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Published by: AMIN BUHARI ABDUL KHADER on Nov 24, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 THE HOME OF TEXTAAMINOMTEXPollutionsPollution is the introduction of contaminants into an environment that causesinstability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the physical systems or livingorganisms they are in.[1] Pollution can take the form of chemical substances, orenergy, such as noise, heat, or light energy. Pollutants, the elements of pollution,can be foreign substances or energies, or naturally occurring; when naturallyoccurring, they are considered contaminants when they exceed natural levels.Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution.Sometimes the term pollution is extended to include any substance when itoccurs at such unnaturally high concentration within a system that it endangersthe stability of that system. For example, water is innocuous and essential forlife, and yet at very high concentration, it could be considered a pollutant: if aperson were to drink an excessive quantity of water, the physical system couldbe so overburdened that breakdown and even death could result. Anotherexample is the potential of excessive noise to induce imbalance in a person'smental state, resulting in malfunction and psychosis.HistoryPrehistoryHumankind has had some effect upon the environment since the Paleolithic eraduring which the ability to generate fire was acquired. In the Iron Age, the use of tooling led to the practice of metal grinding on a small scale and resulted inminor accumulations of discarded material probably easily dispersed without toomuch impact. Human wastes would have polluted rivers or water sources tosome degree. However, these effects could be expected predominantly to bedwarfed by the natural world.Ancient cultures The first advanced civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Persia,Greece and Rome increased the use of water for their manufacture of goods,increasingly forged metal and created fires of wood and peat for more elaboratepurposes (for example, bathing, heating). Still, at this time the scale of higheractivity did not disrupt ecosystems or greatly alter air or water quality.Middle Ages The European Dark Ages during the early Middle Ages were a great boon for theenvironment, in that industrial activity fell, and population levels did not growrapidly. Toward the end of the Middle Ages populations grew and concentratedmore within cities, creating pockets of readily evident contamination. In certainplaces air pollution levels were recognizable as health issues, and water pollution
 THE HOME OF TEXTAAMINOMTEXin population centers was a serious medium for disease transmission fromuntreated human waste.Since travel and widespread information were less common, there did not exist amore general context than that of local consequences in which to considerpollution. Foul air would have been considered a nuissance and wood, oreventually, coal burning produced smoke, which in sufficient concentrationscould be a health hazard in proximity to living quarters. Septic contamination orpoisoning of a clean drinking water source was very easily fatal to those whodepended on it, especially if such a resource was rare. Superstitionspredominated and the extent of such concerns would probably have been littlemore than a sense of moderation and an avoidance of obvious extremes.Official acknowledgementBut gradually increasing populations and the proliferation of basic industrialprocesses saw the emergence of a civilization that began to have a much greatercollective impact on its surroundings. It was to be expected that the beginningsof environmental awareness would occur in the more developed cultures,particularly in the densest urban centers. The first medium warranting officialpolicy measures in the emerging western world would be the most basic: the airwe breathe. The earliest known writings concerned with pollution were Arabic medicaltreatises written between the 9th and 13th centuries, by physicians such as al-Kindi (Alkindus), Qusta ibn Luqa (Costa ben Luca), Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi(Rhazes), Ibn Al-Jazzar, al-Tamimi, al-Masihi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ali ibn Ridwan,Ibn Jumay, Isaac Israeli ben Solomon, Abd-el-latif, Ibn al-Quff, and Ibn al-Nafis. Their works covered a number of subjects related to pollution such as aircontamination, water contamination, soil contamination, solid wastemishandling, and environmental assessments of certain localities.[2]King Edward I of England banned the burning of sea-coal by proclamation inLondon in 1272, after its smoke had become a problem.[3][4] But the fuel was socommon in England that this earliest of names for it was acquired because itcould be carted away from some shores by the wheelbarrow. Air pollution wouldcontinue to be a problem there, especially later during the industrial revolution,and extending into the recent past with the Great Smog of 1952. This same cityalso recorded one of the earlier extreme cases of water quality problems with theGreat Stink on the Thames of 1858, which led to construction of the Londonsewerage system soon afterward.It was the industrial revolution that gave birth to environmental pollution as weknow it today. The emergence of great factories and consumption of immense
 THE HOME OF TEXTAAMINOMTEXquantities of coal and other fossil fuels gave rise to unprecedented air pollutionand the large volume of industrial chemical discharges added to the growing loadof untreated human waste. Chicago and Cincinnati were the first two Americancities to enact laws ensuring cleaner air in 1881. Other cities followed around thecountry until early in the 20th century, when the short lived Office of Air Pollutionwas created under the Department of the Interior. Extreme smog events wereexperienced by the cities of Los Angeles and Donora, Pennsylvania in the late1940s, serving as another public reminder.[5]Modern awarenessEarly Soviet poster, before the modern awareness: "The smoke of chimneys isthe breath of Soviet Russia"Pollution began to draw major public attention in theUnited States between the mid-1950s and early 1970s, when Congress passedthe Noise Control Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the NationalEnvironmental Policy Act.Bad bouts of local pollution helped increase consciousness. PCB dumping in theHudson River resulted in a ban by the EPA on consumption of its fish in 1974.Long-term dioxin contamination at Love Canal starting in 1947 became anational news story in 1978 and led to the Superfund legislation of 1980. Legalproceedings in the 1990s helped bring to light Chromium-6 releases inCalifornia--the champions of whose victims became famous. The pollution of industrial land gave rise to the name brownfield, a term now common in cityplanning. DDT was banned in most of the developed world after the publicationof Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. The development of nuclear science introduced radioactive contamination, whichcan remain lethally radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. LakeKarachay, named by the Worldwatch Institute as the "most polluted spot" onearth, served as a disposal site for the Soviet Union thoroughout the 1950s and1960s. Second place may go to the to the area of Chelyabinsk U.S.S.R. (seereference below) as the "Most polluted place on the planet".Nuclear weapons continued to be tested in the Cold War, sometimes nearinhabited areas, especially in the earlier stages of their development. The toll onthe worst-affected populations and the growth since then in understanding aboutthe critical threat to human health posed by radioactivity has also been aprohibitive complication associated with nuclear power. Though extreme care ispracticed in that industry, the potential for disaster suggested by incidents suchas those at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl pose a lingering specter of publicmistrust. One legacy of nuclear testing before most forms were banned has beensignificantly raised levels of background radiation.

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