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Pollution Catcher

06 Dec 2018

The introduction of contaminants in the natural environment which causes adverse changes is called Pollution. It disturbs the ecosystems and affects the normal lifestyles of people giving rise to human illness and global warming. Because of the ongoing developments, industrialization, and modernization, pollution has reached its peak. There has been a huge growth in the potential of humans with the advancement in science and technology but they are becoming prisoners of their own creations. Humans have stopped thinking about their own actions which cause serious problems. If we want to deal with pollution, we need to deepen our knowledge to know about different types of pollution, their effects, causes, and treatment. 

Pollution occurs in different forms on the basis of which it is divided as follows:

Air pollution: This is the most prominent and dangerous form of pollution which has affected a large number of cities across the globe. There are so many reasons for air pollution like excessive burning of fuels which is a basic requirement of our daily lives for driving, cooking, and other industrial activities. The burning of fuels emits a huge amount of chemical elements in the air every day. These elements or substances are the actual reason of air pollution. Factories, vehicles, or burning of wood release smoke which results in the emission of sulfur dioxide and other hazardous gases. This emission into the air is the reason for acid rain and global warming. This has also increased temperatures, erratic rains, droughts worldwide. The air pollution has also made it tough for animals to survive. Breathing in polluted air and intaking pollutants result in increased chances of asthma and cancer in the lungs. 

Water pollution: On earth, 60% of the species live in water bodies. Water pollution has taken toll of the surviving species on the earth. Water on earth gets polluted due to so many factors like dumping of industrial wastes into water bodies leading to an imbalance. This imbalance causes severe contamination which results in the death of aquatic species. Spraying insecticides and pesticides like DDT on plants polluted the groundwater system. Oil spills in the ocean cause irreparable damage to the water bodies. Due to daily activities of humans like washing clothes, utensils near lakes, ponds, and rivers, eutrophication occurs. This blocks the sunlight from penetrating which results in lowering of oxygen in the water making it inhabitable. Not only aquatic species are getting harmed due to water pollution, but it is also disturbing the entire food chain. Many water-borne diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, and others have also increased in the last few decades.

Soil pollution: Due to the incorporation of unwanted and harmful chemicals in the soil caused soil pollution. Humans use a lot of insecticides and pesticides which absorb nitrogen compounds from the soil making it unfit for the plant to derive nutrition from. Soil also becomes polluted due to the throwing of household garbage and industrial waste. Commercial or industrial waste contributes to a large extent in making the soil hazardous and polluted. The most common elements or substances that contribute to soil pollution are heavy metals, solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides, lead, etc.  

Noise pollution: The propagation of noise which has a harmful impact on human or animal activities cause noise or sound pollution. The main outdoor sources of noise pollution are machines, traffic, transport, and transportation systems. The main sources of noise pollution in a residential area are loud music, lawn care maintenance, nearby construction or renovation work, or young people yelling while playing. High levels of noise pollution contribute to cardiovascular effects in humans and an increased incidence of coronary artery disease. Noise can even increase the risk of death in animals by altering prey detection or predator detection and avoidance. It can even interfere with reproduction and navigation and contribute to permanent hearing loss in animals. For children, noise pollution is very dangerous as it can impact physical and psychological health. It can also interfere negatively in children’s learning and behavior. 

Heat/thermal pollution: Degradation of water quality by any process which results in the change in temperature of the water is known as thermal pollution. The use of water as a coolant by power plants and industrial manufacturers id the main cause of thermal pollution. On using water as a coolant, it is returned to the natural environment at a higher temperature which results in a decrease of oxygen supply. This affects the ecosystem composition. This abrupt change in the temperature of the water can even cause the death of aquatic species. The other reasons of thermal pollution are deforestation, increasing number of industrial plants, and air pollution. This increases the temperature of the earth which causes drastic climatic changes and wildlife extinction.

Light pollution: Due to prominent excess immunization of any area, light pollution occurs. Largely visible in big cities on advertising boards and hoardings, in spots or entertainment events at night, light pollution also impacts the astronomical observations and activities by making the starts almost invisible.

To deal with pollution, there is a simple yet effective activity which we have learned in our school times. This activity is called pollution catcher. Not every form of pollution can be caught by this experiment. This is mainly for catching air pollution. This activity includes a plastic plate, a hole punch, a string, and vaseline. Now, take the plate and punch a hole on the top. Tie a string to it so that it can be hanged easily anywhere. Use a permanent marker and draw anything on the plate which portrays nature. Use your imagination and design a symbol for a healthy planet. Now take vaseline and color the picture that you have drawn on the plate. Hang this plate anywhere outside your home or in your school playground. Leave it there for a few weeks. You will discover tiny particles or pollutants getting a pile up on that plate. These pollutants float through our breath. With the help of this pollution catcher, you will be able to breathe in a clean environment.

By: Preeti Narula

Posted By - Assistant Editor