|Introduction |Air Pollution |Water Pollution |Land Pollution |
Pollution is the addition to the ecosystem of someting
which has a detrimental effect on it. One of the most important causes of
pollution is the high rate of energy usage by modern, growing populations.
Different kinds of pollution are found. In this section we will discuss:
- Air Pollution.
- Water Pollution.
- Land Pollution.
Air pollution is the accumulation in the atmosphere of
substances that, in sufficient concentrations, endanger human health or produce
other measured effects on living matter and other materials. Among the major
sources of pollution are power and heat generation, the burning of solid wastes,
industrial processes, and, especially, transportation. The six major types of
pollutants are carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, particulates,
sulfur dioxide, and photochemical oxidants.
Examples of Air Pollution
- Noise PollutionNoise pollution or unwanted
sounds that are carried by the air, have an irritating and detrimental effect
on humans and other animals. Careful planning of streets and biuldings in
towns and better control over noisy vechiles may add to the control of noise
- Tobacco SmokeTobacco smoke is one of the
major forms of pollution in buildings. It is not only the smoker who is
infected, but everyone who inhales the polluted air. There is a very strong
connection between smoking and lung cancer. Bronchitis is common among smokers
and unborn babies of mothers who smoke also suffer from the harmful effects of
- Exhaust Gases of VehiclesPollution from
exhaust gases of vehicles is reponsible for 60% of all air pollution and in
cities up to 80%. There is a large variety of harmful chemicals present in
these gases, with lead being one of the most dangerous.
- Combustion of CoalThe combustion of caol
without special precautions can have serious consequences. If winds do not
blow away the poisonous gases, they can have fatal effects and may lead to
- Acid rainAcid rain is the term for
pollution caused when sulfur and nitrogen dioxides combine with atmospheric
moisture to produce highly acidic rain, snow, hail, or fog. The acid eats into
the stone, brick and metal articles and pollutes water sources. Coal in South
Africa is rich in sulphur and the power stations in the Mpumalanga Province
could be reponsible for acid rain over other areas of our country.
Although individual people can
help to combat air pollution in their own immediate environment, efficient
control can be best achieved by legislation. Some commonly enforced control
- the establishment of more smokeless zones;
- control over the kinds of fuel used in cars, aeroplanes, power stations,
Water pollution is the introduction into fresh or ocean
waters of chemical, physical, or biological material that degrades the quality
of the water and affects the organisms living in it. This process ranges from
simple addition of dissolved or suspended solids to discharge of the most
insidious and persistent toxic pollutants (such as pesticides, heavy metals, and
nondegradable, bioaccumulative, chemical compounds).
Examples of Water Pollution
- Industrial affluentsWater is discharged
from after having been used in production processes. This waste water may
contain acids, alkalis, salts, poisons, oils and in some cases harmful
- Mining and Agricultural WastesMines,
especially gold and coal mines, are responsible for large quatities of acid
water. Agricultural pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides may wash into
rivers and stagnant water bodies.
- Sewage Disposal and Domestic WastesSewage
as wel as domestic and farm wastes were often allowed to pollute rivers and
The following measures can be used to stop water
- every intelligent people should be wise enough not to pollute water in any
- by research and legislation the pollution of water bodies, even though not
entirely prevented, must be effectively controlled.
Land pollution is the degradation of the Earth's land surface
through misuse of the soil by poor agricultural practices, mineral exploitation,
industrial waste dumping, and indiscriminate disposal of urban wastes. It
includes visible waste and litter as well as pollution of the soil itself.
Examples of Land Pollution
pollution is mainly due to chemicals in herbicides (weed killers) and pesticides
(poisons which kill insects and other invertebrate pests). Litter is waste
material dumped in public places such as streets, parks, picnic areas, at bus
stops and near shops.
accumulation of waste threatens the health of people in residential areas. Waste
decays, encourages household pests and turns urban areas into unsightly, dirty
and unhealthy places to live in.
The following measures can be used to control land
pollution:organic waste can be dumped in places far from residential areas;
inorganic materials such as metals, glass and plastic, but also paper, can
be reclaimed and recycled.
anti-litter campaigns can educate people against