The pollution It is the introduction into the environment of substances that are harmful to living beings. Although some types of pollution have natural sources, most of them are due to human action. For instance: transportation, tobacco, garbage.
For this reason, the greatest presence of pollution is seen in cities, where different human activities cause agents (chemical, physical or biological) that negatively affect the air, soil and water.
In fact, first contamination records and its harmful consequences occurred in the city of London. In 1272 King Edward I had to ban the burning of coal because air pollution was negatively affecting the population.
The multiplication and growth of cities are a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, which is in turn the triggering factor for pollution as an environmental problem.
In cities, as well as in other environments, pollution can be:
- Atmospheric. The release of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, chlorofluorocarbon, and nitrogen oxides.
- Water. The presence in the water of organic or inorganic substances that make it dangerous for living beings, including humans.
- Ground. Spill or leakage of harmful substances into the ground, affecting the growth of plants as well as the groundwater layers.
- For garbage. The accumulation of waste is a form of pollution. Includes electronic scrap.
- Radioactive pollution. Although radiation is commonly used in medical procedures, it only becomes an environmental problem in cases of atomic bomb explosions or damage to nuclear plants.
- Acoustics. Noises affect not only humans but also animals.
- Visual contamination. Natural landscapes are modified by the hand of man.
- Light pollution. The abnormal presence of light at night is caused by humans and can cause disorders in plants and animals. In addition, it prevents observation of the sky.
- Thermal pollution. The change in temperature affects plants and animals of all ecosystems.
- Electromagnetic pollution. Electrical equipment and telephone masts cause electromagnetic radiation.
Examples of pollution in the city
- Public and private transportation. Cars, motorcycles and buses are one of the main sources of air pollution. They also participate in noise pollution (noise from engines and horns).
- Light. The light we use produces light pollution, but traditional light bulbs also produce heat, causing thermal pollution. For this reason, in many countries of the world they have been replaced by energy-saving lamps.
- Heating. Heating with gas, wood, or charcoal produces air pollution by releasing carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other gases. In high concentrations, these gases are deadly, which is why it is of the utmost importance that all forms of combustion within homes have an adequate outlet to the outside. In addition, heating produces thermal pollution.
- Detergents. The detergents that we use to wash surfaces, clothes, dishes and even the soaps and shampoos that we use for our hygiene pollute the water.
- Industries. Currently, industrial activities tend to move slightly away from cities, settling in places called industrial parks or industrial estates. However, there are still factories in the cities, creating atmospheric, sound and light pollution and in some cases, if toxic substances are spilled, water and soil pollution.
- CFC. Chlorofluorocarbons are substances that were used in aerosols, refrigerators, insulation materials, and other products. This gas produces atmospheric pollution, to the point of degrading the ozone layer. The damage that has already occurred is so serious that nowadays aerosols no longer use it, so the words “does not contain CFCs” or “does not damage the ozone layer” can be seen on its label. However, CFC products can still be found in cities.
- Tobacco. In many cities of the world smoking is prohibited in public places. This is because tobacco smoke is toxic even to non-smokers. Tobacco is a form of air pollution.
- Volatile compounds. They are both organic and chemical compounds found in various everyday products that volatilize in the atmosphere, causing pollution. They come from products like paint, glue, printers, carpets, and even plastic products like shower curtains. These pollutants are 5 times more concentrated indoors than outdoors.
- Animal feces. In cities there are a multitude of animals and insects. In addition to domestic animals, rats, cockroaches and mites live. The feces left by our pets must be collected to avoid contamination of the public thoroughfare. To avoid contamination caused by other animals, frequent disinfection should be carried out in houses and buildings.
- Trash. The accumulation of garbage is a major cause of pollution, which is why landfills are located at a certain distance from cities.
- Pipes. In many cities of the world running water is drinkable. But even this water, passing through lead pipes, becomes contaminated with this material.
- Antennas. Cell phones and antennas cause electromagnetic pollution.