Many of us talk about environmental pollution, and many of us have the same idea about what environmental pollution entails: orange sludge collecting in rivers, clouds of yellow smog wafting over valleys, trash littering a formerly green field. But these evocative images just aren’t sufficient if we really want to take on the task of ending or curbing environmental pollution in our local regions, and in the world at large. In order to fight environmental pollution, we need to know the major types of environmental pollution, how to recognize them, what problems they present, and what we can do against them.
Major Types Of Environmental Pollution #1: Air Pollution
Air pollution is any major source of irritating smoke, chemical residue, or other vapor released into the air that makes it a significant health risk to human life, or simply unpleasant to experience. Common sources of air pollution include smokestacks, jet engines, or other fossil fuel-burning technologies. Air pollution can even be much simpler: for example, some four million people die every year from air pollution caused by improperly ventilated cookfires in sub-Saharan Africa.
Major Types Of Environmental Pollution #2: Water Pollution
Water pollution is any type of contaminant released into the water supply. The classic image of this is the pipe outside a victory dumping waste into a river or lake, but water pollution can also happen through illegal trash dumping near a water source, or simply by pesticides seeping through the soil and into the groundwater, where they gradually pass into the rivers and the sea.
Major Types Of Environmental Pollution #3: Soil Contamination
Speaking of pesticides: soil contamination is any type of waste or poison that slowly leaches into the soil, rendering it unable to support life or growth. Many agricultural chemicals are linked to this type of environmental pollution, especially pesticides, veterinary medicines, and non-organic fertilizers.
Major Types Of Environmental Pollution #4: Noise And Visual Pollution
These types of environmental pollution are often not taken as seriously as others, after all, loud noises and aesthetically offensive advertising and industrial development won’t slowly poison your body or cause species of animals to go extinct on a massive scale. However, these aesthetic types of environmental pollution do significantly reduce people’s quality of life over time. If you don’t feel like going out to work or walking in your neighborhood because you’re surrounded by TV ads, billboards, and angry music played from a thousand radios, your quality of life goes down and your ability to thrive within your environment goes down with it.
There are of course other types of environmental pollution, as many types as there are industrial projects with unsustainable methodologies. Once you can spot them, it’s time to begin the more difficult task, ending them, cleaning them up.