Pollution in the environment has become an important subject for consternation in today's world, where pollution of all kinds affects the daily lives of people as well as the environment in such a way that most people find it difficult to continue their normal routines on account of the pollution. Pollution can affect either the air or the water of our Planet Earth, and although the pollutants that are emitted are in different ways, it is a definite fact that they affect all kinds of living organisms because of the harmful effect that they produce. Air pollution is for the most part caused by the emission of the fumes from automobiles and other vehicles, through the exhaust, from a combination of the combustion of fossil fuels, while water pollution is generally caused by industrial wastes as well as the several environmental accidents that have been happening of late. The sad fact is that although most people today are indeed aware of all the harmful effects that pollution can have on the Planet Earth, there are very few who really and truly care, the others just do not care, but the glad fact is that the government and other agencies are taking stringent measures to ensure that both water and air pollution are under the permissible limits, and they are also attempting to make more and more people aware of the harmful effects of pollution. (Pollution and Society)
As far as air pollution is concerned, since it is a well-known fact that the atmosphere is composed of the four main components of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and argon, as well as the minor components of neon, methane, helium, and krypton, it is also well-known that it is these gases that make up a sort of protective 'shell' around us, and the uncontrolled emissions from animals and man as well as from vegetation make up, in the United States of America alone about 264 million tons. When the same figure is taken in a worldwide sense, it makes up to more than 6.6 billion tons. It is these substances, which are in the normal course, not a part of the atmosphere, that make up the major part of the pollutants of the atmosphere. It is also a fact that more than ninety percent of all the air pollutants in existence can be divided into five separate categories, namely, carbon monoxides, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, sulfur oxides, and suspended particulate matter.
All these pollutants have extremely harmful effects on human beings and animals and plant life, as well as on the Planet Earth. However, most people are unaware and also unconcerned about the effects of air pollution, and this is especially true because of the fact that no deaths can be linked to air pollution, except maybe skin cancer. The fact is that air pollution is on the decline everywhere in the world, and every year, new laws and regulations are being passed by the government to control these emissions that cause air pollution, but the actual truth is that it is now too late for all these laws. The harm has already been done, and there is severe air pollution in the world today. This is seen by the fact that the ozone layer, which serves the purpose of protecting the earth, from the harmful effects of the sun's rays, is gradually being eroded by the strong emissions caused by living organisms and by other man made objects. (Pollution and Society)
Not only dose ozone layer depletion cause skin cancer, but it also causes harm to the eyes, and in addition, it breaks down the immune system of a human being. The so-called 'Greenhouse effect' is another important factor of air pollution, by which the various pollutants in the air cause the reflection of some of the earth's natural heat back down to earth, and when this happens, the surface temperature of the earth rises. If the temperature on earth keeps on rising, the inevitable will happen, that is, the polar icebergs will melt. This in turn will lead to flooding of the oceans, which will overflow on to the coastal regions of the world. Every body on earth has to contribute their mite towards fighting air pollution.
In the same way, water pollution is another major cause of pollution, but the difference is that whereas air pollution is more often than not caused by natural emissions, water pollution is entirely caused by human beings. There are several main areas of polluting substances in the water that cause widespread water pollution, and which cause major disruptions in the very chemical make up of the water of the entire world. Some of the important means of water pollution are: oxygen-using wastes, radioactive material, inorganic chemicals, sediments, oil spills, pesticides, and also toxic metals, like mercury. The main problem with the world's water getting polluted is that after a certain point of time, there will not be any drinking water fit for consumption in the world. There have been extensive studies conducted on the impact of various contaminants in the water, and what the researchers discovered prompted them to realize that a similar effect was taking place on marine and aquatic life. The risk being to the health of man or beast, water pollution is definitely being given more importance today. Sea life, marine plant life, and the vegetation growing along the shores are all being affected by water pollution, and it is time that all mankind united to take action against polluting our waters. (Pollution and Society)
In the United States of America alone, approximately 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides are being used every year, and research conducted on the use of such pesticides has revealed that finally, the pests would develop immunity to these pesticides, and therefore, the pesticides would have no impact at all on them. When a sample of groundwater was analyzed, it was found that it contained seventy-three different varieties of pesticides in it. This is the water that all living beings are supposed to use for drinking, and if drinking water is so polluted, then where can one go to find clean and pure drinking water? Furthermore, it was also discovered that out of a sample of pesticides, more than a hundred active pesticide ingredients would inevitably cause either cancer or severe birth defects or serious gene mutations. Some other pesticides were found to have the capability of disrupting immune as well as endocrine systems, and thereafter causing long-term impacts on human beings exposed to it by showing up in their offspring, and also in those of animals'. (Our Pollution)
If in the United States, one were to take an estimated view of the costs of providing about eighty thousand hand pumps to third world countries, it would be the same cost of one single nuclear test. Therefore, if the United States of America were to give up testing one nuclear weapon, then more than eighty thousand villages would have clean and safe drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency states that the cost of cleaning up the several, approximately 24,000 nuclear facilities, would be about $100 billion to $400 billion. The amount of waste in the form of air and water pollution emitted by the United States of America alone, every single year, is about three million tons. In addition to this is the half a billion tons of solid hazardous wastes that are deposited on the land every year. The International Wildlife Magazine has stated that in the year 1987 alone, the U.S.A. was responsible for releasing about 1.2 million tons of toxic chemicals into the air, about 670,000 tons of toxins into the soil, and about 250,000 of toxins into the waters. (Our Pollution)
In the Book entitled "A Manual of Environmental Protection Law, the Pollution Control Functions of the Environment Agency and the SEPA," by Michael Fry, the general awareness that people have today of the harmful effect of pollution on the atmosphere is seen. For example, Mr. Geoffrey Rippon MP, one of the first few persons to hold the office of the Secretary of State for the Environment has said, "I regard myself as lucky to be armed with the powers and the necessary resources" that would be needed for the best strategic approaches to the problems in the environment caused by air and water pollution. (Fry, 5)
In North America alone, there have been several important changes in the environmental issues and the laws and regulations that were made to deal with air and water pollution. There has also been an active participation in the different environmental issues by the government of the United States, as well as by the several sub-national and non-governmental agencies that are interested in the issue, and also by the people of the country. However, the mere involvement of all these agencies and people is not sufficient to deal with the problem, and their contributions to the environment and towards the improvement of the quality of the environment must…