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...

Coalbed Methane

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas trapped inside coal, can be released into the atmosphere when coal is mined. The 1993 President's Climate Change Action Plan encouraged the recovery of a possible 100 trillion cubic feet of this coal-bed methane for energy. This would reduce methane and carbon dioxide emissions overall, because burning methane produces less carbon dioxide than burning fossil fuels. Scientists from the United States Geological Survey are studying how to extract coal-bed methane...

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 Of Pollution

Acid Rain Cryptosporidiosis Endocrine Disruption Fish Kills Global Warming Health, Human Hypoxia Smog Disasters Environmental Mining Accidents Energy, Nuclear Energy Efficiency Fossil Fuels Fuel Cell Fuel Economy Global Warming Green Chemistry Greenhouse Gases Lifestyle Light Pollution Mining Radioactive Waste Renewable Energy Vehicular Pollution Waste to Energy

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...

Energy Production from Waste in the United States and South America

South America, with its agrarian societies, surprisingly consumes very few wastes for the production of steam or electricity. Brazil is the largest country in South America and is also the largest energy consumer, consuming about 8.5 quads of energy each year as compared to 6.1 quads for Mexico, 12.5 quads for Canada, and 97.0 quads for the United States. Due to the large size of Brazil's agricultural sector, biomass is seen as the best future alternative energy source. Currently, Brazil...

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...

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...

International P Technologies

The major differences in P2 technologies among countries lie in the age of the technology and the level of process control. In less developed countries, much of the technology is old and would be considered out of date and uncompetitive in developed countries. Consequently, it usually produces much more pollution per unit of output. Less developed countries also tend to use fewer process controls and instrumentation. Much of the operation is controlled by hand or based on experience, rather...

Lifestyle

It might be said that, whether conscious of it or not, everyone has a lifestyle. From this perspective, lifestyle refers simply to the defining characteristics or qualities of a particular way of life, be it of an individual, a nation, or an entire culture. On the other hand, some argue that lifestyle is a Western concept, meaningful only to the citizens of affluent countries, not to those whose main concern is mere survival because of their absolute poverty. From this perspective, the concept...

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...

NOx Nitrogen Oxides

Nitrification the process whereby ammonia, typically in wastewater, is oxidized to nitrite and then to nitrate by bacterial or chemical reactions denitrification the biological reduction of nitrate or nitrite to nitrogen gas, typically by bacteria in soil stratosphere the portion of the atmosphere ten to twenty-five miles above the earth's surface NOx is a common term for the more reactive nitrogen oxides and includes nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), but excludes, for example,...

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...

PCBs Polychlorinated Biphenyls

PCBs, known to cause cancer in animals and believed to cause cancer in humans, are among the most widespread and hazardous synthetic pollutants. They comprise a group of 209 structurally similar compounds, so-called congeners. The individual congeners differ in the degree of chlorination and the positions of the chlorine atoms in the molecule. They are numbered from one to 209 according to a scheme proposed by Ballschmiter and Zell (hence, the term BZ numbers). PCBs are obtained by the...

Point Sources of Air Pollution

Point sources of air pollution include stationary sources such as power plants, smelters, industrial and commercial boilers, wood and pulp processors, paper mills, industrial surface coating facilities, refinery and chemical processing operations, and petroleum storage tanks. Examples of nonpoint sources of air pollution include on-road mobile sources such as cars and trucks nonroad mobile sources such as construction and recreation equipment engines and natural sources such as windstorms and...

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...

Relatively Cleaner Technologies

Technology is always advancing and improving. Many new technologies are naturally more energy efficient and less polluting than the ones they replace. Sometimes, this is because they were designed with environmental improvement in mind. Usually, however, it is simply the result of using newer and better materials and components. Therefore, pollution-preventing technologies can be found in every area of a product's life cycle. Life cycle analysis (LCA) is needed to determine if a particular...

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...

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...

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....

