Environmental pollution (2023)

Get ready forENVIRONMENTfor any competitive exam aspirants must know about itEnvironmental pollution. Here we will studyEnvironmental pollutionin details. It gives an idea of ​​all the important topics for the IAS exam and Governance Syllabus (GS-II.).Environmental pollutionconditions are important from an environmental perspective in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should understand their meaning and application well as questions can be asked from this static section of the IAS syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains exams. These topics are also strongly linked to current events. Almost all questions they are asked relate to current events. So for these sections apart from standard books you also have to rely on newspapers and news analysis.


  • Pollution isany undesirable change in physical, chemical or biological properties of air, soil, water or soil. Agents that bring about such an undesirable change are called pollutants
  • Pollutants can be solid, liquid or gaseous substances that are present in greater concentration than in natural abundance and are produced as a result of human activities or as a result of natural events

Harmful effects of pollution

Pollution is currently one of the biggest public health and human rights challenges, disproportionately affecting the poor and vulnerable.

  • Pollution is not only an environmental problem, but affects the health and well-being of entire communities.
  • Despite the enormous impact on human health and the global economy, and the ability to implement simple and affordable solutions, pollution is underestimated and under-addressed in national policies and international development agendas.
  • Pollution of any kind can have a negative impact on the environment and wildlife, and often affects human health and well-being.


  • Commercial or industrial waste:
  • Industrial waste consists ofwaste from premises that are primarily used for general purposes for a business or a craftor for recreation, education, sports or entertainment.
  • Rapid urbanization:
  • Ofpromise of jobs and prosperitydraws people to the cities, among other things. Half of the world's population already lives in cities, andby 2050, two-thirds of the world's population is expected to live in urban areas.
  • Forest fire:
  • Wildfire, also known as forest, bush or vegetation fire, can be described as any uncontrolled and unprescribed burning or burning of plants in a natural environment such as a forest, grassland, undergrowth or tundra, which consumes and spreads the natural fuels based on on environmental conditions (e.g. wind, topography).
  • Wildfires can be caused by human actions such as land clearing, extreme drought or, in rare cases, lightning.
  • Population increase:
  • The recent increase in world population has amplified the effects of our agricultural and economic activities.
  • Hazardous Waste:
  • Hazardous waste is onewaste with properties that make it dangerous or may have a harmful effect on health orof
  • Hazardous waste is generated from many sources ranging from industrial manufacturing process waste to batteries and can come in many forms including liquids, solid gases and sludge.
  • Improper agricultural practices and deforestation:
  • Agriculture, the very industry that sustains us, also threatens our survival as a species. This sector produces at least 23 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (second only to the energy sector)-IPCC-rapport.
  • Deforestation refers to the reduction of forest areas around the world that are lost to other purposes, such as agricultural land, urbanization or mining.


The classification of pollutants is carried out from different angles:

  • Depends ontheir existence in naturePollutants come in two types:namely quantitative and qualitative pollutants
  • Quantitative Pollutants: These are the substances normally found in the environment that acquire pollutant status when their concentration increases due to careless human activities.For example:carbon dioxide
  • Qualitative pollutants: These are the substances that do not normally occur in nature, but are added by humans, for example insecticides.
  • Depending on the shapewhere they persist after being released into the environment, the pollutants are classified into two types vizprimary and secondary pollutants:
  • Primary pollutants:These are substances that are emitted directly from the source and remain in the form in which they are introduced into the environment. Examples: ash, smoke, fumes, dust, nitrogen monoxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, etc.
  • Secondary pollutants:These are substances formed from the primary pollutants through chemical interaction with some constituents present in the atmosphere. Examples are sulfur trioxide, nitrogen dioxide, aldehydes, ketones, ozone, etc.
  • From the point of view of the ecosystem, d.w.z.according to their natural removal, there are two types of pollutants:
  • Non-degradable pollutants: These are the substances that do not or very slowly break down in the natural environment. Example: mercury salts, long chain phenolic chemicals, DDT and aluminum cans etc.
  • Such non-degradable pollutants accumulate and bio-amplify as they move through the biogeochemical cycle and along ecosystem food chains.
  • Biodegradable pollutants: These are the pollutants that naturally break down quickly. Heat or thermal pollution and domestic waste water are counted in this category, as they can be quickly broken down by natural processes or by technical systems such as municipal cleaning, plants, etc.


