The word, 'pollution' means to make dirty. Pollution causes imbalance in the environment. Environmental pollution is a serious problem. Nearly 35 percent of India's total land area is subject to serious environmental pollution.
Industrialization has led to urbanization, which has added to the pollution problem. Air pollution is the most dangerous form of pollution. land and water pollution have worsened the situation. Pollution causes several types of harmful disease. We must control pollution for our survival.
The word pollution 'pollution', has been derived form a Latin word, 'pollutionem,' which means to make dirty. Pollution is the process of making the environment. i.e. the land, water and air dirty by adding harmful substances to it. Pollution causes imbalance in the environment. This imbalance has threatened the very survival of life. It is a threat to the whole world.
Environmental pollution is a serious problem of the industrialized societies. The industrial development and the Green Revolution have adversely affected the environment. People have converted the life supporting systems of the entire living world into their own resources and have vastly disturbed the natural ecological balance. Serious degradation and depletion have been caused thought overuse, misuse and mismanagement of resources to meet the human greed.
Environmental pollution is defined as the unfavorable alteration of our surroundings. It is by product of man's activities through direct or indirect efforts of changes. These changes could be in the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of land, air or water that harmfully affect human life or any desirable living thing. Human population explosion, rapid industrialization, deforestation, unplanned urbanization, scientific and technological advancement etc. are the major causes of environmental pollution. Nearly 35 percent of India's total land area is subjected to serious environmental pollution. Three fourths of the earth consists of water, yet there is is a scarcity of potable water. In India, all the sources of water like rivers, lakes, ponds and wells have been polluted and are unfit for drinking. As a result of the increased use of fertilizers, the rivers, seas and oceans have become contaminated with harmful pollutants. It is estimated that more than 500 tons of mercury enters the ocean every year. Oil slicks, pollution caused by the flow of industrial waste, sewage and fertilizer have also threatened the aquatic life.
Industrialization has led to urbanization. The migration of rural population to the cities in search of work has created an unhealthy environment. It ha led to overcrowding, establishment of slum areas. Towns and cities are full of smoke, fumes, dirt, dust, rubbish, gases, foul smell and noise. Air, water and land pollution have further worsened the very survival of human beings.
Air pollution is the most dangerous form of pollution. It results form gaseous emission from industry, thermal power stations, domestic combustion etc. Due to air pollution, the composition of air is changing all over the world. Most of the gases and air pollutants are produced by burning fuels. Burning of coal produces carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide etc. which are responsible for acid rain. Chlorofluorocarbons are widely used as propellants and as refrigerants which cause ozone depletion.
Water pollution adversely changes the quality of water. It disturbs the balance of the ecosystem and causes health hazards. Water becomes polluted by the presence or addition of inorganic, organic or biological substances. Noise is also one of the major pollutants. The general noise level in the cities is rising alarmingly. Nuclear explosions and nuclear tests also pollute the air. The Taj Mahal in Agra is affected by the fumes emitted by the Mathura refinery. Reports estimate that the monument would get defaced with a span of twenty years because of the harmful effluents of the mission from the refinery.
Soil pollution usually results from the disposal of solid and semi-solid wastes from agricultural practices and from unsanitary habits. The soil is heavily polluted day-by-day by hazardous materials and microorganisms, which enter the food chain or water and create numerous health problems.
The emission of greenhouse gases has led to climatic changes. The increase in pollution has resulted in global warming. Global warming is an average increase in the Earth's temperature due to greenhouse effect as a result of both natural and human activity. The term climate is often used interchangeably with the term global warming. The ice-caps in the polar regions have begun to melt fast. This has resulted in the rise of the water level of the seas and oceans. Grass sprouting in Antarctica and snowfall in the desert of the United Arab Emirates are all the warning signals of global warming. These are caused by the Greenhouse Effect. India is a tropical country. Destruction of forests has to led to climatic changes. It has also led to the extinction of many rare species of wildlife.
It is now considered by the overwhelming majority of scientists that global warming is the most important threat to humanity. It is becoming more apparent that humanity may be facing more drastic problems in the near future as a result of global warming which will be unavoidable unless great measures are taken very soon.
The Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM) and The Indian Public health Association had urged the Indian government and the civil society to take prompt action to prevent the effects of global warming on health.
According to the fourth assessment report of UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is important to study the impact of global warming at the grass root level and chalk out ways to tackle it.
Pollution causes different types diseases. Air pollution causes allergies, asthma, lung cancer and bronchitis. Radioactive pollutants cause respiratory problems, paralysis, cancer, and other diseases. Excessive noise pollution can lead to deafness, anxiety, stress, increase in the rate of heart beat and other health problems. The depletion of the ozone layer can also result in skin diseases.
In order to fight this menace of pollution, vigorous efforts should be made. The Anti-pollution law should be strictly practiced. In order to check water pollution, the sewage and the factory waste should be properly treated and cleaned before being discharged. Trees should be planted everywhere and vehicles should be made eco-friendly.
Public education and awareness of the relationship between climate change and human health is key to deal with problems more effectively. General awareness is must to save our planted from destruction. All the nations of the world should work unitedly to control environmental pollution.