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Kinds of pollution

Air pollution — pollution of the air (ecology) The presence in the outdoor atmosphere of one or more
contaminants such as dust, fumes, gas, mist, odor, smoke, or vapor in quantities and of characteristics and
duration such as to be injurious to human, plant, or animal life or to property, or to interfere unreasonably
with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property.

The presence in the atmospheric environment of natural and artificial substances that affect human health
or well-being, or the well-being of any other specific organism. Pragmatically, air pollution also applies to
situations where contaminants impact structures and artifacts or esthetic sensibilities (such as visibility or
smell). Most artificial impurities are injected into the atmosphere at or near the Earth's surface. The lower
atmosphere (troposphere) cleanses itself of some of these pollutants in a few hours or days as the larger
particles settle to the surface and soluble gases and particles encounter precipitation or are removed
through contact with surface objects. Unfortunately, removal of some pollutants (for example, sulfates and
nitrates) by precipitation and dry deposition results in acid deposition, which may cause serious
environmental damage. Also, mixing of the pollutants into the upper atmosphere may dilute the
concentrations near the Earth's surface, but can cause long-term changes in the chemistry of the upper
atmosphere, including the ozone layer. See also Atmosphere; Troposphere.

Types of sources

Sources may be characterized in a number of ways. First, a distinction may be made between natural and
anthropogenic sources. Another frequent classification is in terms of stationary (power plants, incinerators,
industrial operations, and space heating) and moving (motor vehicles, ships, aircraft, and rockets) sources.
Another classification describes sources as point (a single stack), line (a line of stacks), or area (city).

Different types of pollution are conveniently specified in various ways: gaseous, such as carbon
monoxide, or particulate, such as smoke, pesticides, and aerosol sprays; inorganic, such as hydrogen
fluoride, or organic, such as mercaptans; oxidizing substances, such as ozone, or reducing substances,
such as oxides of sulfur and oxide s of nitrogen; radioactive substances, such as iodine-131; inert
substances, such as pollen or fly ash; or thermal pollution, such as the heat produced by nuclear power

Air contaminants are produced in many ways and come from many sources; it is difficult to identify all the
various producers. Also, for some pollutants such as carbon dioxide and methane, the natural emissions
sometimes far exceed the anthropogenic emissions.

Noise pollution, sound pollution

Annoying and potentially harmful environmental noise generally refers to unwanted sound produced by
human activities—unwanted in that it interferes with communication, work, rest, recreation, or sleep.
Unlike other forms of pollution, such as air, water, and hazardous materials, noise does not remain long in
the environment. However, while its effects are immediate in terms of annoyance, they are cumulative in
terms of temporary or permanent hearing loss. Society has attempted to regulate noise since the early days
of the Romans, who by decree prohibited the movement of chariots in the streets at night. In the United
States, communities since colonial days have enacted ordinances against excessive noise, primarily in
response to complaints from residents. It was not until the late 1960s, however, that the federal
government officially recognized noise as a pollutant and began to support noise research and regulation.
Federal laws against noise pollution included the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, especially
sections concerning environmental impact statements; the Noise Pollution and Abatement Act of 1970;
and the Noise Control Act of 1972, which appointed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to
coordinate federal research and activities in noise control.

As part of its effort to identify major noise sources in the United States, the EPA set about determining the
degree to which noise standards could contribute to noise reduction. During the 1970s, EPA-sponsored
research on major noise sources led to regulation of the products that most affected the public, including
medium and heavy trucks, portable air compressors, garbage trucks, buses, and motorcycles. Missing from
the list was aircraft, which was considered the responsibility of the FAA. During the administration of
President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, the power of the EPA and its Office of Noise Abatement and
Control was curtailed and most of its noise regulations rescinded. Even so, efforts continued to curb noise
pollution. The Department of Transportation maintains standards for highways, mass transit, and railroads,
as well as aircraft. The environmental review process, mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act
of 1969, remains the single most effective deterrent to noise pollution.

Sources of noise

The overarching source of most noise worldwide is generated by transportation systems, principally motor
vehicle noise, but also including aircraft noise and rail noise.[3][4]. Hybrid vehicles are the first innovation
within the last 100 years to achieve significant widespread noise source reduction.[citation needed] Poor urban
planning may also give rise to noise pollution, since juxtaposition of industrial to residential land uses, for
example, often results in adverse consequences for the residential acoustic environment.

Besides transportation noise, other prominent sources are office equipment, factory machinery, appliances,
power tools, lighting hum and audio entertainment systems. Furthermore, with the popularity of digital
audio player devices, individuals in a noisy area might increase the volume in order to drown out ambient
sounds. Construction equipment also produces noise pollution.