  • Air pollution
  • Noise disturbances
  • Water pollution
  • Soil pollution
  • Radioactive pollution
  • Light soiling
  • Nitrogen pollution


  • Air pollution can be defined as the presence of any solid, liquid or gaseous substance, including noise and radioactive radiation, in the atmosphere in such a concentration that it can cause direct or indirect damage to people or other living organisms, plants, property or disturb normal environmental factors. processes.
  • There are two types of air pollutants (1) particulates and (2) gaseous pollutants such as carbon dioxide (CO2), NOx, etc.
  • Air pollution is the world's greatest environmental health hazard, prematurely fatalevery year around 6.5 million people around the world and fvexposing nine out of ten people to unacceptable levels of outdoor air pollution. It mainly affects women, children, the sick and the elderly and people in low-income groups.


  • Burn fossil fuelsreleases gases and chemicals into the air.Air pollution in the form of carbon dioxide and methane increases the temperature on Earth.
  • Smog or ozone at live leveloccurs when emissions from burning fossil fuels react with sunlight.Smog can irritate the eyes and throatand alsodamage the lungs.
  • Soot or "particles",consists of small particles of chemicals, soil, smoke, dust or allergens, in the form of gas or solids, which are carried in the air.
  • Hazardous air pollutantsissued duringcombustion of gas or coal.
  • Sulfur dioxideproduced by burning coal in thermal power plants.
  • Carbonmonoxidproduced by incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels.
  • Chlorfluorcarbonerreleased mainly from air conditioning and refrigeration.


  • Notice of National Ambient Air Quality Standards 2009 predicting 12 pollutants to specify levels of air quality to protect public health and sector-specific emission and effluent standards for industries.
  • Establishment of a measurement network for assessing the air quality in different cities
  • Introduction of cleaner or alternative fuel such as CNG, LPG etc. and blending of ethanol.
  • Start National Air Quality Index (AQI).
  • Transition from BS-IV to BS-VI standards for vehicles by April 1, 2020.
  • Promotion of public transport..
  • Environmental audit has been made mandatory for all polluting industries.


  • Greenhouse gases are another source of this air pollution. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane occur naturally in the atmosphere. In fact, they are necessary for life on Earth. They absorb sunlight reflected from Earth and prevent it from escaping into space. By trapping heat in the atmosphere, they keep the Earth warm enough for humans to live. This is calledgreenhouse effect.
  • But human activities such as burning fossil fuels and destroying forests have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This has intensified global warming and average temperatures around the world are rising.


Greenhouse gasesSources

Carbon dioxide

  • Combustion of fossil fuels
  • Change of land use (deforestation)


  • Burn biomass
  • Rice fields

laughing gas

  • Burn biomass
  • Combustion of fossil fuels
  • Fertilizer


  • Photochemical reaction in whichO2


  • Industrial production

Sulfur dioxide

  • The volcano
  • Coal-based power plant
  • Burn biomass


  • An increase in the average temperature worldwide, partly caused by human activity, is mentionedglobal warming.
  • Global warming causes ice caps and glaciers to melt. The melting ice causes sea levels to rise at a rate of 2 millimeters (0.09 in) per year.
  • The rising seas will eventually flood low-lying coastal areas. Entire nations, such as the islands of the Maldives, are threatened by this climate change.

Lifetime and potential of greenhouse gases

GasGWP (100 years)Lifetime (years)
Carbon dioxide1100
laughing gas310120
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)140-11.7001-270
Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)6.500-9.2008000-50.000
Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)23.9003.200


  • Ocean acidification:
  • ocean acidificationis a direct result of increased anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere. CO2lost upzeewater forms the carbon dioxide which doesoceanpH, leading to a series of changes collectively known asocean acidification
  • It has the potential tomarine ecosystems are changingand has many ocean-related benefits for society
  • Changes in the species' growth and reproduction, likestructural and functional changes in ecosystems, mustthreaten food safety, damage the fishing industryIreduce natural bank protection.
  • It will also increaserisk of flooding and erosionin low-lying areas, hinders adaptation to climate change and efforts to reduce the risk of disasters.
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) deplete the ozone layer, a region of Earth's upper atmosphere. The ozone layer protects the earth by absorbing much of the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation. When people are exposed to more ultraviolet radiation, they are more likely to develop itskin cancer, eye diseases and other diseases.


  • Which of the following are some important pollutants released by India's steel industry?

1) Oxides of sulphur

2) Nitrogenoxider

3) Carbon monoxide

4) Carbon dioxide

Choose the correct answer using the code below.