Systems Science

Most traditional science works within a very restricted disciplinary domain requiring a careful and often technically rigorous and demanding approach that includes, at least in theory, the use of the Baconian scientific method of test and control in a restricted laboratory environment. This is how most science operates, and it is often a very successful approach. However, such an approach is very difficult to apply to many real problems, including those in the complex natural or seminatural...

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...

The Future for Renewable Energy

Renewable energy has many advantages that will help to maintain and expand its place in world energy supply Renewable energy resources are enormous hundreds of times beyond the needs of world energy consumption in 2000. Advances in technologies are reducing manufacturing costs and increasing system efficiencies, thereby reducing the cost of energy from renewable resources. Negative environmental and health impacts of renewable energy use are much fewer than those of fossil fuels and nuclear...

Todd John

INNOVATIVE ECOLOGICAL DESIGNER (1939-) John Todd is an internationally recognized biologist and pioneer in ecological design. He has been a practical activist in the ecology movement since 1969 when he cofounded the New Alchemy Institute in order to explore science and engineering based on ecological principles. Todd developed earth-based technologies to grow food, generate fuel, transform waste, and purify water. Todd is best known for his wastewater treatment systems in which floating...

Treaties and Regulations

There are hundreds of treaties and other international instruments relating to pollution. Some prominent examples include the following The 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) calls for an immediate ban on certain chemicals, severely restricts the use of others, and provides for POPs to be disposed of and managed using environmentally sound methods. To address the problem of climate change, which is caused by an increased concentration of carbon in the atmosphere,...

Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a nonprofit alliance of some fifty thousand scientists and citizens across the United States. The group's stated goal is to combine rigorous scientific analysis with committed citizen advocacy in order to build a cleaner environment and a safer world. The group focuses on issues such as global warming and the environmental impact of vehicles and various energy sources. The UCS was formed in 1969 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where a...

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...

Vehicular Pollution

Energy Efficiency Fuel Cell Fuel Economy Ozone Petroleum Smog Beneficial Use Biosolids Burn Barrels Hazardous Waste Injection Well Landfill Medical Waste Ocean Dumping Plastic Waste Reduction Waste to Energy Waste, International Trade in Waste, Transportation of Yucca Mountain Dredging Dry Cleaning Energy Fish Kills Groundwater Hypoxia Infectious Waste Injection Well Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Nonpoint Source Pollution...

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....

Mold Pollution

Microorganism bacteria, archaea, and many protists single-celled organisms too small to see with the naked eye substrate surface on which an organism, i.e. mold, grows sick building syndrome shared health and or comfort effects apparently related to occupation of a particular building Mold pollution is the growth of molds in a building resulting in damage to or the destruction of the structure itself (or its contents) and adverse health effects on the building's occupants. It is estimated that...

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...

Pharmaceutical Waste

Pharmaceutical wastes are diverse and in some cases trace amounts can be discarded as medical waste. Certain pharmaceuticals are hazardous wastes when disposed, and some common ones are acute hazardous wastes under RCRA regulations e.g., Epinephrine, Nitroglycerin, Warfarin gt 0.3 . Wastes that are deemed potentially infectious may be treated prior to disposal by a number of different technologies that either disinfect or sterilize them. These technologies include incineration, steam...

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...

Sources

Stenothermic

The production of energy from a fuel source can be direct, such as the burning of wood in a fireplace to create heat, or by the conversion of heat energy into mechanical energy by the use of a heat engine. Examples of heat engines include steam engines, turbines, and internal combustion engines. Heat engines work on the principal of heating and pressuring a fluid, the performance of mechanical work, and the rejection of unused or waste heat to a sink. Heat engines can only convert 30 to 40...

World Trade Organization

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade GATT was an international organization created in 1947 to reduce trade barriers through multilateral negotiations. The World Trade Organization WTO was organized in January 1995 to replace GATT and improve international trade. Its membership in 2002 totaled more than 140 nations. Whereas GATT focused on tariff reduction, the WTO works to eliminate so-called nontariff barriers, which can include environmental, health, and other public-interest...