . Water is considered contaminated when it is not suitable for consumption by humans or animals. Since the beginning of industrialization, factories used rivers to dispose of chemicals that were unwanted by-products of their economic activity.
Many cities also deposit their waste in streams . At first this did not seem to have consequences, since it seemed that the waste "disappeared" in the direction of the sea . However, over the decades, the accumulation of this waste contaminated not only small surfaces such as lakes and rivers, but also areas of the sea.
Radioactive contamination can be of natural origin, since in the earth's crust there are radioactive isotopes that are found in all natural material. However, most of the radioactive contamination is man-made , caused mainly by industries associated with nuclear power, but also by military use of nuclear bombs whose devastation lingers long after detonation because of the resulting contamination.
Radioactive contamination not only "burns" living beings but also affects their genetics , causing diseases and malformations that can be transmitted for generations.
Light pollution is the irradiation of light, usually concentrated in urban centers . In addition to preventing us from seeing the night sky, it causes sleep disorders in humans and significantly affects nocturnal ecosystems, since many animal species depend on the cycles of light and darkness.
Almost entirely, electrical appliances emit heat into the environment . Due to the increasing concentration of these devices in urban centers, the climate and ecosystems are beginning to show their consequences.
However, the greatest danger is found in the water used to cool thermal power plants, since if the hot water is poured directly into a river or the sea, it negatively affects all the organisms with which it comes into contact.
It is very difficult to reverse the effects of pollution. Therefore, most of the measures that governments and individuals are carrying out aim to prevent pollution from increasing. For example:
In the first place, pollution affects the quality of life of the human being . Air pollution causes everything from minor ailments such as headaches or mild respiratory or skin conditions, to life-threatening diseases such as cancer.
On the other hand, air pollution, by affecting the ozone layer , causes global warming , leading to the danger of extinction to various species that depend on a cold environment to survive, such as corals.
Water pollution can cause death in humans and animals. Even when it occurs in the sea, it affects the life of marine animals , for example plastic bags that are swallowed by fish and marine mammals .
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