  1. Only 1, 3 and 4
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 4
  4. 1, 2, 3 i 4

Answer: D

  • Excessive emission of the pollutant carbon monoxide (CO) into the air can cause a condition where the supply of oxygen in the human body is reduced. What causes this condition?
  1. When inhaled in the human body, CO is converted to CO2
  2. The inhaled CO has a much higher affinity for hemoglobin compared to oxygen
  3. The inhaled CO destroys the chemical structure of hemoglobin.
  4. The inhaled CO affects the respiratory center in the brain negatively

Answer: B

  • Ocean acidification is increasing. Why is this phenomenon cause for concern?
  1. The growth and survival of calcareous phytoplankton is adversely affected.
  2. The growth and survival of coral reefs will be negatively affected.
  3. The survival of some animals with phytoplanktonic larvae will be adversely affected.
  4. Cloud seeding and cloud formation will be negatively affected.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. Only 1,2 and 3
  2. 2 alene
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. 1,2,3 i 4

Answer: D

Acid rain:

  • Normally, rainwater has a pH of 5.6 due to the presence of H+ ions formed by the reaction between rainwater and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • When the pH of the rainwater falls below 5.6, it is called acid rain.
  • It refers to the ways in which acid from the atmosphere is deposited on the surface of the earth. Oxides of nitrogen and sulphur, which are acidic in nature, can be blown into the atmosphere by the wind along with particles and eventually precipitate on the ground as dry deposits or in water, fog and snow as wet deposits
  • H2O (l) + CO2 (g) H2CO3 (aqueous)
  • H2CO3 (aq) H + (aq) + HCO3 – (aq)

Causes of acid rain:

  • Acid rain is a by-product of a number of human activities that release the sulfur and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere.
  • Combustion of fossil fuels (containing sulfur and nitrogen), such as coal and oil in power plants and furnaces or gasoline and diesel in motor engines, produces sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
  • SO2 and NO2 after oxidation and reaction with water are major contributors to acid rain because polluted air usually contains particles that catalyze the oxidation.
  • 2SO2 (g) + O2 (g) + 2H2O (l) → 2H2SO4 (aqueous)
  • 4NO2 (g) + O2 (g)+ 2H2O (l) → 4HNO3 (vandig)

Sources of acid rain

connectionsNaturally SourcesAnthropogenic sources
Sulfur dioxideThe volcano


Decomposition of organic substances

Combustion of fossil fuels

Industrial processes

Coal-based thermal power plants

NitrogenoxiderThe volcano


Decomposition of organic matter

forest fire

Combustion of fossil fuels

Burn biomass

Coal-based power plants

Formic acidforest fireBurn biomass
Carbon dioxideBreathing


Combustion of fossil fuels

Industrial processes

CarbonmonoxidIsoprene emission from plantsBurn biomass

Industrial resources

Types of acid deposition-

Based on the moisture content, acid deposits can be classified

Wet depositionDry deposit
  • Acidic chemicals are blown into areas where the atmospheric conditions are wet. Eg: rain, snow, fog act as a source of wet acid deposition
  • Acidic chemicals are blown into an area where the atmospheric conditions are dry. Eg: dust particles, pollen grains act as a locus for deposition of dry acids
  • Wet form acid deposition is common in areas of high humidity, such as the eastern edge of the tropical region, the western edge of the temperate region, and the polar region.
  • Wet form acid deposition is common in the western edge of the tropical region and the eastern edge of the temperate region.

Consequences of acid rain

  • Effects of acid rain on fish and wildlife:The ecological effects of acid rain are most clearly seen in aquatic environments, such as streams, lakes and marshes, where it can be harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  • As it flows through the soil, acid rainwater can leach aluminum from clay particles from the soil and then flow into streams and lakes.
  • The more acid introduced into the ecosystem, the bettermore aluminum is released.
  • Some species of plants and animals can tolerate acidic water and moderate amounts of aluminum. Others, however, are acid-sensitive and are lost when the pH drops.
  • Effects of acid rain on plants and trees:Dead or dying trees are common in areas affected by acid rain.
  • Acid rain washes aluminum out of the ground.That aluminumcan be harmful to both plants and animals.
  • Also acid rainremoves minerals and nutrients from the soil that trees need to grow.
  • Effects of acid rain on materials:Not all acid deposition is wet. Sometimes dust particles can also become acidic and this is called thatdry deposit.
  • When acid rain and dry acid particles fall on Earth,nitric and sulfuric acids, which make the particles acidic, can land on statues, buildings and other man-made structures and cause damage their surfaces.
  • The acidic particles attack metal and cause paint and stone to deteriorate faster. They also contaminate the surfaces of buildings and other structures such as monuments.
  • The Taj Mahal in India has been hit by acid rain.
  • Effects on human health:When the pollutants that cause acid rain - SO2 and NOX, as well as sulfate and nitrate particles - are in the air, they can be harmful to humans.
  • SO2 and NOX react in the atmosphere to form fine sulfate and nitrate particles that people can breathe into their lungs.
  • It affects the water pipes, causing heavy metals such as iron, lead and copper to end up in the drinking water.
  • Many scientific studies have shown a connection between these particles andeffects on heart function, such as heart attacks resulting in death for people at increased risk of heart disease, and effects on lung function, such as breathing difficulties for people with asthma.


