Environmental Pollution: Definition, Examples, Impacts and Ways to Overcome

What is environmental pollution? – Environmental pollution is a major change in environmental conditions due to economic and technological developments. These changes in conditions exceed the threshold of ecosystem tolerance thereby increasing the amount of pollutants in the environment.

Factors that cause environmental pollution include an increase in population and uncontrolled exploitation of nature, as well as industrialization that is not managed properly.

In addition, environmental pollution in fact can also be caused by natural processes themselves. Check out a more complete explanation about environmental pollution below, Sinaumed’s!

Definition of Environmental Pollution

  • Degradable , namely pollutants that can be broken down again or can be reduced to a level that is acceptable by natural processes. Examples are human or animal waste and plant waste.
  • Non-Degradable , namely pollutants that cannot be broken down by the ability of natural processes themselves. For example mercury, lead, arsenic, and others.

Environmental pollution is caused by various factors. However, the biggest factor was people. Consciously or not, we have contributed to the process of environmental pollution. Starting from the uncontrolled increase in population, the many sources of pollution substances so that nature is unable to neutralize them.

In addition, there are also many daily activities that unknowingly become a factor in environmental damage, including:

  • Massive use of plastic bags
  • Disposal of garbage and detergent waste into rivers,
  • Excessive use of air conditioning
  • Disposal of e-waste that is not in accordance with the rules,
  • forest burning,
  • The use of private vehicles causes more pollution,
  • Disposal of factory waste or sewage into rivers,
  • Deforestation causes forests to be unable to absorb more carbon dioxide, and so on.

With so many causes of environmental pollution, it also produces various impacts on the existing environment and this is analyzed in the book Analysis on Environmental Impact (Amdal).


Kinds and Distribution of Environmental Pollution

Here are some types of environmental pollution and their impacts.

1. Air Pollution

Air pollutants can be in the form of gases and particles. Examples are as follows: HzS gas. This gas is toxic, found in volcanic areas, can also be produced from burning petroleum and coal. CO and COz gases. Carbon monoxide (CO) is colorless and odorless, is toxic, is a hash of incomplete combustion of car exhaust and explosive engines. COZ gas in pure air is 0.03%. If it exceeds tolerance it can interfere with breathing, other sources of air pollution are:

  • Carbon oxides: carbon monoxide (CO) and (CO2). CO2 gas is a gas produced from the breathing process of living things, the decay of organic matter and weathering of rocks. When this gas in the atmosphere increases, it will cause an increase in the temperature of the earth.
  • Sulfur oxides: SO and (SO3). This sulfur dioxide gas comes from factories that use sulfur and results from burning fossils. This gas when reacted with water will form an acidic compound. If these compounds fall together with rain, then there will be acid rain.
  • Nitrogen oxygen: NO, (NO2), N2O. Nitrogen gas is needed by living things as a material to build protein. If this gas reacts with water it will form an acidic compound.
  • Volatile organic components: methane (CH4), benzene (C6h6), chlorofluoro carbon (CFC), and bromine groups. CFCs are often used as refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerators. In addition, CFCs are also used for hair sprayers and mosquito sprayers. CFCs are very dangerous because they can damage the ozone layer in the atmosphere. As a result, the earth’s protection from ultraviolet radiation will be reduced.
  • Particle suspension: soil dust, dioxins, metals, sulfuric acid, etc
  • Radioactive substances: radon-222, iodine-131. strontium-90, plutonium-239, and others
  • Sound: motor vehicles, industrial machinery, aircraft, and others

The impact of air pollution itself is acid rain, extreme weather changes, ozone depletion, increased cases of eye damage to skin cancer. Therefore, it is very important to overcome this air pollution, where air is a basic human need. As a form of contribution to scientific work in finding the right solution, you can learn more about the book Chemical Waste in Air & Water Pollution.


