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AVADI – IAF, CHENNAI – 600055.


1. Define environmental pollution:
Environmental pollution is defined as any undesirable change in the physical, chemical,
biological characteristics of the components of the environment which can cause harmful effects
to biotic & abiotic components.

2. What are the types of air pollutants?

a. Gaseous pollutants (SOx, NOx, CO etc.)
b. Particulate Matters (Smoke, fog, dust, aerosols etc.)
c. Radioactive pollutants (Rn-222, I-131, U-235 etc.)
3. Define photochemical smog.
It is one of the particulate air pollutants, the reaction of Nitrogen oxides with hydrocarbons in
the presence of humidity cause photochemical smog. It forms (The reaction occurs) when the
sun shines (UV).

4. How will you control air pollution?

a. Source correction methods (Substitution of raw materials, process modification)
b. Pollution control equipments (Cyclone separator, Electrostatic precipitators)
c. Enforcing laws, regular monitoring & maintenance
d. Planting more trees

5. List the major water pollutants with example.

a. Untreated sewage & effluent (Organics)
b. Heavy metals (Mercury, Lead &Cadmium etc)
c. Inorganics in ground water (phosphates, Sulphates, Carbonates)
d. Biological contaminants ( algae in water bodies)
6. What is meant by point & non point sources of pollution?
Point Sources: Those sources, which can be identified at a single location, are known as point
sources. For instance, the flow of water pollutants through regular channels like sewerage
systems, industrial effluents etc.
Non point Sources: Those sources whose location cannot be easily identified are called dif-
fused sources or Nonpoint sources. In this case, the pollutants scattered on the ground
ultimately reach the water sources and cause water pollution, for instance, agriculture
(pesticides, fertilizers), mining, construction etc.

7. What is chlorosis & necrosis?

Air pollutants affect plant by entering through leaf pores destroy chlorophyll and affect
photosynthesis. Due to this the damage to leaf structure causes necrosis (dead area of leaf) &
chlorosis (loss or reduction of chlorophyll).

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8. What is bioaccumulation?
The process of accumulation of pollutants in the organism‟s body is called
bioaccumulation. For example, DDT (pesticide) like substances is not water soluble
and has affinity with body lipids.

9. Mention the diseases caused by nitrates:

The excess amount of nitrates present in the drinking water causes blue baby
syndrome or methemoglobinemia. In this disease, part of hemoglobin is converted
into non-oxidized form. Nitrate in stomach partly gets changed into nitrites which can
cause stomach cancer.

10. Define BOD & COD.

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD): The amount of oxygen required to degrade
the chemicals present in the waste water by chemical oxidation.
Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD): The amount of oxygen required to
degrade the
biodegradable chemicals present in the waste water by microorganisms through
biological oxidation.

11. What do you know about particulate?

In general the term „particulate‟ refers to all atmospheric substances that are not gases.
They can be suspended droplets or solid particles or mixtures of the two. Particulates can
be composed of materials ranging in size from 100mm down 0.1 mm and less. The chemical
composition of particulate pollutants is very much dependent upon the origin of the particulate.

12. Define suspended particulate matter?

Suspended Particulate Matter(SPM) is a complex mixture of small and large particles
with size less than 100u varying origin and chemical composition.
13. Differentiate between Mist and Fog.
Mist is made up of liquid droplets generally smaller than 10um which are
formed by condensation in the atmosphere or are released from industrial operations.
Fog is similar to mist but the droplet size bigger(> 10u) and water is the
liquid.Fog is sufficiently dense to incomprehensible vision.
14. What are gaseous pollutants?
These are toxic and poisonous gases such as carbonmonoxide, chlorine,
ammonia, hydrogen sulphate, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide.
15. What are the major sources of air pollution from automobiles?
The major sources of air pollution from automobiles are
Exhaust pipe ->70%
Crank case emission ->20%
Evaporations from fuel tank and Carburettor ->10%

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16. What are effects of air pollution on animals?

Animals take up fluorides of air through plants. Their milk production falls
and their teeth and bones are affected. They are also prone to lead poisoning and

17. List some of the effects of air pollution on physical properties of

Decrease in the visibility
Reduction of Solar radiation
Effects on weather conditions
Effects on atmospheric constituents
18.Briefly describe about the impacts of carbon monoxide on human
At lower doses, they can impair concentration and neurobehavioral function
whereas in higher doses they can cause heart pain and even death. When inhaled it has
the ability to combine with haemoglobin of blood and reduce its ability in transfer of
oxygen to the brain, heart, and other important organs. But carboxyaemoglobin
contents of blood depend on the CO contents of the air inhald, time of exposure and
the activity of the person inhaling. It is particularly dangerous to babies and people
with heart disease.
19. How air pollution can be controlled at source?
 Proper use of the existion equipment
 Change in process
 Modification or Replacement of equipments
 Installation of controlling equipments
20. What is the particulate control equipment?
Gravitational settling chambers
Cyclone separators
Fabric filters (or) Bag filters
Electrostatic precipitators
Wet scrubbers (or) Wet collectors
21. Define water pollution.
Water pollution is defined as any physical,chemical or biological change in
quality of water that has a harmful effect on living organisms or makes the water
unsuitable for needs.
22. How can you differentiate point? Source from non-point source of
Point sources discharge pollutant at a specific place through pipe lines, sewer
lines, or ditches into water bodies. Non point sources discharge pollutants from large
and scattered area. These sources have no specific location.

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23. What are the effects of inorganic substances in water?

