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Pollution and its Effects on Air and Water

Mohammad Ajmal
ENGL 111, Mrs.B
Research Paper, (2500)
Nov. 8 2015

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Pollution is bad for the environment. It has daunting effects on human health.
There are several pollution types which are damaging our environment
including water and air pollution. Contaminants get released into the
environment and they adversely affect the population. Pollution is not
something that is produced by humans only, but also naturally like fire forest,
volcano eruption, and earthquake. This research will identify some of the
effects on people and the environment that result from air and water
contamination and will highlight statistics on the global impact and how
seemingly unrelated actions are actually interconnected in environmental
impacts. There are several ways to stop those pollutions and by doing some
effort we can reduce it.

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Pollution and its Effects on Air and Water

Every day driving to work or school or just running errands, exhaust
fumes from countless vehicles can be seen dissipating into the air.
Construction sites and industrial equipment dump their smoke and chemical
byproducts into the atmosphere. Trash is littered around the streets and
sidewalks, cigarettes all around are burning, and even the sewers are
discarding waste into water streams. Pollution can be described as any kind
of particle or contaminant that is infused into the environment and causes
some kind of negative effects. It comes in many forms and can infiltrate a
variety of aspects in the atmosphere. Pollution can be a chemical substance,
trash, energy, foreign substances or even naturally occurring matter. What
makes a material a pollutant is the impact it has on its surroundings. The two
most notable and drastic types are air and water pollution.
Since civilization began, air pollution has been a factor in the
environment. Dating back to the prehistoric era when mankind first created
fire, emission from the energy combustion has been released into the air.
Evidence can still be found by the soot and carbon footprint left upon the
roofs of caves. Fast forward hundreds of years to the present day, and air
quality has only deteriorated further. For this trend to continue, the industrial
society that exists today will continue to damage our critical resources
needed for survival unless advance action is taken to eliminate this growing
problem. A global crisis will arise and encompass every corner of population

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until humanity begins to decline as a result of the contamination in air and

water that render our resources useless.
A huge burst in the rate of contamination can be traced to the
transition of primitive nations into urbanized cities. Burning coal and wood
emit the impurities in to the atmosphere, but even a large concentration of
horses (and their emission) contributed to this problem. Then came the
industrial revolution, giving birth to a whole new age of air contaminants.
Huge factories and automobiles gave rise to extraordinary amounts of
industrial chemical byproducts that had nowhere to go but into our
breathable air. Cities and concentrated populations grew faster than
sanitation advances could keep up. The result was an escalation of sewage
and untreated waste building up in sewers.
By the early 1880s, American cities began enacting laws and
regulations to police the output of pollutants in response to progressive
reformers that were demanding cleaner air. Following that lead, the United
States took a major interest in pollution at the beginning of the twentieth
century (Weather Explained, 2015). The Department of the Interior actually
created a specific sector, known as the Office of Air Pollution, for a short time
to address the issues of extreme smog events and increasing particle
releases into the atmosphere, in addition to the smoke, sulfur dioxide and
ash that were released into the air as byproducts of industrial production.

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Air pollution regulations have since become a critical part of

environmental protection efforts as well as general civic administration. As
economy grow throughout the country, emissions from industrial processes
and waste combustion remain an increasing concern. The most persistent of
these concerns are the wide-ranging health problems associated with
pollution. As chemicals became more infused into the atmosphere, lung
diseases have been a sharp rise in numbers. The addition of carbon
monoxide to air compounds causes heart diseases to as a persons heart
must work harder than ever to make up for the displaced oxygen in the
blood. Eye-irritation and asthma are other conditions related to the smog and
particle pollution in the air. Sort term effects can also include nose and throat
irritation, headaches, allergic reactions and other upper respiratory
infections. Pollution can also be the cause of long term effects such as cancer
and organ damage (Biermann, 2012). Even with the regulations imposed on
air pollution, the contamination continues to grow and does not protect
people suffer from its harmful effects. Additional guidelines should be
developed and imposed to force industries to place a more concentrated
emphasis on its harmful production effects and reengineer those processes
to be more ecologically friendly.
Any form of pollution that can trace it source to industrial practice
known as industrial pollution. There are several causes of industrial pollution
which are damaging our environment. The first one as I explained above is
lack of policies to control pollution. Lack of policies to control and

