How do industries pollute the environment?
The question really should be how industries ‘have’ affected the environment, as there is no doubt that they have played a major role in the damage caused to the environment. In fact, it has been claimed that industries are to blame for as much as 2/3rds of the pollution that has caused climate change.
Not only does pollution from poisonous and harmful materials into our environment endanger the plant’s ecology, but it also puts our own health at risk.
Industries might not be the sole contributor to the man-made damage that continues to be done to the planet but they are certainly one of the biggest ones. Despite the efforts of governments and the world over to reduce the amount of pollution that these industries pump into the atmosphere, there is still so much that has to change if we value our planet.
Industries have increased pollution and degraded the environment. There are four ways of causing pollution, i.e. air, water, land, and noise.
- Water pollution: Water pollution is caused by the discharge of organic and inorganic industrial effluents into the water bodies with treating it. The main culprits in this regard are the paper, pulp, chemical, textile and dyeing industries, as well as petroleum refineries, tanneries, and electroplating industries, which discharge dyes, detergents, acids, salts and heavy metals such as lead and mercury into the river, as well as pesticides, fertilizers, synthetic chemicals with carbon, plastics and rubber. Dumping of pollutants, hazardous chemicals, and industrial effluents, such as packaging, render soil worthless. It also causes ground water pollution due to precipitation seepage.
- Air pollution: The smoke released by factories severely pollutes air and water badly. Smoke is produced by paper mills; the combustion of fossil fuels in large and small companies is a major source of air pollution. One of the great causes of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels in big and small factories.
- Noise pollution: Noise pollution is caused by factory machinery, generators, and saws. Noise is produced by industrial and construction operations, as well as pneumatic and electric drills.
- Thermal pollution: When hot water from industries and thermal plants is discharged into rivers and ponds before cooling, it causes thermal pollution.
Effect of Global Warming
A huge portion of global warming or climate change can be attributed to our dependence on industrial activities over the years. Toxic materials and gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane are burnt and discharged into the environment. Due to these gases are able to absorb radiation from the sun, they can directly impact on the temperature of the planet.
Global Warming results in:
- Rising sea levels.
- Rise in the earth’s temperature.
- Risk of species of animals becoming extinct.
- An increase in tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.
- Melting of the ice caps.
Our Own Health
We confront a higher risk of illness and disease as people who are exposed to air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution, among other things. According to the World Health Organization, 5 percent of persons diagnosed with lung cancer will have been exposed to pollution over a lengthy period of time.
A small percentage of heart diseases, chest infections, and lung diseases can also be attributed to pollution according to the WHO.
This has now resulted in an increase in legal claims against workplaces because of workers being overly exposed to diesel pollution as well as other pollution during work.
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The Destruction of Wildlife
Industries can also be directly blamed for destroying certain areas of nature on the beautiful planet. Our hunger for natural resources like wood, coal, and oil means that we are endangering many species as we go searching for it. Forests are torn down for wood and that takes away the natural habitat or animals and other wildlife while mining also forces animals to look for somewhere else to live in the hope of survival.
Oil spills, unintentional leaks, and trash disposal have all contributed to harm done the animals.
Due to all the reasons above, many species have come close to extinction and many more are likely to face a similar fate if the amount of damage we are doing to this planet in the future will not get reduced.
Steps to minimize environmental degradation
The following steps need to be taken to stop or minimize environmental degradation:
- Deforestation needs to be avoided as more and more trees are being cut down to set up new industries.
- Industries are now given a certain area which they cannot extend or use materials in excess from the environment.
- Industrial waste must be recycled to the maximum extent.
- Do not throw the solid waste of industries in running water such as rivers and lakes. Industrial wastes are not permitted to be disposed of in bodies of water.
Disastrous Effects of Air pollution
- Respiratory and Heart Problems
The effects of air pollution are hazardous. They can cause respiratory and cardiac disorders such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart attacks and strokes, as well as cancer and other health problems. Due to the direct or indirect effects of Air pollution, several million are known to have died.
- Child Health Problems
Even before you take your first breath, air pollution is harmful to your health. High levels of air pollution during pregnancy cause miscarriages, preterm delivery, autism, asthma and spectrum disorder in young children.
It also has the potential to harm child’s early brain development and cause pneumonia, which kills almost a million under the age of 5 years. Children are more likely to develop short-term respiratory infections and pulmonary illness in locations where air pollution is prevalent.
- Global Warming
Due to global warming, another direct effect is the immediate alterations that the world is witnessing.
Increased global temperatures, rising sea levels, melting ice from cooler places and icebergs, relocation, and loss of habitat have already foreshadowed an oncoming crises if preservation and normalization steps are not implemented quickly.
- Acid Rain
During the burning of fossil fuel, harmful gases like nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides are released into the atmosphere. When it rains, the water droplets react with the pollutants in the air to generate acid rain, which then falls to the earth. Acid rain can cause great damage to animals, humans, and crops.
Eutrophication is a phenomenon in which a large quantity of nitrogen found in some pollutants accumulates on the sea surface, transforming into algae and wreaking havoc on fish, plants, and animal species.
Due to the presence of this chemical only, the green-colored algae that are present on lakes and ponds.
- Effect on Wildlife
Animals and people are subjected to some of the harmful impacts of air pollution. Toxic substances available in the air can compel wildlife species to relocate and modify their habitat. Toxic contaminants settle on the water’s surface and can also harm sea creatures.
- Depletion of the Ozone Layer
Ozone is found in the stratosphere of the earth and is important for shielding humans from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The presence of chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere is degrading the Earth’s ozone layer.
As the ozone layer thins, it emits damaging rays back to earth, which can cause skin and eye issues. UV radiations can also have an impact on crops.
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