What is Pollution?• Any undesired change that affects the Earth’s natural resources• Negative impact on humans and other organisms
Why is Pollution Important?• Introduces chemicals or biological materials that harm humans and other living organisms• One of the main problems that humans face today• Makes up 25-30% of the AP Environmental Science Test
Sources of Air Pollution• Primary air pollutants • Pollutants that are produced by the polluter or process • E.g. volcanic eruption, carbon monoxide from motor vehicle exhaust• Secondary air pollutants • Pollutants that are produced when a chemical reacts with other particles in the air • Indirect • E.g. ground level ozone (makes up photochemical smog)
Major Air Pollutants• Criteria Air Pollutants • Six major pollutants under the US Clean Air Act • Identified as causing serious degradation of land and water resources1. Carbon Monoxide (CO)2. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)3. Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)4. Particulate Matter5. Ozone6. Lead
CAP1: Carbon Monoxide• Colorless, odorless gas• Very poisonous• Created by incomplete combustion of fuel• Major source is exhaust from vehicles• Most common type of fatal air poisoning in many countries• Symptoms of CO poisoning include: • Headache • Nausea • Vomiting • Dizziness • Fatigue
CAP2: Sulfur Dioxide• Produced by volcanoes and industrial processes• Produced by combustion of coal and petroleum• Causes acid rain by forming H2SO4 (Sulfuric acid)• Associated with respiratory disease and difficulty in breathing
CAP3: Nitrogen Dioxide• Produced during thunderstorms and electrical discharge• Appears as a reddish-brown toxic gas• One of the most prominent air pollutants• Long term exposure decreases lung function and increases respiratory symptoms• Major sources are internal combustion engines and power stations
CAP4: Particulate Matter• Tiny particles of solid or liquid suspended in gas• Possible sources: • Volcanoes • Dust storms • Forest fires • Sea spray • Combustion of fossil fuels• Anthropogenic aerosols contribute to 10% of total aerosols in the atmosphere• Linked to heart disease and lung cancer
CAP5: Ozone (Ground Level)• Formed from Nitrogen oxides and Volatile Organic compounds (VOCs)• Major sources are from human combustion of fossil fuels• Constituent of smog• Human health problems: • Irritates respiratory systems • Reduces lung function • Aggravates asthma
CAP6: Lead• Extracted along with zinc and silver ore• Half of all lead is produced from recycled scrap• Found in fish in lakes across the United States at dangerous levels• Lead paint was commonly used in the past• Health Problems: • Main target is the nervous system • Nephropathy (damage of kidney) • Reduced fertility in males
Measurement Units• There are several units of measurement for pollution.• We will be covering the ones in the book.• Parts-per notation (ppm, ppb, ppt) • Unit of concentration • Quantity per quantity measure • Scale of Reference: • One ppt is one-twentieth of a drop of water in an Olympic-sized Swimming pool
Measurements Units (cont.) • Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) • Requires manufacturing facilities to report annual releases of more than 650 toxic materials • Rates toxic materials on a scale of 0 to 1 • Air Quality Index (AQI) • Used to quantify the quality of air at a certain location 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 + Moderate (4- Very highRisk: Low (1-3) High (7-10) 6) (above 10)
Smog• Smog – collection of noxious gaseous chemicals that results from air pollution• Causes are mining operations, smelters, and power plants• Reduces visibility • Grand Canyon – visibility used to be 300 km, now it is 20 km• Haze blob – 3000 km wide blob of haze that covers east US in the summer
Acid Deposition• Pollutants can by transported long distances by air currents • Far-reaching ecological effects
A Quick Introduction to the pHScale• Scale from 0 to 14• <7 = acidic• >7 = basic• 7 = neutral (distilled water)• Related to the concentration of hydrogen ions• Acids have high concentration of H+• Bases have high concentration of OH-
How does pH affect organisms?• pH of bodily fluids is tightly regulated by acid-base homeostasis• Physiological pH (natural pH of blood) = 7.4• Enzymes and other proteins • Optimal range• To the right: Hydrangea macrophylla • Blooms can vary from blue to pink, depending on pH • Affects uptake of aluminum from soil
Aquatic Effects• Most common acids that affect aquatic environments are H2SO4 and HNO3• Eggs of several species of fish can not survive in pH below 5.0 • Adult fish can die at this pH as well• Most sensitive fish are trout, salmon, and other game fish• 2/3 of acid deposition in North America and Europe comes from sulfates – the other 1/3 comes from nitrates
Forest Damage• Spruce-fir forests in North Carolina showed a decline in seedling production, tree density, and viability• Forest soils in New Hampshire have been depleted of natural buffering reserves of cations such as calcium and magnesium• Main cause of plant mortality • Replacement of normal cations with hydrogen and aluminum ions
