14.1 Environmental Pollution

Environmental pollution is the effect of undesirable changes in our surroundings that have harmful effects on plants, animals and human beings.

A substance, which causes pollution, is known as pollutant. Pollutants can be solid, liquid or gaseous substances present in greater concentration than in natural abundance and are produced due to human activities or due to natural happenings.

Do you know, an average human being requires nearly 12-15 times more air than the food. So, even small amounts of pollutants in the air become significant compared to similar levels present in the food. Pollutants can be degradable, like discarded vegetables which rapidly break down by natural processes.

On the other hand, pollutants which are slowly degradable, remain in the environment in an unchanged form for many decades. For example, substances such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), plastic materials, heavy metals, many chemicals, nuclear wastes etc., once released into the environment are difficult to remove.

These pollutants cannot be degraded by natural processes and are harmful to living organisms. In the process of environmental pollution, pollutants originate from a source and get transported by air or water or are dumped into the soil by human beings.

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