Pollution of Air and Water

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Introduction: What is Air Pollution and Water Pollution?

Air Pollution

Air pollution is caused by releasing various gases into the atmosphere, finely divided solids, or finely dispersed liquid aerosols at rates that exceed the environment's natural capacity to dissipate and dilute or consume them. These compounds can achieve concentrations in the air that cause unwanted effects on health and economy.

Water Pollution

Water pollution is caused by leaking different substances into subterranean groundwater or into lakes, streams, rivers, estuaries and oceans to the point where the substances interfere with the beneficial use of water or with the natural functioning of ecosystems. Apart from releasing substances such as chemicals or micro - organisms, water pollution may also include releasing energy into water bodies in the form of radioactivity or heat.

Causes of Air Pollution and Water Pollution

Causes of Air pollution

Combustion from Industry

Manufacturing processes can produce virtually all the common air pollutants. Some of these are created by combustion of fossil fuels driving the manufacturing process, resulting in oxides of particulate matter, ozone and nitrogen.

Transportation Emissions

Popular forms of transport such as cars, planes, and ships typically use combustion to extract fossil - fuel electricity. The combustion process releases pollutants, such as particles and carbon monoxide, into the air and also releases rapidly forming substances into nitrogen oxides and ozone, which are important air pollutants.

Agriculture Side-Effects

Farmers use fossil - fuel-driven machines to plow fields and harvest crops, and animals raised in bulk for food often create their own kind of air pollution. Methane is a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect causing global warming; it originates from intestinal gas released by livestock.

Volcano Eruptions

Natural processes emit plenty of polluting substances into the air. Sulfur dioxide is a major modern air pollutant and volcanoes can release enough sulfur dioxide into the air to affect global cooling, according to National Geographic.

Forest Fires

Forest fires release pollutants into the air in the same way as pollution produced by fireplaces that burn wood. They produce fine particles of smoke which are small enough to get into the lungs and damage the lungs and heart, according to the EPA.

Tobacco Smoke

Homes in the developing world may have visible smoke coming from the fire used to heat and cook the house. Tobacco smoke is commonly the only noticeable type of air pollution within the home in the developed world. Both sources of indoor smoking are linked with respiratory diseases.

Metal Smelting

Different industries produce specific profiles of air pollutants, and the major source of metal pollution such as lead is metal smelting, while niche applications of lead, such as in the manufacturing of certain aviation fuels, often contribute.

Aerosols and CFCs

Refrigerants are the most common emitter of CFCs, especially those used after the 1930's. When not properly disposed of the coolant used in old refrigerators, cars, air conditioners, and other machines, it leaks CFCs into the atmosphere as liquids evaporate or work their way into the soil.

Causes of Water Pollution

Industrial Waste

Industries produce enormous quantities of waste containing toxic chemicals and pollutants, which causes air pollution and harm to our atmosphere.

Many industries, lacking a proper waste management system, drain the waste into the freshwater that enters canals, rivers, and later into the sea.

Toxic chemicals can change water color, increase the number of minerals, call eutrophication, change water temperature, and pose a serious hazard to water organisms.

Sewage and Wastewater

The sewage and wastewater produced in each household is chemically treated and released into the sea along with fresh water. The sewage water contains toxins, a typical water pollutant, other harmful 

Marine Dumping

The garbage produced by households in the form of paper, plastic, food, aluminum, rubber, glass, is collected and dumped into the sea in some countries. These items take 2 weeks to 200 years to decompose.

When such things enter the sea, they not only cause water pollution but also harm animals in the sea.

Accidental Oil Leakage

Oil spill poses an enormous threat to marine life as large quantities of oil spill into the sea and do not dissolve in water. It causes local marine wildlife issues involving fish , birds and sea otters.

If an accident occurs a ship carrying a large amount of oil can spill oil. Such an oil spill can cause differing harm to ocean species, depending on the amount of oil spill, pollutant toxicity and the depth of the ocean.

The Burning of Fossil Fuels

When burnt, fossil fuels such as coal and oil produce considerable amounts of ash in the atmosphere. Particulate matter which contains toxic chemicals when combined with water vapor causes acid rain. Carbon dioxide is also released from fossil fuel burning which results in global warming.

Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides

The farmers use artificial fertilizers and pesticides to protect crops from insects and bacteria. They are important for the growth of a plant. But they create harmful pollutants for plants and animals when these contaminants are mixed with water.

Also, the chemicals mix up with rainwater when it rains and flow down into rivers and canals and cause serious damage to aquatic animals.

Leakage from Sewer Lines

A small leak from the sewer lines will contaminate the groundwater and make drinking unsafe for the people. The leaking water can also spill onto the soil when not cleaned on time and can become a breeding ground for insects and mosquitoes.

Global Warming

As a result of the greenhouse effect, an increase in world temperature results in global warming. It increases the water temperature which leads to the death of aquatic animals and marine species resulting in water contamination later on.