The noise from ATV machines is quite different from of the traditional dirt bike. The ATVs have large
bore, four stroke engines that produce a loud throaty growl that will carry further due to the lower
frequencies involved. The traditional two stroke engines on dirt bikes have gotten larger and, while they
have higher frequencies, they still can propagate the sound for a mile or more. The noise produced by
these vehicles is particularly disturbing due to the wide variations in frequency and volume.

Recreational vehicles are generally not required to be registered and control of the noise they emit is
absent in most communities. However, there is a growing awareness that operation of these machines can
seriously degrade the quality of life of those within earshot of the noise and some communities have
enacted regulations, either by imposing limits on the sound or through land use laws. Rider organizations
are also beginning to recognize the problem and are enlightening members as to future restrictions on
riding if noise is not curtailed.
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Thermal pollution is a temperature change in natural water bodies caused by human influence. The main
cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant, especially in power plants. Water used as a
coolant is returned to the natural environment at a higher temperature. Increases in water temperature can
alter aquatic organisms by (a) decreasing oxygen supply, (b) killing fish juveniles which are vulnerable to
small increases in temperature, and (c) affecting ecosystem composition.

Source of Thermal Pollution

Thermal pollution typically decreases the level of dissolved oxygen in the water. The decrease in levels of
dissolved oxygen can harm aquatic animals such as fish, amphibians and copepods. Thermal pollution
may also increase the metabolic rate of aquatic animals, as enzyme activity, meaning that these organisms
will consume more food in a shorter time than if their environment was not changed. An increased
metabolic rate may result in food source shortages, causing a sharp decrease in a population. Changes in
the environment may also result in a migration of organisms to another, more suitable environment, and to
in-migration of organisms that normally only live in cooler waters elsewhere. This leads to competition for
fewer resources; the more adapted organisms moving in may have an advantage over organisms that are
not used to the warmer temperatures. As a result one has the problem of compromising food chains of the
old and new environments. Biodiversity can be decreased as a result.

Water pollution

State resulting when substances are released into a body of water, where they become dissolved or
suspended in the water or deposited on the bottom, accumulating to the extent that they overwhelm its
capacity to absorb, break down, or recycle them, and thus interfering with the functioning of aquatic
ecosystems. Contributions to water pollution include substances drawn from the air (see acid rain), silt
from soil erosion, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, runoff from septic tanks, outflow from livestock
feedlots, chemical wastes (some toxic) from industries, and sewage and other urban wastes from cities and
towns. A community far upstream in a watershed may thus receive relatively clean water, whereas one
farther downstream receives a partly diluted mixture of urban, industrial, and rural wastes. When organic
matter exceeds the capacity of microorganisms in the water to break it down and recycle it, the excess of
nutrients in such matter encourages algal water blooms. When these algae die, their remains add further to
the organic wastes already in the water, and eventually the water becomes deficient in oxygen. Organisms
that do not require oxygen then attack the organic wastes, releasing gases such as methane and hydrogen
sulfide, which are harmful to the oxygen-requiring forms of life. The result is a foul-smelling, waste-filled
body of water.
Sources of Water Pollution

Towns and municipalities are also major sources of water pollution. In many public water systems,
pollution exceeds safe levels. One reason for this is that much groundwater has been contaminated by
wastes pumped underground for disposal or by seepage from surface water. When contamination reaches
underground water tables, it is difficult to correct and spreads over wide areas. In addition, many U.S.
communities discharge untreated or only partially treated sewage into the waterways, threatening the
health of their own and neighboring populations.

Along with domestic wastes, sewage carries industrial contaminants and a growing tonnage of paper and
plastic refuse (see solid waste). Although thorough sewage treatment would destroy most disease-causing
bacteria, the problem of the spread of viruses and viral illness remains. Additionally, most sewage
treatment does not remove phosphorus compounds, contributed principally by detergents, which cause
eutrophication of lakes and ponds. Excreted drugs and household chemicals also are not removed by
present municipal treatment facilites, and can be recycled into the drinking water supply.

Rain drainage is another major polluting agent because it carries such substances as highway debris
(including oil and chemicals from automobile exhausts), sediments from highway and building
construction, and acids and radioactive wastes from mining operations into freshwater systems as well as
into the ocean. Also transported by rain runoff and by irrigation return-flow are animal wastes from farms
and feedlots, a widespread source of pollutants impairing rivers and streams, groundwater, and even some
coastal waters. Antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals used to raise livestock are components of such
animal wastes. Pesticide and fertilizer residues from farms also contribute to water pollution via rain