With the coming of the Industrial Revolution, humans were able to advance further into the 21st century. Technology developed rapidly, science became more advanced, and the manufacturing age came into view. With all of these comes one more effect: industrial pollution. Earlier, industries were small factories that produced smoke as the primary pollutant.
However, since the number of factories was limited and worked only a certain number of hours a day, the levels of pollution did not grow significantly. But when these factories became full-scale industries and manufacturing units, the issue of industrial pollution started to take on more importance.
What is industrial pollution?
Industrial pollution is the pollution caused by the industry. Together with the industrial revolution, more factories and technologies were developed, which caused a lot of air, land, and water pollution on our planet. This kind of pollution is one of the worst because the smoke that the industry emits in the air contributes a lot to ozone depletion, health problems to both animals and humans, and global warming.
Furthermore, the waste from these industries is being thrown on land and water, which causes a lot of health problems as well for both animals and plants. These industrial pollutants release a lot of harmful and unnatural chemicals into both soil and water, which eventually lead to the extinction of some plant and animal species.
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
~ Aldo Leopold
Any form of pollution that can trace its immediate source to industrial practices is known as industrial pollution. Most of the pollution on the planet can be traced back to industries of some kind.
In fact, the issue of industrial pollution has taken on grave importance for agencies trying to fight against environmental degradation.
Countries facing sudden and rapid growth of such industries are finding it to be a serious problem that has to be brought under control immediately.
Industrial pollution takes on many faces. It contaminates several sources of drinking water, releases unwanted toxins into the air and reduces the quality of soil all over the world.
Major environmental disasters have been caused due to industrial mishaps, which have yet to be brought under control. Below are a few of the causes of industrial pollution that have resulted in environmental degradation.
Industrial Pollution Facts
Industrial pollution is wreaking havoc on the Earth. Every nation is affected, and there are people who are working tirelessly to increase awareness and advocate for change. The activities causing pollution include:
- Burning coal
- Burning fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, and petroleum
- Chemical solvents used in dyeing and tanning industries
- Untreated gas and liquid waste being released into the environment
- Improper disposal of radioactive material
Causes of Industrial Pollution
1. Lack of Policies to Control Pollution
Lack of effective policies and poor enforcement drive allowed many industries to bypass laws made by the pollution control board, which resulted in mass-scale pollution that affected the lives of many people.
2. Unplanned Industrial Growth
In most industrial townships, unplanned growth took place wherein those companies flouted rules and norms and polluted the environment with both air and water pollution.
3. Use of Outdated Technologies
Most industries still rely on old technologies to produce products that generate a large amount of waste. To avoid high costs and expenditure, many companies still make use of traditional technologies to produce high-end products.
4. Presence of a Large Number of Small Scale Industries
Many small-scale industries and factories that don’t have enough capital and rely on government grants to run their day-to-day businesses often escape environmental regulations and release a large number of toxic gases into the atmosphere.
5. Inefficient Waste Disposal
Water pollution and soil pollution are often caused directly by inefficiency in the disposal of waste. Long-term exposure to polluted air and water causes chronic health problems, making the issue of industrial pollution a severe one. It also lowers the air quality in surrounding areas, which causes many respiratory disorders.
6. Leaching of Resources From Our Natural World
Raw materials are required in large quantities by industries in order to produce finished goods. This requires the extraction of minerals from beneath the earth. The extracted minerals can cause soil pollution when spilled on the earth. Leaks from vessels can cause oil spills that may prove harmful to marine life.
7. Natural Resource Use
Raw materials are a must for industries, which often requires them to pull out underground elements. One of the most common forms of leaching from natural resources is fracking for oil.
When industries extract minerals, the process causes soil pollution and also causes oil leaks and spills that are harmful and even deadly to people and animals.
Effects of Industrial Pollution on Our Environment
1. Water Pollution
The effects of industrial pollution are far-reaching and liable to affect the ecosystem for many years to come. Most industries require large amounts of water for their work. When involved in a series of processes, the water comes into contact with heavy metals, harmful chemicals, radioactive waste, and even organic sludge.
These are either dumped into open oceans or rivers. As a result, many of our water sources have a high amount of industrial waste in them, which seriously impacts the health of our ecosystem. The same water is then used by farmers for irrigation purposes, which affects the quality of food that is produced.
Water pollution has already rendered many groundwater resources useless for humans and wildlife. It can, at best, be recycled for further usage in industries.
2. Soil Pollution
Soil pollution is creating problems in agriculture and destroying local vegetation. It also causes chronic health issues for the people that come into contact with such soil on a daily basis.
3. Air Pollution
Air pollution has led to a steep increase in various illnesses, and it continues to affect us on a daily basis. With so many small, mid-sized and large-scale industries coming up, air pollution has taken a toll on the health of the people and the environment.