Radioactive Waste

The production of nuclear energy is through nuclear fission or fusion. Uranium, which is a highly toxic chemical, is the element used in the production of nuclear energy.

Acid Rain

Acid rain is in fact water pollution from air pollution. As air pollution combines the acidic pollutants released into the atmosphere with water vapor, it results in acid rain.


The increased nutrient levels in bodies of water are known as eutrophication. It results in algae blooming in the atmosphere. It also depletes the amount of oxygen in the water that impacts fish and other aquatic animal populations adversely.

Effects of Air and Water pollution

Effects of Air Pollution

Global Warming

Global warming is potentially one of the most troubling consequences for scientists and environmentalists alike. Global warming is a direct result of the greenhouse effect, produced by high CO2 and methane emissions into the atmosphere. Most of these emissions are produced by manufacturing, so that companies and factories can address this with social responsibility and action.

Climate Change

Climate change is yet another result of global warming. When the planet's temperature rises, the usual climatic cycles are disturbed, accelerating the changes of these cycles in an evident way.

Acid Rain

Gasses emitted from industry, power stations, boilers, cooking, and transportation are highly toxic. Such gases contain sulfur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) released by burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere. When these compounds collect in the atmosphere and react with water, they form dilute nitric and sulphuric acid solutions, and when those amounts are air, both the environment and the surfaces suffer.

Smog Effect

The smog effect or beret effect happens when a sort of dark fog is spread over the towns and fields. The fog is a pollutant load and can be of two types: sulfurous smog that photochemical smog, both toxic and harmful to health. Both sources of smog are the product of industrial and urban practice.

Deterioration of Fields 

Acid rain, climate change and smog cause damage to the surface of the Earth. Contaminated water and gasses flow into the earth, altering soil composition. That affects agriculture directly, the evolving crop cycles and the composition of the food we all consume.

Extinction of Animal Species

As the poles ' ice masses melt and sea levels increase, other animal species which rely on oceans and rivers to survive are endangered. Currents change, ocean temperatures rise and migratory patterns change, and in areas unfamiliar to them, many species are forced to look for food. Deforestation and low soil quality also mean the forests and biodiversity are vanishing. And, probably, a difference in many wild species behaviour.

Respiratory Health Problems

It is perhaps one of the most visible and troubling human effects. Pollutants can cause respiratory diseases and allergies ranging from asthma , cancer or emphysema to coughs.

Inhalation of toxic agents affects the respiratory system specifically in the lungs and other tissues.

Deterioration in Building Materials

Air pollutants often deteriorate and change the constitution of building materials, thereby degrading, eroding or damaging many buildings and infrastructure at an increased rate over time.

Effects of Water Pollution

Effects on Human Beings

One of the major effects of this is sickness. World Health Organization states that around 120,000 deaths related to cholera occur annually. In fact, for example, the Fukushima disaster increased the prevalence of thyroid cancer in untreated children by 70 per cent.

Death of Aquatic Life

Polluted water most affects animals and plants which depend on water for life. Statistics on the consequences of the Deep Horizon spill from the Center for Biological Diversity provide a valuable insight into the impact of pollution on aquatic life. The 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill injured more than 82,000 birds, 25,900 marine animals, 6165 sea turtles and an unknown number of fish and invertebrates in the study.

Food Chain Disruption

Pollution interferes with the food chain by transferring the toxins from one level in the chain to another. Pollution can in some cases wash out a whole part of the food chain. These affect the other species either by causing excessive growth, if the predator dies or dies (if the prey is wiped out)

Destruction of Ecosystems

The addition of certain microorganisms or their disappearance distorts the environment. For example, nutrient pollution leads to an increase in algae which depletes oxygen water and leads to the death of fish and other aquatic life.

Economic Effects

The management and restoration of polluted bodies of water is costly. For example, under 2019 Japan announced that storing the contaminated water after the Fukushima accident is running out of space. This currently contains more than one million tons of contaminated water stored in tanks. Research shows that cleanup of the disaster 's effects would cost at least $660 billion. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is the main Cause of Air and Water Pollution?

Ans. The major causes of air pollution are coal and carbon combustion, manufacturing and chemical production, mining operations, indoor pollution, high-rate renewable gas emissions, etc. A lot of other causes lead to air and water pollution.

Q2. Explain how Air Pollution and Water Pollution affect the Environment?

Ans. Also, air pollution can have a direct impact on water pollution. If pollutants such as sulfur dioxide fall up into the air, they can combine to produce acid rain. Acid rain can turn waterways poisonous and can kill fish and other animals. Water pollution can have major environmental impacts.

Q3. Is Air Pollution or Water Pollution worse?

Ans. Air pollution' will become a greater global killer than dirty water ' Urban air pollution is set to become the largest environmental cause of premature death in the coming decades.