Contamination is the introduction into any medium of a contaminant; that is, any substance or form of energy with the potential to cause damage, irreversible or not, in the environment. To be able to speak of contamination, it is necessary for the agent to be introduced above the capacity of the medium to eliminate it.
The patient is serious. The symptoms are many. His breath is fetid, toxins have been found in his body fluids, his temperature is very high and there is no way to lower it ... When attacking some symptoms, others appear in various parts of the body. If he were an ordinary patient, doctors would say that he is a chronically ill patient in a terminal phase and, not knowing what else to do for him, they would limit themselves to providing palliative care until death occurred.
But we are not talking about a human being, but about our home, the Earth. The situation described illustrates very well what is happening to you. The degradation of the environment due to the attitude adopted by humans towards nature in recent times, in the sense that in their actions they had a license to exploit natural resources with total indifference to anything that did not directly benefit man , has given rise to one of the capital problems that humanity has raised today, pollution.
Contamination is the introduction into any medium of a contaminant; that is, any substance or form of energy with the potential to cause damage, irreversible or not, in the environment. To be able to speak of contamination, it is necessary for the agent to be introduced above the capacity of the medium to eliminate it. It is not, therefore, a question of which products are introduced, but their quantity. The proliferation of these residues represents a serious imbalance in the biosystem, to the point of making life impossible for existing species. Water, air and soil are the main contaminated media.
When talking about pollution it is very important to bear in mind that complementary effects can occur in nature that aggravate the situation. The presence of a certain element can increase the toxicity of other apparently innocuous substances; For example, mercury, which is not very toxic in its metallic state, is converted by certain bacteria in water into highly dangerous methylmercury. The use of two substances such as bleach and detergent, when combined forms chloramine, a chlorinated element that is highly toxic and irritating to the respiratory tract.
The intensive exploitation of natural resources and the development of large industrial and urban concentrations in certain areas, are phenomena that, because they are uncontrolled, have led to the saturation of the assimilative and regenerative capacity of Nature and can lead to irreversible disturbances of the balance. ecological general, the long-term consequences of which are not easily foreseeable.
The most important types of pollution are those that affect basic natural resources: air, soil and water. Some of the most serious environmental alterations related to pollution phenomena are radioactive escapes, smog, the greenhouse effect, acid rain, the destruction of the ozone layer, the eutrophication of waters or oil slicks. Pollution presupposes a cost that is often not taken into account and is very burdensome for the community:
1) Loss of resources: As resources become contaminated, they can no longer be used. A highly polluted lake or river will no longer be able to provide water for irrigation or be used for human consumption.
2) Cost to suppress and control pollution: You just have to think about how much you should spend to recover a polluted environment, such as a river or a lake.
3) Health costs: This is the aspect that makes the population react the fastest. Since these costs mean medical expenses and expenses for lost hours of work.
The fight against pollution of the air, continental and maritime waters, the soil, as well as the defense of the landscape, the restoration and improvement of areas of natural and artistic interest, the protection of fauna and flora, the treatment and elimination of waste, the defense of green areas and free spaces, the reinstallation of industries outside urban areas, urban traffic congestion, the fight against noise and many other issues, are only partial and interrelated aspects that They must be taken into account when addressing actions or action programs for the defense of the environment.
Most of us citizens perceive that global nature of the pollution problem; that is why one refers to it as one of the main problems on the planet. However, an effort should be made to specify and address in a more precise way the different forms of pollution and their consequences. To solve the problem of pollution, it is urgently necessary to take some measures.
1) The State must be concerned with the problem of contamination, issuing severe laws, controlling their compliance and punishing transgressors. The environmental problem is a problem that affects the common good and the quality of life, and, consequently, cannot be left to the free will of people. The common good is a responsibility of the State as representative of the welfare of all citizens.
2) A high responsibility rests with the municipal governments, directly responsible for the disposal of garbage and sewage; control of the vehicle fleet; of green areas; control of disturbing noises; and polluting emissions in its jurisdiction.
3) Citizens must become more aware of the problem, demand respect for the environment and not contribute to its deterioration. The contribution of citizens, individually, can be very large in some respects.
4) Educate the population through schools and the media such as television, radio, and newspapers in respect for the environment and in the eradication of bad habits of environmental pollution
One of the most important concerns of our time is the environmental quality of the environment. It is known that it is easy and often useless to fall into the endless list of environmental problems and catastrophes that our planet bears. Describing calamities is not pleasant, neither for those who tell them, nor for those who listen to them, but only information and awareness can correct wrong situations and mitigate their consequences.
As is well known in the last 150 years, the planet has changed the natural structure of its atmosphere and hydrosphere more than in all the time, millions of years, that it has existed. For this reason, the adequate protection and conservation of the environment represents one of the most important challenges that humanity faces. It is clear that drastic changes and very strict regulations are needed if the quality of life on the planet is to be preserved.
As members of society we must actively participate in the creation of laws and regulations that have a beneficial impact on the environment, our health and the economy. It is important to note that the solutions to the problem of pollution are closer than one thinks, since it is possible in our daily lives to contribute with simple activities to improve our environment, such as consuming non-polluting products, reducing the use of automobile, separate recyclable waste at home, create green spaces, among other means. It is precisely here where the act of thinking globally, but acting locally, is most categorically manifested.
* By Cristian Frers - Senior Technician in Environmental Management and Senior Technician in Social Communication