  • Acid rain is caused by environmental pollution
    1. Carbon dioxide and nitrogen
    2. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide
    3. Ozone and carbon dioxide
    4. Nitric oxide and sulfur dioxide

Answer: D

Indoor air pollution:

  • Indoor air pollution is caused by the burning of solid fuel sources - such as firewood, crop waste and manure - for cooking and heating. Burning of such fuels, especially in poor households, leads to air pollution that leads to respiratory diseases that can lead to premature death.
  • Air pollution is the cause of 7 million premature deaths worldwide. Of these 7 million, 2.6 million premature deaths are caused by indoor air pollution.
  • Properties:IAP effects are more prominent in countries with a low sociodemographic index (SDI), within a country, IAP is more likely to affect poor and rural households compared to wealthy and urban households.
  • IAP affects women and children more than men.
  • 6% of deaths in low-income countries are attributed to indoor air pollution.
  • Sources of indoor air pollution:
  • Combustion appliances that run on fuel
  • tobacco products
  • Building materials and fixtures
  • Products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care or hobbies
  • Central heating and cooling systems and humidifiers
  • Excess moisture
  • Outdoor sources such as:
  • Radon
  • Pesticides
  • Outdoor air pollution.

Short-term effects:

  • Some health effects can occur shortly after a single or repeated exposure to a pollutant.
  • These includeirritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headache, dizziness, and fatigue.Such immediate effects are usually short-lived and treatable.
  • Sometimes the treatment is simply to eliminate the person's exposure to the source of the contamination if it can be identified.
  • Shortly after exposure to certain indoor air pollutants, symptoms of some diseases, such as asthma, may develop, worsen, or worsen.

Long-term effects:

  • Exposure to indoor air pollutants can lead to a wide variety of health consequences for both children and adults, from respiratory diseases to cancer and eye problems.
  • Members of households that rely on polluting fuels and appliances are also at greater risk of burns, poisoning, musculoskeletal injuries and accidents.


  • Raise awareness of the problem and the serious threat IAP poses to their health and well-being.
  • It is necessary to promote the use of cleaner energy sources like gobar gas, LPG etc.
  • Changing the stove design to be economical, smoke-free and have an outlet (eg chimney) for indoor pollutants.
  • Improve ventilation: Measures such as a window above the stove and cross ventilation through doors should be in place.
  • Cross-sector coordination and global initiative

Status in India and Government Action

  • According to Census 2011, about 65.9 percent of households in India depend on solid biomass, which includes firewood, crop residues and cow dung.
  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is implementing the following programs to reduce dependence on traditional biomass cooking:
  • Unnat Chulha Abhiyan: It was launched in 2014 to promote an improved biomass stove
  • National Biogas and Manure Management Program (NBMMP) for setting up biogas plants for families
  • Promotion of solar cookers to reduce indoor air pollution.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY): It was launched in 2016 under the motto 'Swachha Indhan, behtar Jeevan' (Clean Fuel, Better Life) by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to protect the health of women and children by providing them clean fuel for cooking using LPG.


  • The word smog is derived from smoke and fog.it iscaused by the burning of large amounts of coal, car emissions and industrial fumes (primary pollutants) which react with sunlight in the atmosphere to form secondary pollutants.
  • This is the most common example of air pollution that occurs in many cities around the world.
  • There are two types of smog:
    • Classic smogoccurs in a cool humid climate. It is a mixture of smoke, fog and sulfur dioxide. Chemically, it is a reducing mixture and is therefore also referred to as reducing smog.
  • Photochemical smogoccurs in a hot, dry and sunny climate. The main components of the photochemical smog originate from the action of sunlight on unsaturated hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides produced by cars and factories.
  • Photochemical smog has a high concentration of oxidizing agents and is therefore referred to as oxidizing smog.
  • This secondary pollution combines with primary emission to form photochemical smog
  • Smog contains soot particles such as smoke, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and other components.

Formation of photochemical smog

  • When fossil fuels are burned, a number of pollutants are emitted into the Earth's troposphere.
  • Two of the discharged pollutants arehydrocarbons (unburned fuels) and nitrogen monoxide (NO).
  • When these pollutants accumulatesufficiently high levels, their interaction with sunlight sets off a chain reaction that converts NO to nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
  • This NO2 in turn absorbs energy from sunlight and breaks down into nitric oxide and a free oxygen atom.

