Types of pollution
Today, we are confronted with several types of pollution, for instance –
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
- Soil pollution
- Noise pollution
- Space pollution
- Nuclear pollution, etc.
Air pollution is caused when the required quantity (volume) of oxygen in air gets depleted and the quantity (volume) of other gases like carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen, etc. gets inordinately increased. This can happen because of several factors, some of which are noted below:
The balance of oxygen in the atmosphere is maintained mainly by the trees. Ideally in India, we should have about 33% of our area covered by lush green forests. But we have only about 19 per cent of such area. In certain States, as in Punjab, such areas may be much less.
We know that trees absorb carbon from the air in sunlight and release carbon dioxide. The process is known as photosynthesis. If we cut down trees ruthless, actually we bring about our own doom closer. So, instead of cutting down trees, we should grow more of them. If a single tree has to be cut down for one reason or the other, we must plant at least two in its place. We should take an active part in the festival of afforestation which aims at growing more and more trees during the summer and rainy seasons.
Air is also polluted by the automobiles working on leaded fuel and smoke from chimneys of factories. All such things should be controlled for the purpose of keeping pollution within the permissible limits.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, taking a serious view of the problem of pollution in the steel town of Mandi Gobindgarh in Punjab, directed the Punjab Pollution Board as under:
“Any unit found not adhering to the pollution norms would not be allowed to become operational. In case it is found that the pollution standards have been violated by any unit or establishment, the Board and its officials would act swiftly against the erring units”.
A kind of awakening in the matter of pollution is already there. In Delhi, the Supreme Court has banned the use of buses and automobiles running on diesel and has ordered that they must be allowed rung only on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) which does not cause pollution.
Ambient air analysers should be set up in all major towns to know the quality of particles of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sulphur dioxide in the air.
Water pollution is mainly caused when the toxic effluents from factories as from paper and sugar mills find their way in the rivers flowing down to the seas. Sometimes, the spilling of oil and other toxic matter from the sinking ships on the seas can also cause water pollution and lead to the death of sea life on a large scale.
Soil pollution is caused by several agents including the reckless use of pesticides and insecticides. Thus excess of toxic matter in the soil enters the crops and vegetables. The excessive spraying of insecticidal medicines also makes vegetables and fruits toxic and unfit for human consumption.
The main factors responsible for noise pollution are the inessential use of high-pitch mikes and loudspeakers and the firing of crackers, horns, hooters, buzzers, etc. Some people are in the habit of keeping their T.V. sets and transistors at a high pitch, thus disturbing the neighbours, particularly the students and patients suffering from different ailments.
The main cause of space pollution is the circulation of innumerable spaceships and rotating objects hurled in space by several countries. Such artificial, satellites get disintegrated after their destined life and their parts get scattered in space.
Nowadays, there is pollution even in the high mountains. On the Siachen Glacier, there is a large quantity of garbage because of the stationing of our troops which is unavoidable. On the entire way to the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest, the passage is littered with the garbage left by the climbers.
Sometimes, a new type of pollution is caused when a nuclear reactor starts leaking. This causes what may be termed nuclear pollution which causes radiation leading to ailments like cancer, retarded growth among children etc.
Such leakages whether in nuclear reactors or factories or solvent boilers etc. should be taken seriously. It was, after all, the Union Carbide sulphur dioxide leakage which caused the infamous Bhopal Gas tragedy which led to the loss of thousands of lives. Safety measures of all such plants should be properly and constantly taken care of.