 Makes the water unfit for drinking and other purposes.
 Corrosion of metals exposed to such waters.
 Causes skin cancers, damages to spinal,CNS, liver and kidneys.
 Reduces crop yield.
24. Define soil pollution.
Soil pollution is defined as the introduction of substances, biological organisms, or
energy into the soil, resulting in a change of the soil quality, which is likely to affect the
normal use of the soil or endargering public health and the living environment.
25. What is the cause of noise pollution?
 Road traffic noise
 Air traffic noise
 Rail traffic noise
 Domestic noise
 Industrial noise
 Incompatible land use
26. Define a) Decibel b) COD
a) Decibel:-Decibel (dB) is defined as the one tenth of the longest unit Bel.
b) COD:-COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) is the amount oxygen required for
chemical oxidation of organic matter using some oxidizing agent like K2Cr2O7 and KmnO4.
27. What are solid wastes?How solid wastes are disposed ultimately?
The wastes generated and discarded from human and animal activites that are
normally solid are called as solid wastes. solid wastes are disposed by
landfill,incineration,composting methods
28. Differentiate between primary and secondary air pollutants with

Primary pollutants Secondary pollutants

These are emitted directly in the atmosphere in These are pollutants in which some of the primary
harmful form. air
Examples:CO,NO,SO2 pollutants may react with one
another to form new pollutants
NO,NO2------ HNO3/NO3

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Pollution is any addition to air, water, soil or food that threatens the health, survival or
activities of humans or other living organisms.
Pollutants can enter the environment naturally or through human activities.
Pollutants come from two types of sources.
1. Point sources of pollutants are single, identifiable source. E.g. drain pipe of a factory.
2. Non point sources of pollutants are dispersed and often difficult to identify.
Harmful Effects of Pollutants:
Unwanted effects of pollutants include
1. Disruption of life support systems for humans and other species.
2. Damage to wild life, human health, property
3. Nuisance such as noise and unpleasant smells taste and sight.
Solution to pollution:
Two basic approaches to deal with pollution
1. Pollution prevention or input pollution control, which reduces or eliminates the production of
2. Pollution cleanu p or output pollution control, which involves cleaning up or diluting pollutants
after they have been produced.
Reasons for pollution
1. Population explosion
2. Unplanned urbanization
3. Deforestation
4. Excessive heat, noise, light or radiation from the industrial area.

Air Pollution is the presence of one or more chemicals in the atmosphere in sufficient quantities
and duration to cause harm to us, other forms of life and materials or to alter climate.
Types of Air Pollutants:
1. Primary air pollutants: emitted directly in the troposphere
2. Secondary air pollutants: Some primary pollutants may react with one another to form new
Major air pollutants found in the atmosphere are: CO, NO2, SO2 SPM, O3, Lead. Carbon mono
oxide (CO):
Colorless, odorless gas that is poisonous to air breathing animals.
Source: Incomplete combustion, Cigarette smoking, motor vehicle exhaust
Health effects:
1. Reacts with hemoglobin in RBC and reduces the ability of blood to bring O2 to body cells and
2. Aggravates chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and anemia.
3. At high level cause coma and death.
Nitrogen di oxide (NO2):
Reddish brown irritating gas that gives photo chemical smog its brownish colour.
Source: Motor Vehicle, power and industrial plants
Health Effects: Lung irritation and damage, aggravates asthma and chronic bronchitis
Environmental effects: Reduces visibility. HNO3 damage soil, trees and aquatic life in lakes.
Property damage: Corrode metals; eat away stone, statues and monuments.
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Sulphur di oxide (SO2):

Colorless irritating gas.
Source: Coal burning power plastics
Health effects: Breathing problem, chronic exposure leads to bronchitis
Environmental effects: Reduces visibility, acid deposition
Property damage: Can corrode metals; eat away stone and statues. Damages paint, paper, and leather.
Suspended particulate matter (SPM):
Variety of particles and droplets.
Sources: burning fossil fuel, vehicle, agriculture, and construction unpaved roads.
Health Effects: Nose and throat irritation, lung damage and bronchitis.
Environmental effects: Reduces visibility, acid deposition
Property Damage: Corrodes metals Soils, and discolor buildings, clothes fabric and paints.
Ozone (O3):
Highly irritating gas with an unpleasant odor that forms in the troposphere as photochemical smog.
Sources: Chemical reaction with volatile organic compounds and NO2.
Health effects: Breathing problems, coughing, eye, nose and throat irritation, aggravates, asthma,
bronchitis emphysema.
Environmental Effects: Damage plants, trees, reduce visibility
Property Damage: Damages rubber, fabrics and paints.
Solid toxic metal and its compounds emitted into the atmosphere as particulate matter.
Sources: Paint, Smatters, lead manufacture, storage batteries leaded gasoline.
Health effects: Accumulates in the body, brain and other nervous system and damage brain and cause
mental retardation, cancer, digestive problem.
Environmental Effect: harm wild life.
Photochemical smog: (Brown Air Smog)
A photochemical reaction is any chemical reaction activated by light. Air pollution known as
photochemical smog is a mixture of more than 100 primary and secondary pollutants formed under the
influence of sunlight.
Industrial Smog: (Gray – Air Smog)
During winter people in such cities were exposed to industrial smog consisting mostly of SO2,
suspended droplets of H2SO4 and a variety of suspended solid particles and droplets called aerosols.
Indoor Air pollution:
According to EPA studies, 11 Common pollutants generally are two to five times higher inside
homes and commercial buildings.
The four most dangerous indoor air pollutants are cigarette smoke, formaldehyde,
Radioactive radon and very small fine and Ultra fine particles.
S.No. Substance Indoor Source Possible Threat
1 Chloroform Chlorine treated water with hot Cancer
2 Para dichlorobenzene Air freshner, naphtha ball crystals Cancer
3 Tetrachloride ethylene Dry cleaning fluid fumes on clothes Nerve disorders, damage to
liver and kidneys, possible
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4 Formaldehyde Furniture stuffing, paneling, foam Irritation of eyes, throat
Insulation skin, lungs nausea,