Effects of photochemical smog

  • Photochemical smog causes serious health problems. Both ozone and PAN act as potent eye irritants.
  • Ozone and nitrogen oxide irritate the nose and throat, and their high concentration causes headaches, chest pain, dry throat, cough and breathing difficulties.
  • Photochemical smog leads to cracking of rubber and extensive damage to plants.
  • It also causes corrosion of metals, stone, building materials, rubber and painted surfaces

How to control photochemical smog

  • Many techniques are used to control or reduce the formation of photochemical smog. If we control the primary precursors of photochemical smog like NO2 and hydrocarbons, the secondary precursors like ozone and PAN, the photochemical smog is automatically reduced.
  • Usualcatalystsused in cars, which prevent the release of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons into the atmosphere.
  • Certain plantsPinus, Juniparus, Quercus, Pyrus and Vitis can metabolize nitric oxide and their plantation can therefore help with this.

Gothenburg Protocol:

  • It is one of eight protocols under the UN/ECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP or Air Convention). It was adopted in 1999 to combat acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone.
  • The revised protocol (2012) sets national emission ceilings (until 2020) for four pollutants: sulfur (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and ammonia (NH3).
  • It is alsofirst binding agreement to include emissions reduction commitments for particulate matter.
  • Black carbon (or soot), a short-lived climate pollutant, is also included in particulates for policymaking.
  • Batches whose emissions have a greater impact on the environment or health, and whose emissions can be reduced relatively cheaply, must cut the largest ones.


  • Photochemical smog is the result of the reaction between
  • NO2, O3 and peroxyacetyl nitrate in the presence of sunlight
  1. CO, O2 and peroxyacetyl nitrate in the presence of sunlight
  2. CO, CO2 and NO2, at low temperature
  3. High concentration of NO2, O3 and CO in the evening

Answer: A

  • Brominated flame retardants are used in many household products, such as mattresses and upholstery. Why is there some concern about its use?

1) They are highly resistant to environmental degradation.

2) They can accumulate in humans and animals.

Choose the correct answer using the code below.

  1. 1 alene
  2. 2 alene
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. 1 more 2 more

Answer: C


National Air Quality Monitoring Program (NAMP):

  • Central Pollution Control Boardperforms anational air quality monitoring programknown as the National Air Quality Monitoring Program (NAMP).

The objectives of NAMP are:

  • to determine air quality status and trends;
  • check whether prescribed air quality standards are being violated;
  • to identify unreachable cities;
  • acquire the knowledge and understanding necessary to develop preventive and corrective measures and
  • understand the natural purification process that takes place in the environment through pollutant dilution, dispersion, wind-based movement, dry deposition, precipitation and chemical transformation of generated pollutants.
  • Under NAMP,four air pollutants namely sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides such as NO2, particulate matter (SPM) and respirable particulate matter (RSPM/PM10)has beenindicated for regular monitoringall locations.
  • Monitoring of meteorological parameters such as wind speed and direction, relative humidity (RH) and temperature has also been integrated with air quality monitoring.

National Air Quality Standards (NAAQS):

  • Has National Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).was established in the year 1982 for six "criteria" or main pollutants in outdoor air: lead, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.
  • The NAAQS were reviewed and revised in 2009 for 12 pollutants, including: SO2, NO2, PM10, PM2.5, ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, arsenic, nickel, benzene, ammonia, and benzopyrene.

National Clean Air Program (NCAP):

  • The National Clean Air Program or NCAP is a government program launched by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Changei 2019.
  • The aim of NCAP ismeet the prescribed annual average air quality standards at all locations in the country within a specified time frame. The provisional target at the national level ofNCAP proposes a reduction of 20%-30% in PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations by 2024, with 2017 being the starting point for the concentration comparison.
  • Goal:
  • Strengthening and developing an effective and competent air quality monitoring network across the country to ensure a comprehensive and reliable database
  • Have an effective data dissemination and public outreach mechanism for timely action to prevent and mitigate air pollution and for inclusive public participation in both planning and implementation of the government's air pollution programs and policies
  • Have a feasible management plan to prevent, control and reduce air pollution.

National Air Quality Index (NAQI):

  • NAQI varlaunched in 2014with circumference'One number – one color – one description”for the common man to assess the air quality in his environment.
  • It has been launched to monitor air quality in major urban centers across the country in real time and raise public awareness to take preventative measures.
  • The measurement of air quality is based on eight pollutants, i.eParticulate matter (PM10), particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), ammonia (NH3) and lead (Pb).
  • AQI has six air quality categories. These are: good, adequate, moderately polluted, poor, very poor and severe.
  • It was developed by CPCB in consultation with IIT-Kanpur and an expert group of medical and air quality professionals.
  • Vehicular pollution is controlled using CNG, LPG, ethanol blend from universalization ofPassed BS-IV in 2017 to BS-VI fuel standards1 April The government encourages carpooling and the use of public transport at the same time.
  • Information campaigns such as "Healthy Diwali and Healthy Diwalihas helped to inform about the problem. In Delhi itself, 2,000 schools participated, totaling more than two lakh schools across the country.
  • OfThe Graded Response Action Plan specifies the necessary actions to control and prevent PM10 and PM2.5.
  • Odd-even plan in Delhi to curb air pollution.

