What are the sources of environmental pollution in your area? Discuss with respect to (a) air; (b) water and (c) soil. What are the steps being taken to reduce the pollution? Can you suggest some other measures?


The presence of harmful gases and undesirable constituents, in the air from human activities, increasing traffic, industrialization and urbanization is called pollution.  CFC, Sulphur dioxide  are some of the important pollutants.


Sources of Air Pollution:

  • Indoor air pollution arises due to the use of paints,aerosols,acids using for toilets,deodorants etc.
  • Out door air pollution is mainly because of automobiles
  • Burning of coal and fossil fuels
  • Atomic explosion
  • Cotton dust
  • Spray of insecticides and pesticides


Sources of Water Pollution:

  • Sewage water from houses
  • Human excreta
  • Cow dung etc.
  • Gutter water when mixed with drinking water.


Sources of Soil Pollution:


  • Application of fertilizers & pesticides,
  • Acid rain,
  • Garbage,
  • Industrial wastes,
  • Radioactive substances
  • Night soil (human excreta mixed with soil)
  • Addition of non biodegradable substances


Control measures

  • Growing more trees
  • No deforestation
  • Use of plastic bags must be banned
  • Recycling of plants paper, leaves etc
  • Petrol, diesel vehicles should be changed to CNG
  • No smoking
  • Practice of walking to nearby places
  • Using solar energy
  • Use of aerosols should be minimized
  • Should not allow industrial chemical waste to mix with water.
  • Use of organic manure


Some other measure:


  • No use / Less use of air condition.
  • Switch off the lights & fans when not in use.
  • Start using cloth bags.
  • Use cycle, public vehicles (like bus) to schools, shops, markets and walk to near by places
  • Using Silver Tiffin boxes, kitchen utensils instead of plastic ones.

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Main Types Of Pollution

Before discussing the main types of pollution, we need to understand what is pollution. Pollution is the introduction of harmful substances, particularly a contaminant or toxin, which produces some kind of harmful impact on the environment or living organisms.

Main type of pollution 1: Air pollution

Air pollution is one of the main types of pollution of the environment.

What is air pollution? Air pollution could be in the form of the emission of harmful chemical gases (e.g. carbon monoxide) or particulates (e.g. soot) in to the air. Air pollution could also be in the form of disturbances to the normal composition of the air such that there is an undesired effect on the environment or living things. An example of the latter is the over-emission of gases, such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where the balance in natural cycles, like thecarbon cycle, is disrupted. Read more about the types of environmental pollution in the air.


The most common sources of air pollution include the burning of fossil fuels and other materials in oil refineries, power plants, factories, automobiles and other forms of transportation, as well as the incinerators. Fumes from aerosols and chemicals like paint also cause air pollution.

Read related articles on the causes of air pollution:


The main types of pollution gases in the air are carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, sulfur dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and nitrogen oxides. Read related articles on air pollution facts:


Air pollution adversely affects humans by causing cardio-respiratory problems among other health problems. Read about the other effects of air pollution on health.

On the environmental front, air pollution results in problems such as global warming and climate change, acid rain, Earth’s ozone depletion, etc. Read about air pollution effects on the environment.

Bearing in mind the main types of pollution effects, it is very important that everyone should do their bit to prevent air pollution.

There are simple ways to put a check on air pollution. In the area of air pollution solutions for cars, some simple strategies include car pooling, proper vehicle care and making use of public transport as much as possible.

Other tips on reducing air pollution include saving energy, practicingenergy efficiency tips, planting more trees, opting for green and renewable energy sources, carbon emission reduction.

You could also get yourself involved in social awareness programs and help to share your knowledge about air pollution and its destructive effects on life and the environment.

Main types of pollution 2: Water Pollution

Water pollution is another one of the main types of pollution of the environment.

Water pollution could be in the form of any change in the physical, chemical and biological properties of water which has a harmful effect on living things. It could take place in various water sources, like ponds, lakes, rivers, seas and oceans. Read about the various types of water pollution.

One of the causes of water pollution is the release of waste into the water bodies, for example domestic wastes, industrial effluents, agricultural wastes, marine dumping (read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch) and radioactive waste.

Other causes of pollution in the sea include events such as oil spills and atmospheric deposition (where pollutants enter water bodies through falling particles, dissolving in rain and snow, or directly dissolving in water). Read about the major 3 types of pollution in the sea and other ocean pollution causes.

