Ch. 6 – Pollution

adversely affects the biosphere’s land, atmosphere, and water
Point-Source Pollution
pollution emitted from a specific place; i.e. wastewater from a plant, noise from a plane, or oil from a tank
Non-Point-Source Pollution
pollution that doesn’t come from any specific area; can be hard to identify the main source of the pollution; i.e. vehicle emissions or farm runoff
Parts per million (ppm)
the concentration of 1 very dilute toxin or substance to 1 million parts another substance; commonly used to express pollutant amounts
Air Pollution
composed of unwanted gases and particulate matter; can be composed through natural means or through human actions
Criteria Pollutants
6 common air pollutants monitored by the EPA and measured to gauge air quality – CO, NP2, SO2, O3, Pb. & particulate matter
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
colorless, odorless gas that results from the incomplete combustion of organic matter (esp. fossil fuels)
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
reddish-brown gas w/ strong odor; created from combustion at high temperatures (most common in vehicles & electric utilities); reacts with sun’s heat to form photochemical smog (like in LA)
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
formed when sulfur is released from burning coal or oil; mostly due to emissions from coal-fired power plants; reacts with UV rays to form industrial smog; can produce aerosols
solid particles and droplets suspended in the atmosphere
Ozone (O3)
colorless gas found in the stratosphere and the troposphere; ‘good’ ___ is in troposphere & protects the Earth from high lvls of the sun’s UV radiation; ‘bad’ ___ is located close to the ground in the troposhere; main component in smog; found in cleaning products
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
a key component in smog, along with Ozone, human-created NOx, sunlight, and heat
Lead (Pb)
heavy metal used in many processes bc of its availability and ability to be poured into molds where it hardens into a solid; emitted into atmos as a particulate
Particulate Matter (PM)
solid or liquid particles in the atmos; can be a primary pollutant or a secondary pollutant; i.e. dust, smoke, metals
Primary Pollution
pollution from direct emissions
Secondary Pollution
pollution formed from chemical reactions of substances like SO2 or NOx
formed from interactions w/ pollutants catalyzed by solar radiation; photochemical type – NO2 + UV; industrial type – SO2 + UV
Acid Deposition
occurs when chemical reactions occur in atmosphere between pollutant emissions and atmospheric components, which ultimately falls to Earth through precipitation, particulate, or gas; i.e., acid rain (S + O2)
Peroxyacetyl Nitrate (PAN) (CH3CO3NO2)
produced by the reaction of volatile organic hydrocarbons with oxygen and NO2; combined wht ozone & organic compounds called aldehydes is responsible for many of smog’s harmful effects
Heat Islands
urban areas w/ long-term increased temps from heat released by vehicles, air conditioning, and the pavements/buildings that absorb more heat than a natr’l ecosystem
Indoor Air Pollutants
found in most buildings & can be an issue w/ poor ventillation; i.e., tobacco smoke, CO, VOCs, wood-burning, asbestos, lead, and mercury
noise pollution
encompass all human activities that make enough sound to be a nuisance
Light Pollution
the excessive use of artificial light; can cause glare, sky glow, and decreased night visibility
Genetic Pollution
refers to the spread of mutated DNA from genetically engineered organisms to natr’l organisms
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
organisms that have had their DNA altered by combining their genes w/ another organisms; usually for something commercially desirable – growth, size, disease resistance
Cultural Eutrophication
nutrients added to an ecosystem through runoff, including xtra N & P; N affects marine ecosystems; P affects freshwater ecostems
Pollutants that Affect Freshwater
Pesticides, VOCs, Oil products, & heavy metals (poisonous); nutrient runoff from farms (can unbalance ecosystem); Temperature (change affects species + ecosystem balance); sediment (changes aquatic balance); pathogens & waterbourne diseases (can enter drinking water supply)
the ability for something to reflect light; usually used in water pollution–sediment, particulates increase it
Pollutants of Marine Ecosystems
Oil pollution (BP rupture); excess nutrients (N); sewage; trash (plastics & fishing equipment)
Municipal Sewer System
takes waste from septic systems of the local homes/businesses and send it to a central treatment plant to undergo clarification process
Hazardous Waste
flammable, corrosive, toxic, or reactive
Industrial Waste
created during industrial processes (mining, agriculture, consumer goods, extraction & refining of petroleum products)
area where solid waste is disposed of by being buried or piled in a mound; must be located away from wetlands & can’t be built on an EQ fault; bottoms are lined w/ plastic and clay to prevent leakage
heat generated through combustion is captured & used to heat water, which turns turbines & generates energy
Acute Exposure
someone exposed to a high dose over a brief per of time
Chronic Exposure
occurs repeatedly over a long period of time in small doses
Precautionary Principle
when anlyzing substance’s effects, a product is assumed harmful unless otherwise stated
Dose-Response Relationship
the effect of a toxin on an organism/population; describes the effects of certain levels of a toxin & the tipping point where the toxin becomes hazardous
the lethal dose for 50% of the test popualation
when 50% of the pop is affect (but not killed) by a dose of the toxin
Hypoxic Environment
lacks oxygen
harmful to human health
can wear away & break down metals
Easily reacts w/ other substance & can cause a serious reaction (explosions or toxic gases)
Easily flammable
Economic Impact
medical costs, loss of income, loss of productivity, lost agriculture profits, potential tourism decrease, cleanup costs
Market Effects
effects expressed in dollars
Nonmarket Effects
effects that don’t necessarily have a fixed dollar amt, but may be tangible & intangible effects to ecosystem & human well-being
Command-and-control Strategy
gov’t sets and enforces legal limits on pollution; very common but not always the most efficient