Pollution can profoundly affect air, water and soil hence resulting in global warming, infertile lands and environmental degradation. In addition, environmental pollution may cause several health complications, such as respiratory diseases, heart problems and cancer.
Human Health Air pollution results in decreased air quality due to the introduction of harmful particles in the atmosphere. Long-term exposure to such polluted air may cause chest pains, throat inflammation, cardiovascular diseases and respiratory problems.
The exposure of human beings to contaminated water may result in skin irritation and rashes. In addition, polluted water may contain harmful chemicals, such as mercury and lead, which have profound long-term effects on human health.
Furthermore, noise pollution has severe health effects on both human beings and animals. Long-term exposure to high noise levels may cause hearing loss, stress or even disturbance of sleep.
Global Warming The atmosphere contains a delicate balance of gasses responsible for trapping heat energy which stabilizes the Earth‰Ûªs temperatures. However, the release of greenhouse gasses from industries, motor vehicles and farming results in the accumulation of such gasses in the atmosphere. These gasses trap more heat energy, which leads to a global increase in temperatures.
An increase in global temperatures has several negative effects, such as melting of polar ice caps, a rise in sea levels and disruption of weather patterns. Such changes lead to climate change and affect the normal livelihoods of human beings.
Depletion of Ozone Layer The ozone layer is a section in the uppermost atmosphere that contains ozone gas. This layer protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. The release of ozone-depleting chemicals, such as halons and chlorofluorocarbons, thins out the ozone layer hence exposing human beings to harmful UV rays. Exposure to UV rays may cause skin cancer and other related diseases on human beings.
Environmental Degradation Air pollution leads to the introduction of toxic gasses, such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, to the atmosphere. These gasses results in the formation of acid rain. Acid rain has devastating effects on plants, animals and marine wildlife. In addition, air pollution may lead to the formation of smog. Smog reduces penetration of sunlight to the ground surface hence limiting plant photosynthesis.
Moreover, water pollution through oil spills and improper disposal of industrial wastes may lead to loss of marine wildlife. This has serious consequences on the natural balance of the marine ecosystem.
Infertile Lands Improper waste disposal may render land unsuitable for agricultural use. The deposition of chemical wastes in landfills and open dumpsites results in soil infertility. In addition, constant use of farm pesticides and herbicides not only affect the soil structure but also leads to loss of soil fertility. Plants grown on polluted soils are unsuitable for human consumption since toxins in the soil may find their way up the food chain hence may cause harm to human beings.
Radioactive wastes from nuclear power plants may render a given area unfit for habitation and farming. These radioactive wastes are hazardous to both plant and animal life hence lands with such wastes cannot be economically utilized.