Preserving the Environment: 7 Shocking Consequences of Industrial Pollution

The state of the planet hangs in the balance of the human race struggling to undo all of the damage it has done so far with its practices of pollution. However, even if every single individual did their part to reduce the amount of garbage they create, the main source of ruined waters, air, and the land is industrial pollution.

Large factories are creating so much waste and the majority of it is unregulated, allowing for dangerous chemicals to enter into bodies of water or to leech into the ground where humans and animals live. There are several, very shocking consequences for their practices, many of which may not even be reversible. Hopefully, bringing them to your attention will inspire some serious changes to be made in the future. Here are seven of the most shocking consequences of industrial pollution that need to be changed.

1. Water Pollution

The planet Earth is covered in about 70% water, yet there isn’t a lot of potable water left for human consumption. Industrial factories are continuously pumping chemicals and pollutants into water supplies, believing that because it’s washed away that it’s no longer anyone’s problem. But these dangerous toxins, including organic sludge, heavy metals, and radioactive materials affect all life, including the ones that already live in these bodies of water. Marine life, including fish, are being killed in the hundreds of thousands from these waste products, and those that aren’t are being caught and consumed by humans, poisoning the population further.

The processes of industrial factories also use up a lot of water, such as cooling, treatment, and cleaning. This means that they have to divert a lot of natural resources towards their facilities so that they can continue their daily operations. This drains a lot of the natural reservoirs that exist, making it difficult for other animals to thrive, both for those who consume it and the marine life that lives in it. This could be improved upon by using hazmat storage containers for contaminated water so that it can be processed further to remove these harmful toxins.

2. Soil Pollution

With the dumping of toxic wastes that industrial facilities no longer need, the soil itself is becoming a toxic cesspool where nothing can grow. The soil loses its fertility when dangerous chemicals leech into the ground, poisoning all of the fauna in the surrounding area. This not only impacts the underground insects and animals that live there, but there is also less food supply for herbivores. That can lead to the mass migration of native animals to other areas to look for food, creating a desolate wasteland where nothing can thrive.

For the plants that do manage to thrive in these conditions, they absorb the toxic chemicals and store them within their leaves and fruit. This further passes on the toxicity to those who ingest the plant material, leading to drastic health concerns for both humans and animals alike.

The dumping of such toxic chemicals also leeches through the ground and into the water table, which is where the human population gets most of its fresh drinking water. The contaminated water flows into rivers and streams, further poisoning fish and those who drink the water.

3. Air Pollution

Other than carbon dioxide and methane, there are plenty of other harmful gases that are being released into the atmosphere. These include gases such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides, both of which are very dangerous to inhale. The inhalation of sulfur gases can lead to swollen lungs and difficulty breathing, while nitrogen oxides can cause a myriad of respiratory conditions as well as pulmonary edemas. Not even all the electric cars in the world could undo the amount of damage industrial procedures does to the air.

Other than inhalation, these gases are also absorbed into the water vapor that’s in the air, creating acid rains that are detrimental to everyone’s health. This is especially damaging in countries that rely on rain as a source of water for their daily lives; drinking this contaminated water only compounds the impact of air pollution, making more and more people sick. It’s not a problem that can be dealt with easily, but more action needs to be taken to reduce these toxic levels or else the human race won’t have any clean air left to breathe.

4. Extinction of Wildlife

Industrial procedures demand the use of a lot of natural resources and raw materials, many of which cannot be replaced. This has led to the destruction of forests, natural habitats, and rivers that support the local wildlife, just to name a few.

Mining and the use of wood as resources for burning has led to the sculpting, reshaping, and destruction of the landscape. There are no locations that animals can use as dens or homes, and the birds have no trees to roost in and place their nests. With no safe places to hide, they’re more prone to predators who further reduce their populations in the pollution of water and soil haven’t claimed them already.

In fact, several species have already faced extinction and there are a large number of species that are on endangered lists. Hundreds of species have been affected by oil spills, poisonous emissions, chemical leaks, and out-of-control fires that ravage their homelands. More and more companies have started taking responsibility for their actions, but their penance comes too late with so many animals still suffering from their actions years or even decades ago.

5. Other Implications

Many of the effects of industrial pollution has focused on nature as a whole, but there are other consequences that most people don’t consider. With the reduction of soil quality, there can be severe damage to structures and buildings because of erosion, leading to a lot of buildings being destroyed and people getting hurt.

There is also the increased risk of occupational hazards associated with the industrial manufacturing process, such as exposure to asbestos, chemical dust, or metallic particles, all of which have harmful effects on the human body. Increased rates of sickness and shorter life spans increase the turnover rate for these kinds of jobs, with the cycle continuing over and over again.

One would think that these kinds of jobs could be easily automated, and they can be. But exposure to these substances also causes machinery to break down after time and companies still need to hire people to do maintenance work, repairs, and replacements. That still exposes individuals to these toxic chemicals while they’re working on these machines.

6. Decline in Human Health

Studies conducted by The World Health Organization have shown that 2% of all heart and lung diseases and 5% of all lung cancers in today’s society can be attributed to air pollution. This statistic alone is frightening since it doesn’t take into account all of the other conditions people may be experiencing from other sources of pollution.

What’s terrifying is that these conditions are not immediate so that there’s no way of knowing what exactly is having an impact on human health. For example, one of the worst industrial disasters took place in India in 1984, which claimed the lives of 8,000 people and the effects of that disaster are still being felt more than 2 decades later. There’s no way to tell the actual scope of pollution’s impact until it’s too late. It’s reprehensible that so many people have to suffer beforehand before serious changes are even considered.

7. Global Warming

This is one of the most serious outcomes of industrial pollution that has made it hard for people to ignore. The manufacturing processes factories use create a lot of carbon dioxide and methane that are spewed into the air. These gases are great at absorbing thermal radiation produced by the sun, trapping all of that heat without the atmosphere of the planet. With nowhere to go, the constant buildup of these gases only makes it hotter and hotter each year, essentially cooking the planet alive.

This has had a dramatic effect on weather patterns, leading to hotter summers and much colder winters each year.  The rising temperatures have also reduced the polar ice caps in size, making it difficult for the local wildlife to thrive. There have been more tsunamis, hurricanes, and flooding in vulnerable areas of the human population, and the increased amount of standing water has led to the spread of diseases such as plague, malaria, and cholera.

Undoing the effects of industrial pollution is going to take the concerted efforts of everyone in charge to make the necessary changes. The fact that many businesses and factory owners who are aware of the problem and have done nothing to change their methods is very troubling, especially when there are so many solutions presented to them to fix the problem. Waiting until it’s too late provides no time left to undo all of the harm that’s been done, leaving many more people and wildlife to suffer in the meantime.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of Ways2GoGreen.com and Ways2GoGreenBlog.com. I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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