Human and Environmental Health Effects

Watershed the land area that drains into a stream the watershed for a major river may encompass a number of smaller watersheds Fertilizer, animal manure, and waste-treatment plant effluent all contain nutrients that stimulate excessive plant and algal growth in freshwater bodies. When the plants die and decompose, dissolved oxygen is depleted, causing die-offs of fish and other species living in the water. Persistent organochlorine insecticides, such as DDT, deposited in lake sediments can...

Surface Water Pollution

Freshwater makes up less than three percent of earth's water, but is the source of virtually all drinking water. In 2002, each U.S. household used an average of 94,000 gallons of water per year. Some 55 percent of that water comes from reservoirs, rivers, and lakes, and a 2000 survey published in EPA's National Water Quality Inventory found almost 40 percent of U.S. rivers and 45 percent of lakes are polluted. These sources, called surface water, are vulnerable to pollution discharged out of...

For Your Reference

Below is a list of selected symbols, abbreviations, acronyms, and imtialisms that are used regularly throughout the articles in this book. ACM asbestos-containing materials ACTION Activists' Center for Training in Organizing and Networking AFL Affiliated Federation of Labor AFT American Federation of Teachers AHERA Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act AHERA Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Amendment ANILCA Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act ANWR Arctic National Wildlife Refuge...

Typical Day of Enviro Culture

A day in the life of an average American is filled with popular culture's representations of pollution and the environment. A person makes breakfast with cereal from a company that touts itself as environmentally conscious. Flipping channels while eating breakfast, an individual learns from CNN that an oil spill has occurred overnight near a sensitive coastline, while the Weather Channel reports that beach erosion caused by a hurricane off the coast of North Carolina is harming the natural...

Earth Summit and Agenda

Environmental justice and the connection between poverty and pollution have been gaining increased attention globally, both from governmental and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). In 1992 the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in what came to be known as the Earth Summit (June 3 to 14). Unprecedented in size, the meeting focused on sustainable development, and its main result was a document of goals and plan of action known as...

Effects on Humans

The most important aspect of pesticides is how they affect humans. There is increasing anxiety about the importance of small residues of pesticides, often suspected of being carcinogens or disrupting endocrine activities, in drinking water and food. In spite of stringent regulations by international and national regulatory agencies, reports of pesticide residues in human foods, both imported and home-produced, are numerous. Over the last fifty years many human illnesses and deaths have occurred...

Environmental and Health Impacts

The effects of debris on other spacecraft range from surface abrasion due to repeated small-particle impact to a catastrophic fragmentation due to a collision with a large object. The relative velocities of orbital objects (10 kilometers per second km s on average, but ranging from meters per second up to 15.5 km s) allow even very small objects such as a paint flake to damage spacecraft components and surfaces. For example, a 3-millimeter (mm) aluminum particle traveling at 10 km s is...

Environmental Impacts

The environmental responsibility of mining operations is protection of the air, land, and water. Mineral resources were developed in the United States for nearly two centuries with few environmental controls. This is largely attributed to the fact that environmental impact was not understood or appreciated as it is today. In addition, the technology available during this period was not always able to prevent or control environmental damage. Air. All methods of mining affect air quality....

Historical and Current

Before the 1900s, the world as a whole used wood (including wood converted to charcoal) for heat in homes and industry, vegetation for feeding draft animals, water mills for grinding grain and milling lumber, and wind for marine transportation and grain milling and water pumping. By the 1920s, however, coal and petroleum had largely replaced these energy sources in industrialized countries, although wood for home heating and hydroelectric power generation remained in wide use. At the end of the...

Historical and Regulatory Aspects

Environmental awareness and activism is not a present-day concept In the mid-1700s Benjamin Franklin and others petitioned the Pennsylvania Assembly to stop dumping waste and attempted to regulate waste disposal and water pollution. European countries were correlating sickness with lead and mercury in the late 1700s. In 1855, Chicago became the first U.S. city with a comprehensive sewer plan, and all U.S. towns with populations over 4,000 had city sewers by 1905. In 1899 the Refuse Act...

MSW Management

In response to mounting solid waste problems, EPA published The Solid Waste Dilemma An Agenda for Action in 1989, which presents goals and recommendations for action by the EPA, state and local governments, industry, and consumers to address the solid waste problems facing the United States. The EPA recommends an integrated, hierarchical approach to waste management using four components source reduction, recycling, combustion, and landfills. This comprehensive approach addresses critical...

Nongovernmental Organizations NGOs

Collaborative efforts among the public have played an important role in shaping the political and social values and hence public policy of the United States. Organizing with others who share a similar vision enhances the potential for change. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) accomplish just that. Established outside of political parties, NGOs are aimed at advocating the public's To preserve and promote awareness about the world's endangered biodiversity. To protect and promote sustainable...

