environmental pollution, definition of

Environmental Pollution

Environmental Pollution refers to the presence or introduction of known pollutants into an environment that result in a degrading of the environmental biosphere in terms of size, variety and longevity/sustainability.

In particular such pollution tends to stay within an environment for an extended period of time (many years) without specific steps to reduce or remove it. In essence the natural ability of the environment to 'clean itself' is unable to cope with the pollution and significant damage results.

Examples of such pollution includes (but not limited to):
  • Fertilizer runoff - where fertilizer escapes from farmed land into wild environments and modifies the native/weed balance.
  • Pesticides residue - pesticides can make their way into the food chain and become concentrated.
  • Heavy metals/plastics - again can be concentrated in the food chain and have an adverse effect on longevity and reproduction.
  • Tailing spills - mining bi-products leaching.
  • Waste dump leaching - not properly isolated from the water table or illegal dumping.
A key aspect of such pollution is that it tends to accumulative and can be multi-factored, in that one act of pollution can cause a chain reaction that degrades multiple biospheres over time. Also such pollution can be readily attributed to a specific pollution act or occurrence, e.g. there is a clear provable chain of cause and effect.

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