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The 10 types of pollution (and effects on the ecosystem)

The 10 types of pollution (and effects on the ecosystem)

March 29, 2024

The concern for the environment , although it has existed throughout history, it has not been a phenomenon extended until relatively recently.

But today society is aware of the need to preserve the environment, as well as the fact that the human activity itself can cause different types of waste (both in the form of material and energy) that can have consequences and cause alterations both in the environment (for example, through the acidification of soil or water, or the acceleration of global warming) and in the different species of living beings, including humans (loss of habitats, biological rhythms such as sleep or alterations) behavioral, for example).

Likewise, we are aware of the existence of various types of pollution . In this article we are going to visualize the main ones.

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The concept of pollution

Although as we have said there are many different types, as a general concept that encompasses them we understand pollution as the fact of introduce into the environment any type of element that does damage more or less prolonged in time (it can also be permanent) in such a way that its habitual functioning is altered in a negative way.

Generally, the term pollution is associated to the environment, but it can also be considered as such that it affects a locality, species or person in an aversive way.

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Types of contamination

When classifying pollution, we can take into account different criteria. However, as a general rule it is used as the main way to classify the types of pollution the observation of the pollutant element or the one that is contaminated . In this sense we have the following types of pollution.

1. Air pollution

The best known is the type of pollution that arises from the release of chemical particles into the atmosphere. Also known as pollution, it is the kind of pollution that affects through the air . One of the best known pollutants in this regard are CO2, methane and smoke from combustion.

2. Water pollution

It deals with the effect of the emission and release in the waters of polluting substances. It hinders or alters life and normative use, making it undrinkable. Usually this pollution is of industrial origin . It includes maritime pollution, which would refer to the pollution of the seas and oceans for the same reason.

3. Soil and subsoil contamination

Provoked by the filtration of substances in the soil, generates physical and chemical alterations in it that make it, for example, uninhabitable , the groundwater is contaminated or the growth of life in the area is impossible.

4. Radioactive contamination

It is one of the most dangerous and aggressive types of pollution with life. It is produced by the release of radioactive material and has an effect on any surface. Usually derived from human action , such as the dumping of waste or disasters in nuclear power plants such as Chernobyl.

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5. Thermal pollution

One of the least known types of pollution is generated by the change of temperature in the environment or in different media due to human activity.

6. Visual pollution

Although in principle the concept may resemble that of light pollution, in this case reference is made to the alteration of the medium based on visual stimuli that they do not have to do with the luminosity . For example, it refers to the visual changes that occur in nature due to human activity.

7. Light pollution

It is one of the types of pollution in which the contaminating element is visual. light pollution the pollutant element itself is the emission of light outside of what would be natural, causing problems such as loss of orientation or changes in biorhythms as much of human beings as of other animals.

8. Acoustic pollution

We denominate acoustic contamination to the emission of sound in an excessive proportion, frequency, tone, volume and rhythm that cause an alteration in the environment or in the beings that inhabit it. This type of pollution is what live, for example, those people who live in very touristy neighborhoods where there are many clubs and music establishments.

9. Electromagnetic pollution

Although it may not be so perceptible directly by humans, it refers to pollution derived from the use of electrical elements or that generate electromagnetic phenomena. They can generate disorientation and possible damage in different animals, and the effects on humans are still discussed (sometimes linked to cancer, erection disorders or some mental and physical problems).

10. Food contamination

It refers to the presence of different substances in foods that cause effects of different magnitude in those who consume it . For example, the contamination of fish by mercury from water pollution or caused by the sale of food in poor condition or infected with any disease.

Bibliographic references:

  • Elsom, D. (1990). The atmospheric pollution. Ediciones Cátedra SA.
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2001). «Status of Ratifications».

Learn about Pollution (March 2024).

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