5 Benzo α Pyrenes Tobacco, wood stove Lung Cancer

6 Styrene Carpets, Plastic products Kidney, liver damage
7 CO Faculty furnace, unvented gas Headaches, Drowsiness,
stoves, kerosene, heaters death.
8 Methylene chloride Paint strippers, thinners Nerve disorders, diabetes.
9 Radon-222 Radioactive soil, rock surrounding Lung Cancer
10 Asbestos Pipe insulation, Vinyl ceiling and Lung disease, cancer
floor titles
11 Nitrogen Oxides Unvented gas stove, wood stove Irritated lungs, children‟s
12 1,1,1 Aerosol sprays Dizziness, irregular
Trichloroethylene breathing
Effects of Air pollution:
1. Cause asthma, acute shortness of breath, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema.
2. According to WHO at least 3 million people die prematurely each year from the effects of
air pollution.
3. Affects plants because of soil nutrient depletion, and increased susceptibility to pests,
disease fungi and drought.
4. Air pollutants cause billion of dollars in damage to various materials we use.
 Damage marble statue
 Damage historic buildings
 Stained glass, pitted, gouged, discolored.
 Break down paint on car and houses
 Deteriorate roofing material
5. Acid rain
6. Destroys ozone layer depletion.
7. Global warming.
8. Photochemical smog
Control measures:
1. Source Correction:
The root cause of pollutant will be reduced by incorporating certain changes in the production
process of an industry or by changing the raw material.
E.g. using lead free petrol
2. Control methods:
By incorporating suitable control equipments
E.g. ESP, Cyclone, Scrubbers.
3. Enforcing laws / policies:
Air Act should be followed strictly to reduce air pollution.
The Kyoto and Montreal protocol should be strictly followed by all the nations.
International co-operation is very much essential to reduce green house gas emission.
4. utilization of alternate energy
To reduce air pollution, Instead of using petrol, diesel and coal for energy generation, it is
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kind and biomass energy.

Water pollution is any chemicals, biological or physical change in water quality that has a harmful
effect on living organisms or makes water unsuitable for desired uses.
Water Quality:-
1. Measuring the number of colonies of coliform bacteria present in a water sample.
WHO recommends zero colonies / 100ml for drinking water.
US, EPA recommends maximum level for swimming water of 200Colonies /100ml.
2. Water pollution from Oxygen demanding wastes and from plant
Nutrients can be determined by measuring the level of dissolved oxygen
3. To measure the BOD biological Oxygen demand to determine the
Quantity of oxygen demanding wastes in water.
4. Chemical analysis is widely used to determine the presence and concentration of inorganic
and organic chemicals that pollute water.
5. Living organisms as indicator species to monitor water pollution.
Point sources: - Discharge pollutants at specific location through pipes, ditches or
sewers into bodies of surface water.
Non point sources: - Cannot be traced to any single site of discharge. They are usually large land areas
or air sheds that pollute water by runoff, subsurface flow or deposition from the atmosphere.
Sewage that includes organic matter, animal and human excreta-one of the major pollutants of water
in the urban and rural areas is the sewage. The sewage most often contains the organic matter that
encourages the growth of microorganisms. These organisms besides spreading diseases also consume the
oxygen present in water. This is called oxygen depletion. The aquatic organisms like the fish cannot then
survive in such waters. This creates an imbalance in the aquatic ecosystems.
The industries are mostly situated along the riverbanks for easy availability of water and also
disposal of the wastes. But these wastes include various acids, alkalis, dyes and other chemicals. They
change the pH of water. There are also detergents that create a mass of white foam in the river waters.
The industrial wastes include toxic metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, etc, and other chemicals like
the fluorides, ammonia, etc.
Certain industries such as power plants, refineries, nuclear reactors release a lot of hot water from their
cooling plants. This hot water is let into the water bodies without the temperature being reduced. This
results in heating up of the water and thereby killing the aquatic life. The oxygen content of water also
becomes less due to increase in the temperature. This is called thermal pollution.
Modern methods of agriculture have resulted in use of fertilizers and pesticides to increase the yield
of the crops. These chemicals enter into the water bodies with the rain water flow and the ground water by
seepage. The chemicals remain in the environment for a long time and can enter the food chain. They cause
a number of problems in the animals.
Oil spill is a major problem in the oceans and seas. The oil tankers and offshore petroleum refineries
cause oil leakage into the waters. This pollutes the waters.

