If there are two things that are essential to humans and other living creatures, its clean water and air, but with pollution of these natural resources on the rise it’s become increasingly important to find ways to cut down on man-made pollutants in the environment. Find out more about air and water pollution.
If you’ve ever seen smog hanging low over a city, then you’ve seen air pollution first-hand. Air pollution can be natural or man-made, but it’s the man-made pollutants that are the most destructive, like greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and the destruction of the ozone. Carbon dioxide is one of the worst air pollutants, it’s mainly emitted from power plants, cars, planes and other vehicles and comes from burning fossil fuels. Another major air pollutant is methane, which comes from raising livestock, and CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) which are used in aerosol products.
Air pollution has been linked to health problems like asthma and lung disease, as well as the deterioration of the ozone layer (which protects us from harmful UV rays) and the warming of the earth which may destroy the habitats of many animals. Governments are trying to encourage people to lessen air pollution driving less, recycling and limiting their energy consumption.
If water is cloudy, smelly and has garbage floating in it, then it’s easy to know that it’s polluted, but clear and clean looking water can be polluted as well with toxic chemicals. Polluted waters aren’t safe to drink or swim in and can cause illness even years after you’re exposed, or you can feel the effects indirectly by eating seafood that has been poisoned by its environment. Water pollution occurs naturally where oil and petroleum leak from underground into the ocean in what are called “Petroleum Seeps,” the biggest one being off the coast of California in Coal Oil Point Seep. Humans create water pollution with adding chemicals and oils to the water from factories, mining and oil spills from commercial tanker and throwing garbage into open waters from boats or onshore, and untreated sewage. Contaminants like asbestos can get into the water supply causing devastating health issues to those exposed. Those affected are encouraged to find representation with a wide range of expertise so they can get them the compensation they deserve.
What Can I Do?
It can be overwhelming when you think of all the ways that we pollute air and water, but you can help simply by thinking about ways to cut down on your carbon footprint. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Carpool with friends
- Take the bus
- Ride your Bike
- Cut down on energy use by turning off lights, unplugging appliances and electronics
- The United Nations estimates that 4,000 children die every day from drinking dirty water.
- 40% of America’s rivers and 46% of America’s Lakes are too polluted for swimming, fishing and aquatic life.
- Vehicle exhaust contributes around 60% of all carbon monoxide emissions in the country, and up to 95% in cities.
- 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, storm water, and industrial waste are discharged into US waters every year.
Have Your Say
What do you do to minimize air and water pollution?
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“This entire planet is our home. We are the only species that systematically destroy our own habitat.”- Marianne Williamson
“One person alone cannot save the planet’s biodiversity, but each individual’s effort to encourage nature’s wealth must not be underestimated.”- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Pollution prevention is a major global concern because of the harmful effects of pollution on a person’s health and on the environment. Environmental pollution comes in various forms, such as: air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, etc.
Everyone is a stakeholder as we are all inhabitants of this one and only mother earth. Each person can contribute something to advance environmental pollution mitigation measures. Environmental protection means caring for our resources and subsequently for ourselves and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come will have a better environment.
“If we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.” – Wangari Maathai
You and I should therefore accept personal responsibility for the success of the environmental protection programs of our respective community by cooperating and actively participating in making the atmosphere pollution free. Help stop pollution today. Although on an individual basis, we can help combat pollution in our own immediate environment, efficient control can be best institutionalized through legislation. Thus, most countries have already addressed the issue by passing some form of pollution prevention measures.
Also Read: Phytoremediation- Solution to Contaminated Environment
Averting the onset of pollution in any area; i.e. be it on air, water or land, could be a start and the simplest preventive solution to the problem. This calls for a conscientious effort to adopt good practices or habits by the people, the passage and the proper implementation of appropriate government laws and strict compliance especially by potential industrial pollutants.
