- Air Pollution is defined as the presence of substances in the atmosphere that have a harmful effect on human health as well as on the health of other living organisms. Air pollution also harms the planet’s climate, often exacerbating natural calamities such as drought and flood.
- Water Pollution is defined as the contamination of bodies of water, usually due to human abuse. Affected water bodies can include lakes, rivers, and oceans, as well as groundwater and aquifers. It can negatively impact aquatic ecosystems, which can then impact humans and other organisms that rely on the water body.
From the above definitions, we can infer that both types of pollution are detrimental to our health and the environment. In this article, we shall explore more differences between the two:
|Air pollution is caused by harmful particulates.||Water pollution is usually caused by effluents.|
|Usually, air pollution, affects the respiratory system, causing difficulty in breathing, COPD, respiratory infections, asthma and even lung cancer. It can also affect existing cardiac conditions.||Water usually affects the digestive system, but can also affect other body systems depending upon the type of pollutant or pathogen present in water.|
|Anthropogenic sources of air pollution include fossil fuel-based power stations, factories, furnaces, and burning biomass such as wood, dung or crop waste. Vehicles running on fossil fuels also contribute to air pollution. Moreover, products such as paints, varnish as well as chemical aerosols cause air pollution.||Anthropogenic sources include industrial effluents and storm drain (from construction sites). Other water pollution sources include agricultural runoff and industrial accidents such as oil spills.|
|Natural sources of air pollution include dust from areas with little to no vegetation. Cattle are also a surprising source of air pollution as they emit large quantities of methane. Wildfires and volcanoes also pump significant particulates and smoke into the atmosphere, contributing to air pollution.||Natural sources of water pollution include oxygen-depleting substances such as plant matter (grasses and leaves). Eutrophication is another process that can induce detrimental effects on an aquatic ecosystem.|
|Air quality is usually measured with the Air Quality Index (AQI). Alternatively, air quality can also be measured using Particulate Matter (PM). PM2.5 is a microscopic particle which is 2.5 microns wide. When significant levels of PM2.5 particles are present in the atmosphere, it can cause haze, an indicator of bad air quality.||Water quality can be measured using a variety of methods. Some of the most common are Coloured, or Chromophoric Dissolved Organic matter (CDOM), Conductivity, Salinity and TDS Monitoring, measuring Dissolved Oxygen Levels, pH and KH Testing (carbonate hardness).|
- Water Pollution & its Control – Causes, Effects & Control Measures
- Air Pollution – Definition, Causes, Effects And Control
- Types of Pollution – Effects of Various Types of Pollution
Frequently Asked Questions on Air Pollution and Water Pollution
What is the Difference between air pollution and water pollution?
Air Pollution is defined as the presence of substances in the atmosphere that have a harmful effect on human health as well as the health of other living organisms. Water Pollution is defined as the contamination of bodies of water usually as a result of human activities.
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