Bharat Stage-norm (BS-norm):

  • Bharat Stage Emission Standardsset by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), set up in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
  • These are the standards set by the Government of India that specify the amount of air pollutants from internal combustion engines, including those that vehicles can emit.
  • If these emit more pollutants than the prescribed limit, they must not be sold in an open market.
  • Vehicle emission standards were introduced in India in 1991 for petrol vehicles and in 1992 for diesel vehicles. Euro standards have been followed in India since 2000under the name of Bharat Stage Emission Standards for four-wheelers.
  • Bharat Phase III standards are enforced across India since October 2010.
  • Bharat Stage IV standards were enforced across India since April 2017. Upgrading the emission standards requires the manufacturing companies to upgrade their technology, which in turn increases the cost of the vehicle. Cost is one of the main reasons for the slow upgrade of emission standards.
  • Recently, the central government mandated that car manufacturers are only allowed to produce, sell and registerBS-VI (BS6) vehicles from April 1, 2020, which completely bypass BS-V standards.

The difference between BS-IV and BS-VI standards:

  • BS-VI emission standards aim to reduce pollution in the country by reducing exhaust emissions from all new vehicles sold in the country. The new standard also ends the sale and registration of BS 4 vehicles in India.
  • Fine dust (PM):The BS 6 standards aim to reduce particulate emissions by almost 80 percent for both petrol and diesel engines. Particulate matter (PM) is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and droplets. PM is notorious for causing severe lung disease and has also been shown to be carcinogenic in nature (carcinogenic).
  • Nitrogenoxider (NOx):NOx gases in vehicle exhaust can cause health problems such as pneumonia and chronic respiratory problems. Therefore, the BS 6 emission standards aim to reduce NOx emissions in the exhaust by at least25 percent for petrol carsI70 percent for diesel vehicles compared to their BS 4 counterparts.
  • Sulphur:BS 6 compliant vehicles cannot meet BS 6 emission standards unless they run on BS 6 fuel. This is because BS 6 petrol and diesel are much cleaner and more refined than BS 4 fuel. The main difference is thatBS 6 fuel contains five times less sulfur - 50 ppm - compared to 10 ppm in BS 4 fuel.

NITI Aayog 'Decarbonising Transport in India'-project

  • Ofthe project is in collaboration with the International Transport Forum (ITF).
  • India's Decarbonising Transport initiative is part of the DTEE project.
  • DTEE står for Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies.
  • DTEE is an ITF project in which Argentina, Morocco and Azerbaijan currently participate in addition to India.
  • OfThe project will design a tailored transport emissions assessment framework for India.
  • It will provide the government with a detailed understanding of current and future transport activities and associated CO2 emissions as a basis for their decision-making.
  • The ITF is a think tank for transport policy issues. Headquarters in Paris,
  • It is an intergovernmental organization with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED)

Current affairs

Oxygen Parlor opened at Nashik railway station to combat air pollution:

  • In a unique initiative to combat increasing air pollution in cities,Indian Railways has opened an 'Oxygen Parlour' at Nashik railway station in Maharashtra.The initiative aims to give commuters an experience of breathing clean air.
  • The aim behind the creation of Parlor is to extend this initiative to every train station and every home.
  • The concept ofOxygen Parlor is based on the recommendation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

IndAIR: CSIR-NEERI web facility launched:

  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) has launched the country's first interactive online repository called IndAIR or Indian Air quality Interactive Repository.
  • The depot is one of the few such facilities in the world and has the maximum number of examinations - 262 in Delhi-NCR.

WAYU (Wind Augmentation PurifYing Unit) -

  • It is an air pollution control unit that can clean air in a room of 500 m2.
  • It was developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research - National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) as part of a technology development project funded by the Department of Science and Technology.


  • In an attempt to solve the air pollution crisis, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) led by the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) developed green fireworks.
  • Ofgreen crackers are named as Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR) and Safe Minimal Aluminum (SAFAL) with an average 30% reduction of particulates using potassium nitrate (KNO3) as an oxidizer.
  • These biscuits have the unique property ofrelease of water vapor, air-like a dust suppressorand diluents for gaseous emissions that match the noise performance of traditional conventional crackers.