4. Wildlife Extinction
By and large, the issue of industrial pollution shows us that it causes natural rhythms and patterns to fail, meaning that the wildlife is being affected in a severe manner. Habitats are being lost, species are becoming extinct, and it is getting harder for the environment to recover from each natural disaster.
Major industrial accidents like oil spills, fires, the leakage of radioactive materials and damage to property are harder to clean up as they have a higher impact in a shorter timeframe.
5. Global Warming
With the rise in industrial pollution, global warming has been increasing at a steady pace. Smoke and greenhouse gases are being released into the air by industries, which is causing an increase in global warming.
Melting of glaciers; extinction of polar bears; floods; tsunamis; and hurricanes are a few of the effects of global warming.
6. Biodiversity Loss
Industrial pollution continues to cause significant damage to the earth and all of its inhabitants due to chemical wastes, pesticides, radioactive materials, etc. It affects wildlife and ecosystems and disrupts natural habitats. Animals are becoming extinct, and habitats are being destroyed.
The growing amount of liquid, solid and hazardous wastes endangers ecosystem health and jeopardizes food, water, and health security. Industrial pollution disasters, including oil spills and radioactive leakage, take years to decades to clean up.
7. Atmospheric Deposition
Cadmium enrichment of soil can also be associated with industrial pollution. Topsoils contaminated by mine spoil showed a wide range of Cd concentrations.
Industrial effluents are commonly discharged to surface water drainage systems after clarification in tailing ponds. Recent investigations have disclosed very high concentrations of Cd in the overbank and bottom sediments of the rivers.
Ways to Control or Reduce Industrial Pollution
The issue of industrial pollution is critical to every nation on the planet. With the increase in the harmful effects of industrial pollution, there are many agencies and individuals who are working to reduce carbon footprints and live and work in an eco-friendly way.
However, industrial pollution is still rampant and will take many years to properly control and regulate. Many steps can be taken to seek permanent solutions to the problem.
1. Source Control
Adopting new technology, efficient training of employees for safe use, and development of better technology for disposal of waste, and being more conscientious about the use of raw materials can help control industrial pollution at the source.
Recycling as much polluted water in the industries as possible by increased recycling efforts to reduce industrial pollution.
3. Cleaning of Resources
Organic methods should be adopted to clean the water and soil, such as using microbes that use heavy metals and waste as feed naturally. Cooling rooms or bins need to be developed that allow industries to recycle the water they need instead of pushing it back into the natural water source it came from.
4. Industry Site Selection
Consideration of the location of the sites and the potential impact on the surrounding environment can help reduce harmful consequences.
5. Proper Treatment of Industrial Waste
By developing and implementing adequate treatment facilities for handling industrial waste and proper habits can reduce pollution.
6. Rebuilding Habitats and Afforestation
Rebuilding habitats by planting more trees and plants can help give wildlife back their homes, and the trees can help purify the air with enough oxygen and act as a buffer against the environment.
7. Stricter Laws and Enforcement
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works to correct the damage from industrial pollution. There should be more stringent rules to take action against companies who do not follow proper protocol and more significant rewards for companies that operate properly. It requires creating policies that prevent the misuse of land.
8. Regular Environmental Impact Assessments
Being a responsible company or industry should require regular environmental impact assessments that are reported for evaluation. If there are harmful impacts discovered during the review, necessary actions to correct the negative consequences should be developed and enforced.
How do industries pollute the environment?
Industries pollute the environment by releasing their toxic waste into bodies of water, land, and air. Industries manufacture most of their products in factories. The factories release toxic smoke into the air, which pollutes our environment.
The smoke contains chemicals that are unnatural and toxic for the environment, as well as gases that are harmful to the atmosphere. With that, animals, plants, and humans may inhale the smoke from the factories, which could lead to health complications or worse death. Other than that, other gases are causing the depletion of the ozone layer, which contributes to global warming.
On the other hand, industries also use water for their manufacturing. The excess water used by factories is being dumped or released again into open oceans or rivers. The toxic chemicals that go along with the dumped factory excess water could reach aquatic animals and harm them.
Other than that, the water is also being processed again for commercial use, which could affect plants, animals, and humans as they consume it, or the water is being used for irrigation. With that, the water cycle of the environment is being severely disrupted and harmed, making some sources useless for consumption.
Furthermore, industries pollute the environment by throwing their liquid and solid waste on land. The waste causes soil pollution, which leads to agricultural problems as well as chronic health issues for humans and animals.
Lastly, industries pollute the environment, which leads to the extinction of some animal and plant species. Due to the accumulative effects of industrial pollution, the environment is continuously being affected by its disruption, affecting its natural system.
A lot of soil is becoming inhabitable for plants; global warming is becoming so severe that even glaciers are melting and polar bears are losing their home; more natural disasters are happening and are not being controlled by nature anymore; and animals are continuously losing their homes.