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Types of Pollution

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Types of Pollution The 2 main types of pollution on discussion here are namely land pollution and air pollution Land Pollution Pollution occurs when people dispose of their waste on the land. The disposal of non-biodegradable and toxic waste in landfills may result in numerous problems. Firstly, when it rains, rain water may seep through the soil and waste, dissolving and carrying away with it, harmful substances that pollute the soil, groundwater and any nearby streams. Moreover, when the waste in the landfill decomposes under heat and pressure of the soil above, they would release poisonous fumes such as methane. Many buildings in America and Europe are sited on such land. Hence, an excavation of the ground may result inn the release of these fumes into the atmosphere, killing people, animals and plants nearby. Moreover, the land above the landfill is filled with pockets of gas and this makes the land very unstable. Subsidence may occur at any time and this makes the land dangerous to live on. examples of such land include: * Love Canal, New York, USA * Portsmouth, England Moreover, with a growing population on Earth, land is becoming scarcer and there may not be enough land to be used as landfills in the future. Air Pollution Introduction: Of all types of pollution, air pollution is one of the most insidious and one of the most difficult to do anything about.


Controlled experiments show that ozone can have dire effects on trees. High concentrations of low-level ozone are found in photochemical smog. Photochemical Smog Photochemical smog is caused when certain oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbons such as ethane, ethyne and propane come together in strong sunlight. In a series of photochemical reactions, the poisonous gas ozone is formed. The poisonous pollutants found in photochemical smog are known as photochemical oxidants and may include peroxylacetyl nitrate and aldehydes. Motor vehicles are a major cause of this type of smog.Sunlight causes the nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons to combine and turn oxygen into chemical agent that attacks rubber, injures plants, and irritates lungs. The hydrocarbons are ozone, a oxidized into materials that condense and form a visible, pungent haze. Acid Rain Acid pollution continues to pose threat to lakes and forests throughout the world, despite attempts by many countries to introduce cleaner technologies. Acid pollution may come in the form of acid mist, fog and snow. However, the most widespread of acid pollution is acid rain. Acid rain is a secondary pollutant formed when acidic primary pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide dissolve in the water vapour in the air and then fall as rain. Many of these polluting gases come from coal-fired power stations which burn large amounts of sulphur-containing coal and motor vehicles. Acid rain causes great damage to both the human and physical landscape.


The ozone layer absorbs 99% of the ultraviolet part of the solar rays, preventing them from reaching the Earth. These rays are damaging to all life and have been linked with skin cancer. The most damaging of all these rays are ultraviolet B rays. The discovery of the depletion of the ozone layer was in 1974 when 2 American scientists found that CFCs can destroy ozone. Due to the stable nature of CFCs, they can remain in the atmosphere for many years. Eventually, they work their way up into the stratosphere and are decomposed by rays of ultraviolet light, thus releasing chlorine anions which destroy ozone through a catalytic reaction. 1 CFC molecule can destroy 10 000 molecules of ozone. In the Antarctic, the problem is particularly bad in winter, when spiralling air movements combine with very low temperatures to accelerate ozone depletion. The ozone hole appears when the concentration of chlorine reach 1.5 to 2.00 parts per billion. The depletion of the ozone layer lets in more ultraviolet(UV) rays which can have an adverse effect on human, plant and animal life. It has been shown that a decrease of only 1% of tropospheric ozone could lead to a 3% rise in the number of skin cancers. Apart from cancer, UV light can also cause cataracts, snow-blindness, sunburn and ageing of the skin. It also lowers the resistance of the skin, making it susceptible to tumour growth.

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