If there are no pollutants, there will be no pollution. And yet, this is easier said than done. Certain bad habits are entrenched and industrial development somehow carries with it the concomitant burden of pollution. The cost to business and its commercial ramifications make this rather simple preventive approach quite complicated and more difficult to implement.
Everyone can help by self education and by adopting good and healthy practices. It is also important that we help raise awareness about the significance of environmental issues, their dire consequences and what can be done.
Also Read:Bioremediation- The New Age Cleansing Technology of the Environment
Every action or inaction of any person in regard to her or his surroundings has an effect- be it good, neutral or bad- on the environment. Nature already provides for our needs. Whatever we do to it gets back to us. If we are friends of the earth, it will also be friendly to us. By becoming aware and doing the right action, we choose to be part of the solution. What comes to mind now to serve as reminders include the following:
- Stop smoking or at least follow the “No Smoking” sign.
- Use unleaded gasoline in your cars.
- Keep your car properly maintained to keep it in good running condition to avoid smoke emissions.
- Share a ride or engage in car pooling.
- Instead of using your cars, choose to walk or ride a bicycle whenever possible. With this eco-friendly practice, you will also be healthier and happier by staying fit.
- Never use open fires to dispose of wastes.
- Adopt the 3Rs of solid waste management: reduce, reuse and recycle. Inorganic materials such as metals, glass and plastic; also organic materials like paper, can be reclaimed and recycled. This takes into account that the proven solution to the problem of proper waste management (especially in third world countries) is proper disposal (in waste bins for collection and not in the street where it could fall into drains), waste segregation and collection, and recycling.
- Start composting brown leaves in your yard and green scraps from your kitchen. It will reduce waste while improving your yard and garden soils.
- Reconnect with nature. Live green by using green power supplied abundantly and freely by wind and the sun. Hang your laundry to dry to minimize use of gas or electricity from your dryers. Enjoy fresh air from open windows to lessen the use of air conditioning system.
- Patronize local foods and goods. In this manner, transporting goods and foods prepared with GMOs which uses fuel from conventional energy sources will be minimized.
- Use eco-friendly or biodegradable materials instead of plastic which are made up of highly toxic substances injurious to your health.
- Create your green space. Value your garden. Plant more trees and put indoor plants in your homes. They clean the air, provide oxygen and beautify your surroundings. Thus, care for them and by protecting them, especially the big trees around and in the forest, you protect yourself and your family, too.
- Have a proper waste disposal system especially for toxic wastes
- Take very good care of your pets and their wastes.
- Never throw, run or drain or dispose into the water, air, or land any substance in solid, liquid or gaseous form that shall cause pollution.
- Do not cause loud noises and unwanted sounds to avoid noise pollution.
- Do not litter in public places. Anti-litter campaigns can educate the populace.
- Industries should use fuel with lower sulphur content.
- Industries should monitor their air emissions regularly and take measures to ensure compliance with the prescribed emission standards.
- Industries should strictly follow applicable government regulations on pollution control.
- Organic waste should be dumped in places far from residential areas.
- Say a big “NO” to GMOs or genetically modified organisms. Genetically engineered crops are not only bad for the environment since they require massive amount of fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides; but GMO altered foods are also health risks and negatively impact farmers’ livelihood.
Breathing is life. We know that we will survive without food for several weeks and without water for few days, but without oxygen, we will die in a matter of minutes. The oxygen, the air we breathe sustains us. So, let us make today and everyday a good day for everyone. Allow the earth to have more clean air. Help control pollution.
Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn’t have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven’t got the humility to try. We’ve been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we are gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
We must help fight Global Warming by doing the following steps:
- Plant more trees
- Don’t waste water
- Use cloth bag and don’t burn plastic
Also Read: Importance of National Ambient Air Quality Standards
Mr. Laxmi Prasad Boda is a B.com (Hons) third year student in the Indian Institute of Management and Commerce (IIMC), Hyderabad, India. He can be contacted at laxmiprasad330[at]gmail[dot]com.
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