Environmental Pollution and Its Harmful Effects

Air pollution is the release of pollutants into the atmosphere that are harmful to human health and the environment as a whole. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution causes nearly seven million deaths worldwide each year.   

Nine out of ten people currently breathe air that exceeds the WHO’s pollutant guideline limits, with those in low- and middle-income countries suffering the most. The Clean Air Act, enacted in 1970, authorizes the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect public health by regulating the emissions of these harmful air pollutants.  

Environmental Pollution  

Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulates, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms into the atmosphere. It may cause disease, allergies or even death in humans. The type of pollutant depends on the source, e.g., transportation, industrial emissions and natural events such as forest fires and volcanic eruptions.  

Water pollution is the presence of chemical substances or physical wastes in water beyond typical background levels that may adversely affect ecosystems or people’s health when entering an ecosystem. Water pollutants can be derived from both point and non-point sources; these pollutants include sedimentation, toxic metals (e.g., mercury), radioactive materials and biodegradable organics (e.g., sewage).  

Land pollution is any process by which harmful effects are caused by man-made changes to a natural environment including soil erosion, soil contamination with hazardous waste products such as heavy metals like lead from artisanal gold mining or: 

  • Salinization due to irrigation projects impinging upon saline aquifers; eutrophication due to fertilizer runoff into streams 
  • Deforestation leading to increased runoff rates during times of heavy rainfall 
  • Desertification caused by over-harvesting trees for lumber production leading them not being able to survive long enough after being felled before they rot away completely so no new ones replace them 
  • Urban sprawl encroaching upon agricultural land eventually forcing farmers off their properties due at least partly if not mostly because they cannot earn enough money growing crops on this now worthless land anymore since they’re too far away from markets where consumers would buy those items off shelves inside stores near cities instead now needing 

Key Takeaways   

Environmental pollution is a very broad topic, and it is not easy to cover all the aspects in this article. However, we have tried to include all the most relevant types of pollution and their harmful effects. We hope you found it useful! In your opinion, what contributes to environmental pollution? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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