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Air, Water, and Land Pollution

Updated on August 23, 2017

Problems of the Environment

During the years between 1790 and 1870, the population of the United States grew from 3 million to 38 million people. In their expansion across the country, people often ignored their treatment of the environment. Yet they were changing it drastically. Lands once inhabited by wildlife were destroyed. They were cleared for farmland and cities. Natural food chains were disrupted. Waste materials were put into the air, water, and land. As a result, the environment began to deteriorate. The resources once provided abundantly were becoming scarce.

The photos on this page are from Jack2205's collection.

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People could no longer deny that the environment was becoming increasingly polluted, and that the supply of natural resources was diminishing. Some measures had to be taken. Conservation is the practice of preserving and protecting the natural environment and it's resources.


Between the years 1850 and 1970, the human population of the world more than tripled. The population grew from one billion people to three and a half billion people. Yet the natural resources of the world have stayed the same.

The important thing to do is to keep the environment in balance. Only a limited amount of resources exist in the environment, thus, it can support only a certain number of organisms. If the balance becomes upset due to pollution, misuse of resources, or overpopulation, the natural resources may become scarce. It is important that people learn how to conserve them and use them wisely.

Environment Duel

Is it important to conserve natural resources?

Air Pollution

Pollutants are substances that make the air unclean. These may come from many sources. But the main cause is the burning of fuel. When fuel is burned, poisonous gases and smoke are released into the air. Automobile exhausts, factory fumes, and smoke from household chimneys are just a few sources of air pollution. Other air pollutants include smoke from burning garbage, smoke from forest fires, and chemical sprays.

No matter what the source or cause of air pollution, the results are bad. They may irritate the respiratory tracts of people and animals. Carbon monoxide and fumes from automobile exhausts are harmful substances. Poisonous gases and soot from factory fumes are known to weaken livestock, affect vegetable crops, and dirty the area around the factory. Chemical pollutants discolor and erode buildings.

Conserving Air

The air you need to breathe is constantly being recycled by green plants. But air pollution can affect that. Therefore, it is important to control the air pollutants.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970. The EPA set up limits controlling air pollutants produced by incinerators, power plants, automobiles, and factories. The use of lead free gasoline made car exhaust less dangerous. Smokestacks on factories were required to have pollution control devices to partly clean the fumes before they were let out into the air. As a result, the amount of smog, or the haze produced by smoke and chemical fumes, was reduced in many cities that enforced EPA regulations.

Water Pollution

Water can become polluted in many ways. Chemicals from factories, untreated sewage, crop sprays, oil spills, and wastes from mining sites all pollute sources of water. This makes the water unfit for drinking, swimming, and bathing.

Polluted water is also unfit for aquatic organisms. Those that are not killed may incorporate pollutants into their bodies. The animals that eat these organisms are also affected. The pollutants are then passed along the food chains.

Algae thrive on the substances found in pollutants. As a result, the algae grow rapidly and use up most of the available nutrients in the water environment. Then the algae begin to decay. The oxygen in the water supply is used up as a result of this decay. Less oxygen is available for fish and other organisms living in the water.

Conserving Water

Each person needs to drink about 2.5 liters of water each day. You also need water for bathing, household cleaning, and recreation. Farms need water for growing food and for raising livestock. Factories need water to produce steel, gasoline, and paper. Water is also an environment in which many plants and animals live. Clean water is important in many ways.

One way to help stop water pollution is to prohibit the dumping of wastes into sources of water. Factory wastes and sewage must now be treated before they can be released into waterways. Wastewater treatment plants clean the water and usually add chemicals, such as chlorine, to the water before it is piped into your house.

Land Pollution

The main cause of land pollution is the dumping of litter, unwanted materials. Cans, bottles, papers, and plastics are a few examples of litter. Garbage, or leftover foods, is also a land pollutant.