Particulates

Particulates, or particulate matter (PM), refer to any mixture of solid particles or liquid droplets that remain suspended in the atmosphere for appreciable time periods. Examples of particulates are dust and salt particles, and water and sulphuric acid droplets. The length of time a particle survives in the atmosphere depends on the balance between two processes. Gravity forces the particles to settle to the earth's surface, but atmospheric turbulence can carry the particles in the opposite...

Progressive Movement

The Progressive Era, a term used to describe the period between approximately 1890 and 1920, witnessed an explosion of reform efforts in America. A great number of people, for a variety of reasons, participated in a vast number of diverse reforms, including women's suffrage, political reform, and prohibition. Progressive reformers initiated these changes in reaction to the increased level of, and problems associated with, urbanization and industrialization in late-nineteenth-century America....

Property Rights Movement

The property rights movement has had a significant impact on the nation's environmental policies since 1980. The groups identified with the movement commonly oppose federal regulation or intrusion on land that is privately held, especially in cases where federal involvement is in the form of environmental laws that limit the owner's full or partial use of the land. The movement began with the Sagebrush Rebellion of the mid-1970s, when legislators from states in western United States sought the...

Radioactive Waste Disposal

Various methods to manage and dispose of radioactive waste have been considered. Proposed management and disposal methods have included the transuranic waste waste containing one or more radioactive elements heavier than uranium, created in nuclear power plants or processing facilities COMMON CATEGORIES OF RADIOACTIVE WASTE Common Radionuclides in Waste and Their Half-Life (y years) Highly radioactive material that is deemed a waste that requires special precautions by humans, including remote...

Risks from Sewage Sludge A Cross Country Comparison

Sewage sludge is the semisolid or concentrated liquid residue generated during the treatment of wastewater. In addition to biodegradable organic material, sludges can contain pathogens (disease organisms) and industrial pollutants (such as heavy metals) that can be damaging to human health. Among the means for disposing of sludges by incineration, landfilling, or spreading across farmland and other open space only land application has the benefit of returning the fertilizing nutrients in sludge...

Sampling and Extraction

Air can be actively or passively sampled. Actively sampled air is pumped through a filter or chemical solution. For example, airborne lead, mostly originating from metals processing plants, is collected on filters by active sampling and then analyzed spectroscopically. Air that is not pumped but allowed to flow or diffuse naturally is passively sampled. Nitrogen oxides, resulting from vehicle emissions and combustion, can be monitored in passive sampling tubes by their reaction with...

Settlement House Movement

As more women gained access to a college education in the late nineteenth century, many hoped to use their skills and talents for more than homemak-ing and child rearing. Jane Addams, born in 1860 to a Quaker miller in Illinois, was one of these women who hoped to improve the life of others and society at large. After completing her education, Addams took a trip to Europe, where social activism in the slums of London had a dramatic effect on her. She returned to Chicago to found her own version...

Site Cleanup Remedies

Technologies employed to clean up sites include procedures that have been used for decades in treating water and air pollution also, novel techniques heavy metals metallic elements with high atomic weights (e.g. mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic, and lead) can damage living things at low concentrations and tend to accumulate in the food chain DDT the first chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticide (chemical name Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane) it has a half-life of 15 years and can collect in...

Smelting

Mined ores are processed to concentrate the minerals of interest. In the case of metal ores, these mineral concentrates usually need to be further processed to separate the metal from other elements in the ore minerals. Smelting is the process of separating the metal from impurities by heating the concentrate to a high temperature to cause the metal to melt. Smelting the concentrate produces a metal or a high-grade metallic mixture along with a solid waste product called slag. The principal...

Source Reduction

Hydroelectricity

Source reduction, also known as waste prevention, is a front-end approach to addressing MSW problems by changing the way products are made and used. source reduction reducing the amount of materials entering the waste stream from a specific source by redesigning products or patterns of production or consumption (e.g., using returnable beverage containers) synonymous with waste reduction (top) Breakdown of the 229.9 million tons of MSW generated in the United States in 1999 by material category....

The Evolution of Public Participation

From the 1930s onward, the size of the U.S. federal government grew very rapidly, and government became involved in making many decisions that affected people's lives. As government grew, decisions previously made in a political process were increasingly delegated to technical experts. Over time, many people began to feel that impersonal bureaucrats were making decisions which controlled their lives. After the Depression and World War II, there was broad general agreement in the United States...

