Pollution Facts for Kids | Causes, Effects and Pollution Control

Pollution as I will discuss in these pollution facts for kids is the introduction of substances or energy into the environment either by human or natural activities. Substances introduced in the environment are called pollutants and they cause harm to living organisms, human health and the ecological systems when they are in excessive amounts in the environment. Because pollution is on the increase, we shall explore the effects it has caused to us and the steps our governments and other responsible agencies are doing to control the amount of pollutants in the environment.  In order to see the progress of regulations in place and how it does it function, we shall discuss success stories and shall pick an example in the United States of America.

Pollution is a killer made by people. Imagine you are a pollution scout. You have got to find out some of the things that people do which cause pollution and some of the pollutants themselves.

Pollution Facts For Kids

I am sure in your list of  the causes of pollution, you will not miss aircraft, bomb, carbon dioxide, car, carcinogen, cigarette, coal, cow, dioxin exhaust, factory fumes, garbage, jet, landfill, methane, mercury, mining, noise, oil, ozone, pesticides, plastic, radiation, sewage, smog, smoke, toxin, traffic, travel, truck, and war. All these are man-made things which have turned against mankind himself and threatening to extinguish him. Extinguish means to clear completely. So what this pollution is likely to do to our human race and other things including animals and plants is that it is going to extinguish us completely unless we take care of ourselves.

The wonder web of life and how pollution came about

Animals began to appear on earth about 5300 million years ago. These animals were crawling, barrowing or swimming creatures all in the sea. A little after this, plants emerged and began to grow on land and were quickly followed by animals who wanted to eat them. Then came the dinosaurs and I am sure you know all about dinosaurs. Later came the penguins, polar bears and at the very last minute, human beings. And from the word go, human beings came with a bang to destroy other lives on the planet by using fire carelessly, cutting trees, inventing new gadgets for making life easy for himself (coming up with airplanes, cars, chemicals – which produce toxics for the environment) and over hunting. Modern people are now just starting to understand the vital importance of biodiversity. They are beginning to realize that they have damaged it badly and most importantly, they depend upon it too. People are animals too, just like the dinosaurs, porcupines and penguins. But people are the main cause of pollution on planet earth.

How people are destroying the web of life with pollution

By cutting trees, people are affecting the natural habitat of other animals that depend on forests as their homes. By directing wastes from factories to the rivers and lakes, people are polluting the waters and extinguishing life in those waters which are habitat to fish, frogs, crocodiles and other sea animals. This pollution is causing some of the rivers to dry and be extinguished.  And once a creature is extinguished, that is it; it goes forever, never to come back. There are no second chances! It’s gone forever never to resurface again. There is nothing new about mass extinctions but what is new is, the mass extinctions being witnessed in the present world are being cause by people because of their wasteful and polluting ways. Let us help protect our environment by saying no to any form of pollution.

pollution facts for kidsLife in danger due to pollution

Life on our planet – our only home is in big trouble due to pollution. Many creatures are dying out completely and it is almost because of what people are doing. So far, as the rest of life is concerned, humans are the worst disaster to hit this planet since a massive fireball 65 million years ago. Let us unite in the fight to protect our planet earth by being responsible young people and avoid pollution at all cost.

Now that you know everything there is to know about pollution, show off your new found knowledge with friends and family by sharing these pollution facts for kids.

Causes of Pollution

Well, first before discussing what the causes of pollution are it is important to know what exactly pollution is. There are many definitions in place but the common one state that pollution is the introduction of substances or energy into the environment either by human or natural activities. These foreign substances causes harm to living organisms, causes sicknesses and apart from that they change ecological systems (ecological systems is that important relationship between living organism and environment).

1. Man-made sources

Therefore, what are some of the man-made sources of pollution? There are countless sources of human activities that cause pollution and they account more than 60% of the total pollution. We shall classify them into two: Physical pollutants and Chemical pollutants. Physical pollutants are all those forms where energy and sounds are discharged into the environment. These pollutants include all the heat, nuclear, radiations and sounds which cause discomfort to human and other living organism. Just to bring you to context, consider a nuclear power plant, in it simple state someone would think that it is harmless but in real sense it emits low level radiations which is polluting the environment and living organisms around it. Let’s consider another example, a factory. As far as it important to us they produce a lot of noise which if appropriate measures are not undertaken it can cause stress and lack of concentration.

Then there are chemical pollutants. These forms of pollutants are widespread and in one or more occasions you must have seen them in the cause of your activities. They are widespread in agricultural and industrial sectors. When farmers apply synthesized additives to their soils, such as fertilizers or pesticides over a long period of time it causes pollution to the soil and in one way or another pollute underground water reservoirs. Also when industries dumps their untreated wastes into water bodies  such as rivers, oceans or lakes, that constitutes water pollution, the same applies if they fill them in landfills without first treating them.

2. Natural sources

As earlier noted, natural sources of pollution constitute less than 30% of the total pollutants discharged. They are infrequent and when they occur they are localized. The main sources of natural pollution include volcano eruptions and tsunamis, as witnessed when they occur, they emit tomnes and tonnes of Carbon dioxide and Sulphur dioxide into the environment. Apart from the gaseous elements released, volcano eruptions are accompanied by discharge of light, fine and acidic volcanic ash. Locals around areas of volcanic eruptions are therefore bound to suffer from respiratory ailments as a result.