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Pollutant Source/Cause Effect
Sewage that includes
Sewarage of rural
domestic wastes, hospital Oxygen depletion Spread of diseases/ epidemics
and urban areas.
wastes, excreta, etc.
Minamata disease (resulted from the contaminated
waters of the Minamata bay in Japan in 1953) - causes
Metals-Mercury Industnal wastes
numbness of limbs, lips and tongue, blurred vision,
deafness and mental derangement.
Absorbed into blood and affects PBCs, liver, kidney,
Lead Industrial wastes bone, brain and the penpheral nervous system. Lead
can even lead to coma.
Deposited in organs like the kidney, pancreas, liver,
Cadmium industnes, intestinal mucosa, etc. Cadmium poisoning causes
fertilisers headache, vomiting, bronchial pneumonia, kidney
necrosis, etc.
Arsenic poisoning causes renal failure and death, It can
Arsenic Fertilisers cause nerve disorder, kidney and liver disorders,
muscular atrophy, etc.
Accumulates in the bodies of fishes, birds,
Agrochemicals like DDT Pesticides mammals including man. Adversely affects the
nervous system, fertility. Causes thinning of egg
shells in birds.
Pollution of freshwater steams, lakes and Groundwater:-
Flowing streams, including large ones called rivers can recover rapidly from degradable
oxygen demanding wastes and excess heat through a combination of dilution and bacterial decay.
Clean zone – Decomposition zone – Septic zone – Recovery zone
In lakes and reservoirs, dilution of pollutants often is less effective than in streams for reasons.
First, lakes and reservoirs often contain stratified layers that undergo little vertical mixing and second,
they have little flow. Consequently, lakes and reservoirs are more vulnerable than streams to
contamination. These contaminants can kill bottom life and fish and birds that feed on aquatic organisms.
Eutrophication is the name given to the natural nutrient enrichment of lakes.
Cultural Eutrophication - Near urban or agricultural areas, human activities can greatly accelerate
the input of plant nutrients to a lake, which results in a process known as cultural Eutrophication.
Ground water pollution comes from numerous sources. People who dump or spill gasoline, oil
and paint thinners and other organic solvents onto the ground also contaminates water.
When groundwater contaminated it cannot cleanse itself of degradable wastes as flowing surface
water does Ground water flows slowly that contaminants are not diluted and disposed effectively.
Arsenic pollution causes various abnormalities causing skin lesion like leprosy.
Nitrate when present in excess in drinking water causes blue baby syndromes or
methaemoglobinemia. The disease develops when a part of heamoglobin is converted into non functional
oxidized form.
Excess of fluoride in drinking water causes defects in teeth and bones called floozies.
Effects of water Pollution:-
 Oxygen demanding wastes deplete dissolved oxygen in the water body which may be harmful to
 Eutrophication also results in overgrowth of plants like Eicchornia that covers the entire surface of
water. This reduces the light reaching the lower layers in water. Thus, enrichment of water with
inorganic nutrients like nitrates and phosphates is called eutrophication.
 Pollutants accumulate in the organisms and useful
Get cause serious
studyhealth problems. from
materials The contamination of
water with these pollutants results in their entry into the microscopic plants and animals. These
organisms are fed upon by higher aquatic life like the fish. The fish in turn are fed upon by the
land animals including man.Thus, the pollutant reaches the body of man. At each step in the food
chain, the contaminant increases in quantity. This is because a fish feeds on large quantity of
smaller plants and man eats fish. These contaminants like DDT remain in the fats and are not
degraded in the body. Over the years the amount of DDT increases in the body. This is called
 Oxygen depletion and cause Eutrophication.
 Waste water contain many pathogen & viruses, Water borne disease such as cholera, dysentery,
typhoid, jaundice etc are spread by water contaminated with sewage.
 Pollutants such as pesticides are non biodegradable and accumulate in the food chain known as
Biomagnifications / bioaccumulation
 Pollution of water by organic wastes is a major cause for occurrence of epidemics like cholera,
gastroenteritis in India. In fact, a good indication of pollution of water is the presence of bacteria
E. coli that lives in the human intestines.
 Nitrogen & phosphorus helps in the growth of algae which when die and decay consume oxygen
of water. Under anaerobic condition foul smelling gas is produced. Changes in pH, O2,
temperature will change many physico – chemical characteristics of water.
 Toxic substances polluting the water ultimately affect human health. Some heavy metals like Pb,
Hg, Cd cause various types of diseases.
 Minamata diseases:- Numbness of body parts, vision and hearing problem, abnormal mental
behavior occurred due to consumption of methyl mercury contaminated fish
 Itai – itai disease caused by cadmium contaminated rice. Bones, liver, kidney, lungs, pancreas
and thyroid are affected.
Control of water pollution
1. Prevent Ground water contamination.
2. Greatly reduce non point runoff
3. Reuse treated waste water for irrigation
4. Find substitutes for toxic pollutants.
5. Work with nature to treat savage.
6. Practice four R‟s of resource use (Refuse, Reduce Reuse, Recycle).
7. Reduce resource waste
8. Reduce birth rates.
9. Use Nitrogen fixing plants to supplement the use of fertilizers.
10. Adopting Integrated pest management to reduce reliance on pesticides.
11. Planting trees would reduce pollution by sediments.
12. For controlling water pollution from point sources, treatment of waste water is essential.
13. Waste water should be properly treated by primary and secondary treatments to reduce the
BOD, COD levels to the Permissible levels.
14. Advanced treatment for removal of nitrates & phosphate.
15. Proper Chlorination should be done to prevent the formation of chlorinated hydrocarbons or
disinfection should be done by ozone or UV.

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Sewage Treatment
The sewage before being let into the water bodies must be purified.
This is done in three steps as follows:
 Primary treatment
 Secondary treatment
 Tertiary treatment
 Effluent treatment
Primary Treatment
The water is sieved through coarse sieves and made to stand in sedimentation tanks. This makes
the heavy suspended matter settle down. It is then passed through a bed of rocks.
Secondary Treatment
The organic materials that are biodegradable are treated with the help of decomposers and oxygen.
Then, the water is also chlorinated to remove the germs.
Tertiary Treatment
This step removes the inorganic pollutants like the nitrates, phosphates, detergents, metal ions, etc.
by passing the water through activated charcoal that acts as a filter.
Effluent Treatment
The industrial wastes should be treated before being let into the water bodies. The toxic materials
should be removed, the metallic compounds should be precipitated, the acids and alkalis should be
neutralized and the temperature of the hot waters should be reduced.
Public Awareness
The public should be made aware of the dangers of water pollution. This will ensure that the water
bodies are not contaminated and are maintained clean
It can take 100-1000 years for contaminated ground water to cleanse itself of degradable wastes.

