Only One Planet




Pollution

 

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WHAT IS POLLUTION?
I think that the most succinct definition I can come up with is "the introduction of any substance or agent into an environment which has a detrimental effect on the ecosystem of that environment." For the purposes of this discussion, the only form of pollution which will be considered is that emanating from Man's activities.

Man pollutes his environment by introducing chemicals and other substances, either toxic by their nature of by their quantity and effect, into the air, the land, the waterways and the oceans. In fact, their isn't really anywhere left on this planet that man hasn't polluted. He does this by burning fossil fuels, by dumping industrial and chemical waste, by burying or strewing his excessive consumer garbage, by accidental spillage (sometimes on a grand scale), by overuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Oh, and a living human being produces his or her own natural wastes of course.

Man does these things in such quantities that the entire World's intricate web of ecosystems is in peril and it seems to me that most polluters have not recognised that Man, himself, is part of and reliant upon those ecosystems and their correct functioning.

 

There is a cost implication to pollution. For instance, in China, with a population of 1.3 billion, the World Bank estimates that air and water pollution costs between 3.5% and 8% of the nation's gross domestic product in health losses related to air pollution, indoor air pollution and chronic disease from water pollution.

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This page last updated: 02 June 2002