The main types of pollution of the water bodies make it unfit for drinking and other uses. Polluted water also breeds viruses, bacteria, intestinal parasites and other harmful microorganisms, which can cause waterborne diseases like diarrhea, dysentery, and typhoid.

Water pollution not only affects land animals like humans, but also marine animals. Water pollution has been related to events such as ocean acidification and coral reef bleaching. Read about the effects of water pollution.

In short, given the critical role water plays in supporting life, water pollution is destructive to the entire ecosystem. Read more about water pollution facts:


Clean water is very precious – there are about 1 billion or more people who do not have excess to proper drinking water. Proper steps should be taken to conserve water.

Also, efforts should be made to stop water pollution. Water pollution solutions for the household include using non-toxic household cleaningproducts, for example organic laundry detergent and eco friendly home cleaners, instead of those containing toxic chemicals.

On a larger scale, solutions to water pollution globally include the proper treatment of domestic and industrial wastes or sewage (instead of dumping the untreated water into the sea), recycling grey water.

Efforts to educate people on how to stop water pollution and ways to stop pollution in the sea are needed. Only when humans are motivated to and learn how to stop pollution in water will our precious resource – water – be safe.

Main types of pollution 3: Land Pollution

Land pollution is another of the main types of pollution to the environment.Land pollution is mainly about the contamination and degradation of Earth’s land surfaces.

It occurs when waste from various sources – domestic waste, industrial waste, etc – are not properly disposed of, causing harmful substances and chemicals to leach into the ground. Read about various type of pollution on land.

In the landfills, non-biodegradable materials like plastic bottles, Styrofoam and cans can remain buried and intact for thousands of years, leaching chemicals into the ground over the years. Electronic products that contain heavy metals like lead and mercury also leach poisonous toxins into the ground. These chemicals and heavy metals sometimes reach the underground water system and pollute our water bodies. Read about land pollution facts.

That is why it is important to recycle, rather than just sending all your unwanted items to the garbage bin.

Environmentally unfriendly mineral exploitation practices and the misuse of soil by harmful agricultural practices can also lead to land pollution. Read about how such practices are cause of land pollution. Also, read more about soil pollution and soil pollution facts.

Land pollution
 can affect wildlife, plants and humans in many ways. Land pollutioncan exterminate wildlife and disrupt the balance in nature. The chemicals found in polluted land (eg. landfills, land where chemical pesticides are heavily applied) could be absorbed by plants, and be transferred to animals and humans who eat the plants. In turn, the chemicals could cause various health problems like respiratory problems, birth defects, skin diseases and even cancer in the animals and humans. Read about the dangers of pesticides.


Land Pollution can be prevented by the proper disposing of the litter. What is even better at reducing land pollution, or the various types of pollution, is to reduce your trash. Reducing consumption, reusing old items for new purposes or recycling are some ways to reduce our waste.

Also, environmentally friendly agricultural practices such as the use of organic fertilizers and organic pesticides, instead of conventional chemical based ones, could also help to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals introduced into the land. Read more about how to stop land pollution.

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What are the different types of pollution?

Different Types of pollution are categorized based on the part of the environment which they affect or result which the particular pollution causes. Each of these types has its own distinctive causes and consequences. Categorized study of pollution helps to understand the basics in more detail and produce protocols for the specific types. Accordingly, the main types of pollution are:


  • Water Pollution
  • Air Pollution
  • Soil Pollution
  • Thermal Pollution
  • Radioactive Pollution
  • Noise Pollution
  • Light Pollution

Let us observe these types of pollution in a more comprehensive way.


Water Pollution

As the name suggests, “Water Pollution” is the type of pollution that involves the contamination of various water bodies. Various aquatic creatures depend on these water bodies and its natural nutritious features to support its life.

Water Pollution

Water Pollution (Image source: Wikipedia)

What Causes Water Pollution?

  • Industrial waste gets dumped into these water bodies. This causes a chemical imbalance in the water leading to death of the aquatic beings.
  • Insecticides, pesticides and ripening chemicals that are used on plants run into the ground water system or nearby streams.
  • Washing clothes near lakes and rivers causes detergents also causes a condition called “Eutrophication” which blocks sunlight from entering inside and reduces oxygen values in the water causing an inhabitable environment.
  • ‘Oil Spills’ are caused when giant oil tankers and oil rigs which are present in the oceans are damaged by either natural or human errors cause a long-time damage to the ocean as oil is lighter than water and floats on water forming a layer blocking sunlight.
  • Certain natural disasters like flash floods and hurricanes cause the intermixing of water with harmful substances on the land.


