Environmental Pollution Essay
Environmental Pollution and
Waste: Air, Water, and Land Media
Environmental Sustainability Educational Resources
Gregory A. Keoleian
Associate Research Scientist,
School of Natural Resources and Environment
Co-Director, Center for Sustainable Systems
University of Michigan
Contents • Air Pollution Impacts [slide 4]
• Sources of Air Toxics [slide 5-6]
• Criteria Air Pollutants [slide 7-9]
• Trends in National Emissions of Criteria Pollutants
• Comparison of 1970 and 1999 Emissions [slide 11-12]
• Comparison of Growth in Population, VMT, GNP with
Emissions [slide 13]
• Percent Change in Air Quality [slide 14]
• Number of People Living in Nonattainment Areas[slide 15]
• Trends in Sulfur Dioxide Emissions [slides 16]
• Water Pollution [slides 17- 18]
• Sources of Point and Nonpoint Source Pollution [slide 19-22]
• Water Quality of Assessed Rivers, Lakes and Estuaries
• Pollutants and Sources Causing Impairments of Assessed Rivers,
Lakes and Estuaries [slide 24]
• Toxic Release Inventory [slide 25-28]
• TRI data [slides 29-31]
• Industrial Waste [slides 32-33]
• Municipal Solid Waste [slide 34-35]
• Additional Resources [slide 36-37]
Air pollutant impacts
• Greenhouse effect
• Ozone depletion
• smog formation
• human health
• ecosystem health
Criteria Air Pollutants
• EPA uses six "criteria pollutants" as
indicators of air quality
• EPA established for each of them a
maximum concentration above which
adverse effects on human health may occur.
Criteria air pollutants
• Nitrogen Dioxide: NO2
- brownish gas irritates the respiratory system originates from
combustion (N2 in air is oxidized); NOx sum of NO, NO2, other
oxides of N
• Ozone: ground level O3
- primary constituent of urban smog
- reaction of VOC + NOx in presence of heat +sun light
• Carbon monoxide: CO
- reduces bloods ability to carry O2
- product of incomplete combustion
• Lead: Pb
- cause learning disabilities in children , toxic to liver,
kidney, blood forming organs
- tetraethyl lead - anti knock agent in gasoline
• leaded gasoline has been phased...
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Pollution is when something is added to the environment harmful or poisonous to all living things. Smoke or dust in the air is a type of pollution . Sewage in drinking water is another type of pollution, containing germs and viruses. There are 3 kinds of pollution: water pollution, land pollution, and air pollution.
As pollution grows, ways to combat it have grown too. Solar energy and wind energy give people other ways to power their homes. When people use these alternative forms of energy, they put less carbon dioxide into the environment. 
Air pollution[change | change source]
Air can be polluted by many things. Air pollution includes poisonous gases, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and very small particulates. Smoke and harmful gases released by fires, industries and thermal power plants cause air pollution. Using coal and wood as fuels for fire cause a lot of air pollution. Petroleum produces less pollution per tonne, but it causes a lot of pollution since a lot of it is burned globally. Air pollution may cause breathing problems such as asthma or other health problems. It also causes diseases like cancer.
Air pollution causes global warming and acid rain, which can lead to unpredictable levels of drought worldwide. This makes it difficult for the living organisms to survive.
Water pollution[change | change source]
Water pollution is the presence of harmful materials in water, such as sewage, dissolved metal, waste from farms, factories and crude oil spilled from oil tankers. The three main substances that pollute water are nitrates from fertilizers, sewage and detergents.
Activities such as bathing and washing clothes near lakes, ponds or rivers add nutrients like nitrate and phosphate into the water bodies.This leads to excessive growth of algae on the surface of water. It blocks the penetration of sunlight and air, thus reducing oxygen.
It causes harm to organisms living in water and can also harm people's health. In extreme cases, it may cause diseases like cancer.
Noise pollution[change | change source]
Noise pollution (also known as sound pollution) is harmful to the brain and hearing of all animals and humans. This includes the sound of vehicles, loud speakers, airplanes, jets, train horns etc. Noise pollution can cause ear problems or even permanent deafness, especially to older people. It also causes brain related problems.
Land pollution or Soil pollution[change | change source]
Soil pollution (also known as land pollution) is caused when man-made chemicals, such as hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and solvents, get into the soil.These chemicals come from industrial activities and from improper waste in disposal in leaky landfills. Soil pollution can cause health risks. The chemicals can produce harmful vapors, or they can contaminate water supplies underneath the polluted soil.
Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, or humans. It is caused because plastic takes thousands of years to decompose or mix in the earth.
Thermal pollution[change | change source]
Thermal pollution is the harmful release of heated liquid into a body of water or heat released into the air as a waste product of a business.
A common cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power stations and industrial manufacturers. This puts back warm water, and so raises the temperature and decreases the oxygen content of the water.