Toxic Release Inventory

Congress passed a federal law called the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), which gives the public the right to know about industrial toxic chemicals that are released into the environment. At present this law, which is also known as Title III of the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act, requires businesses in certain industries that manufacture, process, or otherwise use any chemical from a list of 651 designated chemicals or chemical groups in...

Ultraviolet Radiation

Incident solar sun energy that hits a particular spot suppression reduction in or prevention of an effect Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that lies between visible light and x rays in its energy and wavelength. It is a component of the radiation that reaches the Earth from the sun. The broad UV band, having wavelengths between 190 nanometers (nm) and 400 nm, is conventionally divided into three parts UV-A or near-UV (315 to 400 nm), UV-B or mid-UV (280 to 315...

Underground Storage Tank

Leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) containing hazardous liquids, primarily petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, or oil have contaminated the groundwater and drinking water of thousands of communities across the United States. Following the boom in automobile sales after World War II, gasoline stations mushroomed across the county to meet the demand for personal mobility. At these new stations, gasoline was stored underground in tanks made of bare steel, which were not...

US Department of Agriculture

Department of Agriculture (DOA) works with landowners to maintain the productive capacity of their land while helping them to protect soil, water, forests and other natural resources. The department conducts a large part of this work through two of its agencies the Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Forest Service is charged with the oversight of 191 million acres of federal land. In advancing its pollution-control efforts, the...

VOCs Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are small organic molecules that take part in photochemical reactions in the atmosphere, resulting in smog. They have low boiling points and vaporize easily. When present in the atmosphere, VOCs, such as benzene and ethylbenzene, are not removed by passing the air through a filter. The atmosphere also contains nonvolatile organic compounds and semivolatile species such as anthracene and nicotine. The latter separate partly on a filter and partly in the gas...

Waste Reduction

Waste reduction, also known as source reduction, is the practice of using less material and energy to minimize waste generation and preserve natural resources. Waste reduction is broader in scope than recycling and incorporates ways to prevent materials from ending up as waste before they reach the recycling stage. Waste reduction includes reusing products such as plastic and glass containers, purchasing more durable products, and using reusable products, such as dishrags instead of paper...

Bioterrorism

The environment can also be a conduit for terrorism. Biological elements such as disease-causing bacteria and viruses can become potent weapons when taken out of their natural environment. Shortly after the attack on the WTC, several pieces of mail in and around Florida, Washington, D.C., and New York City tested positive for the biocontaminant anthrax. Anthrax is a bacterium that, in its most potent inhaled form, has a fatality rate of over 90 percent. Over ten thousand people may have been...

Laws And Regulations

Air Pollution Control Act Clean Air Act Clean Water Act Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Disasters Environmental Mining Accidents Disasters Natural Emergency Planning and Community Right-to- Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Laws and Regulations, International Laws and Regulations, United States Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System...

Cleaner Fuels

The gasoline and diesel fuel in use today contains significant amounts of sulfur and other compounds that make it harder for existing control technology to keep vehicles clean. Removing the sulfur from the fuel and cutting down on the amount of light hydrocarbons helps pollution-control technology to work better and cuts down on evaporative and refueling emissions. Further large-scale reductions of other tailpipe pollution and CO2 can be accomplished with a shift away from conventional fuels....

Diagram Of A Properly Closed Landfill

Landfill Diagram

Cutaway view of a modern landfill designed to prevent the two main hazards of the dump explosions or fires caused by methane gas, and leakage of rainwater mixed with dangerous chemicals or leachate . Cutaway view of a modern landfill designed to prevent the two main hazards of the dump explosions or fires caused by methane gas, and leakage of rainwater mixed with dangerous chemicals or leachate . about the benefits of recovering and burning methane as an energy source. By 2002 the program had...

Examples of Mining Pollution and Reclamation

The Bunker Hill Mine complex is located in northwest Idaho in the Coeur d'Alene River Valley, and has a legacy of nearly a hundred years of mining-related contamination since 1889. Operations ceased in 1982, and the EPA declared much of the area a Superfund site in 1983. The complex produced lead, zinc, cadmium, silver, and gold, as well as arsenic and other minerals and materials. Much of the mining pollution was caused by the dispersal of mining wastes containing such contaminants as arsenic,...

The Water Treatment Process

Natural Treatment Plant System

Whether in the natural environment or a constructed water-treatment plant, there are several key processes that occur during water treatment dilution, coagulation and flocculation, settling, filtration, disinfection, and other chemical treatments. The quality of the source water and the effectiveness of source-water protection and management have a direct bearing on the complexity of the treatment that is required. Source-water protection is the first step in water treatment, with the natural...

