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PREVENTING HABITAT POLLUTION AND DESTRUCTION Chapter 8
POLLUTION AND POLLUTANTS • Pollution – the presence of harmful substances in the environment. • Pollutant – any substance that causes pollution. • Air pollutant – any material that gets into the air and degrades its quality (may be gases or small particles). • Water pollutant – any liquid or tiny solid material that gets into the water. • Soil pollutant – any material that gets into the soil and degrades its quality.
DEGRADATION OF POLLUTANTS • Degradable pollutant – one that can decompose, be removed, or consumed by natural processes (paper, leaves, plastic). • Nondegrabable pollutant – one that is not easily broken down by natural processes (heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium)
DANGEROUS POLLUTANTS • Pesticides – used to control pests…mostly insects. • Persistent pesticides – slow to degrade and sometimes degrade into more toxic compounds (DDT). • Engine emissions – burning fossil fuels produces carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxides. • Oil spills – from old leaky engines, leaking pipelines, tanker wrecks, oil well blowouts. • Lead shot – shotgun shell pellets accidently eaten by waterfowl. • Thermal pollution – usually cooling water from factories and powerplants.
SOURCES OF POLLUTION • • Daily living – garbage, flushing toilet, etc. Storm Water – parking lot and street runoff. Manufacturing – smoke, wastewater. Combustion engines – burning fossil fuels produces hazardous pollutants. • Power generation – burn oil, coal, or natural gas or run on nuclear materials (all generate hazardous air pollutants) • Point-source pollution – released from an identifiable source (pipe) • Non-point source – released from broad areas such as parking lot.
EFFECTS OF POLLUTION ON WILDLIFE • Bioaccumulation – some pollutants get stored in animals and they can’t get rid of them. • Biomagnification – some pollutants get in food chain and levels increase at each trophic level. • Some pollutants may cause disease or even death. • Some pollutants cause infertility, defects, or mutations. • Natural pollution – volcanoes may put large amounts of gas and ash into air, natural oil seeps in the Gulf.
HABITAT DESTRUCTION • Cutting timber – improper harvest without replanting • Clearing land – without anti-erosion measures • Storing waste – without leak prevention • Mining – strip mining • Animal production – without proper animal waste disposal • Crop production – without conservation practices