Stratospheric ozone depletion due to air pollution has long been agonized as a threat to human health as well as to the Earth’s ecosystems. Indoor air pollution (see Airlock) and urban air quality are listed as TV of the World’s Worst Toxic Pollution Problems in the 2008 Blacksmith Institute World’s Worst polluted places report. Things that pollute the air are called pollutants. Examples of pollutants include nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides, hydrocarbons, sulfur oxides (usually from factories), sand or dust particles, and organic compounds that can evaporate and enter the atmosphere.
There are two types of pollutants: Primary pollutants are those gases or particles that are pumped into the air o make it unclean. They include carbon monoxide from automobile (cars) exhausts and sulfur dioxide from the combustion of coal. Secondary pollutants: When pollutants in the air mix up in a chemical reaction, they form an even more dangerous chemical. Photochemical smog is an example Of this, and is a secondary pollutant. What causes air pollution? Air pollution can result from both human and natural actions.
Natural events that pollute the air include forest fires, volcanic eruptions, wind erosion, pollen dispersal, evaporation of organic compounds and natural radioactivity. Pollution from natural occurrences are not very often. Human activities that result in air pollution include: 1 . Emissions from industries and manufacturing activities Have you seen a manufacturing company before? You will notice that there are long tubes (called chimneys) erected high into the air, with lots of smoke and fumes coming out of it.
Waste incinerators, manufacturing industries and power plants emit high levels of carbon monoxide, organic compounds, and chemicals into the air. This happens almost everywhere that people live. Petroleum refineries also release lots of hydrocarbons into the air. 2. Burning Fossil Fuels After the industrial age, transportation has become a key part of our lives. Cars and heavy duty trucks, trains, shipping vessels and airplanes all burn lots of fossil fuels to work. Emissions from automobile engines contain both primary and secondary pollutants. This is a major cause of pollution, and one that is very difficult to manage.
This is because humans rely heavily on vehicles and engines for transporting people, good and services. Fumes from car exhaust contain dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons and particulates. On their own, they cause retreat harm to people who breath them. Additionally, they react with environmental gases to create further toxic gases. 3. Household and Farming Chemicals Crop dusting, fumigating homes, household cleaning products or painting supplies, over the counter insect/pest killers, fertilizer dust emit harmful chemicals into the air and cause pollution.
In many case, when we use these chemicals at home or offices with no or little ventilation, we may fall ill if we breathe them. 1. Effects on the Environment Acidification: Chemical reactions involving air pollutants can create acidic compounds which can cause harm to vegetation and buildings. Sometimes, when an air pollutant, such as sulfuric acid combines with the water droplets that make up clouds, the water droplets become acidic, forming acid rain. When acid rain falls over an area, it can kill trees and harm animals, fish, and other wildlife. Acid rain destroys the leaves of plants.
When acid rain infiltrates into soils, it changes the chemistry of the soil making it unfit for many living things that rely on soil as a habitat or for nutrition. Acid rain also changes the chemistry of the lakes and streams that the rainwater flows into, harming fish and other aquatic life. Transportation: Rain can carry and deposit the Nitrogen in some pollutants on rivers and soils. This will adversely affect the nutrients in the soil and water bodies. This can result in algae growth in lakes and water bodies, and make conditions for other living organism harmful.
Ground-level ozone: Chemical reactions involving air pollutants create a poisonous gas ozone (03). Gas Ozone can affect people’s health and can damage vegetation types and some animal life too. Particulate matter: Air pollutants can be in the form of particulate matter which can be very harmful to our health. The level of effect usually depends on the length of mime of exposure, as well the kind and concentration of chemicals and particles exposed to. Short-term effects include irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, and upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
Others include headaches, nausea, and allergic reactions. Short- term air pollution can aggravate the medical conditions of individuals with asthma and emphysema. Long-term health effects can include chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer, heart disease, and even damage to the brain, nerves, liver, or kidneys. Continual exposure to air pollution affects the nuns of growing children and may aggravate or complicate medical conditions in the elderly. B. Water Pollution Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies (e. G. Lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers and groundwater).
Water pollution occurs when pollutants are directly or indirectly discharged into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds. Water pollution affects plants and organisms living in these bodies of water. In almost all cases the effect is damaging not only to individual species and populations, but also to the natural biological communities. 1. Potable Water Potable water is water which is fit for consumption by humans and other animals. It is also called drinking water, in a reference to its intended use.
Water may be naturally potable, as is the case with pristine springs, or it may need to be treated in order to be safe. In either instance, the safety of water is assessed with tests which look for potentially harmful contaminants. The issue of access to potable water is very important. In developed countries, people may not put a great deal of thought into the source of their water. In many First World nations, citizens can turn on a tap for fresh, potable water which may also be enriched with substances for health.
In developing countries, however, and especially in Africa, a large proportion of the population does not have access to safe water. Water which is not safe to drink can carry diseases and heavy metals. People who consume this water will become ill, and there is a risk of death. Unfortunately, even in areas where the water is known to be unsafe, people may drink it anyway, out of desperation. The lack of potable water is often accompanied by other lapses in sanitation, such as open sewers and limited garbage collection. Many of Hess public health issues impact the poor more than anyone else. . Contamination of Potable Water Microbial contamination The contamination of drinking water by pathogens causing diarrhea disease is the most important aspect of drinking water quality. The problem arises as a consequence of contamination of water by fecal matter, particularly human fecal matter, containing pathogenic organisms. Chemical contaminants As indicated above, there are many sources Of chemical contaminants in drinking water. However, the most important contaminants from a health standpoint are naturally occurring chemicals that are usually found in rainwater.
