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    OLCreate: ContextEnvt_1.0 Study Session 7  Pollution: Types, Sources and Characteristics

    Study Session 7  Pollution: Types, Sources and Characteristics

    Study Session 7  Pollution: Types, Sources and Characteristics Introduction

    You were introduced to wastes and pollutants in Study Session 1, where we discussed the interactions between humans and our environment. Pollution was defined as the introduction into the environment of substances liable to cause harm to humans and other living organisms. Many human activities pollute our environment, adversely affecting the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the soil in which we grow food.

    In this and the next study session we will look more closely at pollution. In this session you will learn about the different types and sources of pollution and the various human activities that can cause pollution. We will also describe the ways pollution can affect different sectors of the environment: water, air and soil. Study Session 8 describes some of the significant effects of pollution on the environment and on human health. It also discusses options for preventing and controlling pollution.

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    Learning Outcomes for Study Session 7

    स्रोत : www.open.edu

    What are the Causes of Water Pollution?

    There are many causes of water pollution. This article focuses on seven of the major ways that water pollution can occur. Learn More.

    Posted September 9, 2019 | Water Resource Policy and Management

    What are the Causes of Water Pollution?

    It is common knowledge that around two-thirds of the world is made up of water, which means that taking care of the Earth’s water should be a priority for everyone around the globe. When harmful microorganisms and chemical substances contaminate bodies of water, they cause the water quality to decrease and potentially make it toxic. Water pollution can have negative effects on our health, the environment and the economy.

    When discussing the issues that can arise due to water pollution, there are three major areas to consider:

    Health: According to the United Nations, every year there are more deaths caused by polluted water than all types of violence combined, including war. Waste from humans and animals that contaminates water carries bacteria and viruses that cause the spread of diseases such as typhoid, cholera and giardia.Environment: All the species in an ecosystem rely on each other in order to survive. Outside substances, such as pollutants found in wastewater, can disrupt the complicated relationships between species that an ecosystem needs in order to thrive.Economy: Polluted water can have many negative effects on the economy. It directly impacts sectors such as commercial fishing, recreational businesses, tourism and even property values, all of which rely heavily on clean water. Polluted drinking water can also cause treatment costs to rise, which in turn makes the cost of drinking water rise as well.

    But what are the causes of water pollution, and what can we do about them?

    The Causes of Water Pollution

    Water is one of the most important elements on Earth when it comes to sustaining life. Unfortunately, it is also extremely susceptible to pollution. This is largely because water is a universal solvent that can dissolve many substances. While this is a wonderful quality that we take advantage of for everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and taking medication, it is also the exact quality that causes water to become polluted so easily.

    There are many causes of water pollution. Below, we will focus on seven of the major ways that water can become polluted.

    1. Industrial Waste

    Industries and industrial sites across the world are a major contributor to water pollution. Many industrial sites produce waste in the form of toxic chemicals and pollutants, and though regulated, some still do not have proper waste management systems in place. In those rare cases, industrial waste is dumped into nearby freshwater systems. When industrial waste is not treated properly (or worse, not treated at all), it can very easily pollute the freshwater systems that it comes into contact with.

    Industrial waste from agricultural sites, mines and manufacturing plants can make its way into rivers, streams and other bodies of water that lead directly to the sea. The toxic chemicals in the waste produced by these industries not only have the potential to make water unsafe for human consumption, they can also cause the temperature in freshwater systems to change, making them dangerous for many water dwelling organisms.

    2. Marine Dumping

    The process of marine dumping is exactly what it sounds like, dumping garbage into the waters of the ocean. It might seem crazy, but household garbage is still collected and dumped into oceans by many countries across the world. Most of these items can take anywhere from two to 200 years to decompose completely.

    3. Sewage and Wastewater

    Harmful chemicals, bacteria and pathogens can be found in sewage and wastewater even when it’s been treated. Sewage and wastewater from each household is released into the sea with fresh water. The pathogens and bacteria found in that wastewater breed disease, and therefore are a cause of health-related issues in humans and animals alike.

    4. Oil Leaks and Spills

    The age-old phrase “like water and oil” is used when describing two things that do not mix easily or at all. Just as the saying states, water and oil do not mix, and oil does not dissolve in water. Large oil spills and oil leaks, while often accidental, are a major cause of water pollution. Leaks and spills often are caused by oil drilling operations in the ocean or ships that transport oil.  wildlife.

    5. Agriculture

    In order to protect their crops from bacteria and insects, farmers often use chemicals and pesticides. When these substances seep into the groundwater, they can harm animals, plants and humans. Additionally, when it rains, the chemicals mix with rainwater, which then flows into rivers and streams that filter into the ocean, causing further water pollution.

    6. Global Warming

    Rising temperatures due to global warming are a major concern in terms of water pollution. Global warming causes water temperatures to rise, which can kill water-dwelling animals. When large die-offs occur, it further pollutes the water supply, exacerbating the issue.

