The main object of the study of Environmental science is to ascertain various cases for environmental pollution and to suggest necessary solutions to control the same

“The main object of the study of Environmental science is to ascertain various cases for environmental pollution and to suggest necessary solutions to control the same”. Analyze.


One of the major threats that our environment is facing today is environmental pollution, increasing with every passing year and causing grave and irreparable damage to the atmosphere. The mechanization of society, the urbanization, introduction of motorized vehicles, and the explosion of the human population have caused an exponential growth in the increase of waste by-products. The indiscriminate discharge of untreated industrial and domestic wastes into waterways, the “throwaway” attitude towards thousands of tons of solid wastes and other particulates into the atmosphere have resulted in major environmental disasters. Environmental science is a multi-disciplinary science that teaches us to protect and sustain our natural resources of land, water, air and vegetation its main objective is to analyze environmental pollution and find necessary solutions for it.

Environmental Science

Environmental science is the study of the environment and the interconnecting systems it contains, as well as the way people interact with their natural surroundings and use natural resources[1].It can be referred as the science of the interactions between the physical, chemical, and biological components of the environment; with a focus on pollution and degradation of the environment related to human activities; and the impact on biodiversity and sustainability from local and global development. Environmental science encompasses issues such as climate change, conservation, biodiversity, groundwater and soil contamination, use of natural resources, waste management, sustainable development, air pollution and noise pollution. Due to the inherent interdisciplinary nature of environmental science, teams of professionals commonly work together to conduct environmental research or to produce Environmental Impact Statements, as required by the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or under state laws.

Environmental Pollution

Environmental pollution is the release of environmental contaminants, generally resulting from human activity[2] by discharging material or energy into water, land, or air that causes or may cause acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) detriment to the Earth’s ecological balance or that lowers the quality of life in the environment. In one word, environmental pollution takes place when the environment cannot process and neutralize harmful by-products of human activities (for example, poisonous gas emissions) in due course without any structural or functional damage to its system. One of the greatest problems that the world is facing today is that of environmental pollution, increasing with every passing year and causing grave and irreparable damage to the earth. Environmental pollution mainly consists of three basic types of pollution, namely, air, water and soil.

Major types of environmental pollution and their effects

· Air Pollution: Air pollution is by far the most harmful form of pollution in our environment. It is the introduction into the atmosphere of chemicals, particulates, and biological matter that cause harm to humans, other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment. The sources of such chemicals are the large factories, smoke from the vehicles, chimneys and burning of wood. The increase in the rate of diseases such as asthma and lung cancer today is due to the increase in the air pollution around us. Air pollution is also a cause of global warming and acid rain. Even a small decrease in air pollution can lead to significant increases in life expectancy, according to a study conducted by researchers from Harvard University. A long-term exposure to air pollution can literally change your brain. And as you might expect, these physical changes in the brain are not beneficial. They are associated with learning and memory problems and even depression.

· Water Pollution: Water covers over 70% of the Earth’s surface and is a very important resource for people and the environment. Water pollution affects drinking water, rivers, lakes and oceans all over the world. This consequently harms human health and the natural environment. Water used from a polluted lake directly contaminates its user. Many of the water creatures are on the verge of extinction due to the dramatic increase in the water pollution.. The main sources of water pollution are agriculture. Industries, sanitary wastes , Chemical fertilizers and pesticides, disposal of waste. The effects can also be quite dangerous which include poisonous drinking water, poisonous food animals, unbalanced river and lake ecosystems that can no longer support full biological diversity, deforestation from acid rain, and many other effects.

