Cause and Effects of Pollution

When traveling down a road it is common to see the occasional grocery bag or plastic bottle on the side of the road. However, pollution is so much more diverse and widespread than trash beside the road. The first form of pollution that comes to mind is air pollution. But when discussing pollution, people seem to forget about water and soil pollution which are as equally

Air pollution is the most widely recognized type of pollution. Causes for air pollution include transportation and factories. Transportation includes gas/diesel burning cars, planes, and trains which emit carbon monoxide. Factories also emit dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere depending on the type of fuel that it uses. The most common and controversial fuels are fossil fuels such as coal which factories use. A few of these chemicals that are released other than carbon dioxide are methane, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide. Most of which come from the burning of fossil fuels.

There are many harmful effects from the causes of air pollution discussed above. Carbon monoxide released by vehicles reacts with other chemicals, such as methane, in the atmosphere which form greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases trap heat in earth’s atmosphere which contributes to global warming. Carbon monoxide also is not healthy to breathe in and lead to health problems and death. Factories and the burning of fossil fuels also release greenhouse gases. Not only that but when large amounts of fossil fuels are burned smog or acid rain may be a result. Smog and acid rain are very harmful for humans and wildlife. Acid rain may kill plants which are vital to oxygen production, food, and may contaminate drinking water. When all of these factors are present in the atmosphere the results are devastating.

Water pollution has recently become a huge concern for people all over the world. Causes for water pollution include factories, farms, and not properly disposing of trash. Factories are a huge contributor to water pollution because they release their toxic waste into nearby ponds, lakes, or rivers. Accidental spills of liquid or solid chemicals from factories or farmers may wash away into rivers or lakes. Fertilizers used by farmers also contribute to water pollution because water runoff after rains may wash the harmful chemicals into to streams or rivers. Lastly, the improper disposal of trash by humans is one of the biggest contributors to water pollution. Trash thrown into rivers eventually makes its way into the ocean where it meets other trash from all over the world.

The effects of water pollution are rapidly growing worse. Factories and farms pollute water everyday. Chemicals and fertilizers can make water toxic which cannot support wildlife. If the water can’t support wildlife, then it most likely can’t be used as drinking water or for irrigation. Today there are over 5 different gires in the ocean that are filled with microplastics. Microplastics are not visible with the naked eye when in the water, and they are formed when things such as plastic bags break down into tiny giblets. These tiny pieces of plastics effect lots of wildlife because they think its food. When swallowed, the plastic blocks the fishes intestines and the fish dies. This same effect can be seen in other wildlife such as birds and turtles. Another example of water pollution is oil spills which is when an oil rig has a defective part of piping or machinery. This can lead to a dysfunction and millions of gallons of oil being spilled into the habitats of sea life. Unlike plastic bottles, it doesn’t take thousands of oil spills to see a difference in the oceans or rivers. One oil spill has devastating effects on the ocean around the oil rig and coast lines hundred of miles around. Water pollution not only affects water, but as a result it effects human health. Phytoplankton that lives in the ocean produces approximately 70% of the earth’s oxygen, and oils and chemicals are a threat to phytoplankton which humans depend on.

The last and least recognized of these three types of pollution is soil pollution. Soil pollution can be caused by mining or other industrial work. Chemicals that are used can be washed away in to ditches or fields of nearby parks or farms. The water then seeps into the soil leaving dangerous chemicals in the soil. Leakage of gas from vehicles can also contaminate the soil. Lastly, chemical waste dumping is a huge form of soil pollution which is illegal however still remains a problem.

Soil pollution has many effects on the everyday life of humans. When chemicals are put into the soil then it affects plants. Plants that may be crucial to producing food, clothing, and oxygen are being killed because of toxic waste in the soil. If soil is not fertile and instead is full of chemicals then where will we get our food? Our means of getting clothing through cotton with also be affected. Once chemicals that are in the soil begin draining further down, eventually they will make our aquifers unhealthy to drink from. Essentially soil pollution can be a result of air pollution(acid rain), and water pollution.

Over time pollution has only gotten worse and is far worse than the occasional trash on the side of the road. Most of the time it hides out of sight in the air, soil, and water. Even though hidden in the environment, pollution affects human health in many ways. In conclusion, pollution is a huge concern that should be looked into further on how to prevent its deadly effects.