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Principles of Pollution

Control

Pollution and waste are


symptoms, not causes, of the
environmental crisis.
Chapter objectives

What is meant by pollution

How pollution is produced

How pollution is controlled


What is pollution?

Pollution = societys excess output into the environment

Something produced in amounts high enough to be


harmful to us, other life, or valuable objects
Pollution has many faces
Pollution as matter cycling and energy flow

The environment ultimately consists of matter cycles and energy flows.

Pollution represents local concentrations in the matter cycle or energy flows

e.g. Heat pollution is a form of air and water pollution


Pollution has many faces
Pollution as an accelerated natural process

Not only man-made, e.g. Volcanoes release gasses that is harmful to life, affect
global climate and cause acid rain.

People cause pollution at a greater rate than nature, because:


High quantities of waste produced
Quality of waste accelerates pollution because of lots of new
substances e.g. dye
Pollution has many faces
Pollution as a stepwise process
High volumes of waste produced as by products for other products/
processes

Everything must go somewhere as either energy flowing or matter cycling

As a result, waste often end up in water, air or land.

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) / Cradle to grave analysis can pinpoint steps in
processes that can either be eliminated or made more efficient

Therefore: Cradle to grave pollution = the many ways a product can


pollute in its lifetime

Pictures 2006 Jones and Bartlett Publishers


Pollution has many faces
Pollution as a stepwise process

Pictures 2006 Jones and Bartlett Publishers


Pollution has many faces
Pollution = population x consumption
The amount of pollution depends on:

(1) The number of people


(2) The amount of waste produced per person (determined by consumption)

Therefore:

Pollution = population x consumption


OR
Pollution = population x consumption
OR
Pollution = population x consumption
History of pollution

Pollution exists from the beginning of time!!!


Ancient volcanoes helped form the atmosphere
Later on gasses from erupting volcanoes caused mass extinctions
Animals pollute rivers with urine and feces
Bird droppings can contaminate areas surrounding nests
Early civilizations discarded their waste (evidence in caves)
Egyptians and Greeks had polluted drinking water

Today, the scale of pollution is much greater due to:


Large human population
Fossil fuel-driven technologies
Controlling pollution
No water is pure in nature:
Before people existed, water contained gasses and other substances
Highly polluted water only contain 1 % toxins and other pollutants
Raw sewage entering treatment facilities contained at least 99.9 %
water. The problem: sewage and toxicant molecules are much
larger than water molecules
Zero pollution is an unrealistic goal:
Modern society cannot exist without producing pollutants
Total purity is economically impossible the cost of removing all
pollutants increases exponentially after a given point
Total purity is unnecessary the benefits of pollutant removal
decrease exponentially after a given point
Not even nature is totally pure
Controlling pollution
How much to control?

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Controlling pollution
What to control?

Low cost High cost

Pictures 2006 Jones and Bartlett Publishers


Controlling pollution
Pollution control vs. remediation vs. restoration

Pollution control aims to remove the pollutant and dispose of it in a landfill


or incinerator, e.g. cleaning up toxic fly ash from electricity generating
plants. Very expensive.

Remediation counteracts some of the effects of pollution after it has been


released into the environment, e.g. treat lakes contaminated with acid rain
with lime. Very expensive

Restoration seeks to reinstate the environment to its former condition.


Extremely expensive
Controlling pollution
Implementing pollution control

There are three basic ways prevent people from polluting:

Persuasion: Ask people to change polluting behavior. Should be


accompanied by education. Very cheap, but not too effective.

Regulation: Pass laws requiring less pollution. Most useful when polluters
are few in numbers and pollution can be easily monitored, e.g. hazardous
waste of large factories.

Incentives: Reward behavior that reduces pollution, e.g. tax incentives and
subsidies for renewable energy use. Much lower cost than regulation.
Examples: (1) deposits paid when potential waste is purchased and (2) pay
as you throw schemes, where the polluter has to pay for discarding waste
Controlling pollution
Implementing pollution control

There are three basic ways prevent people from polluting:

Persuasion: Ask people to change polluting behavior. Should be


accompanied by education. Very cheap, but not too effective.

Regulation: Pass laws requiring less pollution. Most useful when polluters
are few in numbers and pollution can be easily monitored, e.g. hazardous
waste of large factories.

Incentives: Reward behavior that reduces pollution, e.g. tax incentives and
subsidies for renewable energy use. Much lower cost than regulation.
Examples: (1) deposits paid when potential waste is purchased and (2) pay
as you throw schemes, where the polluter has to pay for discarding waste