POLLUTION UNDERLYING CAUSES OF POLLUTION
CAUSES OF POLLUTION • Mismanagement of wastes e.g. methods of disposal – land, water & air pollution • Transportation – air pollution • Extraction of resources – mining, oil drilling • Industrial • Land development
INDUSTRIAL • In the 19th century, the US underwent an industrial revolution where raw materials were processed into goods. • During this time, the residues produced from this processing were discarded into the environment. • Mining was one of the earliest contributors to the industrial revolution, starting with coal and metal.
When these materials were transformed, they provided fuel and building blocks of western society’s industrialisation. • With the discovery of petroleum & natural gas deposits, chemical processing industries quickly followed. • In the 1900s to late 1960s, chemical industries refined, produced, & developed hundreds of thousands of petroleum-derived & synthetic chemicals used in the production of goods. • Metallic elements (Pb, cadmium, Fe, Al, Cu) are commonly found in industrial wastes, where they have complex & ill-understood effects on the environment.
Most elements are quickly washed out of the atmosphere soon after their relase but elements such as Pb, cadmium and arsenic remain in the water phase for long periods of time. • Most elements are biologically active (taken up by organisms) & actively participate in natural cycles when they enter the water phase. • Once they become part of solid phases this chance is reduced. However, most elements can become soluble again, as environmental changes occur.
FORMS OF INDUSTRIAL WASTE • Combustible waste: yield by-products that can be released directly into the atmosphere as gases or particulate pollutants when they are not properly filtered. • Solid: release pollutants into the atmosphere via dust or particulate transport or when they combine with water, their soluble components can be leached into the soil surface or below.
Sludge and slurry • Wastewaters
MINING • Bauxite mining • Called open cast mining • Large areas of red clay are removed from surface which is transported via air as dust. This dust eventually settles in streams & rivers. • When bauxite is processed into alumina – by-product of red mud containing caustic soda is stored in ponds. • Leaching of caustic soda into groundwater has caused sodium pollution of groundwater in Essex Valley & Ewarton, Jamaica
The ponds containing the red mud can’t be used for anything else and thus remain that way both as a source of water and visual pollution. • In Guyana in 1995, an environmental disaster occurred when a bauxite waste pond dam broke. This allowed 3.2M m3 of cyanide waste & other heavy metals to leak into the Omai & Essequibo rivers. • 1000s of fish were killed & fisherfolk lost their livelihood since 1000km of the river was poisoned.
Even though the company deemed it an accident, they were allowed to dump their cyanide & waste into the Essequibo River. • The river cannot be used for recreational purposes and persons have complained of skin rashes and other symptoms.
POPULATION GROWTH • The amounts of human excrement wastes produced is proportional to human pop’n size. • The urbanisation of pop’ns & the general increase in coastal popn’s will tend to concentrate the excrement prod’n into relatively limited areas. • With an increase in population numbers due to urbanisation or industrialisation there will be an increase in demand for resources such as goods & services, housing, land.
This increasing need for resources will lead to an increase in wastes. Hence, there is an increasing need to dispose of these wastes. • Many of the solid waste problems being experienced in the Caribbean stem from packaging materials, disposable food containers, aluminium beverage cans & plastic bags.
Pop’n growth, increased urbanisation, increase in per capita income & improvements in the standard of living have led to an increase in the purchase of goods that, because of advances in materials science, are now packaged in cheaper, non-degradable disposal material. • St. Lucia recorded an increase of 12.5% in volume of waste generated ‘tween 1990 & ‘96. • An expansion of the tourism industry & an increase in the # of stop-over & cruise ship tourist arrivals – increase in the quantity of waste generated by the tourism industry.
In many Caribbean SIDS & Low-lying Coastal States (LLCS) domestic waste comprises the largest proportion of total waste generated , followed by commercial waste. • A major problem in the Caribbean with waste generation is that current disposal methods are unable to cope with the increasing quantity or the changing composition of the waste.
http://guardian.co.tt/news/general/2010/01/30/plans-regularise-61-illegal-quarrieshttp://guardian.co.tt/news/general/2010/01/30/plans-regularise-61-illegal-quarries • http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/studies/mining/0204finalreportbrgm.pdf • http://www.ypte.org.uk/environmental/quarrying-and-mineral-extraction/79 • http://parisara.kar.nic.in/PDF/Mining.pdf • http://www.bvsde.paho.org/bvsacd/cef-2/SBwastdisp.pdf • http://www.sepa.org.uk/customer_information/mining_and_quarrying.aspx • http://www.dnr.mo.gov/pubs/pub340.pdf • http://www.ema.co.tt/docs/techServ/water/rewpmp.pdf • Jamaica laws http://www.nrca.org/legal/discussion_10Y_in_retro.htm • http://www.pnuma.org/deramb/publicaciones/CaribbeanEnvLaw.pdf • http://www.elaw.org/node/1213 • Bauxite http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=115x82847 • http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-31010-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html • http://www.centrogeo.org.mx/unep/documentos/Ceo/CEOaire.pdf • http://www.cep.unep.org/issues/lbsp.html