They not only make an area ugly, but they also may change the environment in which organisms live. Plant growth may be affected by litter or garbage. This may upset the food chains in the environment. Rats and insects may be attracted to garbage sites and the areas may become unhealthy to live in. Though some materials may break down, many factory made substances such as plastics, glass, and metals do not. Instead, they remain in the environment, often poisoning it.

People Recycling

Pollution Comments

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Reducing and cleaning up pollution requires the commitment of individuals. All of us contribute to the problem. We must be equally willing to be part of the solution, and it starts at home.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      I try not to pollute our environment that's why this year I have planted 4 trees so far :)

    • profile image

      donnaelder 4 years ago

      We need to save our Mother Earth.

    • profile image

      john9229 4 years ago

      So many pollution in this planet. Save the earth, save the world.

    • profile image

      David-N 5 years ago

      Go Green! Hopefully we will reduce pollution before it is too late.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      u will planted to save the earth

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      don't destroy our earth

    • profile image

      Christmas-Gifts-Ideas 5 years ago

      There are so many ways to reduce polution, but unfortunately the politicians have other agendas.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Not enough people take this seriously.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very good to this website

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      As, well as, solar heat, I think technology should be advanced for desalinating water. We should also conserve the wild water ways we have left in the world.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      I don't think we can decrease pollution without changing our patterns of thinking. We can be extremely creative or lazy, generous or selfish, whatever. It is up to us what we will do with out lives.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      u all should help so are planted dnt be destroy HELP US ALL thank you

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice to see people trying to create awareness on major issues like pollution and population explosion! Keep up the great work!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      blah blah blah...i just read for my project :P

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Pollution is a form of exploitation. People avoid paying the true cost of production. The net effect is that someone else has to pay for it, either by cleaning up the mess or by suffering a degraded life.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You have highlighted here a very important issue.

    • profile image

      sheezie77 6 years ago

      Very nice lens! Great work!thumbs up

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Another impressive article by you...may we all realize that we are caretakers here!

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      Who's responsibility is it? Everyone on the planet. Every corporation and every person. The world belongs to all of us and we all need to take care of it. I just hope it's not too late. Great work here, as always.

    • profile image

      celeBritys4africA 6 years ago

      I like the subject, we all have to preserve the environment.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      You have so hit the button. How do we turn around the corporate mentality of our species and set about rescuing our wonderful world from our own depredations? We are ALL responsible.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      Great job on this site. You get a thumbs up!!!

    • joerenzo lm profile image

      joerenzo lm 6 years ago

      Just wanted to say this is a great lens. I really appreciate people taking the time to make great lenses on important issues like pollution. Very well done my friend...

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Appreciate the information presented to help people be aware of the problems of pollution.

    • howtocurecancer profile image

      howtocurecancer 6 years ago

      Such a great lens, we have to be more careful and protective with our Earth.

    • GetFactsnotHype profile image

      GetFactsnotHype 6 years ago

      I like this lens, because go green issues and environmental topics are close to my heart. In fact I have 4 lenses on this. In the discovery tool, I added this lens to the related pages. The one with probably the best ranking and most like yours here - is one that I did on something NOT so green, and yes it is on pollution too.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Very well presented!

    • jp1978 profile image

      jp1978 6 years ago

      It's sad that many people prefer to bury their head in the sand than face this problem.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens, a kindred spirit here, featured this on Dumb and Dumber. Great stuff

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      A thought provoking lens, wherever I see, I observe pollution only. The earth has but become a place for garbage collection.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      were the problem, were the ones putting it there and making it bad for animals and other wild life to live there. were wasting and throwng away things that can easly be reused and made into something new for other people to use all over again. the land fills are be coming oveer full and are making it horrible for all of us to live.

    • garyrh1 profile image

      garyrh1 7 years ago

      Cool lens. I'm a huge supporter of helping the environment. Regardless of if we believe in global warming or not, we should still do our best to limit what we use and reduce smog, etc. for future generations.