2. Water Pollution

Water pollution can be caused by several types of contaminants as follows: Disposal of industrial waste, insecticide residues, and domestic waste disposal, for example, detergent residues contaminate water. Industrial wastes such as Pb, Hg, Zn, and CO, can accumulate and are toxic. When there is pollution in water, contaminants accumulate in the bodies of aquatic organisms. The accumulation of these pollutants increases in larger predatory organisms. Other sources are:

  • Inorganic Materials: Lead (Pb), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and cobalt (Co)
  • Chemicals: Textile dyes, pesticides, and others
  • Organic Material: In the form of waste that can be broken down by microbes which will trigger an increase in the population of microorganisms in the water
  • Oily Liquid
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The impact: Media for the spread of disease, Increase in algae and water hyacinth, Reducing oxygen levels in the water to the point of disturbing organisms in the waters, Disturbing breathing due to a pungent odor

The disposal of waste containing hazardous chemicals can damage the surrounding environment if not managed carefully which is discussed in the Environmental Pollution book.


3. Soil Pollution

Soil pollution Soil contamination is caused by the following types of pollution: Plastic waste that is difficult to decompose, bottles, synthetic rubber, broken glass, and cans. Detergents that are non-biodegradable (naturally difficult to decompose). Chemicals from agricultural waste, such as insecticides. Other sources:

  • Metal materials: manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), aluminum (Al), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), zinc (Zn). asenic (As), and others
  • Organic chemicals: pesticides (insecticides, herbicides and fungicides), detergents and soaps
  • Inorganic fertilizer ingredients: urea, TSP, ammonium sulfate, and KCL
  • Radioactive substance

Impact: Agriculture, such as increasing soil salinity and decreasing soil fertility Natural disasters, such as landslides and erosion to blockage of waterways

4. Noise Pollution

Noise pollution is caused by the noise of motorized vehicles, airplanes, the roar of factory machines, radios/tape recorders that sound so loud that it can interfere with hearing. There was once a case of residents feeling disturbed by the sound of the boiler engine belonging to a palm oil factory.

Every day they couldn’t sleep well, especially the children because of the noise from the machine. According to WHO, the level of pollution is based on the levels of contaminants and the time (duration) of contact. Sources of noise pollution include:

  • Slow conversation (20 – 30 dB)
  • Radio (50 – 6- dB)
  • Lawn mower (60 – 80 dB)
  • Traffic (60 – 90 dB)
  • Trucks (90 – 100 dB)
  • Motorized vehicles (105 dB)
  • Airplanes (90 – 120 dB)
  • Music / music beats: 120 dB
  • Jet engines: 140 dB
  • Rocket (140 – 179 dB)

The level of pollution itself is divided into 3, namely:

  • Pollution that begins to cause mild irritation (disturbance) to the senses and the body and has caused damage to other ecosystems. Eg motor vehicle exhaust gases that cause eye discomfort.
  • Pollution that has caused a reaction in the body’s physiology and causes chronic pain. For example, Hg (mercury) pollution in Minamata, Japan, which causes cancer and birth defects.
  • Pollution whose levels of pollutant substances are so high as to cause disturbance and illness or death in the environment. For example nuclear pollution.

You can study various impacts from other environmental pollution that can occur through the book The Impact of Environmental Pollution by Wisnu Arya Wardhana, Ir.

Examples of Environmental Pollution Cases

Methyl mercury enters the body of marine organisms either directly from the water or following the food chain. Then it reaches a high concentration in shellfish meat, crustaceans and fish which are daily consumption for the Minamata people. Due to the processes of bioaccumulation and biomagnification, the concentration of mercury in the hair of several patients at the Minamata Hospital reached more than 500 ppm.

At that time, at least 50,000 affected people and more than 2,000 cases of Minamata disease were certified. The Minamata people who consumed the contaminated seafood were identified as suffering from neurological diseases, were paralyzed, lost their sense of taste, spoke inconsequentially, and many even died.

In Indonesia, a serious case of mercury contamination was exposed in Buyat Bay, North Sulawesi in 2004. The gold mining company PT Newmont Minahasa Raya, which operates in the Buyat Bay area, is suspected of dumping its tailings into the bottom of Minahasa Bay, causing environmental problems. and serious public health. A number of fish died suddenly and the disappearance of several types of fish.

Mercury or also known as mercury can cause various dangers and death to living things. The book Mercury and Its Existence is present as additional material and understanding for its readers.

In addition, it was found that a number of fish had lumps similar to tumors and contained thick black liquid and golden yellow mucus. The same phenomenon was also found in a number of Buyat residents, where they had lumps on their necks, breasts, calves, wrists, buttocks and heads. WALHI research results (2004) found that a number of heavy metal concentrations (arsenic, mercury, antimony, manganese) and cyanide compounds in sediments in Buyat Bay were already high.

