Environmental pollution is one of the major problems facing humanity and the leading environmental cause of morbidity and mortality. Pollutants are chemicals or substances present in the environment through natural /anthropogenic sources ( human activities) which are hazardous to health and harm the environment or species that live within the affected environment.

There are five major environmental pollutants;

  • Air pollutants- These are the main causes of climate change. In the atmosphere, carbon dioxide level rises as a result of human activities through burning fossil fuels and deforestation. This process is known as the greenhouse effect and it traps heat inside the atmosphere. Globally, these pollutants affect sea levels and climatic patterns. Household products such as detergents, disinfectants, glues, paints, personal care products etc contribute to air pollution. These pollutants include carbon monoxide, radon, pesticides and insecticides, tobacco smoke, asbestos, formaldehyde lead etc. sources of these pollutants include automobile emissions, industrial processes, fires, and electricity generation. There are 2 sources outdoor and indoor
  • Water pollutants- These include viruses, bacteria, parasites, pesticides, fertilizers, nitrates, pharmaceutical products, phosphates, faecal waste, and radioactive substances. These substances are often invisible as they do not cause any visible change to the colour of the water. Some of the sources of these pollutants are Industrial waste, Fossil fuels, Sewage and wastewater, Agriculture, marine dumping, oil leaks and spill etc.
  • Soil pollutants- Soil contains a variety of naturally occurring contaminants including inorganic ions, salts and metals. Man-made contaminants are the major causes of soil pollution. Soil pollutants include; petroleum products, agrochemicals, radon, and lead. Some of the sources of soil pollutants include; urban and industrial waste, biological agents, deforestation etc.
  • Radioactive pollutants- These are deposits of radioactive substances introduced into the environment as a result of human activity. Some of its sources are nuclear waste, nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons, nuclear fuel etc. Radioactive pollutants includes; Radon, Uranium -235, Strontium-90, Cobalt-57, Calcium-47 etc.
  • Noise pollutants- These are the causes of unwanted or undesirable sounds which can affect health and may lead to adverse effects in humans or other living organisms. It can be through an indoor or outdoor source. Noise pollution is pervasive in society today and we often fail to notice it anymore. These pollutants include; household sounds (television sets, stereo player, fans and coolers, dishwashers, washing machines etc.), traffic sounds, airports, construction sounds, loud music from commercial venues, industrial sounds etc.

Our environment is the surrounding we live and it is our sole responsibility to protect it from degradation.

Grace Alo

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