Degradation of soil and land due to industrial, agricultural and by other human activities is called
soil or land Pollution.
1) Industrial wastes
2) Urban waste
3) Radio active pollutants
4) Agriculture practice
5) Chemical & metallic pollutants
6) Biological agents
7) Mining
8) Resistant objects.
1) Industrial waste
- Fly ash from stone quarries, thermal power plant, cement factories.
- Cement & steel industries disturb the salt balance and destroy the fertility
- Textile and dyeing industries effluents affect the soil property.
- Chrome tanning involves huge quantities of chemicals which are very harmful to soil.
- Sludge of Industrial waste contain toxic heavy metals and pollute the soil.
2) Urban Waste:-
It comprises both commercial and domestic waste.
- Solid waste and refuse contribute to soil pollution.
- Plastic bags prevent the growth of plants, it kill animals it contain harmful chemicals &
- Urbanization produce enormous solid waste which leads to soil pollution.
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3) Radioactive Pollutant:-
Radioactive substances resulting from explosive and radioactive waste, penetrate the soil
and accumulate there creating soil / land pollution.
4) Agricultural practices:-
Using various pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides fungicides, weedicides and soil
conditioning agents the crop yield has been increased, but these chemical pollute the soil and also
clears the fertility of the soil.
5) Biological agents:-
Soil gets large quantities of human, animals, and birds excreta which constitute the major
source of land pollution by biological agent. Biomedical waste poses great threat to the soil
6) Mining: - Mining & ore processing activities spoil the land.
7) Resistant objects:-
Large resistant objects such as can, plastic, tyres, glasses, used vehicle, refrigerator etc
dumped in to nature; destroy the beauty of the landscape
8) Changing forest into agricultural lands.
9) Laying roads change the stability of slope & hydrological system in the hilly region.

Effects of soil pollution:-

- Sewage and industrial effluents which pollute the soil, ultimately affect human health.
- Various types of chemicals, acid, alkali pesticides, fertilizer, heavy metals affect soil
fertility by causing changes in physical, chemical and biological properties.
- Some persistent toxic chemicals inhibit the non-target organism, soil flora and fauna and
reduce soil productivity.
- Sewage sludge has many pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and intestinal worms which may
cause various types of diseases.
- Decomposing organic matter in soil also produces toxic vapours
- Radioactive fallout on vegetation is the source of radio isotopes which enter the food chain
in grazing animals.
Some of this radio isotopes replace essential elements in the body and cause abnormalities.
- Chemicals or their degradation products from soil may percolate and contaminate ground
water resources.
- Applications of the pesticides also affect the micro-organism living in the soil.
- Because of soil pollution, the pH of the soil is changed and affects the Crop yield.
- It changes the porosity of the soil and affects the infiltration, water storage of the region.
- Pesticides, some heavy toxic metals & chemicals, are known to cause migraine, dizziness,
stomach and abdominal cramps.
- In long run, accumulation of toxins inside the body can cause cancer, reduce fertility and
Control measures:-
1. Effluents should be properly treated before discharging them on soil.
2. Solid waste should be properly collected and disposed off by appropriate method.
3. From the wastes, recovery of useful products should be done.
4. Biodegradable waste should be used for generation of biogas.
5. Cattle dung should be used for CH4 generation.
6. Microbial degradation of degradable substances also reduces soil pollution.
7. Agro forestry programme for reclaiming degraded land soil is needed.
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9. Organic farming.
10. Biomedical waste treatment facilities like incinerator, autoclave, microwave systems should be
installed in hospital & medical institutions.

- Oceans are the ultimate sinks for much of the waste matter we produce.
- Oceans can dilute, disperse and degrade large amounts of raw sewage, sewage sludge, oil
and some types of degradable industrial wastes, especially in deep water areas.
Sources and Effect of Pollutants on Coastal Areas:-
- Areas along coast – especially wetlands and estuaries, coral reefs and mangrove swamps
bear the brunt of our enormous inputs of pollutants and wastes into the ocean.
- In most coastal developing countries, municipal sewage and industrial wastes are dumped
into the sea without treatment. This causes widespread beach pollution and Shellfish
- Recent studies of coastal water have found vast colonics of human viruses from raw
sewage, effluents from sewage treatment plant and leaking septic tanks.
- Some people using polluted coastal beaches develop ear infections, sore throats, eye
infection, respiratory disease or gastro intestinal disease.
- Runoff of sewage and agricultural wastes into coastal water and acid deposition from the
atmosphere introduce large quantities of Nitrate & phosphate plant nutrient which cause
explosive growth of harmful algae.
- These harmful algae blooms are called red, brown or green tides, depending on their color.
- They can release waterborne and air borne toxin that can damage fisheries and kill fish
eating birds, reduce tourism and poison sea food.
Effects of Oil on Ocean ecosystem:-
- Crude petroleum or refined petroleum is accidentally or deliberately released into the
environment from a number of sources.
- Tanker accidents and blowout at offshore drilling rigs release oil to the ocean.
- More oil is released to the ocean during normal operation of offshore wells, from washing
oil tankers, releasing the oily water, from oil pipe line and storage tank leaks.
- Natural oil seeps also release large amounts of oil into the ocean.
The effects of oil on ocean ecosystem depend on a number of factors,
1) type of oil
2) type of aquatic system
3) amount released

4) distance of release from shore

5) time of year
6) weather conditions
7) average water temperature
8) Ocean currents.
- Volatile organic hydrocarbons in oil immediately kill a number of aquatic organisms
especially in their vulnerable larval forms.
- Some other chemicals form tar like globs that float on the surface and coat the feathers of
birds and the fur of marine animals. This oil coat destroys their natural insulation and
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buoyancy, causing many of them to drown or die of exposure from loss of body heat.
- Heavy oil component that sink to the ocean floor or wash into estuaries can smother
bottom dwelling organisms such as crab, oyster, mussels and clams or make them unfit for
human consumption.
- Some oil spills have killed coral reefs.
- Most forms of marine life recover from exposure to large amounts of crude oil within 3
- But recovery from exposure to refined oil, especially in estuaries can take 10 year or
- The effects of spills in coldwater and in shallow enclosed gulfs and bays generally last
- Estuaries and salt marshes suffer the most & longest lasting damage.
Control / Prevent Marine Pollution:-
I) Toxic pollutants from industries and sewage treatment plants should not be discharged in coastal
II) Run off from nonpoint sources should be prevented to reach coastal areas.
III) Sewer overflows should be prevented by having separate sewer and rain water pipes
IV) Dumping of toxic hazardous waste and sewage sludge should be banned.
V) Developmental activates on coastal areas should be minimized.
VI) Oil and grease from service stations should be processed for reuse.
VII) Oil ballast should not be dumped into sea.
VII) Ecologically sensitive coastal areas should be protected by not allowing drilling.

