Environmental pollution comes in many forms. From excess pesticides washing into our water supply to carbon dioxide emissions impacting our atmosphere, the causes of environmental problems can vary drastically. The remedies of pollution also vary based on the type of pollution as well. Air pollution and water pollution are some of the most pressing forms of environmental pollution.
Primary Sources of Air Pollution
Researchers have identified four primary sources or causes of environmental problems when it comes to air pollution. Several natural sources of air pollution exist, such as fumes emitted by volcanoes or smoke from natural wildfires. However, manmade sources provide the vast majority of air pollutants.
Area source pollutants come from agricultural processes and from cities, as well as wood-burning fireplaces in homes. Stationary source pollutants come from factories, power plants and other industrial pursuits. Finally, mobile source air pollution comes from objects that move, such as cars, buses, planes, trains and trucks.
How Governments Are Addressing Air Pollution
Because so many different sources of air pollution exist, governing bodies must enact different regulations to help develop remedies for environmental pollution. The Clean Air Act is a good example of this. For best results, multiple countries must come together to address these issues, such as through the World Health Organization.
Some of the different ways governments can reduce air pollution include:
- Developing better technology that reduces emissions from smokestacks in industrial production.
- Providing more affordable options for energy-efficient consumer appliances such as refrigerators.
- Providing incentives for switching to renewable sources of energy such as solar power or electric vehicles.
- Utilizing lower-emission fuels to generate power for cities and towns.
- Improving waste management and encouraging recycling.
How You Can Help Reduce Air Pollution
While most of the major changes needed for these remedies of pollution must come from governing bodies, individuals can also make informed decisions to help reduce air pollution. In addition to your parents electing officials who help further reduce pollution, you and your family can also make smaller-scale changes to do your part, such as:
- Carpooling to work or school, or switching to electric vehicles with fewer emissions.
- Recycling and/or reusing to reduce emissions from landfills and incineration of waste.
- Reducing your power usage by turning off lights and adjusting your thermostat while you're away.
- Upgrading your appliances to energy-efficient models when it comes time to replace them.
Primary Sources of Water Pollution
Water pollution is another of the leading causes of environmental problems. Many different forms of water pollution exist and impact ecosystems and marine life in different ways. Five primary sources of water pollution exist:
- Industrial waste from the manufacturing of products
- Sewage or wastewater from households and businesses
- Solid waste in the form of garbage or litter
- Oil spills from industrial sources or ships
- Chemicals in the form of pesticides and fertilizers
How Governments Are Addressing Water Pollution
Governing bodies across the world address water pollution in different ways. For example, one of the regulations in the United States, the Clean Water Act, regulates water quality standards and controls the release of pollutants into water bodies. Some of the ways that society can reduce water pollution include:
- Improving waste management treatment facilities and technology used in the processing of wastewater.
- Enacting protections for important bodies of water and habitats.
- Reusing power plant coolant water rather than releasing it back into the ecosystem.
- Introducing and improving regulations on commercial waste disposal.
How You Can Help Reduce Water Pollution
Just like with air pollution, you and your family can also make enlightened changes to your lifestyle to help reduce water pollution. A few of the different ways you can reduce water pollution include:
- Reducing waste, utilizing reusable items and recycling to reduce garbage that can make its way to waterways.
- Participate in beach or park cleanups to reduce waste that could end up polluting waterways.
- Fertilize your yard and apply pesticides according to directions and not prior to rain.
- Dispose of household chemicals properly, do not pour them down the drain.
- National Park Service: Where Does Air Pollution Come From?
- World Health Organization: Ambient (Outdoor) Air Pollution
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: Reducing Emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants
- Ecology Center: Five Different Sources of Water Pollution and How to Stop Them
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: Summary of the Clean Water Acct
About the Author
Marina Somma is a freelance writer and animal trainer. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology & Policy from Monmouth University. Marina has worked with a number of publications involving animal science, behavior and training, including animals.net, SmallDogsAcademy and more.