Nuclear Terrorism

Biocontamination is not the only threat to safety in the United States. One of the most frightening terror scenarios that government officials must consider is the possibility of a nuclear device, or dirty bomb, being detonated in a U.S. city. Quite separate from the direct human health consequences, the environmental effects of even a low-yield five kiloton nuclear weapon are severe The shock wave will disperse radioactive fallout over a wide area, poisoning wildlife and groundwater. The heat...

Mass Market P Technologies

Mass-market P2 technologies are those that can be used in many different industries or even in consumer households. These technologies create new markets because their production creates jobs and spin-offs, and they generate ready demand from producers who want to reduce input costs. Each has the following criteria 1. The technology is widely applicable across a variety of industry types and sizes. 2. The technology does not require very large capital expenditures. 3. The technology's...

Petroleum Economy

Petroleum, like all fossil fuels, primarily consists of a complex mixture of molecules called hydrocarbons molecules containing both hydrogen and carbon . When it comes out of the ground, it is known as crude oil, and it may have various gases, solids, and trace minerals mixed in with it. Through refinement processes, a variety of consumer products can be made from petroleum. Most of these are fuels gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, kerosene, and propane are common examples. It is also used to...

Future Legislative Action

As stated earlier, the single-medium approach to environmental protection is an impediment to progress. Many attempts have been made to change laws or regulations on the federal, state, and local levels to leverage more opportunities for prevention and cleaner production without dismantling the current regulatory framework. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA has overseen several initiatives designed to allow more flexibility within the current system, in the hope of attaining more...

Reduced Use and Recycling

There is growing concern about the excess use of plastics, particularly in packaging. This has been done, in part, to avoid the theft of small objects. The use of plastics can be reduced through a better choice of container sizes and through the distribution of liquid products in more concentrated form. A concern is the proper disposal of waste plastics. Litter results from careless disposal, and decomposition rates in landfills can be extremely long. Consumers should be persuaded or required...

The Cold War Legacy

Military activities and preparations for war can have enormous environmental impacts even without a shot being fired. The development of the atomic bomb during the early 1940s, referred to as the Manhattan Project, not only had devastating consequences in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also produced a long-lasting legacy of deadly radioactive pollution in the United States. In 1939 Nobel Prize physicist Niels Bohr warned that although it was possible for the United States to build an atom bomb, it...

The Future of Petroleum

The world's reliance on petroleum is expected to grow, despite widespread environmental, economic, and political consequences. The U.S. oil extraction industry continues to aggressively search for new oil deposits and lobby the federal government to open up restricted areas to drilling. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska has been on the oil industry agenda for several decades, creating a long-standing environmental controversy. Advances in oil well technology have allowed extraction...

US Army Corps of Engineers

Army Corps of Engineers otherwise known as the corps is the world's largest public, engineering, design, and construction management agency. The corps obtains its authority from the secretary of the army and is a division serving the chief of engineers within the Department of the Army. Funded by Congress, the corps' primary responsibilities include the management and execution of civil works programs in or adjacent to the nation's waterways e.g., rivers, harbors,...

Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Center

The secondary environmental effects of terrorism can often be as significant as its primary effects. The attack on the World Trade Center WTC in New York City on September 11, 2001, had negative health consequences beyond the staggering loss of life. The collapse of the structures and subsequent fires spewed an enormous cloud of dust and toxins into the air over the city. Pulverized concrete, building materials, heavy metals, and human remains were inhaled by residents and rescue workers in...

Internal and External Recycling

Most people associate recycling with items such as newspapers, magazines, plastics, aluminum, and glass. The recovery, reprocessing, and reuse of materials from used items is called external recycling and requires public participation. A second type of recycling, internal recycling, is the reuse of waste materials from manufacturing and does not involve the general public. For example, the manufacture production of copper items results in wasted copper pieces with internal recycling, these...

Relationship between Resource Competition and Terrorism

The United States is often a target of asymmetrical warfare, such as terrorism, because of its military superiority and worldwide economic interests. Many scholars studying peace have reasoned that, in order to defeat terrorism, we must remedy the conditions that give rise to it. One of the most pressing American national security interests is ensuring continued global access to natural commodities such as oil, minerals, and timber. However, the United States already consumes approximately 30...

Soil Pollution

Volatilization Denitrification Ppt

Soil pollution comprises the pollution of soils with materials, mostly chemicals, that are out of place or are present at concentrations higher than normal which may have adverse effects on humans or other organisms. It is difficult to define soil pollution exactly because different opinions exist on how to characterize a pollutant while some consider the use of pesticides acceptable if their effect does not exceed the intended result, others do not consider any use of pesticides or even...