When hurricanes occur they can lead to sedimentation of soil particles in water bodies and when it occur, living organisms in water are exposed and they die or they are suffocated by the fine soil particles introduced. Other small sources of natural pollutions are droppings from animals living in flocks, when they enter water bodies such as rivers they can easily spread water borne diseases and in recent cases the frequent of forest fires. Did you know that the increasing cases of forest fires in the USA and Australia is partly blamed to global warming and Climate change which are all caused by air pollution? When forest fires occurs, depending on location, it releases Carbon dioxide and Sulphur dioxide which are both dangerous to human health and living organisms because they contribute to acidic rainfall.

How do we save the world from pollution?

With more and more people globally aware of pollution and its effects, a lot of control measures are in place to reduce and eliminate pollution in the simplest and cost effective way possible. The first way to do it is to control the global population in a sustainable manner. This is an obvious and simple strategy ,envision this if there are more people on the globe, more and more pressure will be exerted on the available limited resources and to ensure availability of these resources, processes will be set up to reuse or recycle them and therefore causing pollution.

Secondly, we can save the world through utilizing new technologies, modernization and innovation. A clear example of how we can do this is to shun the use of gasoline as a source of power, gasoline causes air and water pollution and when employed in machinery, the resulting processes is noise pollution. Though widespread because of its use in engines, we can adopt Light electricity Vehicles because they don’t pollute the environment at all.

Lastly, regulations are in place to ensure that all wastes from factories are treated to the correct standards before being discharged to the environment. This could be done either by treating wastes within the factory (source) or at the dumping sites through incineration before disposal.

Effects of pollution – Pollution Facts for Kids

So what happens when the environment contains a lot of pollutants? Well, the effects are very many. From air, land and water bodies the consequences will be visible.

Air pollution causes health problems such as eye, nose and ear irritations, allergic reactions, headaches and even cancer of the lungs when long term exposure to pollutants occur. This is evident in shanghai, China were residents have to wear masks as they are walking about because the air is so polluted. Moreover, the greenhouse gases are discharged in the atmosphere and thus depleting the ozone layer. The ozone layer serves as a resistance against the harmful rays from the sun. When this layer is depleted, harmful rays reaches the earth surface and can cause skin cancer and affect Carbon dioxide intake in plants which reduces yields and therefore food shortage.

Furthermore, air pollution especially through emissions of Sulphur and Carbon dioxide cause acidic rain in the areas it was discharged from and if it occurs over long periods it changes the climate of the globe and causes temperatures to rise through global warming which is evident now, the Arctic ice is melting gradually.

When untreated chemicals are discharged to water bodies either from agricultural practices or from factories, it kills aquatic life. They are either poisoned or suffocated causing a distress to ecological systems. A case study of a landfill in USA where disposed chemicals  leached and contaminated an aquifer which was used as water source for residents in Love Canal in 1978, over a period of time, a high number of patients from that area were diagnosed with cancer and the number of babies born with serious birth defects were on the  increase. With this trend, research was conducted and it was found to be the polluted aquifer which was causing ailments.

Who are the world leaders in pollution?

The leading top five countries in the world when it comes to pollution are China, United States of America, Russia, India and Japan. It was a known but unpublished fact that China from 2009 had overtaken the USA as the leading polluter. In that year it emitted 6.07 metric tons of greenhouse gases. This was attributed to the fast rising economy with numerous industries emitting pollutants to the environment. India has been noted to be notorious for dumping untreated wastes to river Ganges but its waters is safer than China whose 40% of river water is unsafe for consumption.

Success stories about pollution

Because of global awareness of the effects of pollution, many rules, regulation and measures were put in place with the aim of reducing pollution or rehabilitating places which was polluted before. In the USA for example, the Clean Air act of 1976 has seen the reduction of Sulphur dioxide, Carbon dioxide and other pollutants to an all time low according to statistics collected in 2005 and as a superpower, it has to lead as an example. The Martin Luther Care centre in Minnesota was a previously polluted area full of heavy metal depositions, currently it has been rehabilitated and a nursing home constructed. This shows the government intentions when it comes to pollution control.

Which areas should we focus our efforts in pollution control?

With the meaning, types and effects of pollution discussed, the main area where efforts should be placed to control pollution is in the urban and industrial sectors. These areas shows increasing activities and regulations should be placed to ensure their activities, within urban areas and industrialization, don’t pollute the environment and a balance is struck for the service of people and environment.

Conclusions and suggestions

The technological development is most likely to cause pollution which indeed becomes the reason of direct conflict between environment and the humans. It so happens that the environment in one way or another is the direct source of raw material for processes which enables a better life for human beings but nevertheless measures should be placed to ensure we utilize the environment in a sustainable way whilst at the same time carrying for a well-being.

I will suggest that we should change from the norm and adopt new technologies and innovations which don’t pollute the environment and if the adoption is slow, new stricter regulations should be introduced to minimize pollution from the increasing industrial sector.

References

Holdgate, M. W. (1980). A perspective of environmental pollution. Cambridge [England: Cambridge University Press.

Hill, M. K. (2006). Understanding environmental pollution: a primer (2. Ed.). Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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