Air, Water and Soil Pollution

An Overview

The presence of extremely high concentrations of harmful substances in the environment is known as pollution. This pollution is caused mainly by certain human activities, resulting in environmental pollution that can be harmful to the health of living organisms. Air, water, and soil pollution are the three main kinds of pollution causing health hazards today.

Explore more: Types of Pollution

What are Pollutants?

A pollutant can be defined as any unwanted or harmful substance that pollutes our environment. Generally, certain toxic substances like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide are present in the air in small quantities and are not harmful to us. But when these substances are further present in ways that cannot be tolerated, they become pollutants.

In this article, let us glimpse the air, water and soil pollution along with their causes.

Air pollution

The presence of harmful toxic compounds in extreme quantities in the air results in air pollution. The primary sources of air pollution are harmful gases like sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other suspended particles.

Air pollution is usually caused by burning fossil fuels like petroleum, and coal-burning of wood and cow dung cakes in homes, factories, vehicles, and power plants. Among all other continents globally, India is the country with the most polluted cities. Lucknow, Kanpur, New Delhi are a few among them because of excessive use of fossil fuels by vehicles and other industrial units.

Explore more: Air Pollution and Its Control

Water pollution

The contamination of water bodies, such as lakes, rivers, oceans, underground water and seas by harmful substances is water pollution. The leading cause of water pollution is sewage, industrial wastes, pesticides and fertilisers from farming.

Polluted water becomes unfit for drinking, bathing, washing, and irrigation. Garbage dumping can also leak out pollutants into underground water.

The major water pollutants are lead, mercury, fertilisers and pesticide compounds. The sewage and industrial wastes from tanning factories are the primary sources of the Ganga river’s pollution.

Explore more: Water Pollution And Its Control

Soil Pollution

Soil pollution is the contamination of soil due to harmful substances. Polluted soil becomes unfit for growing crops and plants, and is usually accompanied by water pollution. The significant causes of soil pollution are over-irrigation, usage of pesticides, dumping of sewage and garbage, deforestation and mining. The most common soil pollutants are heavy metals like lead and mercury, pesticide compounds, salt and mineral ores. These pollutants disturb the soil profile, spoil the soil fertility and make it unfit for growing crops.

Water and soil pollution usually occur together as polluted water seeps into the soil and contaminates it. Pollutants from the soil can leach into groundwater or move into the water bodies when it rains.

Explore more:Soil Pollution

This was a brief introduction to the three significant kinds of pollution.

This article concludes with an introduction to air, water and soil pollution. To know more about pollution, types of pollution, causes, other related topics and important questions on pollution, keep visiting our website, at BYJU’S Biology.

Frequently Asked Questions on Air, Water and Soil Pollution


What are the health impacts of air pollution?

The health impacts from air pollution include breathing difficulties, respiratory irritation, lung diseases and other lungs disorders. It also causes many diseases, allergies, and even death.


What are Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM)?

Air pollution causes fumes, dust, mist, and smoke, which are called suspended particulate matter or SPM. It causes many respiratory problems and damages the lungs.


What is a biological pollutant?

Biological pollutants are mostly allergens that can cause hay fever, asthma, and other harmful allergic diseases.


What are the pollutants that cause water pollution?

Water pollution can be caused by several pathogens, inorganic compounds, organic material, and macroscopic pollutants. Apart from these, point sources and nonpoint sources are also considered on the list of water pollution.


List out any five most polluted rivers of India.

The list of most polluted rivers of India are:

  • Yamuna River – Delhi
  • Mithi River – Mumbai
  • Cooum River – Chennai
  • Musi River – Hyderabad
  • Vrishabhavathi River – Bangalore.

Related Links:


Leave a Comment

Your Mobile number and Email id will not be published.