Arsenic Waterborne arsenic is a major cause of disease in many parts of the world. It is the only contaminant that has been shown to be the cause of human cancers following exposure through drinking water. Besides cancer of the skin, lung and bladder and probably liver, arsenic is responsible for a range of adverse effects, including hypertension and peripheral vascular disease. However, the epidemiological data also demonstrate that many local factors are important, including nutritional status.
There are considerable difficulties in assessing arsenic exposure. Fluoride Waterborne fluoride is another major cause of morbidity in a number of parts of the world High intakes fluoride can give rise to dental flourish, an unsightly brown mottling of teeth, but higher intakes result in skeletal flourish, a condition arising from increasing bone density and which can eventually lead to fractures and crippling skeletal deformity. Selenium and uranium Selenium and uranium have also both been shown to cause adverse effects in humans through drinking Water.
In calciferous areas, drinking Water can contribute to high selenium intakes, which can give rise to loss of hair, awakened nails and skin lesions, and more seriously, changes in peripheral nerves and decreased prohibition time. Uranium is found in groundwater associated with granting rocks and other mineral deposits. It is a kidney toxin and has been associated with an increase in fractional calcium excretion and increased microbiological, although within the normal range found in the population.
Uranium is a current topic of research with regard to exposure through drinking water. Iron and manganese Both iron and manganese can occur at high concentrations in some source waters that are anaerobic. When the water is aerated they are oxidized to sides that are of low solubility. These will cause significant disconsolation and turbidity at concentrations well below those of any concern for health. They may, however, cause consumers to turn to alternative supplies which may be more aesthetically acceptable but which are microbiological unsafe.
Agricultural chemicals Agriculture is another source of chemical contamination. In this case the most important contaminant is nitrate, which can cause intergovernmental, or blue-baby syndrome, in bottle-fed infants under 3 months of age. There remains uncertainty about the precise levels at which clinically apparent effects occur and it also seems that the simultaneous presence of microbial contamination, causing infection, is an important risk factor. Urban pollution Industry and human dwellings are also a source Of potential contaminants. The most common are he’. Metals, and solvents, such as trim and tetrachloride’s, which are sometimes found in groundwater and hydrocarbons, particularly from petroleum oils. There is little good evidence that these pollutants occur at concentrations in drinking water that are sufficient to cause health effects, but some of the low molecular weight aromatic hydrocarbons can give rise to severe dour problems in drinking water at concentrations of less than 30 peg/l. By-products of water treatment Drinking water treatment is intended to remove microorganisms and, increasingly in many cases, chemical contaminants.
Nevertheless, the process can in itself result in the formation of other contaminants such as the transliterations and healthcare acids from the reaction of chemical oxidants with naturally occurring organic matter. This requires a balance to be struck between the benefits of the chemical oxidants in destroying microorganisms and the potential risks from the by-products. Endocrine disrupter Endocrine disrupter are chemicals that interfere with the endocrine system, for example by mimicking the natural hormones.
They may be associated with a range of adverse reproductive health effects, including sperm count decline, hypoxia’s and corporatism’s, and cancer of the breast and testes, although the current human evidence is weak. Phthalate, biospheres, alkyl phenols, alkyl phenol tessellates, polyethylene’s, pesticides, human hormones and pharmaceuticals have all been implicated and sewage effluent discharged to surface water has been shown to contain many of these absences. Since many surface waters which receive sewage effluent are subsequently used as drinking water sources (I. . Re-use of water), it is important that the water is properly treated, which will remove these substances. Effects on wildlife, such as fish exposed to sewage effluent, have been reported but there is currently little if any evidence that humans drinking tap water are affected. Soft water is essentially free of dissolved calcium or magnesium Since calcium and magnesium are not present in soft water, no adverse reaction with soaps ND detergents occurs.
The result is the virtual elimination of soap scum and the corresponding reduction in time spent cleaning. Hair and skin can “breathe” more readily. And the School of Consumer & Family Sciences at Purdue university recently conducted a study which proved that the life of clothing and household textiles was prolonged up to 15 percent when they were washed in conditioned water. Soap usage can be dramatically reduced with soft water. Since the water is already soft, the cleaning agents have no hardness minerals to react with and overcome, lather more readily and work more effectively.
Since less is needed, households can experience considerable savings on laundry’ detergent, dishwashing detergent, bath soap, hand soap, shampoo and many other cleaning products. Since soft water contains no scale forming minerals, it leaves the inside of plumbing and water using appliances free of solidified rock. Appliances operate more efficiently and last longer when using soft water. Leading appliance manufacturers including Mayday have recognized the problems that hard water causes and recommend the use of home water conditioners to help their own products operate more efficiently.
Hard water is water that has high mineral content (in contrast with “soft water”). Hard drinking water is generally not harmful to one’s health, but can pose serious problems in industrial settings, where water hardness is monitored to avoid costly breakdowns in boilers, cooling towers, and other equipment that handles water. In domestic settings, hard water is often indicated by a lack of suds formation when soap is agitated in water, and by the formation of limeades in kettles and water heaters.