The Sources of Pollution

The Sources of Pollution
Anthropogenic pollution is putting the natural environment at risk: it is causing lake acidification, acid rain and even the warming of the planet (global warming). By identifying the sources of pollutants people can halt the spread of pollution. This work is aimed at discussing diffuse sources of pollution and it focus on three examples of this immense problem. Sources of pollution can be divided into point sources and diffuse/non-point sources; the former refers to pollutants entering a natural system e.g. body of water, from a distinct location, through a direct route e.g. sewage pipe spilling sludge into a lake (Botkin,1998). Diffuse pollution on the other hand results from a multitude of differing sources that work in combination e.g. lake acidification may occur due to deforestation, run-off and a variety of other causes. These sources are often hard to pinpoint thus making the non-point pollution often hard to rectify (Camic,1993). Anthropogenic eutrophication is the addition of nutrients such as nitrates and phosphorus to the extent that algal blooms occur and cause a rapid decrease in oxygen in the water and thus a lowering of biodiversity (Anderson,2003). Pollutant sources of inland eutrophication are many and varied but agriculture and industrial areas are at the centre of the problemRecently there has been an increase in intensive farming and a consequent increase in livestock waste, fertilizers and pesticides (Reiss,2000). Run-off of nutrients from agricultural land can flow/leach into bodies of water e.g. the Norfolk broads, Also sewage sludge and waste solvents from industrial plants are frequently poorly disposed of and may flow into lakes (Anderson,2003). An increase in impermeable surfaces e.g. roads & concrete has lead to an increase in run-off (epa,2003). Acid rain is caused by emissions of nitrogen and sulphur oxides which are supplied by the combustion of fossil fuels in power stations, the use of fertilizers and the exhaust fumes of vehicles (Beig,2004). Acid rain is particularly hard to stop in terms of cutting off the sources because the worlds population is growing and due to this so are the number of vehicles and the productivity levels of power plants. Also acidic gases can be blown quite far from their emission sites to their precipitation sites (Beig,2004)). Photochemical smog is supplied by motor vehicles, chemical manufacturers and power plants. It is caused when UV radiation acts upon nitrogen dioxide causing it to break down to nitric oxide and an oxygen atom which can then join with an oxygen molecule to form ozone. Ozone at ground level is harmful to peoples respiratory system and in large cities ozone groups with industrial emissions to form a looming thick smog. It is hard to control because the ozone smog and dust can be blown across international borders, thus making exact sources hard to find. Catalytic converters are now used in most cars and they help to decrease nitrogen and carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. These three types of pollution all have diffuse sources of pollution which are not only hard to locate but due to the fact that airborne pollution can travel across boundaries; responsibility for pollution is hard to gauge (Pillar,1999). The ?Clean Air Act? (epa,2004) proposed by the epa and the EAs plan are just a few examples of how diffuse pollution is being managed

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