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enforcement allow industries to bypass laws made by environmental

protection agencies. Another one is use of outdated technologies. These are
still big number of industries using old technologies to either handle their
waste or in their production ground.
Any type of pollution has its daunting effects on peoples health.
There are number of deadly disease formed by pollution. These include
stroke, ischmic heart diseases, acute lower respiratory infection, and lung
cancer. Pollution causes almost 200,000 deaths each year in the United
States which is insane. Industries, big factories, and even large cargo ships
are notorious for dumping their waste directly into the water and ocean.
Even though the water we drink is highly treated and purified, but still there
are impurities left that are harmful for our health.
While we have laws to stop pollution like The Clean Air Act. We also
have environmental protection agency (EPA) which is play a vital role to
prevent our beautiful and clean environment, but there are still some
loopholes in it; which we can stop by enacting more laws on big companies
and industries
In addition to health effects, air pollution has an impact on the
environment. It damages crops, forests, animals and even the climate. Jet
streams from air traffic in China can travel to the U.S. in five days and
prevent clouds from producing fresh rain water. The contamination of the air
from fossil fuel combustion can result in acid rain, compounding the effects

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on the environment. Acid rain can throw off the pH balance of the soil,
rendering it unfertile for crop production. Many plants are also damaged by
the acidity in the rain. It will also accelerate the rate of corrosion and seep
into water sources, impacting marine life (Perlman, 2015).
Another major environmental impact of air pollution that has been an
incredible source of concern for the global population is the depletion of the
ozone layer. The ozone is a layer in the upper atmosphere of a form of
oxygen gas that acts as a barrier, protecting the Earth from harmful
ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun. The continued emission of damaging
chemical emissions into the atmosphere is slowly but steadily rupturing that
protective sphere. Areas with low ozone concentrations expose people to
higher health risks, including respiratory diseases and even cancer (Paul,
2006). These catastrophic effects must be taken into consideration when
balancing the revenue from industry growth against the degradation and
irreversible damage being done to the environment. If we deplete all of our
resources in the manner industries are today, we are in danger of leaving a
world to our children that is in much worse condition than it was when we
received it. These facts further prove that additional regulations should be in
We have to think further that what kind of and how harmful,
dangerous, and with full of disease environment we will give to our next
generation If we keep damaging our environment like this. Alongside air

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pollution, and in many ways connected directly to it, water pollution is an

equally harmful contributor to the deterioration of the environment.
Pollutants from various causes in the air can also be deposited into the land
and water bodies. Even if the source of the contamination is far from the
point of use, the water quality will make an impact throughout ones body.
Use and consumption of contaminated water can be detrimental to human
health. Babies are born with birth defects. Children have significantly lowered
IQs, and the average life expectancy can be considerably reduced in addition
to the other risks of disease and cancer (Bradford, 2015). By taking control of
pollution and the vast amounts of emission into the environment, people can
slow or even stop these risks being unnecessarily imposed on children
around the world. With a global population of over 7 billion people, if each
person just did a small part, the entire world would reap the benefits tenfold.
Additionally, water pollution, much like air pollution, can occur when
any dangerous foreign substance is introduced into a water source. These
substances can be chemicals, dangerous metals, fertilizers or pesticides, or
even sewage. According to a study conducted by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), 44 percent of streams, 64 percent of lakes and 30
percent of bay areas are too contaminated for safe use, including fishing and
swimming (Bradford, 2015). The effects of this impurity impacts not only
human consumption, but also marine life and agriculture.

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More than 780 million people lack access to clean water sources and
approximately 2.5 billion people around the world do not have sufficient
sanitation access. Those numbers translate into more than a third of the
global population consuming or using unclean water that has been
contaminated with untreated sewage or other chemical pollutants. Diseases
such as cholera and typhoid are direct results of this sewage pollution. Along
with diseases, millions of viruses, bacteria and parasites thrive in these
unclean environments (Duncan, 2006).
Various causes of water pollution can also impact marine life.
Contaminants from industrial combustion processes can release chemicals
into the atmosphere that eventually find their way into water sources. These
chemicals can alter organic compounds and impact wildlife as well as kill fish
and other living creatures. Thermal pollution, which is caused by artificial
warming of water, is also harmful. This typically happens when factories or
power plants use water to cool down their operations. The heated water is
nearly always returned to its original source. The water with elevated
temperatures has less oxygen, and when it is returned to its source the
depleted levels oxygen as well as the change in temperature can kill fish and
other aquatic animals. Both the direct and indirect disposition of pollutants
into water have deteriorating effects on the environment and the already
fragile state of ecosystems (EPA, 2013).

