Pollution has become synonymous with industrialization. There is no doubt that as the society has gotten more industrialized, pollution has become a major problem in the world. Pollution refers to the introduction of contaminating substances into the environment which are associated with environmental degradation leading to disorders and are harmful to the ecosystem. Pollution may take various forms including chemical substances that are emitted or energy such as noise, heat and/or light.
This paper shall discuss the effects of pollution on the environment and humans as seen in the 21st century. Pollution: Pollution can be defined as any form of contamination that may arise from chemical or any other agents that makes the environment to be unsafe. Initially, before the wake of industrialization, the world had a balanced ecosystem which was naturally supportive of all forms of life. However, man’s population increase prompted the need to exploit the environment for survival and that is how the natural balance was lost.
Pollution is known to cause damage on the land, air, and water resulting to degradation of the environment. This interferes with the “human health, the quality of life, and the natural functioning of ecosystems (living organisms and their physical surroundings)” (Last, para 2). Pollution is a problem that is usually caused by human beings though it could also result from natural causes. Human activities especially in industrializing are the major causes of pollution. The chemicals and smoke being emitted from the industries are major agents of pollution in the modern world.
Some industrial wastes are also major pollutants are not well disposed with some being dumped in the rivers and other water environments leading to pollution in these environments. Many other human practices have also led to pollution such as use of pesticides and fertilizers. Nevertheless, there are also natural causes to the pollution problem. Such causes includes earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods among others which may cause disruptions for instance in the wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure.
In most instances, pollution affects the immediate surroundings and the impact fades as one move away from the source of the pollution (Last, para 3). There are various types of pollution which includes water, air, and land pollution. Water pollution has been identified as one of the most serious challenge facing the world today. This problem results from human activities such as off-shore oil drilling, damping of waste material in the water bodies, and directing sewer into the water courses.
Air pollution on the other hand has become a common phenomenon in major cities across the world. This results from emissions from industries, motor vehicles, and green houses. Other contributors to the air pollution include photo-chemicals, radioactivity, light, and noise. Land pollution on the other hand occurs when there is the release of chemicals through spilling and underground leakage in the soil. Land pollutants include hydrocarbons, pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals among others (Miller, p 13).
Effects of Pollution: Over the past years, there has been a growing global concern over the impacts of pollution on the environment and humans. Of much importance has been the growing burden of diseases that has continued to affect humans due to environmental pollution. Environmental related illnesses may not be easily detectable. This is because they are in most cases gradual in that they are acquired during childhood but are later manifested during adulthood.
The environment has also had to suffer the horrible brand of pollution as trees, and other living organisms have had to perish under the effects of the pollution. The effects of pollution are wide-reaching and numerous. Extreme pollution can have devastating impacts on both human and animal wellbeing without leaving out the general environment. It must be noted that all types of pollution affects the living environment. The impacts however may range from mild to devastating forms depending on the severity of the pollution (Done, p 93).
The effects of pollution on humans have been identified to be various diseases that arise from the pollution. Air pollution for instance may lead to a reduction in the lung functioning capabilities; irritation in eyes, nose, throat and mouth; asthma; cancer; cardiovascular problems; and respiratory diseases among others (Breuer, p 63). Water pollution is likely to lead to diseases including typhoid, amoebiasis, giardiasis, ascariasis, hepatitis, encephalitis, diarrhea, and hookworms among others.
On the other hand, land/soil pollution has been associated with cancerous disease including leukemia; developmental damage in the brain caused by lead in the soil especially amongst young children; mercury has been known to cause kidney damage amongst other complications; and also soil pollution may result into feelings of nausea, fatigue and eye irritation (Ignatova, para 6). The impacts on the environment are equally detrimental as they lead to destruction of the ecosystem often affecting the natural balance.
Air pollution for instance may lead to acidic rain which is known to destroy aquatic life and the general vegetation. Once the ozone layer has been damaged by some air pollutants, animals are faced with the danger of getting skin cancer due to the ultraviolet radiations. Water pollution such as oil pollution may lead to death of aquatic life. Chemical and heavy metal contamination in the water may lead to declining biodiversity and slow and retardation in growth or even death of the organisms. Soil/land pollution destroys life of microorganisms thus causing instability in the primary food chains.
Consumption of chemical substances may also be passed to other larger animals in the complex food chain and this may even lead to extinction of a species (Ignatova, para 7). Pollution has grown into a major challenge facing humanity in the current world. Human activities are the major contributors to the pollution being experienced in the world today. Climate change being witnessed in the world is due to the global pollution that has run out of hand and the effects have started taking toll on nature. The increasing availability pollutants have been prompted by the civilized societies in quest for industrialization.
It shall only take corrective measures by human kind to reverse the trend. This however shall require collective efforts from the world leaders and enactment of laws that shall call for cleaner measures in exploitation of our environment (Miller, p 145). Conclusion: Pollution forms a daring challenge to humanity in its present form. Pollution is a global challenge that requires collaborative efforts in addressing it. Though we can contribute towards the minimization of pollution and its dreaded impacts on the environment including human life, there are those individuals who do not think of the environment other than their immediate concerns.
Such selfish individuals and organizations have continued to challenge any formidable efforts to address the pollution problem in the world. Pollution is very central to human life and gradually it is getting out of hand. If no practical measures are taken up by the humans, there is no doubt that the planet will be destroyed and human life shall be endangered. Work Cited: Boon, Dave. Pollution Prevention Education and Training: Getting the Job Done. Journal of Environmental Health. 1997. Vol. 60, pp 91-96
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