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Pollution is when something is added to the environment harmful or poisonous to all living things. Smoke or dust in the air is a type of pollution . Sewage in drinking water is another type of pollution, containing germs and viruses. There are 3 kinds of pollution: water pollution, land pollution, and air pollution.
As pollution grows, ways to combat it have grown too. Solar energy and wind energy give people other ways to power their homes. When people use these alternative forms of energy, they put less carbon dioxide into the environment. 
Air pollution[change | change source]
Air can be polluted by many things. Air pollution includes poisonous gases, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and very small particulates. Smoke and harmful gases released by fires, industries and thermal power plants cause air pollution. Using coal and wood as fuels for fire cause a lot of air pollution. Petroleum produces less pollution per tonne, but it causes a lot of pollution since a lot of it is burned globally. Air pollution may cause breathing problems such as asthma or other health problems. It also causes diseases like cancer.
Air pollution causes global warming and acid rain, which can lead to unpredictable levels of drought worldwide. This makes it difficult for the living organisms to survive.
Water pollution[change | change source]
Water pollution is the presence of harmful materials in water, such as sewage, dissolved metal, waste from farms, factories and crude oil spilled from oil tankers. The three main substances that pollute water are nitrates from fertilizers, sewage and detergents.
Activities such as bathing and washing clothes near lakes, ponds or rivers add nutrients like nitrate and phosphate into the water bodies.This leads to excessive growth of algae on the surface of water. It blocks the penetration of sunlight and air, thus reducing oxygen.
It causes harm to organisms living in water and can also harm people's health. In extreme cases, it may cause diseases like cancer.
Noise pollution[change | change source]
Noise pollution (also known as sound pollution) is harmful to the brain and hearing of all animals and humans. This includes the sound of vehicles, loud speakers, airplanes, jets, train horns etc. Noise pollution can cause ear problems or even permanent deafness, especially to older people. It also causes brain related problems.
Land pollution or Soil pollution[change | change source]
Soil pollution (also known as land pollution) is caused when man-made chemicals, such as hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and solvents, get into the soil.These chemicals come from industrial activities and from improper waste in disposal in leaky landfills. Soil pollution can cause health risks. The chemicals can produce harmful vapors, or they can contaminate water supplies underneath the polluted soil.
Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, or humans. It is caused because plastic takes thousands of years to decompose or mix in the earth.
Thermal pollution[change | change source]
Thermal pollution is the harmful release of heated liquid into a body of water or heat released into the air as a waste product of a business.
A common cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power stations and industrial manufacturers. This puts back warm water, and so raises the temperature and decreases the oxygen content of the water.
Reference[change | change source]
Water pollution is a major environmental issue in India. The largest source of water pollution in India is untreated sewage. Other sources of pollution include agricultural runoff and unregulated small scale industry. Most rivers, lakes and surface water in India are polluted.
A 2007 study found that discharge of untreated sewage is the single most important source of pollution of surface and ground water in India. There is a large gap between generation and treatment of domestic waste water in India. The problem is not only that India lacks sufficient treatment capacity but also that the sewage treatment plants that exist do not operate and are not maintained.
The majority of the government-owned sewage treatment plants remain closed most of the time due to improper design or poor maintenance or lack of reliable electricity supply to operate the plants, together with absentee employees and poor management. The waste water generated in these areas normally percolates into the soil or evaporates. The uncollected waste accumulates in the urban areas causing unhygienic conditions and releasing pollutants that leach into surface and groundwaters.
A 1992 World Health Organization study reported that out of India's 3,119 towns and cities, just 209 have partial sewage treatment facilities, and only 8 have full wastewater treatment facilities. Downstream, the river water polluted by the untreated water is used for drinking, bathing, and washing. A 1995 report claimed 114 Indian cities were dumping untreated sewage and partially cremated bodies directly into the Ganges River. Lack of toilets and sanitation facilities causes open defecation in rural and urban pill areas of India, like many developing countries. This is a source of surface water pollution.
Sewage discharged from cities,towns and some villages is the predominant cause of water pollution in India. Investment is needed to bridge the gap between sewage India generates and its treatment capacity of sewage per day. Major cities of India produce 38,354 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage, but the urban sewage treatment capacity is only 11,786 MLD. A large number of Indian rivers are severely polluted as a result of discharge of domestic sewage.
The Central Pollution Control Board, a Ministry of Environment & Forests Government of India entity, has established a National Water Quality Monitoring Network comprising 1429 monitoring stations in 28 states and 6 in Union Territories on various rivers and water bodies across the country. This effort monitors water quality year round. The monitoring network covers 293 rivers, 94 lakes, 9 tanks, 41 ponds, 8 creeks, 23 canals, 18 drains and 411 wells distributed across India. Water samples are routinely analysed for 28 parameters including dissolved oxygen, bacteriological and other internationally established parameters for water quality. Additionally 9 trace metals parameters and 28 pesticide residues are analysed. Biomonitoring is also carried out on specific locations.