Industries like thermal power plant, nuclear power plant etc are utilizing more water for cooling
purposes. After being used, the hot water is let off into near by sea, steam and other water bodies. The hot
effluent released from the above industries increases the temperature of the water body where it is
Thermal pollution is the addition of excess of undesirable heat to water that makes it harmful to
aquatic life and cause significant changes of normal activities of aquatic communities.
Causes of thermal pollution:-
 Nuclear power plants are the major pollution sources, emitting about 15% more heat per unit of
electricity produced than the fossil fuel facilities.
 Coal fired thermal power plants are some of the other sources of thermal pollution. Municipal
/Domestic sewage also raises the temperature of water bodies to some extent.
 The textile, paper &pulp as well as sugar industries also release hot water but to a much lesser

Effect of thermal pollution:-

1. The dissolved oxygen content of water is decreased as the solubility of oxygen in
water is decreased at high temperature
2. High temperature becomes a barrier for oxygen penetration into deep cold waters.
3. Toxicity of pesticides, detergents & chemicals in the effluent increases with increase
in temperature.
4. The composition of flora and fauna changes because the species sensitive to
increased temperature due to Thermal shock will be replaced by temperature tolerant
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temperature and require
more Oxygen, where as oxygen level falls under thermal pollution.
6. Discharge of heated water near the shores can disturb spawning and can even
kill young fishes.
7. Fish migration is affected due to formation of various thermal zones.
Control of Thermal Pollution:-
The following methods can be employed for control of thermal pollution.
1. Cooling Ponds: Water from condensers is stored in ponds where natural evaporation cools
the water, which can then be recirculated/ discharged in near by water.
2. Spray Ponds: The water from condensers is received in spray ponds. Here the water
is sprayed through nozzles where fine droplets are formed. Heat from these fine droplets is
dissipated to the atmosphere.
3. Cooling towers:-
1. Wet cooling tower: Hot water is sprayed over baffles. Cool air entering from sides takes
away the heat and cools the water.
2. Dry Cooling tower: The heated water flows in a system of pipe. Air is passed over these hot
pipes with fan. There is no water loss in this method.

Sound is mechanical energy from a vibrating source. A type of sound may be pleasant to some one
and at the same time unpleasant to others.
 The unpleasant and unwanted sound is called noise.
 Sound is expressed in Hertz and is equal to the number of cycles
per second.
 Decibel scale is a measure of loudness.
 Noise can affect human ear because of its loudness &
 Noise Standards recommended by CPCB committee
Area Category NOISE level in dB(A) Leq
Code Area Day Night
A Industrial 75 70
B Commercial 65 55
C Residential 55 45
D Silence zone 50 40

1. Various modes of transportation ( air, road, rail – transportation)
2. Industrial Operations.
3. Construction activities
4. Celebration (Social / religious function, election etc)
5. Electric home appliances.
6. Blaring loud speaker
7. Bursting of crackers.
Effects of Noise pollution:-
1. Interferes with man‟s communication.
2. Noise can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. It depends on intensity and duration of
sound level.
3. It causes high rate of accidents, general sickness, occupational, diseases, decrease in
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4. It develops annoyance, irritation and fatigue in man.
5. Causes disturbance in his work, rest sleep, communication.
6. Causes diseases like nausea, headache, insomnia, loss of appetite, peptic ulcer etc.
7. When pregnant women exposed to longer duration in noisy region. She gives birth to
defective and low weight baby.
8. It creates impaired hearing; break down of nervous system and high BP.
Control measures
1. Source reduction:
Stop the noise before it is generated. It refers applying control measures right at the noise
source. Provide rubber pads on the foundation of heavy machineries, use of silencers, change the
process which makes less noise.
2. Control at transmission path:
If noise is not controlled in the source, control measures like providing enclosures and
barriers can be applied in the transmission path.
3. Control at the receiving end:
In some cases, the noise level cannot be reduced in the source level and transmission
path. In this situation the individual protection devices like ear defenders, ear plugs, earmuffs etc.
are used for human comfort.
4. Annual audio metric checkup is needed for persons working in all type of factories.
5. Planting trees and shrubs along roads in the hospitals educational institutions etc, help in reducing
noise to a considerable extent.

Radio active substances are present in nature. They undergo natural radioactive decay in which
unstable isotopes spontaneously give out fast moving particles, high energy radiations or both at a fixed
rate until a new stable isotope is formed.
The isotopes release energy either in the form of gamma rays or ionization particles i.e. alpha
particles and beta particles.
A α particles are fast moving positively changed particles whereas β particles are high speed
negatively changed electrons.
These ionization radiations have variable penetration power; α particle is interrupted by a sheet of
paper, β particle can be blocked by a piece of wood or few mm of Aluminium sheet.
Ƴ rays can pass through paper & wood, but stopped by concrete wall, lead slabs or water.
 Nuclear hazard is caused when there is the leakage of radiations from nuclear reactor,
nuclear research, laboratories and industries.
 Accidents taking place in nuclear reactors.

