Environmental pollution

– Aastha Joshi

Environmental pollution is an internationally viewed concern and its effects on ecosystems and human health are very evident. Sources and occurrences of pollutants that are clearly defined and measured in environmental compartments, food and food-related items, and human bodies. Activities urbanization, industrialization, mining, and exploration are at the forefront of global environmental pollution. Both developed and developing nations share this burden together, though awareness and stricter laws in developed countries have contributed to a larger extent in protecting their environment. Despite the global attention towards pollution, the impact is still being felt due to its severe long-term consequences. The decline in environmental quality as a consequence of pollution is evidenced by loss of vegetation, biological diversity, excessive amounts of harmful chemicals in the ambient atmosphere and in food grains, and growing risks of environmental accidents and threats to life support systems. A pollutant can be any chemical or geochemical substance, biological organism or product, or physical substance that is released intentionally or inadvertently by man into the environment with actual or potential adverse, harmful, unpleasant, or inconvenient effects. Pollution can be characterised Air Pollution Water Pollution, Soil/Land Pollution, Noise Pollution, Radioactive Pollution, Thermal Pollution. Which is threatening the environment, humans, plants, animals, and all living organisms.

Environmental pollution caused by the dumping of a wide range of industrial waste is now serious. Hazardous waste sites occur worldwide resulting in the deposition of xenobiotics in soil and water .Like all living creatures, microorganisms need carbon, nutrients, and energy to survive and replicate. Such organisms obtain nutrients and energy from the chemical degradation of contaminants into simple compounds, that is, water, carbon dioxide, salts, and other nontoxic substances. Major sources include the emission of pollutants from power stations, refineries, and petrochemicals, the chemical and fertilizer industries, metallurgical and other industrial plants, and, finally, municipal incineration. Climate is the other side of the same coin that reduces the quality of our Earth. Pollutants such as black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and aerosols affect the amount of incoming sunlight. As a result, the temperature of the Earth is increasing, resulting in the melting of ice, icebergs, and glaciers, ir pollution can have a disastrous effect on allcomponents of the environment, including groundwater, soil, and air. Additionally, it poses a serious threat to living organisms. In this vein, our interest is mainly to focus on these pollutants, as they are related to more extensive and severe problems in human health and environmental impact. Acid rain, global warming, the greenhouse effect, and climate changes have an important ecological impact on air pollution. Ozone is a gas formed from oxygen under high voltage electric discharge It is a strong oxidant, 52% stronger than chlorine. It arises in the stratosphere, but it could also arise following chain reactions of photochemical smog in the troposphere. Ozone can travel to distant areas from its initial source, moving with air masses It is surprising that ozone levels over cities are low in contrast to the increased amounts occuring in urban areas, which could become harmful for cultures, forests, and vegetation as it is reducing carbon assimilation. Ozone reduces growth and yield and affects the plant microflora due to its antimicrobial capacity In this regard, ozone acts upon other natural ecosystems, with microflora and animal species changing their species composition. Ozone increases DNA damage in epidermal keratinocytes and leads to impaired cellular function. Ground-level ozone is generated through a chemical reaction between oxides of nitrogen and VOCs emitted from natural sources and/or following anthropogenic activities. Ozone uptake usually occurs by inhalation. Ozone affects the upper layers of the skin and the tear ducts. A study of short-term exposure of mice to high levels of ozone showed malondialdehyde formation in the upper skin (epidermis) but also depletion in vitamins C and E. It is likely that ozone levels are not interfering with the skin barrier function and integrity to predispose to skin disease. Due to the low water-solubility of ozone, inhaled ozone has the capacity to penetrate deeply into the lungs. Toxic effects induced by ozone are registered in urban areas all over the world, causing biochemical, morphologic, functional, and immunological disorders Daily ozone concentrations compared to the daily number of deaths were reported from different European cities for a 3-year period. During the warm period of the year, an observed increase in ozone concentration was associated with an increase in the daily number of deaths. Environmental pollution is a concern in which all the countries have to come together at the global level and take initiatives.