Releasing substances to the environment that can cause harm is pollution. Various types of pollution include land pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, air pollution, and radioactive pollution. Pollution is normally associated with devastating effects on human life, such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, and cancer. However, it can also have good effects, such as reducing climate change and helping plants flourish. Pollution is a great contributor to global warming.
Pros of pollution
1. Helps plants flourish: Release nitrogen into the environment may not be that bad. Plants depend on nitrogen to thrive, and more of it in the environment may make plants more plants to grow.
2. Cooling effects: Air pollutants can have a heat-shielding effect on the Earth’s surface. They can change the amount of solar energy reflected away from Earth. In particular, sea salt particles in the ocean help to reflect sunlight out into space, leading to a cooler climate. Aerosols also help in cloud formation. The tiny water droplets that evaporate need a medium in the atmosphere to condense upon, and aerosols form part of the baseline. Low clouds tend to reflect away most of the sunlight, causing a cooling effect on Earth.
3. Creates job opportunities: It is quite unfortunate that pollution can create job opportunities because when you think of pollution, what comes first to your mind is its bad effects. An example is an oil leak in the coastal region; people are hired to clean up. It is the same as garbage collection in cities. So without the existence of pollutants, some jobs wouldn’t be available.
4. Cheaper alternative: Some companies consider water pollution a less expensive way of releasing toxins. It is easier to clean than releasing it through the air or depositing it on land.
5. Manufacture of fewer plastics: With an increase in the number of plastics in the environment, there are policies to control them. Additionally, manufacturers are forced to look for alternatives to pack their products. If they pack in plastic, they have to pay high taxes. Plastics are on top of the list that causes land and water pollution. They also cause air pollution when burnt.
6. Increased nutrient concentration in water: Eutrophication can benefit some plants and aquatic species. It causes increased productivity in marine life, causing an increased food supply. Algae and other aquatic plants grow faster with increased nitrogen and phosphorus levels. However, the increase in algae can have harmful effects on the aquatic ecosystem.
7. Recycled products: Recycling plants have been on the rise due to the need for environmental clean. Increased pollutants in the environment have raised environmental concerns, and organizations have had to come up with creative ways to reduce them and make them also profitable. They found out that they could recycle some of the products such as aluminum, metal scrap, papers, batteries, glass, plastic water bottles, cables, textile, rubber, plastic materials, among many others.
8. Development of better materials: Pollution makes organizations improve on the technology to come up with biodegradable alternatives and less harmful to the environment.
9. Better and stronger species: Pollution normally has devastating effects on animals and plants. It causes displacement of animals due to the destruction of their habitats and as a result of climate change. More advanced species of animals and plants may arise from pollution. They include species that can withstand the harmful effects due to genetic mutations.
10. To see value in a better environment: Pollution opens our eyes to see the importance of having that once beautiful land, clear skies, clean water, and soothing sounds of mother nature rather than a polluted environment that is unattractive and can cause harm to animals and plants.
Cons of pollution
1. Respiratory and heart diseases: Air pollution, in particular, has devastating effects on human health. It contributes largely to chronic bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, heart attacks, stroke, and cancer. Cancer is now a leading cause of many deaths worldwide, and pollution has played a larger role in contributing to most cancer that affects humans and other animals.
2. Global warming: Temperature increase worldwide on the Earth’s surface, ocean, and the atmosphere is greatly contributed by greenhouse effects. The greenhouse effect is brought about by burning fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide, methane , nitrous oxide, and greenhouse gases. Global warming has resulted in extreme weather patterns, ice melts, reduction in glacial regions and icebergs, and loss of habitat for the penguins and polar bears.
3. Acid rain: Industries’ increased release of harmful gases such as nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxides contributes to acid rain formation. The harmful gases combine with rainwater in the atmosphere and fall back to Earth as acid rain. Acid rain is also known for corrosion of iron sheets and damage to surfaces of buildings and steel structures such as bridges. Acid rain has harmful effects on both animals and plants.
4. Damage to the ozone layer: The ozone layer plays a vital role in shielding humans from dangerous ultraviolet rays. The presence of chlorofluorocarbons and hydro chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere leads to the depletion of the ozone layer. The thinning of the ozone layer contributes to skin cancer and skin-related conditions. It also contributes to eye problems.
5. Eutrophication: Eutrophication is the progressive accumulation of minerals and nutrients in water bodies such as lakes, oceans, and seas due to pollution. It leads to the spontaneous growth of algae and plants in water, which affects aquatic or marine life. Increased algae release toxins into the water, harmful to marine life and humans. The algae and fish also compete for oxygen in water leading to a reduction in fish population and contributing to dead zones in the sea and ocean. Eutrophication is a result of dumping wastes in water bodies.
6. Poor crop yields: Land pollution has devastating effects on agricultural practices. Continuous release of wastes to the land affects the soil, contributing to poor agricultural produce. Damping wastes in the environment also contributes to land abandonment due to its unproductivity.
7. Climate change: Pollution contributes largely to climate change. Continuous deposit of wastes in the environment contributes to aridity and harsh climatic conditions.
8. Extinction of wildlife species: With an increase in global warming and climate change, several wildlife species are at a higher risk of becoming extinct. It is because of the destruction of their habitats or unfavorable habitats for them to thrive
9. Contaminated water sources: Land pollution contributes to groundwater pollution. Polluted groundwater isn’t safe for human and animal consumption. Surface runs off from farms and industries eventually pours into rivers, lakes, and oceans, contributing to water pollution. It becomes costly to process water for drinking and domestic use.
10. Infant mortality: Contaminated water sources contribute largely to diarrheal diseases that are a leading cause of increased infant mortality rate. Air pollution also contributes to increased child health problems such as asthma and pregnancy complications such as miscarriages and premature birth.