The scientific analysis of water samples from 1995 to 2008 indicates that the organic and bacterial contamination is severe in water bodies of India. This is mainly due to discharge of domestic waste water in untreated form, mostly from the urban centres of India.
In 2010 the water quality monitoring found almost all rivers with high levels of BOD (a measure of pollution with organic matter). The worst pollution, in decreasing order, were found in river Markanda (490 mg/l BOD), followed by river Kali (364), river Amlakhadi (353), Yamuna canal (247), river Yamuna at Delhi (70) and river Betwa (58). For context, a water sample with a 5-day BOD between 1 and 2 mg O/L indicates a very clean water, 3 to 8 mg O/L indicates a moderately clean water, 8 to 20 indicates borderline water, and greater than 20 mg O/L indicates ecologically-unsafe, polluted water.
The levels of BOD are severe near the cities and major towns. In rural parts of India, the river BOD levels were sufficient to support aquatic life.
Rivers Yamuna, Ganga, Gomti, Ghaghara River, Chambal, Mahi, Vardha are amongst the other most coliform polluted water bodies in India. For context, coliform must be below 104 MPN/100 ml, preferably absent from water for it to be considered safe for general human use, and for irrigation where coliform may cause disease outbreak from contaminated-water in agriculture.
In 2006, 47 percent of water quality monitoring reported coliform concentrationst above 500 MPN/100 ml. During 2008, 33 percent of all water quality monitoring stations reported a total coliform levels exceeding those levels, suggesting recent effort to add pollution control infrastructure and upgrade treatment plants in India, may be reversing the water pollution trend.
Treatment of domestic sewage and subsequent utilization of treated sewage for irrigation can prevent pollution of water bodies, reduce the demand for fresh water in the irrigation sector and become a resource for irrigation. Since 2005, Indian wastewater treatment plant market has been growing annually at the rate of 10 to 12 percent. The United States is the largest supplier of treatment equipment and supplies to India, with 40 percent market share of new installation. At this rate of expansion, and assuming the government of India continues on its path of reform, major investments in sewage treatment plants and electricity infrastructure development, India will nearly triple its water treatment capacity by 2015, and treatment capacity supply will match India's daily sewage water treatment requirements by about 2020.
A joint study by PGIMER and Punjab Pollution Control Board in 2008, revealed that in villages along the Nullah, fluoride, mercury, beta-endosulphan and heptachlor pesticide were more than permissible limit (MPL) in ground and tap water. Plus the water had high concentration of COD and BOD (chemical and biochemical oxygen demand), ammonia, phosphate, chloride, chromium, arsenic and chlorpyrifos pesticide. The ground water also contains nickel and selenium, while the tap water has high concentration of lead, nickel and cadmium.
Flooding during monsoons worsens India's water pollution problem, as it washes and moves solid waste and contaminated soils into its rivers and wetlands. The annual average precipitation in India is about 4000 billion cubic metres. From this, with the state of Indian infrastructure in 2005, the available water resource through the rivers is about 1869 billion cubic meters. Accounting to uneven distribution of rain over the country each year, water resources available for utilization, including ground water, is claimed to be about 1122 billion cubic meters. Much of this water is unsafe, because pollution degrades water quality. Water pollution severely limits the amount of water available to Indian consumers, its industry and its agriculture.
Main article: Pollution of the Ganges
More than 500 million people live along the Ganges River. An estimated 2,000,000 persons ritually bathe daily in the river, which is considered holy by Hindus. Ganges river pollution is a major health risk.
NRGBA was established by the Central Government of India, on 20 February 2009 under Section 3(3) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. It also declared Ganges as the "National River" of India. The chair includes the Prime Minister of India and Chief ministers of states through which the Ganges flows.
Further information: Pollution of the Yamuna River
By an estimate by 2012, Delhi's sacred Yamuna river contained 7,500 coliform bacteria per 100cc of water. A lot number of NGOs, pressure groups, eco-clubs, as well as citizens' movements, have been active in their task to clean the river.
Even though India revised its National Water Policy in 2002 to encourage community participation and decentralize water management, the country's complex bureaucracy ensures that it remains a "mere statement of intent." Responsibility for managing water issues is fragmented among a dozen different ministries and departments without any coordination. The government bureaucracy and state-run project department has failed to solve the problem, despite having spent many years and $140 million on this project.
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- ^Ganga conservation efforts inspire thousands
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Canals, rivers and lakes in India often serve as dumping grounds for sewage, solid and liquid wastes. These are sources of water pollution, as illustrated in Tamil Nadu (above) and West Bengal (below).