What is Environmental pollution?
The net totality of all the damage caused on the environment due to a host of factors such as air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution etc. leave a combined and disastrous effect on the environment we live and in short, it can be termed as environmental pollution.
We are aware of the different kinds of pollution that exist in our nature- air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, land pollution and many more.
In reality these different types of pollutants from various polluting agents work in combination to create a deadly effect on the environment.
Most of the times, this effect is irreversible and measures that we take to rectify individual pollution effects can subside contamination to a certain amount, but cannot avoid it totally.
Environmental pollution is the greatest threat to this ultra modern century. Environmental pollution has shot up at an alarming zenith that today it has become one of the greatest concerns of the developed and developing countries.
Let us explore how and from where the coinage of the term ‘environmental pollution’ came up from.
When the Industrial Revolution hit Europe in the nineteenth century, the whole world hailed the advent of a glorious, advanced and prosperous new era.
It was a significant brave new world—a world of steam engines and motor cars.
Then followed the aeroplane, the spacecraft and finally the computers performing wonders for man like the earth echoed with the invigorating sound of factory siren and the roar of sophisticated machinery, knowing little about the havoc it could play due to this attack on nature. Large industrial units flourished in places of sylvan retreats.
Causes of environmental pollution
Environmental pollution is caused by not just one, but there are a whole lot of contributing factors that have been adding in numbers day by day, minute by minute.
The poisonous smoke from factories and industries take away the natural and fresh air present in the atmosphere and replace it with toxic gases.
These toxic gases create smog and a thick blanket of contaminated gases envelope the atmosphere.
If we were to talk about chemical effluents from industries, we know that the thought of a chemical in our kitchen sink can ring an alarm bell in our mind.
The easy discharge of sewage plus contaminants into river waters has brought down of quality of water by a great level and caused disastrous effects on the rivers and aquatic life of our planet.
A great imbalance between land, atmosphere and water is created on account of this.
Soil is enriched with fertilizers and pesticides, in an aim to get good profits from agricultural produce. The natural qualities of the soil are long forgotten due to this.
Soil has been eroded from the top surfaces of forests. Man started to exploit forests for his selfish needs. So, he started cutting down trees and used the timber to manufacture a whole lot of wooden products.
He prepared furniture, artifacts, extracted rubber etc. This happened on a small scale at the beginning of industrialization.
When it hit its peak, man started cutting down trees unreasonably and cited industrialization and prosperity as the good reasons.
When large numbers of forests were cut down in this manner, they gave way to barren lands. Such lands were not even suitable for cultivation of crops.
The soil was so loose in deforested regions that they could be easily washed away by rain water. None of the nutrients could be provided or the soil could not be held tight by its constituent elements.
So, the only option was to invade them further and convert these forest lands into urban sites. Sites gave way to skyscrapers and in short, built concrete jungles.
The demands of drinking water for these tall skyscraper dwellers are so huge that most of the taps run dry and empty during summer seasons in big cities. The day is not far off when we would be paying the price of gold for the price of water.
In short, rapid urbanization, commercialization, together with unchecked industrialization and rampant deforestation has had detrimental effects on the environment.
There is no one cause that can be cited for causing environmental pollution. Things happen in a cycle. It’s a combined effect.
Land pollution and soil pollution are interlinked. Air pollution and water pollution are also interlined in many ways. So, a combined effect renders a disastrous call on the environment.
Effects of environmental pollution
It was left to a few lost souls in the wilderness who spoke to us as prophets of doom, but their cries were submerged in the thick black smoke emerged from the dark tall chimneys of a million industrial units and drowned by the din of metallic monsters.
Today the industrialization has reached a sky-rocketing sight and we do not know how to halt or find out an alternative measure to adopt successfully in our greedy march towards capitalistic attitude.
Today, our planet has reached a stage, where environmental pollution is threatening to annihilate it. We cannot imagine a future life when there will be no butterflies, no birds, no fish and the rain water will be black in color.
The effects of environmental pollution are many. We can see smog early in the morning at many parts of the cold country regions.
Smog is nothing but fog combined with smoke. Due to the presence of smog early in the morning, the visibility of the whole area diminishes to a great extent and we can see accidents occurring due to this.
Water shortage and water crisis are like every day events and part and parcel of life at many high rise buildings in the metropolitan cities.
Regular shortage of water supplies is just a normal thing in big towns. When people finally get access to water, they realize they have been gifted with contaminated water, full of impurities that may lead them to many water borne diseases.
Many young children have become victims of asthma and respiratory disorders at very young ages today. The result of this is on account of air pollution.
Fresh and clean air is nowhere to breathe. Big cities are made up of polluted and contaminated air, they are filled up with toxins that run through our bronchiole and create a world full of disorders.
Greenhouse gases are fast heating up in the atmosphere and causing global warming. We can sight unseasonal and acid rains at many parts of the world.
The ozone layer is fast depleting and we can see visible holes in the protective layer of the atmosphere. This may cause and lead to many complications from UV rays, including skin cancer, etc.
Solutions for environmental pollution
We cannot imagine a time when the rivers will get dried up and the land will become barren and instead of forests we will have concrete jungles.
This will soon become a reality if we do not adopt immediate concrete steps to prevent pollution.
As a preventive measure, we must grow more trees, stop killing of wild animals, avoid using plastic bags, stop littering, use less petroleum products, and use more environment – friendly products and so on.
If we do not consider this as a matter of supreme importance to achieve a pollution free environment – we will be totally annihilated by a monster of our own creation.
- Use of plastics should be banned and paper and jute bags should be used instead. Even if plastic is being used, the usage should be based on necessity and proper disposal methods should be administered.
- Garbage disposal should be done properly. Waste management should be important criteria for civic authorities and they should look into scientific ways of treating waste. Proper segregation at collection units should be followed.
- More trees should be planted. The more the trees, the greener our future, the clearer the air and better the environment.
- More forests should be developed by increasing the green cover around the planet and thus we can hope for more rains and good production of crops as well.
- Anything that damages the environment, like excessive burning of fossil fuels, combustion of carbon elements, increase of chloro flouro carbons, etc should be avoided.
There are many more measures that we can take up as part of our everyday lives.
Not just in words, but simple actions may lead to major changes in our environment. Reduce, Recycle and Re-use should be our motto as far as possible.
Our environment is set up in such a way that everything inside is interlinked and interconnected. Any change happening at any point in the link affects the others and on the whole upsets the global ecosystem.
There is a point of sustenance that any living ecosystem can thrive on. Beyond this point, we can only see things falling apart.
The delicate balance in the ecosystem that was maintained in the planet has been destroyed beyond repair.
Even if we take suitable measures to replace the lost greenery and bring back the lost life to our environment, it would be a contribution only in a small or negligible percentage.
The damages caused are far beyond what we ought to restore and bring back. It would take millions of years to give back the lost glory and sheen to our environment.
It’s in our hands to take small steps to at least restore a small percentage of the lost glory back to our environment.