Pollution: Care for our planet appropriately

Published 11:30 am Friday, April 6, 2018

By Dr. Ramamohana Reddy

Environmental pollution has existed for centuries but only started to be significant following the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century.

Pollution occurs when the natural environment cannot destroy an element without creating harm or damages to itself. We can identify several types of pollution on earth.

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Environmental pollution occurs when pollutants contaminate the surroundings, which brings about changes that affect our normal lifestyles adversely. Pollutants are the key elements or components of pollution, which are generally waste materials of different forms. Pollution disturbs our ecosystem and the balance in the environment.

With modernization and development in our lives pollution has reached its peak, giving rise to global warming and human illness. Environmental pollution occurs in different forms: air, water, soil, radioactive, noise, heat/ thermal and light.

Toxic environmental pollution affects more than 200 million people worldwide, according to Pure Earth, a non-profit environmental organization. In some of the world’s worst polluted places, babies are born with birth defects, children have lost 30 to 40 IQ points, and life expectancy may be as low as 45 years because of cancers and other diseases. Here are some effects:

  • Humans: The effects of environmental pollution on humans are mainly physical but can also turn into neuro-affections in the long term. The decrease in quality of air leads to several respiratory problems including asthma or lung cancer. Chest pain, congestion, throat inflammation, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease are some problems that can be caused by air pollution. Water pollution occurs due to contamination of water and may pose skin-related problems including skin irritations and rashes.
  • Animals: Environmental pollution mainly affects animals by causing harm to their living environment, making it toxic for them to live in. Acid rains can change the composition of rivers and seas, making them toxic for fish. An important quantity of ozone in the lower parts of the atmosphere can cause lung problems to all animals. Eventually, soil pollution will cause harm and sometimes even the destruction of microorganisms, which can have dramatic effect of killing the first layers of the primary food chain.
  • Plants: As with animals, plants and especially trees, plants can be destroyed by acid rains. Ozone in the lower atmosphere blocks plant respiration, and harmful pollutants can absorbed from the water or soil. The constant use of pesticides, insecticides and other chemicals causes the soil to become infertile. Soil is the major and, in some cases, the only source of nutrition for plants and vegetables.
  • Ecosystem: In short, environmental pollution, almost exclusively created by human activities, has a negative effect on the ecosystem, destroying crucial layers of it and causing an even more negative effect on the layers. Almost all our gains in the fields of industrial progress, science and technology have so far been realized at the cost of our health. Even our flora and fauna were found to be threatened with extinction.

Everything on our planet is interconnected, and while nature supplies us with valuable environmental services without which we cannot exist, we all depend on each other’s actions and the way we treat natural resources. We should care for our planet in the most appropriate manner. Only then can we possibly solve the problem of environmental pollution.

It is impossible that all the existing pollution problems in the environmental can completely be resolved in the next decade. It is the responsibility of everyone to protect our environment.

Let us fulfill our responsibilities in environmental protection, creating a quality ecological environment and sharing wonderful green living together.

Dr. Ramamohana Reddy is an environmental ecologist/supervisor for CHEMTEX Environment Laboratories in Port Arthur, Texas.