Environmental Pollution: Meaning, Types and Causes

Environmental Pollution: Meaning, Types and Causes – Environment is defined as the surroundings in which living things or organisms live. It is a total of every element that creates a condition and how they directly or indirectly influence the life of an individual or group, in certain circumstances.

Environmental pollution is not a new thing in society. In fact, it has been the biggest problem that they ever handle. Every human activity generates a form of waste which mostly contributes to any form of pollution.

This is mostly caused by growing population and overexploitation of nature, poor industrial management and eventually, the world’s natural events.


What is Environmental Pollution?

Every material that pollutes something is called a pollutant. Pollutants can be substances, if their amount exceeds the normal limit at the wrong time, in the wrong place. They are also labeled as waste (trash). 

Waste is unusable remains, such as household waste that negatively impacts the environment.

Environmental pollution happens when abiotic factors change due to activities that exceed the biotic ecosystem tolerance. Such as, running vehicles or non-environmental standard raw material processing equipment.

There are two types of pollution:

  • Degradable, when pollutants are decomposable or can be broken down into a simpler form that is acceptable for nature. For example, human or animal and plant waste.     
  • Non-degradable, when pollutants can’t be decomposed by nature, Such as mercury, plumbum, arsenic and more.                           


Types of Environmental Pollution and Causes

The followings are 5 types of environmental pollution and their specific causes, such as:

Water Pollution

It happens when the pollutants degrade the water bodies quality like in the sea, river, lake and ….

The pollution may occur due to:

  • Waste disposal from industries and households to the water bodies.
  • Erosion brings soil particles to the water.
  • Poison or dynamite fishing
  • Oil spill at sea due to leaking oil tanker or offshore oil rigs explosion

Air Pollution

It is caused by dangerous substances present in the atmosphere that pollute the air.

Some sources of air pollution are:

  • Vehicle emission, burning or fire, cigarette and factory chimneys that released a huge amount of carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Volcanic smoke from a volcano eruption, releasing dust particles to the air.
  • Factories or coal power plants which burn coal emitting harmful particles, nitrogen oxide and oxide sulfur to the atmosphere.
  • Chloro Fluoro carbon (CFC) released by the refrigerator and car’s air conditioner.

Soil Pollution

It occurs due to pollutants in the soil, such as chemical substances, dust, heat, noise, radiation and microorganism.

The most common causes of soil pollution are categorized by three, they are:

  • domestic waste, any waste that generates from human activities. Mostly wet or biodegradable organic waste.
  • industrial waste, includes solid waste such as mud and pulps from sugar mills, paper, rayon, plywood, fruit preservation and more.
  • agricultural waste, mostly the pesticide or DDT (Dicloro Difenil Trikloroetana) that kills the pests. This waste also pollutes the environment.        

Noise Pollution

It is caused by noise from vehicles, airplanes, and factories machines that bothers the public hearing who live near the factories. Long or repeated exposure to extreme loud noise can cause hearing disorders.         

Light Pollution

It occurs due to excessive lights in certain areas. The significant increase in light intensity affects human activities, animals, and other living things. It mostly happens in the big cities. 


How to Prevent Environmental Pollution

We will share a number of ways we can do to reduce pollution in prevention and control.


Prevention means reducing the amount of pollutants at their sources to prevent more severe impact to the environment. We can start with reducing, reusing and recycling wastes. 

There are three ways we can commit to prevent pollution:

  • Administrative:  government should issue policies or regulations related to the environment.
  • Technology: factories should have a self-waste management unit. The waste should be neutralized before being disposed of to the environment. 
  • Educative: Conduct a community outreach providing education about environment and pollution. It is also possible to have it at formal schools.


Controlling keeps the environment clean and healthy. It involves environmental quality standards, monitoring and technology use to fight against problems.


As we discuss types of environmental pollution and causes, people are expected to keep their environment clean and pollution-free. Both prevention and controlling require government and society cooperation and commitment, preserving the world for the future generation.    

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