· Soil Pollution: Soil is an important resource as it is the basis for the growth of plants which are the producers. Without good soil, there cannot be a good crop of food or a thick vegetation cover. Soil pollution is defined or can be described as the contamination of soil of a particular region. Soil pollution mainly is a result of penetration of harmful pesticides and insecticides, which on one hand serve whatever their main purpose is, but on the other hand bring about deterioration in the soil quality, thus making it contaminated and unfit for use later. Soil pollution is defined as the build-up in soils of persistent toxic compounds, chemicals, salts,

Radioactive materials or disease are causing agents, which have adverse effects on plant growth and animal health. Soil pollution is mainly caused by the release of industrial waste. The other major causes are acid rain, disposal waste, radioactive substance, garbage, leakages. Soil pollution may affect all of us as well as plants and animals. However, children are usually more susceptible. This is because kids are more sensitive to various pollutants and they may come in close contact with soil by regularly playing in the ground for example.[3] It can affect our health by causing organ damage, skin problem, cancer, birth defect in addition to this it can also cause economic damage and also can reduce soil fertility and crop yield

Some major sources responsible for pollution

Fossil Fuel:

In modern industrialized societies, we use fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) for our obvious everyday needs (such as filling a car), as well as in the power-generating industry, they (specifically oil) are also present in such products as all sorts of plastics, solvents, detergents, asphalt, lubricating oils, a wide range of chemicals for industrial use, etc. Combustion of fossil fuels produces extremely high levels of air pollution and is widely recognized as one of the most important “target” areas for reduction and control of environmental pollution. Fossil fuels also contribute to soil contaminationand water pollution. For example, when oil is transported from the point of its production to further destinations by pipelines, an oil leak from the pipeline may occur and pollute soil and subsequently groundwater. When oil is transported by tankers by ocean, an oil spill may occur and pollute ocean water. Of course, there are other natural resources whose exploitation is a cause of serious pollution; for example, the use of uranium for nuclear power generation produces extremely dangerous waste that would take thousands of years to neutralize. But there is no reasonable doubt that fossil fuels are among the most serious sources of environmental pollution. Power-generating plants and transport are probably the biggest sources of fossil fuel pollution.

Common sources of fossil fuel pollution are:


· Power-generating plants

· Petroleum refineries

· Petrochemical plants

· Production and distribution of fossil fuels

Other manufacturing facilities :


· Road transport (motor vehicles)

· Shipping industry

· Aircraft

Fossil fuel combustion is also a major source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and perhaps the most important cause of global warming.

Human Activity

The ultimate cause of pollution is human activity itself. Pollution is a human contribution to nature. Science has evolved technologies and technologies have helped the human welfare. In the process, the pollution has been a part of technology and therefore a part of human miseries.

Human activities mainly include:

· Industries for various human needs – directly and indirectly

· Agriculture for food production and industrial needs

· Health care for health of human beings and animals

· Transport for mobility of human beings

· Dwelling for settlement in city or villages

· Energy for various direct human needs and industrial needs.

All of them contribute to pollution in one way or other and therefore cause miseries. and have brought the maladies of pollution in the society.

Other (Non-Fossil Fuel) Sources of Environmental Pollution

Among other pollution sources, agriculture (livestock farming) is worth mentioning as the largest generator of ammonia emissions resulting in air pollution. Chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers are also widely used in agriculture, which may lead waterpollution and soil contaminationas well.

Trading activities may be another source of environmental pollution.

For example, it’s been recently noted that packaging of products sold in supermarkets and other retail outlets is far too excessive and generates large quantities of solid waste that ends up either in landfills or municipal incinerators leading to soil contaminationand air pollution.

Controlling pollution :

Pollution control is a term used in environmental management. It means the control of emissions and effluents into air, water or soil. Without pollution control, the waste products from consumption, heating, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, transportation and other human activities, whether they accumulate or disperse, will degrade the environment. In the hierarchy of controls, pollution prevention and waste minimization are more desirable than pollution control. [4]

Controlling Major environmental pollution

· Air Pollution: Nowadays, one of the colossal misfortunes is definitely air pollution. The best way to protect air quality is to reduce pollutant emissions by changing to fuels and processes that are less polluting. Air pollution may be prevented only if individuals and businesses stop using toxic substances that cause air pollution in the first place. This would require the cessation of all fossil fuel-burning processes, from industrial manufacturing to home use of air conditioners.