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Pollution is undoubtedly a problem for everyone. Since its visibility by

reformers and environmentalists, government and private sectors alike have
make enormous efforts to regulate and reduce environmental contamination.
Even though the cost to clean up after incidents or manage the thousands of
related healthcare claims, companies and governmental agencies retain a
responsibility to address these public health concerns. Due to the variety and
complexity of pollution sources, many different control measures are needed
to encompass these issues (EPA, 2013).
Wastewater programs are in place and government regulations have
been imposed on companies that produce excessive amounts of
contaminated water. The Office of Wastewater Management set forth
requirements in the Clean Water Act of 1972 for responsible water use,
management, treatment and disposal. Current bodies of water that arent
contaminated must be protected in order to remain untainted. Also, waters
that have been impacted are under regulations to be treated and protected
going forward.
Pollution control in general can be approached by everyone with small
to large scale efforts. Conserving energy and recycling allows for
unnecessary chemicals to be released into the atmosphere as well as
reduces the amount of combustion required in production. Industries that
invest in implementing environmental management techniques into their
production process can limit and control emissions and effluents that are

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released into the air and water. Introducing pollution control devices such as
dust collection systems and sewage treatment facilities goes a long way in
preventing the degradation of the environment. If people arent able to
resolve the earths ecological issues, all of the globes resources will be
consumed with nothing left to replenish (Middelmann, 1970).
It is amazing to think of how much society has moved forward in
science and technology, but the levels of toxic emission from people have
maintained their steady growth. Michael Newman (2014) explains in his book
(Fundamental of Ecotoxilogy) how interconnected pollution is in its Eco
toxicological effects. This is not a concentrated issue only found in large
cities, it is a global concern. And being a global concern, it is up to everyone
to take part in preserving the delicate status of our ecosystem and taking
every effort, no matter how small, to keep it clean.
While pollution control is an admirable and desirable action, the true
key to preservation is pollution prevention. Minimizing waste production and
transitioning to eco-friendly processes will produce the greatest results in
repairing the damage that has been done to the environment. It is important
to note that not all pollution is manmade. Many sources come from volcanic
ash or gases, forest fires, dust storms and even natural organic compounds.
We have to think about our next generation that what kind of environment
we will give to them to live which will be the double harmful and polluted as
compare to this if we dont take stand. Governments around the world have

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a responsibility to develop and implement more comprehensive solutions to

this global problem. Government should enact more strict laws on pollution
control to prevent our environment that we are damaging specially on
factories and industries that uses poor way to process their waste and dump
it into the water or burn it in the atmosphere producing harmful and
dangerous breathing air and drinking water. Additional regulations and
constraints on industry production and waste output are needed to clean up
the only world that we have. If everybody comes together to do their part in
protecting the earth by being informed of pollution sources and impacts and
by being involved and proactive in preventing further contamination, the
environment as a whole will collectively benefit for a healthier future.

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Air & Water. (2015). Air pollution: Understanding the problem and ways to
help solve it. . Retrieved from:
Biermann, F. (2012). Greening the United Nations Charter: World Politics in
the Anthropocene. Environment, 1-14.
Bradford, A. (2015, March 10). Pollution facts & types of pollution. Retrieved
Duncan, D. (2006, October). The pollution within. National Geographic(1-2),
EPA. (2013, September 11). Air Pollution and Water Quality. Retrieved from:
EPA. (2013, January 16). Pollution Control. Retrieved from: Staff. (2009). Water and Air Pollution. Retrieved from:
Middelmann, U. &. (1970). Pollution and the Death of Man. Wheaton: Tyndale

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Newman, M. C. (2014). Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology: The Science of

Pollution (4th ed.). Florence: CRC Press.
Paul, J. (2006). Ozone and Air Pollution. Phoenix: Arizona Department of
Environmental Quality.
Perlman, H. (2015, July 30). Acid Rain: Do you need to start wearing a rain
hat? Retrieved from The USGS Water Science School:
Weather Explained. (2015). Air and Water Pollution. Weather Almanac, 1-8.