    There are many everyday ways you can help reduce global warming, which will in turn help lower water pollution. These methods include recycling, carpooling and using CFL bulbs in your home.

    7. Radioactive Waste

    Radioactive waste from facilities that create nuclear energy can be extremely hazardous to the environment and must be disposed of properly. This is because uranium, the element used in the creation of nuclear energy, is a highly toxic chemical.

    स्रोत : online.ecok.edu

    Drowning In Human Excreta

    Sanitation for urban India means building flush toilets and linking them to sewer systems. But the price of chasing this dream is leading to an environmental catastrophe. MANOJ NADKARNI analyses our flush and forget mindset

    Drowning In Human Excreta

    Sanitation for urban India means building flush toilets and linking them to sewer systems. But the price of chasing this dream is leading to an environmental catastrophe. MANOJ NADKARNI analyses our flush and forget mindset


    Published: Thursday 28 February 2002

    Drowning In Human Excreta

    "Don't flush." M K Malhotra, a resident of Delhi's Vasant Kunj, has put this instruction on his toilet. Six members of his family use this toilet at least three times a day and ten litres of water goes down the drain with every flush. In a water-scarce locality, Malhotra can hardly afford this basic sanitation practice. "In fact, it's a luxury," he says.

    Malhotra's warning is apt. Flushing consumes maximum amount of water in an average urban household. An ever-increasing urban population - 25.8 million in 1901 to 285 million in 2001 - has thrown up two problems: shortage of water and sewage overload. Malhotra is still fortunate: more than 80 per cent people in rural India do not have access to toilets.

    "Sanitation is more important than independence," Mahatma Gandhi once said. It is been 55 years since independence and sanitation is still a neglected sector in India. Sanitation is available to 48 per cent of urban and just 3.15 per cent of the rural population. As the Planning Commission pointed out in the Ninth Plan, "While the provision of drinking water to urban areas in the country has improved over the years, the provision of sewerage and drainage facilities has not received adequate attention." Health costs

    Providing water and sanitation facilities may seem expensive, but the costs of not providing are much higher. In Karachi, Pakistan, for example, a study found that poor people living in areas without any sanitation or hygiene education spent six times more on medical care than people who lived in areas with access to sanitation and who had a basic knowledge of household hygiene. In India, rural people spend at least Rs 100 each year for the treatment of water/sanitation-related diseases. According to the government of India, this adds up to Rs 6,700 crore annually, which is just Rs 52 crore less than the annual budget of the Union health ministry's and more than the allocation for education.

    It is not as if these diseases appear out of nowhere. People contaminate the environment and they are in turn infected through the "pathogen cycle" (see flow chart: Deadly web). Breaking this cycle is the function of sanitation. In simplest terms, sanitation acts as a barrier between humans and disease causing agents. The barriers are generally physical, chemical or spatial. The flush toilets and sewage systems are supposed to provide all three: flushing physically carries pathogen-bearing faeces away from contact with us, the sewage system creates some space between the two, while chemical and other processes in treatment plants are used to destroy them.

    Standard toilets and sewage systems are taken for granted in middle and upper class homes in urban India. The attitude is: flush and forget - out of sight and out of mind. However, what happens to the waste after the flush is pulled? After some treatment, it flows in our taps. Possibly, for middle and upper classes living urban environments with artificially low water charges, there is nothing wrong with it, especially in the short term. But when the whole picture is taken into account, the benign nature of sewage changes dramatically.

    Urban sewage systems can be seen as a linear process. The act of flushing lets large amounts of water physically push excreta and diluted urine down and around the "s" seal of the toilet. Blackwater (wastewater which bears human excreta) and grey (wastewater from the bath, kitchens and sinks) are mixed when they leave a house. The pipe carrying this wastewater joins pipes of other houses or apartment blocks and empties into the municipal sewer. This relatively small diameter sewer joins other peripheral sewers and finally joins a large trunk sewage drain. More water is added to stop blocking of sewage lines. Water to transport is pumped and kept flowing.Deadly web

    How pathogens in excreta enter humans1: Pathogens in excreta2: Hands3: Flies4: Surface water and wastewater5: Solid waste (casual/landfill)6: Soil7: Agriculture/aquaculture8: Groundwater and surface water9: Food10: Water supply11: Leisure (eg, swimming)12: Pathogens enter humans

    (But not too much water, since this would overwhelm the system). These sewers keep the wastes flowing to a sewage treatment plant. This treatment involves removing the solids as sludge, getting rid of organic and inorganic pollutants, disinfecting it of pathogens and finally in some state of cleanliness, the treated water is released into the nearest river or sea. The solid sludge left is used either as landfill or as fertiliser. So far so good. At least on paper.

    Overwhelmed by sewage

    In reality things don't work so well. Firstly, only a small percentage of Indian towns and cities actually have sewage treatment plants. The Central Pollution Control Board points out that out of 22,900 million litres a day (MLD) generated as wastewater, only 5,900 MLD is treated - less than 3 per cent.

    स्रोत : www.downtoearth.org.in

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