When compared to heavy metal concentrations prior to tailings disposal (data from the Environmental Impact Analysis/AMDAL study, 1994), the concentration of mercury in the area near the mouth of the tailings pipe in Buyat Bay increased up to 10 times (data from WALHI and KLH, 2004).

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Impact of Environmental Pollution

The more pronounced impact of environmental pollution today is global warming. Where the earth’s temperature increases which causes some ice at the north pole to melt and sea level rise.

Bioconcentration is also one of the impacts that will result from environmental pollution.

This liver concentration process can be interpreted as an increase in the levels of pollutants that pass through the bodies of certain living things. This biological concentration is also known as amnalgamation. As an example to illustrate this case is a water that has been polluted, then the pollutant in the water will stick to the algae that live in the water area.

When algae are eaten by small fish, the small fish will be contaminated with contaminants. When the small fish are eaten by the big fish, the big fish will also contain various contaminants that are owned by the small fish. And when large fish are caught by fishermen and eaten by humans, these bacteria or pollutants will enter the human body through these large fish.

When humans consume some food in the form of animals or plants that have been contaminated with contaminants, all bad possibilities can occur. Some of the bad possibilities of consuming contaminated food ingredients are poisoning or death. George Tyler Miller (1979) in his book entitled Living in The Environment explains that the effects of environmental pollution on life are grouped into 6 levels. The levels are as follows.

  • Grade 1: Aesthetic disturbances, eg odor
  • Grade 2: Property damage, eg rusting of metal materials
  • Grade 3: Disturbance to plants/animals, for example reduction in agricultural yields
  • Grade 4: Disturbance to human health, eg respiratory disease
  • Grade 5: Genetic damage and human reproduction
  • Tier 6: Disruption to widespread ecosystems, eg global climate change


Ways to Overcome Environmental Pollution

1. Administrative Handling

Administrative management of environmental pollution is the duty of the government, namely by making regulations or laws. Several regulations have been issued, including the following:

  • Factories may not produce products (goods) that can pollute the environment. For example, manufacturers of refrigerators, air conditioners and sprayers must not produce products that use CFC gas, which can cause depletion and holes in the ozone layer in the stratosphere.
  • Industry must have waste treatment units (solid, liquid and gas) so that the waste discharged into the environment is free from substances that are harmful to the environment.
  • Disposal of waste from factories must be carried out in certain places far from settlements.
  • Prior to the construction of factories or industrial projects, an environmental impact analysis (AM-DAL) must be carried out.
  • The government issued an environmental quality book, meaning a standard for determining the quality of an environment. For the water environment, water quality standards are determined, while for the air environment, air quality standards are determined. In the water quality book, among other things, limits on the levels of heavy metal pollutant substances, such as phosphorus and mercury, are listed. In the air quality book, among other things, limits on the levels of pollutant substances, such as CO2 and CO, are listed. The government will impose sanctions on factories that produce waste with pollutant materials that exceed quality standards.

2. Technological Countermeasures

Technological control of environmental pollution, for example using equipment to treat waste or waste. In Surabaya there is a place where the final incineration of waste is carried out with a very high temperature so that no smoke is emitted. This place is called an incinerator.

3. Educative Management

Educative prevention of pollution is carried out through both formal and non-formal education channels. Through formal education, environmental knowledge is incorporated into related subjects, for example science and religious education. Through non-formal education, counseling is carried out to the public about the importance of environmental preservation and the prevention and control of environmental pollution.

4. Management of Environmental Pollution Based on Law

If based on Law Number 32 of 2009 concerning the Environment itself, it is known that efforts to deal with environmental pollution problems are as follows:

  • Regulating industrial waste disposal system
  • Placement of industrial areas separate and far from residential areas, Supervision of the use of chemicals, such as pesticides and insecticides,
  • do greenery,
  • Giving strict sanctions to the perpetrators of environmental pollution, to
  • Environmental education counseling to increase public awareness of environmental pollution

This is an explanation of environmental pollution starting from the definition, types, examples of cases to its handling. Hope it’s useful!