The presence of extremely high concentrations of harmful substances in the environment is known as pollution. The major kinds of pollution causing health hazard today are air, water, and soil pollution.
When certain human activities pollute environmental media such as air, water or soil such that they are harmful to the health of living organisms in the environment, we say that the environment is polluted.
Any unwanted or harmful substances which pollute the environment are called pollutants. Generally, certain harmful substances like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide are usually present in the air in small quantities and they are not harmful to us. But when these substances are present in a more quantity which cannot be tolerated, they become pollutants.
In this article, let us have a glimpse of the air, water and soil pollution along with their causes.
The presence of harmful or excessive toxic compounds in air results in air pollution. The main 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 the burning of fossil fuels like petroleum and coal, burning of wood and cow dung cakes in homes, factories, vehicles and power plants. Among all other continents in the world, India is the country having the most number of polluted cities. Lucknow, Kanpur, New Delhi are few among them and this is because of excessive use of fossil fuels by vehicles and other industrial units.
The contamination of water bodies such as lakes, rivers, oceans, underground water and seas by harmful substances is known as water pollution. Polluted water becomes unfit for drinking, bathing, washing, and irrigation. The main cause of water pollution is sewage, industrial wastes, pesticides and fertilizers from farming. Garbage dumping can also leak out pollutants into underground water.
The major pollutants of water are usually lead, mercury, fertilizer and pesticide compounds. The major source of pollution of the Ganga River is sewage and industrial wastes from tanning factories.
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 major 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, which results in spoiling the fertility of the soil and makes it unfit for growing crops.
Water and soil pollution usually occur together as polluted water seeps into the soil and contaminates it. Pollutants can also leach out from soil into water bodies when it rains.
Thus, this was an introduction to the three major kinds of pollution. To know more in detail about the pollution, different types of pollution, its causes and prevention measure, visit BYJU’S.