Heat Islands• Heat island effect - Temperature in urban areas is higher than surrounding rural areas• Factors: • Sparse vegetation • Concrete and glass • Heat absorption• Typically 3-5 degrees Celsius hotter than rural areas• Air masses concentrate pollutants in a “dust dome”
Temperature Inversions• Temperature inversion: Stable layer of warmer air overlays cooler air• Prevents convection currents from dispersing pollutants• Cold front slides under adjacent warmer air mass• Cool air subsides down a mountain slope to displace warmer air• Winds tend to break up these inversions, so they are not stable• Los Angeles is a classic example of thermal inversions and smog • Morning-sunlight is absorbed by aerosols and chemicals in inversion layer • Brews up toxic chemicals • Evening – convection currents break down inversion, pollutants carried back to surface
Indoor Air Pollution• EPA – found that concentrations of toxic pollutants are higher indoors than outdoors• People spend more time inside than outside• Most important air pollutant: smoking • Cause of more than 400,000 deaths each year • Total costs are $100 billions each year• Examples: • Chloroform, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, formaldehyde, styrene• Less developed countries – organic fuels such as firewood + poor ventilation = greatest source of indoor air pollution • Women and children exposed to carbon monoxide, particulates, aldehydes
Remediation• From “The Restoration Glossary” Handout – Table 13.1, Page 279 • “Remediation – to clean chemical contaminants from a polluted area using relatively mild or nondestructive methods.” • Uses chemical, physical, and biological methods to remove pollution • The intent is to cause as little disruption as possible
Reduction Strategies• Particulate Control • Electrostatic precipitators• Scrubbers • Removes gases from industrial exhaust streams • Removes VOC’s, NOX• Catalytic Converter in car removes VOCs
Clean Air Act• Established seven conventional or criteria pollutants• Maximum ambient air levels are mandated• These are the ones we have seen before • Give a fact about each of these CAPs. • Carbon Monoxide • Sulfur Dioxide • Nitrogen Oxide • Particulates • Ozone Lead
Clean Air Act: Controversy• AP Test might ask you to weigh the benefits and costs of the Clean Air Act Victims of Industry• First national legislation in the Air Special United States aimed at air pollution Pollution Interest control groups• Most contested aspect: “new source review” • Environmentalists support • Grandfather in existing equipment cap-and-trade and exempt them • However, it has led to • Result: corporations did nothing local hotspots• Clinton administration tried to make • Many believe that carbon industries enforce modern pollution dioxide should be classified limits; Bush reversed this decision as a pollutant because of its role in global warming
Other Relevant Laws• Montreal Project/Montreal Protocol • Phase out of ozone depleting products • Banned aerosols, phased out CFCs – chlorofluorocarbons• Pollution Prevention Act • Reduces generation of pollutants
Noise pollution• Noise pollution is the excessive production of sound which may disrupt the usual balance of life.• Major producers are construction sites, motor vehicles, airplanes, as well as trains.• This could also be attributed to poor planning on the part of the city, if an industrial site, or interstate, is next to a residential district, then it is safe to assume that there will be a lot of noise.
Effects• Can cause loss of hearing among both animals and humans.• Can cause high levels of stress among humans, which could lead to high blood pressure.• Animals can also be frightened away from their usual path, therefore it can affect their breeding habits, hunting routes, which can lead to a diminishing predator prey relationship.
Noise Mitigation• Restrictions have been placed on how low a plane may fly, and the routes that they may take.• Car engines have been made quieter, and many highways have had barriers erected to diminish the effect of the highway from surrounding homes.• There has also been the production of soundproofing in the walls of buildings and in the architectural design of the buildings as well.
Vocab• red tide• cultural eutrophication• thermal plume• TMDL- Total Maximum Daily Loads• Primary Treatment• Secondary Treatment• Tertiary treatment• effluent sewerage• BPT- Best Practicable Control Technology• BAT- Best Available, Economically Achievable Technology
Types• Infectious agents- when there are bacteria, viruses, or parasites in the water that could potentially make a population sick. Usually caused by human or animal waste.• Organic chemicals- Oils, plastics and other materials that we have created from natural components. Could be poisonous. Comes from industrial, household, and farm waste.• Inorganic chemicals- Acids, salts, and metals, etc. These can be ingested by the body and cause an infection, and can be poisonous. Caused by surface runoff, cleaning agents, and acidic chemicals.