 Transportation, disposal and storage of radioactive waste also cause the nuclear hazards.
 The process of mining and refining of radioactive ores also causes nuclear pollution.
 Radioactive isotopes mix with atmospheric air, when nuclear tests were conducted. This
toxic substance present in the air later comes down to soil, water in the form of radioactive
rain and combine with food chain of man.
 Sources of natural radioactivity include cosmic rays from outer space, radio active radon
222, soil rocks air, water and food, which contain one or more radioactive substances.
Effects of Radiations:-
- Radio active material act as environmental poison and damage the entire biota.
- Radionuclide Iodine 131 accumulate in the thyroid gland and affects the metabolic
activities and cause leukemia (cancer of bonestudy
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-Radioactive debris which settles down on the earth‟s surface after a nuclear explosion is
called radioactive fallout. These explosions generate large amounts of nitric oxide
molecules which react with the ozone and destroy the ozone layer.
- Neutron bomb is described as the ultimate weapon of destruction. It travels long distances
at bullet speed and kills every one in its path within a day generally in few hours.
- Genetic damage is caused by radiations which induce mutations in DNA, thereby affecting
genes & chromosomes. The damage is often seen in the off springs and may be
transmitted up to several generations.
- Somatic damage includes burns, miscarriages, eye cataract, and cancer of bone, thyroid,
breast, lungs and skin.
Control measures:-
1. To safe guard from the radiation effect, the radioactive waste should be buried deeply into the
ground or buried under the ice sheets like Antarctic or Greenland ice sheets.
2. Ban on nuclear testing
3. Nuclear plant should have proper safety measures.
4. Proper disposal of wastes from laboratory involving the use of radio isotopes should be done.


- Higher standards of living of ever increasing population have resulted in an increase in the
quantity and variety of waste generated.
- If waste generation continues indiscriminately then very soon it would be beyond
- Management of solid waste has therefore, become very important in order to minimize the
adverse effects of solid wastes.
- Solid waste can be classified as municipal, industrial, medical, agricultural, mining waste
and sewage sludge.
Solid waste is defined as “The material arising from human and animal activities and is being
discarded as useless stuff. The solid waste may either be biodegradable or non biodegradable waste. “If the
pollutants are rapidly decomposed, they are said to be biodegradable pollutants like sewage sludge.
Instead, if the pollutants don‟t degrade or degrade very slowly, they are said to be non- degradable
pollutants like mercury and plastics.
Sources of solid wastes
 Wastes from homes: Contains a variety of discarded materials like polyethylene bags,
empty metal, and Aluminum cans / scrap metals, glass bottles, waste paper, diapers,
cloth/rags, food waste etc.
 Waste from shop: Mainly consists of waste paper, packaging material, cans, bottles,
polyethylene bags, peanut shells, egg shells, tea leaves etc.
 Biomedical waste includes anatomical waste, Pathological waste, infectious waste etc.
 Construction / demolition waste include debris, rubbles wood, concrete etc.
 Horticulture waste includes vegetable pails and residues.
 Waste from slaughter house includes remains of slaughtered animal.
 Industrial waste consists of factory rubbish, packing material, organic wastes, acid, alkali
and metals etc. During some industrial processing toxic and hazardous waste are also
 Radioactive waste are generated by nuclear power plants
 Thermal power plants produce fly ash in large quantities.
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Effects of solid waste:-
- Solid waste released from chemical industries is usually poisonous and is very harmful.
- Biological waste and waste discarded in the form of explosive from ordnance factories are
dangerous to human life.
- The land disposed waste normally pollutes ground water and surface water.
- Some toxic wastes cause fire (if inflammable), release poisonous gases, and also even
cause explosions.
- Solid waste pollutes the water body and affects the aquatic life.
- It causes obnoxious smell and affects surrounding area.
- It affects the texture of soil and reduces its fertility.
- Solid waste acts as breeding place for mosquitoes and flies, hence, producing various
- Causes soil sickness.
- Alters pH, porosity and permeability of soil.
Control measures:-
1. Collection and source segregation:
The term collection includes gathering or picking up of solid wastes from various sources. Segregation
or sorting out of reusable material from the waste heap is the first step in the process of Solid waste
management (SWM).
The main idea is to recover useful products from the waste before dumping.
2. Open dump:-
Wastes are dumped into the outskirts of town/city.
It is the most common disposing method. It is simple and less expensive but undesirable due to air
and water pollution.
3. Sanitary landfill:-
Disposing of solid waste on land without creating hazards to human health and with safety is
known as sanitary land fill.
It is safer and more advantageous than open dump.
4. Composting:-
In this process, the decomposition and stabilization of solid wastes takes place by biochemical
process under controlled conditions. Microorganisms are involved in this process.
It occurs in two ways.
i) Aerobic composition – O2 is utilized to feed on organic matter
ii) Anaerobic composition – decomposition occurs in the absence of O2.
5. Pyrolysis:-
It is the process in which the waste is heated (500-1000oc) to cause chemical changes in the
absence of air.
6. Incineration:-
The incineration involves the burning of solid waste at high temperature (850oc). The unburnt
combustibles must be disposed of into the other dumps. The disadvantage of this process is air
7. Biogas / fertilizer from solid waste:-
In a closed reactor the solid waste should be subjected to anaerobic decomposition to produce the
biogas which is used as fuel.
The sludge of this process is dried and used as fertilizer/

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Management of Solid wastes:-
i) Reduction in use of raw materials: Reduction in the use of raw materials will
correspondingly decrease the production of waste.
ii) Reuse: The refillable containers which are discarded after use can be reused. From
waste paper, silos and casseroles can be made.
iii) Recycle: It is the reprocessing of discarded materials into new useful products.
Formation of some old type products – old Al can melt & recast into new cans. Formation of new
products, preparation of fuel pellets form kitchen waste. The process of reducing reusing and recycling
saves money, energy raw materials, land space and also reduces pollution.
Role of an individual in prevention of pollution
The role of every individual in preventing pollution is of paramount importance because if
every individual contributes substantially the effect will be visible not only at the community, city, state
or national level but also at the global level as environment has no boundaries.
A small effort made by each individual at his own place will have pronounced effect at the
global level. It is aptly said “Think globally act locally.

Waste water or sewage treatment:

Biological treatment methods

Use microorganisms, mostly bacteria, in the biochemical decomposition of wastewaters to stable

end products. More microorganisms, or sludges, are formed and a portion of the waste is converted to
carbon dioxide, water and other end products. Generally, biological treatment methods can be divided into
aerobic and anaerobic methods, based on availability of dissolved oxygen.

