What is Industrial Pollution?

With the coming of the Industrial Revolution, humans were able to advance further into the 21st century. Technology developed rapidly, science became advanced, and the manufacturing age came into view. With all of these came one more effect, industrial pollution. Earlier, industries were small factories that produced smoke as the primary pollutant.

However, since the number of factories were 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.

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 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
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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 cost 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 environment regulations and release a large number of toxic gases in the atmosphere.

5. Inefficient Waste Disposal

Water pollution and soil pollution are often caused directly due to inefficiency in the disposal of waste. Long term exposure to polluted air and water causes chronic health problems, making the issue of industrial pollution into 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

Industries do require a large amount of raw material to make them into finished products. 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 material is a must for industries, which often requires them even pulling 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.

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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 to the people that come in 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 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 getting affected in a severe manner. Habitats are being lost, species are becoming extinct, and it is 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 by industries into the air, which causes an increase in global warming.

 Melting of glaciers, extinction of polar bears, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes are 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 increasing liquid, solid and hazardous wastes undermine ecosystem health and impact on 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 of 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. 

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However, industrial pollution is still rampant and will take many years for proper control and regulation. 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.

2. Recycling

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 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 the companies who do not follow proper protocol and more significant rewards for the companies who operate properly. It requires creating policies that prevent 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.

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