Causes of Water and Air Pollution in the USA
Causes of Water and Air Pollution in the USA:
The United States of America is a developed country. Does pollution exist in developed countries? Yes, pollution is a global problem. And every country has contributed to the destruction of nature up to some extent.
However, the pollution rate in the USA is relatively low when compared to China and India. To protect the environment and to solve the existing environmental issues, the USA has established an agency called the United States environmental protection agency (EPA) in 1970.
Many kinds of pollution have been spread all over the country, but in this particular article, we will only focus on air and water pollution in USA.
Table of Contents
Air Pollution in the USA:
The presence of contaminants in the air, which is harmful to both the environment and human health, is called air pollution. The USA has taken several serious steps against air pollution, which is helpful for improving air quality.
Furthermore, the basic structure of the Clean Air Act was established in 1970 and was amended in 1990. Moreover, to check the progress of the air quality, EPA organizes air research for a duration of 5 years.
Causes of Air Pollution:
Major causes of air pollution are human activities and sometimes natural disasters. Several kinds of harmful substances are released into the air. Major problems are due to industries and transports. Further, unfiltered gases released from industries contain many harmful gases along with particulate matter.
High levels of particulate matter can cause irritation in the eye, nose, and throat. Also, it may cause severe damage to the lungs. In some serious cases, it can be fatal and result in cancer.
Sulfur dioxide released from coal industries can cause many respiratory diseases, and it is mainly responsible for acid rain.
Vehicles are moreover responsible for the emission of nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOC), carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide.
Nitrogen oxide is responsible for acid rain. Along with VOCs, nitrogen oxides form smog in the presence of sunlight.
Smog is the tropospheric ozone, which is very harmful. Smog destroys crops, vegetation, and causes many respiratory diseases like asthma.
Carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen in the blood by binding with hemoglobin.
Fossil fuel combustion also releases mercury and leads to the atmosphere. Mercury is also released due to waste disposal, mining, and some industrial processes like incineration and smelting.
On the other hand, lead may be released due to metal refineries and battery manufacturing. Both mercury and lead cause neurological damages, and lead may cause even cancer.
Air pollution is worst near industries, highways, rail-yards, etc.
Declination of Air Pollutants in Recent Years in the USA:
After the introduction of the clean air act, some improvements in air quality have been observed. Controlled use of source and use of developed technology has helped a lot in this improvement. Reduced amounts of mercury, lead, smog, and acidification have been noticed in recent years.
The first step of the USA to clean air was to remove the lead-based fuel additives. Then they started to focus on the coal-burning power plants.
Thus, a large decrease in acid rain is observed. It is because coal-burning power plants release high amounts of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain.
They applied strict rules on vehicles and improved their car models. Thus, a very low amount of VOCs and nitrogen oxides are releasing, and smog amounts are declining.
The USA is using renewable sources more and limited sources less.
Water Pollution in the USA:
Water is a basic need of every life form. Pollution of water can affect the total living world.
However, to reduce the pollution of water, the USA introduced a law called the clean water act in 1972.
To grab more attention towards the problems of water pollution and its effect, the World Water Day is celebrated on 22 March each year. But apart from spreading awareness, the USA government should follow some effective steps.
According to a survey, the USA uses and reuses the water of some major rivers more than 20 times before it meets the sea.
Causes of Water Pollution in the USA:
How does water get polluted? Water pollution takes place either by point sources or by non-point sources.
The point source indicates the pollutants from a single source. A non-point source means there is no particular source of these pollutants.
They flow with rainwater from multiple sources and mix with water. Industrial pollutants, domestic pollutants, and agricultural pollutants are three major reasons for water pollution in the USA.
People discharge industrial effluents into the water without any treatment. As a result, deoxygenated dead zones are rapidly growing in water.
Chemicals from industries turn the water into toxic liquid. According to studies, approx. 80% of the world’s wastewater is discharged untreated into water sources.
Water is the prime requirement for agriculture. We use pesticides and different fertilizers in agriculture. After irrigation or rain, the extra water flowed from the field contains different pesticides and fertilizers. This water is mixed in water reservoirs.
Pollution of water reservoirs from agricultural sources of phosphorus is a major problem. The U.S. environmental protection agency (USEPA) regulates different laws to control water pollution from different sources.
Sewage is the major domestic source of water pollution. Almost 80% of the population of America depends on wastewater treatment plants. Almost 24% of household water use is from flushing toilets. The other 20% have their own tanks of sewage. So, we should regulate this large amount of waste properly.
There is an improvement in wastewater management, but still, there is a lot to improve. Both surface water and groundwater are polluting day by day.
So, there is a scarcity of clean drinking water. Some recent studies found that our drinking water contains plastic particles. Surprisingly the USA has the highest contamination of drinking water, i.e., 94%. Altogether, the USA has spent almost 1.9 trillion dollars in the last 60 years to decrease water pollution.
More or less, each country has pollution, but the most important fact is the dealing methods of the country with the pollution issue.
The USA has very modern technology to deal with it. We can correlate some issues, so solving one problem will ultimately solve the other one. For example, if we prevent air pollution, it will stop acid rain, which will ultimately prevent water pollution and soil destruction from those acids.
Government should take measures for controlling multi-pollutant activities first. Due to pollution, the country will face environmental issues, and there will be some damage to its economy also.
So along with the present steps, we should take more preventive steps to secure the ecology.
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