The purpose of wastewater treatment is generally to remove from the wastewater enough solids to
permit the remainder to be discharged to a receiving water without interfering with its best or proper use.
The solids which are removed are primarily organic but may also include inorganic solids. Treatment must
also be provided for the solids and liquids which are removed as sludge. Finally, treatment to control odors,
to retard biological activity, or destroy pathogenic organisms may also be needed.

While the devices used in wastewater treatment are numerous and will probably combine physical,
chemical and biological methods, they may all be generally grouped under six methods:

Degrees of treatment are sometimes indicated by use of the terms primary, secondary and tertiary
treatment. Tertiary treatment, properly, would be any treatment added onto or following secondary

Preliminary Treatment

At most plants preliminary treatment is used to protect pumping equipment and facilitate subsequent
treatment processes. Preliminary devices are designed to remove or cut up the larger suspended and floating
solids, to remove the heavy inorganic solids, and to remove excessive amounts of oils or greases.

To effect the objectives of preliminary treatment, the following devices are commonly used:

1. Screens -- rack, bar or fine

2. Comminuting devices -- grinders, cutters, shredders
3. Grit chambers
4. Pre-aeration tanks
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In addition to the above, chlorination may be used in preliminary treatment. Since chlorination may be
used at all stages in treatment, it is considered to be a method by itself. Preliminary treatment devices
require careful design and operation.

Primary Treatment

In this treatment, most of the settleable solids are separated or removed from the wastewater by the
physical process of sedimentation. When certain chemicals are used with primary sedimentation tanks,
some of the colloidal solids are also removed. Biological activity of the wastewater in primary treatment is
of negligible importance.

The purpose of primary treatment is to reduce the velocity of the wastewater sufficiently to permit solids
to settle and floatable material to surface. Therefore, primary devices may consist of settling tanks,
clarifiers or sedimentation tanks. Because of variations in design, operation, and application, settling tanks
can be divided into four general groups:

1. Septic tanks
2. Two story tanks -- Imhoff and several proprietary or patented units
3. Plain sedimentation tank with mechanical sludge removal
4. Upward flow clarifiers with mechanical sludge removal

When chemicals are used, other auxiliary units are employed. These are:

1. Chemical feed units

2. Mixing devices
3. Flocculators

The results obtained by primary treatment, together with anaerobic sludge digestion as described later,
are such that they can be compared with the zone of degradation in stream self-purification. The use of
chlorine with primary treatment is discussed under the section on Preliminary Treatment.

Secondary Treatment

Secondary treatment depends primarily upon aerobic organisms which biochemically decompose the
organic solids to inorganic or stable organic solids. It is comparable to the zone of recovery in the self-
purification of a stream.

The devices used in secondary treatment may be divided into four groups:

1. Trickling filters with secondary settling tanks

2. Activated sludge and modifications with final settling tanks
3. Intermittent sand filters
4. Stabilization ponds

The use of chlorine with secondary treatment is discussed under the section on Secondary Treatment


This is a method of treatment which has been employed for many purposes in all stages in wastewater
treatment, and even prior to preliminary treatment. It involves the application of chlorine to the wastewater
for the following purposes:

1. Disinfection or destruction of pathogenic

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2. Prevention of wastewater decomposition --
(a) odor control, and
(b) protection of plant structures

1. Aid in plant operation --

(a) sedimentation,
(b) trickling filters,
(c) activated sludge bulking

1. Reduction or delay of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)

While chlorination has been commonly used over the years, especially for disinfection, other methods to
achieve disinfection as well as to achieve similar treatment ends are also used. Among the most common is
the use of ozone. In view of the toxicity of chlorine and chlorinated compounds for fish as well as other
living forms, ozonation may be more commonly used in the future. This process will be more fully
discussed in the section on disinfection.

Sludge Treatment

The solids removed from wastewater in both primary and secondary treatment units, together with the
water removed with them, constitute wastewater sludge. It is generally necessary to subject sludge to some
treatment to prepare or condition it for ultimate disposal. Such treatment has two objectives -- the removal
of part or all of the water in the sludge to reduce its volume, and the decomposition of the putrescible
organic solids to mineral solids or to relatively stable organic solids. This is accomplished by a combination
of two or more of the following methods:

1. Thickening
2. Digestion with or without heat
3. Drying on sand bed -- open or covered
4. Conditioning with chemicals
5. Elutriation
6. Vacuum filtration
7. Heat drying
8. Incineration
9. Wet oxidation
10. Centrifuging

Package Units

The term "package units" is used in the field to describe equipment which has been put on the
market by a number of manufacturers that is intended to provide wastewater treatment by the use of
prefabricated or modular units. Package units can also refer to a complete installation, including both
mechanisms and prefabricated containers. This term is also applied to installations where only the
mechanisms are purchased and the containers constructed by the purchaser in accordance with plans and
specifications prepared by the manufacturer.

Though specific limitations have not been established, individual package units have, in general,
been small installations serving a limited population.

Package units have been adapted to practically all the treatment devices, either singly or in various
combinations that have been mentioned.

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Tertiary and Advanced Wastewater Treatment

The terms "primary" and "secondary" treatment have been used to generally describe a degree of
treatment; for example, settling and biological wastewater treatment. Since the early 1970's "tertiary"
treatment has come into use to describe additional treatment following secondary treatment. Quite often this
merely indicates the use of intermittent sand filters for increased removal of suspended solids from the
wastewater. In other cases, tertiary treatment has been used to describe processes which remove plant
nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorous, from wastewater.

Improvement and upgrading of wastewater treatment units as well as the need to minimize
environmental effects has led to the increased use of tertiary treatment.

A term that is also sometimes used to indicate treatment of a wastewater by methods other than
primary or biological (secondary) treatment is advanced treatment. This degree of treatment is usually
achieved by chemical (for example coagulation) methods as well as physical methods (flocculation, settling
and activated carbon adsorption) to produce a high quality effluent water.

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