Types and Causes of Pollution

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For decades our environment has been deteriorating due to all of the pollution around us. There are many different types of pollution. It affects us as humans, our living organisms, and our planet itself. Pollution is the cause of climate change and the reason many animal species have gone extinct because their habitats are being ruined by pollution. The pollution in our air is the main aspect of climate change, due to the fossil fuels causing our atmosphere to increase in temperature. If we do not act fast and begin working to clean up our environment we are putting not only animals in danger but the health of people as well. We are the ones causing the pollution we need to be the ones to try to correct our mistakes.

One of our biggest issues with pollution is in our oceans, a lot of pollutants collect in our oceans creating many issues for our sea life. Common man-made pollutants that reach the ocean include pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, detergents, oil, industrial chemicals and sewage. Many of these pollutants are released into the environment far upstream from the coastlines. Nutrient-packed fertilizers, for example, often end up in local streams and are eventually deposited into estuaries and bays. These excess nutrients trigger massive blooms of algae that rob the water of oxygen, leaving dead zones where few marine organisms can not live. Not only are these chemical spills affecting our marine life but there is light pollution in the ocean that can also affect fish living in shallow reefs, the artificial light can disrupt normal cues like timing of migration, feeding and reproducing. Ocean pollution not only poses danger to sea life but humans as well. When small organisms consume microplastics the toxic chemicals become part of their tissues. The microplastics then migrate up the food chain eventually becoming part of the food we as humans consume. Prior to 1972 humans world wide disposed of their trash, sewage and radioactive wastes into our oceans, millions of tons of garbage were tossed into our oceans without a second thought. To this day our oceans are still flooded with landfill.

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Air pollution is a mix of particles that can make harmful concentrations outside and indoors. Some air pollutants such as smoke, mold and carbon dioxide can be very dangerous for our environment as well as humans. Pollution in the air can give a better chance to contract respiratory disease as well as increasing the temperature of our atmosphere. Indoor smoke is an ongoing health threat to the 3 billion people who cook and heat their homes by burning biomass, kerosene, and coal. Although poor air conditions indoors are dangerous, world wide poor outdoor air has caused 4.2 million premature deaths just in 2016. Nearly 134 million people are at risk of disease and premature death due to air pollution. In the United States the air quality has quickly declined over time with studies showing there are 15% more days with unhealthy air in the country in 2017 and 2018 compared to 2013 to 2016’s averages. Humans in our time have added enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the past 150 years to raise its levels higher than they have been for hundreds of thousands of years. To avoid global warming there is much that could be done such as replacing gasoline fueled cars with electric cars. Even small things like walking places or taking the bus to reduce the amount of smoke being pumped into our air which in the end makes a difference.

Animals are affected by pollution due to destruction of the ozone and global warming conditions that not only have an affect on animals but makes their whole habitat endangered. An unfit habitat creates many challenges for animals to live properly and be able to reproduce and thrive to their fullest. After the Exxon Valdez oil spill that happened over 2 decades ago in the Gulf of Alaska, there were over 100,000 seabirds that died as well as 1,000 sea otters that died due to the pollution in the ocean. Pollution in our oceans are not the only things hurting animals, pollution in the air affects animals similar to how it affects humans. Exposure to air pollution can affect the animals lungs and cardiovascular systems as well. Air pollutants can poison wildlife through the disruption of endocrine function, organ injury, increased vulnerability to stresses and diseases, lower reproductive success, and possible death. Littering is also a great danger to animals, if consuming garbage it can be very bad even fatal to animals if they consume broken glass or a rusted nail. Animals can easily choke on plastics which can cause choking and kill the animal. With littering the garbage can poison soil, if animals injust plants that have had soil contamination it can make them very sick and could even cause serious disease.

Our society needs to work harder to keep pollution out of our oceans, off our grounds and try to reduce the amount in our air. We cannot afford to continue on the way we have been for years upon years. Our animals are in danger, our environment is in danger, our whole planet is in danger. Pollution surrounds us, every little way to reduce how much is produced counts. If we do not take action our resources will continue to vanish at rapid rates. Studies show that climate change is threatening water resources for 1.9 billion people, soon enough those numbers will continue to grow if we don’t take action. Animals, humans and our planet are suffering due to our actions, we need to be the ones to save our planet.


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