Agricultural residues:

  • Central Sector Ordinance on 'Promotion of agricultural mechanization for in-situ management of crop residues in the states of Punjab, Haryana,Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi' for the period from 2018-19 to 2019-20was launched to tackle air pollution and subsidize machinery needed for in-situ management of crop residues.
  • Peat Faction:India is testing thisSwedish technology, which can convert rice stubble into 'biocoal'.The technology includes heating straw, grass, sawmill residues and wood biomass to 250°C – 350°C. This changes the elements of the biomass into 'coal-like' pellets. These pellets can be used with coal for combustion for industrial applications such as steel and cement production.
  • Glad seeder:It is a tractor-driven machine developed by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in collaboration with the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), for in-situ handling of paddy stubble (straw).
  • The National Green Tribunal recently directed thermal power plants to take swift steps towards scientific removal of fly ash.
  • Luxembourg: the first country in the world to offer free public transport:

Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency/Economy (CAFE) regulation to reduce vehicle pollution:

  • It is aimed atreduce fuel consumption (or improve fuel efficiency) for vehicles by lowering carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
  • Company average refers to the weighted average of sales volume for each automaker. The standards apply to petrol, diesel, LPG and CNG passenger cars.
  • In India, the CAFE rules will come into effect in 2017, according to which the average CO2 emissions from vehicles must be less than 130 g per km. km until 2022 and less than 113 g per km thereafter.
  • CAFE standards require cars30% or more economically from 2022 and 10% or more between 2017 and 2021.

NITI Aayog launches Nationally Determined Contributions Transport Initiative for Asia (NDC-TIA):

(Video) Environmental pollution killing more people than war, study says

  • The initiative was launched to decarbonise transport and provide technical support for measures to reduce emissions of green gases.
  • The initiative issupported by the International Climate Initiative from the German Ministryof environment. The NDC-TIA team will work closely with government agencies, researchers, local decision makers, think tanks, industry experts and civil society organizations.
  • The main objective of the program issupporting and regulating policies to promote electric vehicle charging infrastructure and for the smooth deployment of electric vehicles on a large scalein India. The program will also provide policy recommendations for electric cars. It is intended to support NDC objectives through the target sector.
  • The project willinclude three countries, namely India, China and Vietnamfor a period of2020-24. It will provide a consistent strategy for effective decarbonisation policies in transport. It will contribute to and increase ambitions in the transport area.

ANTHURIUM: Developed 10 varieties of the high market value, AIR PURIFYING flower:

  • Vasini Bai, a woman innovator from Kerala, has developed 10 varieties of anthurium flowers. The flower has a high market value due to its extensive use as an indoor decoration.
  • The Anthurium flowers have recently gained importance due to their purifying properties. They clean the surrounding air.
  • They also remove harmful chemicals in the air, such asammonia, formaldehyde, toluene, allergens and xylene.

Smog Torens

  • Smog towers are air purification structures designed to act as air purifiers. They are equipped with several air cleaners. These air purifiers clean the air as it passes through it.
  • It is a successful project and China has installed two smog towers in Beijing and Xi'an city.

Anti-smog pistol

  • The anti-smog gunis a cannon that sprays atomized water 50 meters into the air to knock down suspended pollutants.
  • The atomized water sprayed from the gun helps knock down the smallest particles,which constitutes PM 2.5, the most important pollutant.

The Water and Nature Initiative (WANI)

  • WANI works in more than 12 river basins in more than 30 countries worldwide.
  • WANI unlocks the potential of a healthy watershed to build climate resilience and sustain ecosystems and livelihoods.
  • IUCN – WANI works to manage and protect our water resources and heritage for the future benefit of all.

ozone pollution

  • News-Delhi recorded an ozone pollution level 1.22 times higher than the eight-hour average ozone exposure standard of 100 micrograms per cubic metre.

Ozone is classified into two types:

  • God ozon: Found in the stratosphere and protects the earth's surface from dangerous ultraviolet light.
  • Bad ozone: Found in the troposphere (also known as ground-level ozone), it is man-made. The released nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOC), (NOx, CO and VOC are known as ozone precursors)

Health and environmental impact of ozone:

  • It is a very reactive gas, even a short exposure of one hour is dangerous for people with respiratory problems and asthma.
  • Inhaling ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and inflammation of the airways.
  • Increases the risk of respiratory infection and susceptibility to pneumonia (COPD).
  • Inhaling ozone can shorten life, which is a premature death.
  • It can cause cardiovascular diseases that can affect the heart through inhalation of ozone.
  • Ozone causes damage to vegetation and ecosystems, including forests, parks, nature reserves, etc.


  • Greenpeace has found that India is the largest emitter of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the world, contributing more than 15% of global anthropogenic emissions.
  • SO2emissions is an important issuecontribution to air pollution.High concentrations of SO2in the air generally lead to the formation of other sulfur oxides (SOx).
  • SOx can react with other compounds in the atmosphere to form small particles. These particles contribute toParticulate matter (PM) pollution.
  • Small particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and contribute to health problems in sufficient quantity.
  • OfThe largest source of SO2 in the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuelsfuels in power plants and other industrial plants.
  • Other sources include industrial processes such as the extraction of metal from ore, natural sources such as volcanoes and locomotives, ships and other vehicles, and heavy equipment that burns high sulfur fuels.

