Educating ourselves and others about the causes, types, and effects of pollution of water and air as well as the preventative measures we can take to stop pollution is one of the most important tasks anyone can pursue. While recycling has made headway in the past few years among industrialized nations, the majority of the world has yet to step up to the plate. Reducing waste and reusing or repurposing items is still something of a dream.
For instance, statistics from organizations like Californians Against Waste show that recycling creates positive change for both air and water quality. Did you know that “Every ton of paper recycled a year saves 17 trees and 7000 gallons of water?”
In addition, “According to the U.S. EPA, methane is the second largest source of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and landfills account for 37% of methane gas output. By reducing and recycling properly organic materials, including paper, we can divert them from landfill, thereby reducing anaerobic decomposition and the production of methane gas.”
In this helpful guide you will find articles that cover water and air pollution in great detail. Educators in particular will find it to be an excellent resource for covering the topics of pollution, environmental change and conservation.
The causes of pollution vary. Some are thoughtless acts such as doing an oil change in the driveway or spilling oil and then washing it down the sewer, while others are deliberate disregard for the environment such as industries that continue to use pollutants to produce products or industries that dispose waste without concern for the environment. Education on pollution begins with learning the causes, which will eventually enable us to take steps to clean the air and water.
Types of Pollution
Pollution is caused by many factors such as chemicals, trash, smoke and so forth. These causal factors lead to numerous types of pollution. For example, industrial smoke from factories leads to smog. Whether looking at air particles or water samples, there are various types of contamination.
Some types come from causes such as misuse or overuse of chemicals, fertilizers and other compounds such as smog and acid rain, while other types are related to imbalances caused by other environmental issues such as the introduction of non-native species that overpower a habitat.
- Eutrophication: A Type of Water Pollution
- Toxic Runoff: An Environmental Issue
- Types of Ocean Pollution
- Acid Rain: A Type of Air and Water Pollution
- Understanding Smog
- Contrails: Jet Fuel Pollution
- Salt Water Intrusion at the Panama Canal
- Types of Freshwater Pollution
The effects of pollution have become increasingly apparent over the past fifty years. Air pollution contributes to a variety of diseases that were never seen before within the general population.
For instance, according to the World Health Organization, the rate of childhood asthma has increased significantly worldwide. In addition, the contamination of water, both fresh and salt, leaves humans without a source of water for drinking as well as destroys the habitats of flora and fauna around the world.
According to the U.N statistics, two water-borne diseases, “…diarrhea and malaria, ranked 3rd and 4th place in the cause of death among children under 5 years old, accounting for 17 per cent and 8 per cent respectively of all deaths.”
- Effects of Pesticides on the Environment
- Effects of Water Pollution on Humans and Marine Life
- Effects of Car Idling
- Effects of Lead Pollution
- Dangerous Effects of Water Pollution
- Marine Diesel Engines and Air Pollution
- Effects of Acid Rain on Animals
- Diseases Caused by Air Pollution
- Effects of Garbage on Sea Life
Prevention and Solutions
Preventing and stopping pollution to both our air and water is a task of the highest importance. Society can no longer wait for their governments to make laws. Prevention begins with each individual learning to become aware of how carelessly we treat the environment. Simple steps such as being mindful of what we buy to being mindful of how we discard waste help create cleaner air and water with a positive “trickle down effect.”
In other words, when we buy a hybrid car, there is less pollution of the air, less use of oil products, less opportunity to contaminate the water table from oil spills. “Reduce, Recycle and Reuse” must become the mantra for every person on this planet.
- How to Prevent Oil Spills
- Wastewater Treatment
- Desalination of Salt Water
- Clean Water Act and Changes Made by EPA
- Promoting the Use of Electric Trains
- Reducing Greenhouse Gases and Emissions
- Recycling: Good for Everyone
- Rain Forests: Saving the World’s Greatest Air Filter
- Waste Management: Ways to Clean the Air and Water
- Californians Against Waste: Benefits of Recycling - http://www.cawrecycles.org/living_green/benefits_of_recycling
- Image: Air pollution source by mbeychok under public domain
- Blue Planet: UN Fact Sheet - http://blueplanetnetwork.org/water/UN_factsheet
- World Health Organization: Let Every Person Breathe - http://www.who.int/inf-pr-2000/en/pr2000-29.html
- Corcoran, E. C. et al, Sick Water?The Central Role of Wastewater Management in Sustainable Development (2010) http://www.grida.no/_res/site/file/publications/sickwater/SickWater_screen.pdf
- Earth Times: Trickle Down Effect - http://www.earthtimes.org/business/trickle-down-effect/1236/