A Comprehensive Guide to Chemical Pollution and Its Effects

The environment is threatened by all kinds of pollutants, one more dangerous than the other. However, we probably can agree on the fact that chemical pollutants are probably the most dangerous. To know how to combat it, you should first know what chemical pollution means and how it affects our environment.

What Is Chemical Pollution?

If we were to define chemical pollution, we can say it is present whenever we spot chemicals in an environment that does not occur naturally in that specific place. It also counts as pollution when the chemicals in question are natural to the environment but are more abundant than usual.

In most cases, humans are responsible for this type of pollution. Therefore, we are the only ones that can stop it. However, this means you should know where chemical pollution comes from and what its effects are on the environment.

Where Does Chemical Pollution Come From?

First of all, you need to know which the main chemical pollutants. This way, you will be able to find better strategies to combat it. The first on the list should be agriculture, as it makes use of many chemical pesticides and fertilizers that have a dangerous effect on the environment.

Another important source of chemical pollution is, of course, any form of transport. All vehicles emit carbon dioxide and other toxic gases that spread in the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect. However, don’t put all the blame on others, as you can cause chemical pollution as well.

Factories release dangerous chemicals into the environment, but you can do it too. Whenever you use chemical products in your garden or household, they easily end up in drains, and then in rivers and seas. Unfortunately, the problem is a lot more complex than that, but this is a good starting point if you want to take a step against chemical pollution.

Chemical pollution of a river with toxic discharge, chemical pollution

Examples of Chemical Pollutants

As mentioned above, the environment can suffer even when we use chemical pesticides in our garden and our house. In fact, pollution can occur whenever people are handling these substances, not only when they are in use. Therefore, an industry of any kind plays a big role here.

Oil is the main chemical pollutant since it can come from many sources. Apart from industry, transport is the other main source of oil pollution. Broken cars can leak, but oil needs to be transported as well. Therefore, if anything goes wrong, we can get a polluting event of massive proportions.

Effects of Chemical Pollution

The entire environment is a potential victim of chemical pollution. Some types are more toxic to the soil, while others for oceans and seas. One thing is clear, once you know all their effects, you can improve your strategy to fight against them.

Effects on the Soil

We often see metallic debris littering the soil, and it usually doesn’t lead to dramatic effects. However, there are certain chemical elements that can turn dangerous once pollution lasts for many years. These elements include manganese and fluoride.

These can affect the fertility of the soil and prevent those small organisms that keep plants going. Also, if you grow edible plants in polluted soil, you can get infected as well once you consume them. Whenever you use too much fertilizer or pesticides, you cause irreversible soil pollution that can take its turn on your health.

Effects on Water

Water can get contaminated in many ways. It can happen through drainage, if toxic chemicals get in rainwater or if you wash them off in your sink. Whenever you spray toxic chemicals on plants grown near water sources, the pollutants get there too. However, the biggest water pollutant is industrial activity.

Both surface and groundwater can get polluted, and the second case is a lot worse. It means it might affect drinking water resources and might cause serious incurable infections both in men and in animals. If surface water gets polluted, the creatures living in it might turn ill, and then transmit diseases to those that eat it. This can mean bigger animals, but also humans.

Effects on Air

Air chemical pollution usually comes from burning and chemical emissions. These fumes get into the atmosphere and can end up in our lungs. They can contribute to the thinning of the ozone layer, but can also cause extreme weather events like acid rain. Such phenomena can destroy plants and work as further sources of pollution.

Increasing Soil Erosion

This deserves a separate section since it’s probably one of the most common effects of chemical pollution. It is basically a result of soil pollution, but water and air can contribute as well. Erosion happens if vegetation gets destroyed and can no longer hold the land in one place.

All types of pollution can prevent plants from growing. If chemicals get in the soil, this will affect whatever is growing nearby. Also, these plants can get water from natural sources as well, so water pollution will definitely contribute to their well-being. In the end, adverse weather effects associated with air pollution are one more cause of plant death.

All these factors significantly reduce the surfaces covered in plants. Their roots played an important role, as they could support the soil and keep it in one place. Once they disappear, the soil starts falling apart and deteriorating through the process called erosion. Therefore, cutting down chemical pollution would prevent landslides and other similar phenomena.

Summing Up

Chemical pollution is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to the environment. Whenever we introduce unnatural chemicals in an ecosystem, they start attacking the life and resources in them. They do not only destroy the soil or infect water resources but can have serious effects on us.

If we breathe polluted air, we might catch dangerous respiratory diseases. Also, consuming animal meat that has previously been infected with chemicals can have disastrous effects on our health. Knowing the source and effects of chemical pollutants will help us take better measures against them.

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William E. Eubanks
 

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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