The emission of hazardous waste materials from factories and industries to air or water bodies has resulted in great adversity for humanity. A myriad of chemicals and xenobiotics used in several industries not only pose harm to the health of living beings but also lead to natural disruptions like acid rain and global warming. Nonetheless, industrial pollution and exploitation have been going on for decades, and its current impact is devastating.
Effect of industrial pollution on the earth
● Hiking global temperature
Industries release a substantial amount of Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Methane (CH4) that tend to absorb solar radiation. Subsequently, this emission increases the temperature of the planet and results in the rapid melting of the glaciers, tsunamis, floods, extinction of polar species, etc. It even sets out a threat to every living creature by inflating diseases like cholera, Lyme, and plague.
● Polluted water bodies
Water is extensively used in all industries, right from cleaning the machines to cool them down. After the operation, this water mostly runs off to the nearest stream or river and deposits the industrial discharge. That means all the chemicals, hazardous metals, sludge, and radioactive waste are released to a source of water for the neighboring human population. Moreover, this practice is exploiting marine diversity and settlements to a large extent.
● Unbeatable air quality
Emissions from small and large-scale industries are one of the biggest reasons for air pollution. These gaseous releases contain a multitude of contaminants, such as sulfur, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and so on. These contaminants, when released in larger quantities, unavoidably lead to acid rain. To worsen things further, they also cause various respiratory disorders among living beings.
● Degraded soil quality
In the dearth of disposal ground, industrial waste is also thrown in landfills. The toxic materials and chemicals from these waste then accumulate in the topsoil and take a hit on the fertility of the soil. It largely reduces crop productivity. These chemicals wastes are so hazardous that they even affect the trees and crops growing in the vicinity, therefore affecting the health of every living organism which consumes plants developed in such an environment.
● Evident depreciation of human health
According to research statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO), 2% of all heart and lung diseases are caused by outdoor air pollution. Even chest infections and lung cancer are direct implications of industrial pollution. These health hazards are gradually becoming prominent and almost globally rooted as we not only breathe in polluted air but also drink contaminated water and consume comprised crops. The arsenic level of water is increased with chemical disposal and results in tumors. Various illnesses and premature deaths have occurred in the last decade, owing to the massive increment in industrial pollution.
● Saddening extinction of wildlife
Not only humans but animals living in dense forests are also being affected by industrial waste disposal. Actions like deforestation, mining, and water contamination have already compelled the animals to leave their natural habitats and migrate. In this scenario, the release of industrial waste in water, oil spillage, chemical leak, and wildfire are continually contributing to the extinction of wildlife.
What are the steps to be taken to combat the crisis?
As the industrial pollution level in India is increasing rapidly with excessive demands from the global population, it is challenging to stop it completely. However, we can consider a few viable solutions which will surely reduce the damage being caused to nature.
● Reduction in carbon footprints
By lessening your carbon footprint, you can easily contribute to reducing the pollution level dramatically. You can introduce energy-efficient machines in your factory to save power and decrease the emission of carbon.
● Reduce, recycle and reuse
The biggest mantra of the 21st century is to reduce your waste production and reuse all that you can. It is also essential to keep the recyclable waste separately and send it for further treatment, instead of disposing of it in the open fields and flowing water bodies.
● Consider alternative raw materials
Most of the chemicals used in industries lead to pollution. Hence, the best way to curb this is by considering alternatives to these chemicals. If you can replace the majority of pollution-causing compounds with eco-friendly substances, industrial pollution will be brought under control, to a great extent.
● Motor efficiency
The electric motors being used in your factories create all the pollutants which degrade nature. Earlier, these motors used to have only 60-80% efficiency and thus produced more pollutants. You can get your motors updated to bring up to 95% efficiency to your industry. This way, you can also boost your production while causing less damage to the planet.
● Switching from coal to natural gas
Fuels are the base of every industry’s mechanism. Over the years, coal and oil have been used as fuels, which leads to corrosion in the machines, along with elevating the pollution level. This damage can be avoided by switching to natural gas at a very minimal cost. This alteration will also significantly increase the life of your industrial plant.
All in all, no government or non-government body can fight solely against an enemy as ubiquitous as industrial pollution. We all need to step ahead without getting into second thoughts regarding “what change will my contribution bring?” It’s high time that we shift towards greener solutions while being proactive about every little thing that impacts the planet in one way or the other.