People can take certain preventable measures to stop water pollution like being more cautious of dumping contaminants onto the water. For the repair of the damage that has already been done, water treatment plants are being constructed with innovative techniques to clean the polluted water. But as always a certain part of the damage can be resolved therefore, it is better to prevent water pollution as water is basic need for the survival of man.


Air Pollution

The contamination of the air present in the atmosphere is known as “Air pollution”. Respiration is an important life process of all living things. We breathe in the air present in the atmosphere. Therefore if the air around us is contaminated with poisonous gases, it would have a fatal effect on us.

Air Pollution

Air Pollution (Image source: sxc.hu)

The air naturally comprises of 78% of nitrogen, 21% of oxygen, 0.9% of oxide gases and 0.1% of inert gases. When this balance is disturbed, it causes disruptions of severe proportions.


What Causes Air Pollution?

  • Partially combusted exhaust gases released from internal combustion engines add poisonous gases into the atmosphere.
  • Certain industries release some gases like sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide which mix with the air and clouds and cause acid rains.
  • Burning of discarded plastic, wood and rubber also release carcinogenic gases into the atmosphere.


Air pollution is very much fatal to living things as almost all living beings respire directly from the atmosphere without undergoing any treatment like water. Hence use of catalytic converters in vehicles, preventing the burning of used products, leaving vehicles running for lengthy periods of time during halts and such environment friendly actions.


Soil Pollution

Stripping soil of its natural fertility by using artificial chemicals like pesticides, insecticides, ripening agents etc. is known as “Soil Pollution”. Plants depend on the nitrogenous compounds present in the soil for their nutrition. Use of insecticides, pesticides and other artificial chemicals absorbs the nitrogen from the soil making it unfit for the growth for plants. Plants are responsible for holding the soil together firmly so, when the plants can’t grow the soil splits, leading to soil erosion.

Soil Pollution

Soil Pollution (Image courtesy: Dumelow@Wikipedia)

Thermal Pollution

Rise in the temperature in the ecosystem due the release of excessive heat energy into the environment by artificial methods or natural disasters is called “Thermal Pollution”. Generally, manufacturing industries release a lot of heat energy which gets transferred to the air and water bodies. Even vehicles which have combustion engines release a lot of heat energy as they require high temperatures to function. Carbon dioxide has a property of blocking heat from exiting the atmosphere and so the heat coming in from the sun is trapped in the atmosphere.

Thermal Pollution

Thermal Pollution (Image source: sxc.hu)

Thermal pollution results in a temperature rise which is the main cause for the melting of the polar ice caps, which is in turn leading to a rise in the water levels. Thermal pollution has increased significantly since the eighteen hundreds resulting in a hotter earth.


Radioactive Pollution

Radioactive pollution occurs when ‘Radioactive’ metals disintegrate releasing dangerous beta rays which can cause cancer and other mutative diseases. These types of pollution can occur by either the dumping of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants into water bodies, damage of nuclear reactors leading to radioactive contamination that would last for many years and many more. In the Second World War, when the U.S.A attacked Hiroshima and Nagasaki of Japan, the atomic bomb left a radioactive footprint leading to highly mutative diseases. So, most of the people who survived the atomic bombing died eventually from cancers and mutations.

Nuclear Power Plant

Nuclear Power Plant (Image source: morgueFile.com)

Noise Pollution:

There are different qualities of sounds. The sounds which are not pleasant to hear are called ‘Noises’. So an excess of noise in the outdoors leads to “Noise Pollution”. This can be experienced by too many vehicles honking at the roads, heavy machinery being operated in the open (for ex, a jackhammer), trains, clubs, over populated crowds and many more. Noise pollution is known to cause mental stress and depression. It can also cause damage to the ear drum which can cause deafness. Noise pollution has more of a psychological effect rather than a physical one.

Light Pollution

Bright lighting in functions, big cities, etc. causes “Light Pollution”. Excessive light on the retina causes extreme discomfort in the eyes, especially in dim conditions like during night time. Bright lights strain the eyes and also give headaches and migraines. If we observe, light pollution, thermal pollution and noise pollution all are types of pollution that are caused by the different forms of energy.

Light Pollution

Light Pollution (Image source: morgueFile.com)


Pollution in all its various forms causes immense damage covering all possible aspects that can be damaged. Therefore it is important to prevent all these forms to look forward to a greener cleaner and much more pleasant living experience.

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