Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Every year in the U.S. factories release over 3 million tons of toxic chemicals into the land, air and water. This hazardous waste causes us to lose over 15 million acres of land every year, it leads to respiratory complications and other health problems and it makes our rivers and lakes too polluted for us to swim in and drink.

But factories are only part of the problem of pollution. Pollution is caused by industrial and commercial waste, agriculture practices, everyday human activities and most notably, modes of transportation. No matter where you go and what you do, there are remnants of pollution.

What is pollution?
Pollution is the introduction of a contaminant into the environment. It is created mostly by human actions, but can also be a result of natural disasters. Pollution has a detrimental effect on any living organism in an environment, making it virtually impossible to sustain life.

Why are the different types of pollution?
Pollution harms the Earth’s environment and its inhabitants in many ways. The three main types of pollution are:

Land Pollution
Land pollution is pollution of the Earth’s natural land surface by industrial, commercial, domestic and agricultural activities.
What are the sources of land pollution?
Some of the main contributors to land pollution are:
Chemical and nuclear plants
Industrial factories
Oil refineries
Human sewage
Oil and antifreeze leaking from cars
Overcrowded landfills
Construction debris

Facts about Land Pollution
Here are a few facts about land pollution:
Every year one American produces over 3285 pounds of hazardous waste
Land pollution causes us to lose 24 billion tons of top soil every year
Americans generate 30 billion foam cups, 220 million tires and 1.8 billion disposable diapers every year
We throw away enough trash every day to fill 63,000 garbage trucks
Every day Americans throw away 1 million bushels of litter out their car window
Over 80% of items in landfills can be recycled, but they’re not

How to Prevent Land Pollution
The best way to prevent land pollution is to recycle. Here are a few other ways you can reduce land pollution:
Reuse any items that you can
Buy biodegradable products
Store all liquid chemicals and waste in spill-proof containers
Eat organic foods that are grown without pesticides
Don’t use pesticides
Use a drip tray to collect engine oil
Buy products that have little packaging
Don’t dump motor oil on the ground

Air Pollution
Air pollution is the accumulation of hazardous substances into the atmosphere that danger human life and other living matter.

What are the sources of air pollution?
Some of the main contributors to air pollution are:
Automobile emissions
Tobacco smoke
Combustion of coal
Acid rain
Noise pollution from cars and construction
Power plants
Manufacturing buildings
Large ships
Paint fumes
Aerosol sprays
Nuclear weapons

Facts about Air Pollution
Here are a few facts about air pollution:
Almost 232 million different types of vehicles are driven by U.S. citizens every day, adding greenhouse gases into the air
U.S. vehicle emissions contribute 45% to global warming
The average adult consumes 3,000 gallons of polluted air every day
Vehicle exhaust contributes to 60% of carbon monoxide emissions in the U.S. and up to 95% in large cities
Every year 335,000 Americans die of lung cancer, which is a direct result of air pollution

How to Prevent Air Pollution
The number one way to prevent air pollution is to walk or bike more and drive less. This will prevent fossil fuels from polluting the air. Here are some other ways to prevent air pollution:
Carpool or join a ride share with friends and coworkers
Don’t smoke
Keep your car maintenance up-to-date
If you have to drive, do your errands at one time
Don’t buy products that come in aerosol spray cans
Avoid using lighter fluid when barbecuing outside
When you drive accelerate slowly and use cruise control
Always replace your car’s air filter
Use a push or electric lawnmower rather than a gas-powered one
Don’t use harsh chemical cleaners that can emit fumes
Inspect your gas appliances and heaters regularly

Water Pollution
Water pollution is the introduction of chemical, biological and physical matter into large bodies of water that degrade the quality of life that lives in it and consumes it.

What are the sources of water pollution?
Some of the main contributors to water pollution are:
Waste treatment facilities
Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
Human sewage
Oil spills
Failing septic systems
Soap from washing your car
Oil and antifreeze leaking from cars
Household chemicals
Animal waste

Facts about Water Pollution
Here are a few facts about water pollution:
Over two-thirds of U.S. estuaries and bays are severely degraded because of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution
Every year almost 25% of U.S. beaches are closed at least once because of water pollution
Over 73 different kinds of pesticides have been found in the groundwater that we eventually use to drink
1.2 trillion gallons of sewage, stormwater and industrial waste are discharged into U.S. waters every year
40% of U.S. rivers are too polluted for aquatic life to survive
Americans use over 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides every year, which eventually washes into our rivers and lakes

How to Prevent Water Pollution

The best way to prevent water pollution is to not throw trash and other harmful chemicals into our water supplies. Here are a few more ways you can prevent water pollution:
Wash your car far away from any stormwater drains
Don’t throw trash, chemicals or solvents into sewer drains
Inspect your septic system every 3-5 years
Avoid using pesticides and fertilizers that can run off into water systems
Sweep your driveway instead of hosing it down
Always pump your waste-holding tanks on your boat
Use non-toxic cleaning materials
Clean up oil and other liquid spills with kitty litter and sweet them up
Don’t wash paint brushes in the sink

How can you get involved in pollution prevention?

The best way for you to get involved with pollution prevention is to practice efforts on your own or join a project or program.  You can see a complete list of U.S. Pollution Prevention Projects & Programs by checking out the Environmental Protection Agency website.

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