As is well known, in the last 150 years the planet has changed the natural structure of its atmosphere and its hydrosphere more than in all the time, millions of years, that it has existed. Drastic changes and very strict rules are needed. We must actively participate in the creation of laws and regulations that have a beneficial impact on the environment, our health and the economy.
With the problems we are facing today, political, economic, social and even sports problems, we put aside one with which we have closest contact, the problem of pollution, a problem that we create and increase by gradually every day.
It is known that it is easy and often useless, to fall into the endless list of environmental problems and catastrophes that our planet endures. Describing calamities is not pleasant, neither for those who tell them, nor for those who listen to them, but only information and awareness can correct wrong situations and mitigate their consequences.
Environmental pollution is considered to be the presence in the environment of one or more pollutants in amounts greater than the limits tolerated by humans, combined in such a way that to a greater or lesser extent they cause an ecological imbalance and damage health and well-being of man.
Environmental pollution generally originates as a consequence of the uncontrolled growth and development of population, tourist and industrial centers, with the correlative increase in the sources of pollution, the deterioration of natural resources and the impact of some phenomena of the same type, such as volcanic eruptions, dust dusts, toxic leaks, among other problems.
As man's power over nature increases and new needs appear as a consequence of life in society, the environment that surrounds him deteriorates more and more. The
Man's social behavior, which led him to communicate through language, which later formed human culture, allowed him to differentiate himself from other living beings. But while they adapt to the environment to survive, man adapts and modifies that same environment according to his needs.
Technological progress, on the one hand, and accelerated demographic growth, on the other, produce the alteration of the environment, in some cases reaching an attack on the biological balance of the Earth. It is not that there is an absolute incompatibility between technological development, the advancement of civilization and the maintenance of ecological balance, but it is important that man knows how to harmonize them. To do this, it is necessary to protect renewable and non-renewable resources and to become aware that environmental sanitation is essential for life on the planet.
In general, environmental pollution in Argentina is greater than what could be expected in a country with so much environmental legislation. This is the product of the fragmentation of the different actors, be they municipal, provincial or national, a confusing picture of environmental situation has arisen that allows irresponsible attitudes. In our country, the analysis and monitoring of the environment is practically non-existent in the case of most pollutants. As a result, there is no adequate basis on how to make informed decisions about environmental pollution management.
A pollutant is any matter, substance or its combinations, chemical or biological compounds or derivatives, fumes, gases, dusts, ash, bacteria, residues and waste, as well as forms of energy such as heat, radioactivity and noise that, when come into contact with air, water or soil, alter or modify its composition and natural conditions.
The main contaminated media are air, water and soil:
– The air: In large cities, air pollution is due to gas escapes from combustion engines, domestic heating appliances, industries that are released into the atmosphere, either as gases, vapors or Solid particles capable of staying in suspension, with values higher than normal, harm life and health, both in humans and in animals and plants.
This layer (the atmosphere) absorbs the greatest amount of solar radiation and due to this, all ultraviolet rays are filtered.
The increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is due to the combustion of coal and oil, which leads to overheating of the air and the seas, which produces a chemical imbalance in the land, producing a high amount of monoxide carbon, highly toxic to living things.
Air pollution comes mainly from industrial pollution by combustion, and the main causes are the generation of electricity and the automobile. There are also other toxic substances that pollute the atmosphere such as lead and mercury. It is important that city dwellers realize that the ecological environment is a primary need. Legislation should be made on the substances that can go into the atmosphere and the concentration that should not be exceeded.
Polluted air affects us in our daily lives, manifesting itself in different ways in our body, such as irritation of the eyes and disorders in the conjunctive membranes, irritation in the respiratory tract and aggravation of broncho-pulmonary diseases.
– Water: The natural sources of water that we have are: rainwater, rivers, lakes, seas and groundwater. It is found in many very hard rocks and stones and also in the atmosphere in the form of clouds or fogs.
Man has always dumped his waste into the water. Under normal conditions, rivers can purify themselves: the waters drag waste into the oceans, bacteria use the oxygen dissolved in the waters and degrade organic compounds, which in turn are consumed by fish and aquatic plants, returning the oxygen and carbon to the biosphere.
But as humanity progressed, this became more and more difficult. The industries concentrate thousands and thousands of people in their environment as we can see in the Greater Buenos Aires area. Systems are often saturated with waste, and industries dump products that cannot be degraded by bacteria. All this causes the oxygen content to drop drastically, and the river no longer has the capacity to sustain life in it, becoming a sewer of several kilometers. Your danger increases if you move slowly.
Another danger is thermal contamination. Large power plants use water as a coolant, this causes the waters of the rivers to raise their temperature, causing changes in biological processes and, therefore, the life existing in them is destroyed.
Water is a vital element for food, which is why it requires greater hygiene. There are demands that are being less and less satisfied, due to its contamination, which reduces the quantity and quality of available water, as well as its natural sources.
– soil: Land use is another of the characteristics of human intervention in the environment, from the reservation of spaces for its exclusive use, such as in cities, industry, communications or agriculture, to its general degradation through the colloidal pollution, by acid rain or the use in agriculture of nitrogen chemical fertilizers. In agriculture, the cultivation of a single species makes it lose the nutrients necessary for its growth, and also hinders the development of other species, thereby reducing the variety of plants.
In addition, deforestation and fires favor the loss of soils, especially if it is inherited from ancient ecological conditions, in an irrecoverable way. Soil erosion, to which it is subjected by the disappearance of the vegetation cover, is widespread throughout the world, but especially in ecological transit regions.
The establishment of a comprehensive environmental control program would fill a critical need in this regard. More interdisciplinary studies and surveys are needed to establish which population is at risk from various forms of environmental pollution and the current degree of threat to which health and safety are exposed as a consequence of pollutants.
As is well known in the last 150 years, the planet has changed the natural structure of its atmosphere and hydrosphere more than in all the time, millions of years, that it has existed. For this reason, the adequate protection and conservation of the environment represents one of the most important challenges that humanity faces. It is clear that drastic changes and very strict regulations are needed if the quality of life on the planet is to be preserved. As members of society we must actively participate in the creation of laws and regulations that have a beneficial impact on the environment, our health and the economy. It is important to note that the solutions to the problem of pollution are closer than one might think, since it is possible in our daily lives to contribute with simple activities to improve our environment, such as consuming non-polluting products, reducing the use of automobile, separate recyclable waste at home, create green spaces, among other measures. It is precisely here where the fact of thinking globally, but acting locally, manifests itself most categorically.
By Cristian Frers
Senior Technician in Environmental Management and Senior Technician in Social Communication.