Types• Radioactive materials- Uranium, thorium, iodine, and radon. Can cause diseases such as different types of cancer, birth defects. Caused by the mining of ores, nuclear power plants, as well as weapons.• Sediments- Soil and Silt. Caused by the erosion of surrounding land.• Plant nutrients- Nitrates, phosphates, and ammonium. Caused by fertilizers, sewage, and manures.• Oxygen demanding plants- Manure, and plant residues. Can cause a lower DO content. Caused by sewage, paper mills, agricultural runoff, and food processing.• Thermal- Disrupts the range of tolerance. Caused by power plants, and industrial cooling.
Causes and Effects• Over 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean, healthy drinking water.• Millions of people die each year from diarrhea, and parasites within their bodies.• Coliform, E. coli, and Salmonella can also be contracted from polluted drinking water.
Causes and Effects• Lower DO content can lead to fish populations dying, therefore the food source for possibly thousands of people could diminish.• The area immediately affected by the pollution causing the over use of oxygen is called the Oxygen Sag, once into the recovery zone, the DO content will pick back up again.
Cultural Eutrophication• Cultural Eutrophication is when the amount of nutrients in the surrounding area begin to increase in the surrounding number of organisms.• The problem with this is that it could cause something like an algae bloom, which decreases the amount of oxygen in the water, therefore depriving organisms that require higher levels of oxygen, what they need to survive.
Groundwater Pollution• The main problem is that groundwater is hard to monitor as well as maintain.• Half of the population of the US relies on aquifers for their drinking water, this means that if that water is polluted, many people could become sick, and we would not know it right away.• Main causes of this pollution are industrial waste, surface runoff, leaking storage tanks, pesticides, and leaking septic tanks.• The Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Water Quality and Purification• The cheapest and easiest way to reduce water pollution is to reduce the number of sources of the pollution.• Land management is one way to reduce the risk of a nonpoint source.• Another way is to treat our sewage.• Purification of the water is also another way to to increase water quality.
Sewage Treatment• The first step in sewage treatment is Primary treatment which is the removal of large solid objects from the sewage. Then removes the smaller solids from the sewage in the grit tank.• Secondary treatment is the removal of dissolved organic compounds. Sludge is removed, and recycled. Most sludge, however, is disposed of in a landfill which proves to be an expensive cost to the system.• Tertiary treatment is the removal of plant nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphates. Many areas use chemicals to remove the nutrients however some states are beginning to use UV light to remove the nutrients.
Legislation• Clean Water Act- was meant to restore and maintain the integrity of our Nations waters.• Over 500 sections, including urban runoff, and wetland drainage.• "Fishable and Swimable" conditions• Over $182 billion were given to sewage treatment plants across the nation.• Most of that money was given by cities and states after the federal government initiated unfunded mandates, which required for the states to pay for most of the restoration.
Legislation• Federal water pollution control act• Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries act• Ports and waterways safety act• Safe drinking water act• Resource conservation and recovery act• toxic substances and control act• comprehensive environmental response, compensation, and liability act• London dumping convention
Solid Waste-Types• Household Waste • Also known as municipal waste • Generated from residential and commercial complexes • Four broad categories: • Organic waste • Vegetables, leaves, etc. • Toxic waste • Paints, fertilizers • Recyclable • Paper, glass • Soiled • Cloth soiled with bodily fluids e.g. blood
Solid Waste-Types• Industrial Waste • Contains toxic substances • Factory waste contaminated by chemicals • Formaldehyde, phenols, mercury • Major industry contributors of waste: • Metal, chemical, paper, refining, rubber goods
Solid Waste-Types• Biomedical Waste • Sharps, soiled waste, disposables, anatomical waste • Highly infectious; can be a threat to human health
Solid Waste - Disposal• Several methods of disposal• Landfill • Burying waste • Common practice in most countries • Unused quarries, or abandoned mining voids• Incineration • Solid organic wastes are combusted into residue and gaseous products • Reduces volume to about 1/5-1/3 • High emission of pollutants• Recycling • Collection and reuse of waste materials • Materials are reprocessed into new products • Most common recycled products are aluminum cans and copper wire
Solid Waste Reduction• Integrated Waste Management • Source Reduction • Design and manufacture of products to reduce amount of trash generated • Recycling • Composting-diverts organic wastes from disposal facilities • Waste Combustion and Landfilling • Reduces bulk of waste, but causes harmful emissions • Can be reduced by promoting wise use and reuse of resources• Reduce, Reuse, Recycle • Reduce the amount of trash discarded • Reuse containers and products • Use recycled materials, and compost