Q:

How is pollution caused?

A:

Quick Answer

Pollution is mainly a byproduct of human activity. Industrial manufacturing, the use of automobiles, power production, mining and war are all significant sources of environmental pollution.

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Pollution can be roughly divided into several groups. Air pollution is caused by the release of particulate matter and chemicals into the air, usually by way of gases. Soil pollution is caused by the dumping or accidental spill of chemicals or toxic materials into landfills and waterways. Water pollution is caused by sewage discharge and industrial waste water discharge as well as chemical dumping and spills. Radioactive contamination is a byproduct of the creation and use of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

A leading source of air pollution is carbon dioxide emissions from the use of motor vehicles. Other major contributors are the byproducts of industrial processes like mining, manufacturing, construction and certain aspects of agriculture. Power production by way of burning coal is also a significant contributor to air pollution. Soil pollution comes from a wide variety of human sources such as the spraying of pesticides and herbicides, dumping of heavy metals and hospital wastes, and fuel spills. Chemicals and toxins can also leach into the soil through landfills. Many of these same sources also cause pollution of ocean waters.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What does pollution do to the environment?

    A:

    Pollution can damage trees, plants, crops, lakes and other waterways, oceans, coral reefs, animals and people. This applies to air pollution, pollution through toxic chemicals, litter in the ocean, pollution from pesticides and fertilizers, noise pollution and light pollution.

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  • Q:

    What causes pollution?

    A:

    Pollution has many causes, including excessive fuel burning, industrial wastes, pesticides, oil spills and unwanted chemicals being absorbed into the soil. The primary kinds of pollution are air, water and soil pollution, but certain areas can suffer from radioactive pollution, heat pollution, noise pollution and light pollution.

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    How does pollution affect animals?

    A:

    Pollution affects animals by destroying their habitats, poisoning them, forcing them to migrate and causing disease or vulnerability. Pollution can be in the air, water or on land.

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  • Q:

    What is nuclear waste?

    A:

    Nuclear waste is the radioactive byproduct of a nuclear fuel reaction. Nuclear waste is categorized in three ways: high-level waste, mid-level waste and low-level waste. Each level corresponds to the radioactivity absorbed by an object in and around a nuclear reactor.

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