Thursday, September 25, 2014
by Antonio C. Antonio
September 23, 2014
Environmental pollution is defined as the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse changes. It is the presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance or thing that has harmful or poisonous effects.
This brings to mind Barry Commoner’s Second Law of Ecology which states that: “Everything must go somewhere.”… That there are no actual “wastes” in nature and that there is no way that anything could be thrown away. Therefore, anything that exists could only be converted to other forms of matter or energy but could not be totally discarded to render it non-existent. There is an old Filipino adage that says: “Ang basurang itinapon, babalik at babalik sa iyo!” (Any waste thrown away will eventually return to you!)
Pollutants can take the form of chemical substances or energy that are often classified as “point source” or “nonpoint source” pollution. There are also natural processes in our ecosystem that cause pollution, such as: (a) Volcanic eruptions; (b) Decomposition of biotic elements; (c) Microbial fermentation; etc. There really isn’t much we could do about these natural causes since they are part of the system. The more worrisome pollutants, however, are those we (ourselves) introduce into our environment such as the synthetic chemicals and materials that take a very long time to dissolve. Human population or the meteoric increase in human population can also be considered a pollutant and a pollution scenario. This worldview is maintained in the context of man’s dependence on the environment and his consumption/utilization of natural resources as means to survive. Having stated these, it is not hard to imagine that the troublesome environmental pollutants are from anthropogenic or man-made sources or causes.
An interesting form of pollution is “noise”. Noise (defined as: a sound, especially one that is loud or unpleasant or causes disturbance and irritation) is largely considered as a pollutant because it also has harmful effects, although more psychological than physiological, to humans.
Discussing the sources of environmental pollution will allow us to understand their dire effects to the present and future generations and the environment in general… and the need to do something positive about it. As Barry Commoner stated, pollution is here to stay. We could only lessen the introduction of additional pollutants to lessen environmental pollution.
Just my little thoughts…
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