Smoke of the vehicles also plays an important role in spreading the air pollution and is very harmful for the human life. So, to avoid or prevent the air pollution we should select those vehicles that reduce such type of pollution by emitting no or less smoke or we should convert our fuel consumption from petrol or diesel to such alternatives that help to reduce air pollution.[5] Activated carbon is one of the most popular forms of air pollution control. This type of control involves the use of a pollution filter, carbon, to reduce the amount of pollutants that are allowed to escape into the air. When in use, these filters absorb pollutants helping to cleanse the air of any possible toxins.. Another contributor to pollution levels is carbon dioxide, and scientists say it is important to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants, automobiles and other human endeavors that involve the burning of such fuels as diesel, natural gas and gasoline to protect the environment and human health. Air pollution control can be accomplished on a number of different levels. People can do their part as individuals by curtailing how much they drive their cars or how often they fly in planes, and increasing the amount of material they recycle. The Clean Air Act is the main force behind the control of air pollution in the United States. The 1970 Clean Air Act launched an ambitious set of federal programs to establish air quality goals and to impose pollution control technology requirements on new and existing stationary sources and on motor vehicles.

In order to reduce pollution from mobile sources, the CAA requires refiners to market cleaner fuels; manufacturers to produce cars, trucks, and buses meeting increasingly stringent tailpipe emission standards; establish vehicle inspection and maintenance programs; and EPA to develop regulations for off-road vehicles and equipment. Government should replace the existing outdated air quality objectives without delay and adopt the highest updated international standards because new technology is the key to the success of emission controls Proper awareness programs should be made about the consequences and effect of air pollution. Some strict government steps should be taken such as when a vehicle fails in pollution test it should not be allowed to refuel and should use alternative LPG vehicles more.

· Water Pollution: Water pollution control refers to the general practice of monitoring, observing and regulating the injection of hazardous waste or other undesirable elements into public water. Water pollution prevention initiatives can occur relative to a body of water or a groundwater area. Governments on federal, state, and local levels make decisions about water pollution monitoring and other environmental pollution issues. As amended in 1972, the law became commonly known as the Clean Water Act (CWA). The 1972 act is mostly known because it introduced the National Pollutant Discharge System (NPDES), a permit-based system that regulates who disposes wastes and where. The NPDES establish this system on point sources, single and identifiable points where the water is polluted. Since then industrial facilities, municipal governments, feedlots and agricultural facilities are consider point sources for water pollution, and they can’t dispose wastes without a permit issue by the state But other than this the government also should spend money on pollution control schemes, divert its resources to encourage wastewater treatment in agriculture and industrial sector. The money spent on pollution control should be spent on giving subsidies to the industries which generate wastewater and on strict monitoring of their adherence to the norms. Research should be promoted in areas like nanotechnology to find out ways and means to build cheaper wastewater management plants. Here also, the approach should be to re-use the treated water for agriculture instead of letting it go into the rivers and streams.[6]

· Soil Pollution: Soil Pollution can be decreased through Recycling and recovery of materials this is a reasonable solution for reducing soil pollution. Materials such as paper, some kinds of plastics and glass can and are being recycled. This decreases the volume of refuse and helps in the conservation of natural resources. Also to prevent soil pollution, deforestation measures have to be undertaken at rapid pace. Soil erosion is caused, when there are no trees to prevent the top layer of the soil from being transported by different agents of nature like water and air.[7] Reducing chemical fertilizer and pesticide use and applying bio-fertilizers and manures can reduce chemical fertilizer and pesticide use. Biological methods of pest control can also reduce the use of pesticides and thereby minimize soil pollution. As soil pollution has become a greater concern, both state and federal government have become involved in designing programs to limit the introduction of pollutants into the soil, as well as introducing legislation to help reduce overall soil pollution. For example, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has established “superfund” sites to identify and clean up areas of hazardous waste sites to reduce the pollution problems associated with these sites. Legislation such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 have helped legally enforce the prevention of soil pollution through taxing industries largely responsible for soil pollution problems, and authorizing government response actions to prevent and clean up large-scale soil contaminations


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[1] Smith, S. (n.d.)

[2] (Reference)


[3] (What is soil pollution)

[4] (Spiegel & Maystre)

[5] (Types Of Air Pollution And Water Pollution, 2012)

[6] (Srivastava, 2011) available from

[7] (Satalkar, 2011) available from