Pollution facts are something that are most ignored, though it is a global problem. There are many things you might not know about pollution, so let’s glance at some of the common effects of pollution on humans and some shocking realities on pollution that you should be aware of. Firstly, what is pollution?
- It is the contamination of air, water and soil by something that is harmful for living organisms.
- Pollution can occur either naturally or due to human activities.
- What is Air pollution? They are gases and particles in the air, which can cause us harm and affect the climate. Coal burning, emissions from cars, factories, planes, boats, volcanoes, forest fires produce plenty of harmful gases in the atmosphere.
Let’s take a moment to consider the sad truth about our planet, as most of the animals and humans are struggling to cope with man made pollution. If you look at the statistics, they are really alarming.
You would be able to see shocking pictures of birds that are covered in oil, turtles that are trapped and fish that are poisoned, to name just a few.
9 Pollution Facts
Pollution: The Biggest Killer
One of the important facts for pollution is that it is one of the greatest killers, affecting more than 100 million people.
- It is comparable to global diseases, such as malaria and HIV.
- More than 1 billion people in the world do not get safe drinking water, due to which 5000 people are dying every day.
- Pollution kills 1 million seabirds and 100 million mammals every year. Almost half of seabird species, 22% of cetaceans, sea turtle species and other fish species have plastic around their bodies.
Though there are different types of pollution, such as litter, industrial effluents, domestic waste, nuclear and toxic wastes, water, agricultural and noise pollution, air pollution is a major area of concern, as it comes from different sources like factories, motor vehicles, dry cleaners etc.
Clean-Ups to Prevent Litter
Pollution can cause climate change and increase global warming. Change starts with YOU!
- Each of us must accept responsibility for pollution, beginning from their home, work place, school and in the community.
- Join thousands of Americans and stop being a litter bug from today.
- Educate others about litter laws and pollution contributors.
- Volunteer in your community to prevent illegal dumping.
Throwing Plastic Bottles (Plastic Pollution)
What is plastic pollution? On the go lifestyle leads to disposable products made of plastic. Accumulation of plastic can harm the air, water and land. One of the important plastic pollution facts is that it has a negative impact on plants, wildlife and humans, as it is made of toxic materials and more importantly, it is not biodegradable.
- America alone is responsible for throwing 3 million of plastic bottles in an hour. It takes 500 years for one plastic bottle to decompose.
Birds mistake plastic bags for food and end up with toxic debris in their stomach. Sea turtles cannot distinguish between a floating plastic bag and jellyfish and fish eat tons of plastic, thereby transferring plastic up the food chain to other marine animals.
- The average American family uses 1500 plastic shopping bags a year.
Dumping Garbage in the Ocean (Ocean Pollution Facts)
What is Ocean Pollution? One of the shocking pollution facts is that the North pacific Gyre is the biggest ocean garbage site of the world. This garbage site, off the Californian coast is double the size of Texas state.
The oceanic ecosystem is being threatened by human beings. One of the major ocean pollution causes is oil spills, industrial manufacturing, agricultural, farming practises and mining activities.
- One of the ocean pollution effects is that accidents like the BP oil spill can destroy water bodies.
- Sewage is being dumped in the ocean for disposing wastes easily. 250 million tons of litter end up in the sea every year.
- This includes dumping of waste from factories, tankers, ships and sewage waste material. Why is ocean pollution a problem? For instance, plastic waste can be a serious threat to marine fauna who can die by suffocation and entanglement.
- There are different types of ocean pollution, such as acidification, increase in chemicals, plastic debris, toxins like DDT, heavy metals and phenols that do not disintegrate in water and noise pollution.
Our entire civilization can be wiped out due to the intensity of such careless dumping.
- If you live in a place with a higher level of air pollution, you stand a higher risk of lung cancer by 20%.
- You can even experience immediate effects when exposed to high pollution levels, including irritated airways, breathlessness, coughing.
- It can lead to asthma attacks and COPD flare ups.
- Long term exposure is linked to lung cancer and asthma.
Importance of Recycling and Composting
Recycling and composting has prevented 85 million ton material from being disposed, compared to 18 million ton in 1980.
- Recycling preserves raw materials and saves energy. It helps in protecting the environment and reduces landfill.
- Home composting is a natural recycling service that you can do to recycle waste. This includes vegetable and fruit waste, teabags, flowers, paper towels, egg shells etc. that you can compost without it leaving your home.
- If buried in landfills, such biodegradable waste exudes methane, which is a harmful greenhouse gas.
Pollution in China Can Affect the US
Japanese polluted water could affect the US and pollution in China can affect the West Coast of the US!
- Ozone and other particulates of pollution results in increasing smog in the west coast of the US and can also affect the rainfall pattern, increase cyclones and cause erratic weather.
- One of the shocking air pollution effects is that black carbon deposits from pollution could travel all around the world, not just the west US, increasing melting and heat absorption of ice sheets.
- Smog can cause asthma attacks and also affects crops and sensitive trees.
- Researchers claim that Asian air pollution is the biggest contributor towards smog in the West, contributing about 65% of ozone increase in western US. One third of air pollution in San Francisco arises from China.
According to the WHO, Kanpur city in India is the most polluted city in the world, containing 173 micrograms per cubic meter level PM2.5 in the open air, which can easily enter the lungs. On the other hand, Zurich in Switzerland is considered the cleanest city with the least pollution levels.
The US Produces the Most Trash and Uses the Most of the World’s Natural Resources
Humans produce more than 1.3 billion tons of trash per year, with the US producing 254 million tons a year, more than anywhere else in the world.
- The average American disposes about 7 pounds of trash daily.
- The US consumes 30% of world resources, though it makes up only 5% of the world’s population.
- The US also produce 30% of the world’s waste.
- Americans dispose millions worth of good, furniture, furnishings, clothing, footwear and other waste. 95% of the plastic and half of aluminum drink cans thrown away are never recycled.
Over 1.7 Million Children Below 5 Years of Age Die Every Year as a Result of Polluted Environments, According to the WHO
- One in four deaths of children between one month and 5 years of age is due to pollution problems, such as second hand smoke; dirty water; poor sanitation and hygiene; indoor/outdoor pollution.
- 9 out of 10 people breathe polluted air, which leads to premature death each year.
- Polluted air contains toxic substances, such as black carbon and sulphate, which enter the lungs and the cardiovascular system causing serious problems like asthma.
Remember: Their organs and immune systems are in the developing stage, making children more vulnerable to polluted air and water.
Birth Defects Have Been Linked to the Presence of Pesticides in Air, Water and Soil
- Pregnant mothers exposed to pesticides can give birth to children with birth defects, autism, lowered IQ, reduced weight, infertility.
- These chemicals can last for a long time in the environment as well as our bodies, over a generation, so we are likely to transfer them to our infants.
- A birth defect known as gastroschisis is seen more often among babies that are conceived during high levels of atrazine spraying in corn fields.
Last Word – Things to Know About Pollution
Here, we have shared some of the top facts of pollution in order that you might be aware of the seriousness and the scale of the problem. There are many pollution types, namely, water, air, soil, thermal, industrial pollution, radioactive pollution, noise and light pollution.
When considering the air pollution causes, it could be excessive use of resources, too much of industrialisation, increase of population, use of chemicals, pesticides and so on.
Finally, no amount of campaigns or government initiatives can bring about change till we change and opt for better choices in our lives! Here’s to taking the first steps towards a non polluted future!