Fly ash

  • News - The National Green Tribunal asked the authorities for a report on the current status of fly ash management and disposal.
  • Fly ash is a fine powder which is the by-product of burning coal in thermal power plants.
  • Fly ashincludes significant amounts of micron-sized earth elements of oxides of silica, aluminum, and calcium.Elements such as arsenic, boron, chromium, lead, etc. are also found in trace concentrations.

Environmental concerns associated with fly ash

  • Fly ash is an important source of PM 2.5, particulate matter, pollutant particles, in summer it causes air pollution.
  • It is transported by air and transported to a radius of 10 to 20 km. It can settle on water and other surfaces. It can also contaminate water and soil systems.
  • Fly ash contains heavy metals from coal, a large amount of PM 2.5 and black carbon (BC). Proper disposal of fly ash does not yet take place in many places.
  • The wet removal of fly ash leads to the leaching of toxic heavy metals into the groundwater system.

Advantages of using fly ash

  • Prevents soil erosion- Helps limit the use of topsoil for brick production.
  • Used in variousconstruction work- Fly ash is a proven raw material for many applications in the construction industry, as fly ash has proven to be stronger.
  • Fly ash can be used as a replacement for part ofPortlandcementcontent of concrete. It is beneficial to the environment as it reduces the Portland cement required in concrete, a major contributor to CO2.
  • Fly ash is a proven raw material for many applicationsthe construction industryand is used today for the production of bricks/bricks/tiles.
  • productionof absorbents that are suitable for purification of waste gases, drinking water purification, waste water purification, etc.
  • Used in agriculture- as a remedy for acidic soil, as a soil conditioner - improvement of some important physico-chemical properties of the soil, such as hydraulic conductivity, bulk density, porosity, water-holding capacity, etc.
  • Use of fly ash in agriculture can increase the yield of cereals, oilseeds, pulses, cotton and sugarcane by 10-15%, vegetables by about 20-25% and root crops by 30-40%.
  • Waste areas, degraded soils, saline alkaline soils, eroded soils, etc. can be successfully reclaimed by fly ash.
  • Avoid contamination of water supplies– by preventing pollution of surface water through erosion, runoff, airborne particles deposited on the water surface, etc.

Government measures to promote the use of fly ash

  • Maharashtra is the first state to adoptFly ash usage policy, paving the way for prosperity by generating “wealth from waste” and protecting the environment.
  • The policy will create new job opportunities in the power station areas and also provide raw materials for low-cost construction to help 'Housing for All' projects.
  • The policy aims at 100% use of fly ash from cogeneration plants and biogas plants for construction activities.
  • Central Electricity Authority (KEA)has beenmonitoring of fly ash productionand its use in the country in coal/lignite thermal power plants since 1996-97.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) issuedreports on fly ash use in 2016which had the following features: Mandatory upload of fly ash information available on Thermal Power Station (TPS) website.
  • Increasecompulsory jurisdictionrange of application from 100 km to 300 km;
  • Transport costs for fly ash are fully borne by TPS up to 100 km.
  • Compulsory use of fly ash-based products in all public schemes or programmes, e.g. Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan etc.
  • From 2019, the government notified the existing red clayweightliftingwithin a radius of 300 km shall be converted into a fly ash based production unit for bricks or blocks or tiles within one year.
  • OfGST satson fly ash and fly ash aggregates with 90% or more fly ash content was reduced from 18% to 5%.
  • A mobile app for axle controlASH FIGHTwas created to create a link between fly ash users and power plant managers.
  • NTPC has started the production of prestressed concrete railway sleepers in collaboration with institutes like IIT-Delhi and IIT-Kanpur.
  • With the above measures, 63% of fly ash is currently used in India.
  • The national government has made the use of fly ash mandatory for construction activities taking place 500 km around cogeneration plants.

Two methods of scientific fly ash removal

  • Dry fly ash removal system:Electrostatic deposition (ESP) allows for the collection of dry fly ash, which is then transported to a site by trucks or conveyors and removed by constructing a dry dike.
  • Wet fly ash removal system: Fly ash is mixed with water and transported through a pipe as slurry and disposed of in ash ponds or landfills near the plants.

Delhi air pollution

  • According to a study conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in 2018, 36% of pollution originates in Delhi itself, 34% in the national capital region and 30% comes from across international borders.
  • Pollution from vehicles:TERI's research shows that vehicular pollution is responsible for 28 percent of PM2.5 emissions.
  • Burn stubble: Burning of crop residues in winter is one of the main reasons for rising air pollution levels in Delhi.
  • Industrial pollution:Industries contribute 30 percent to PM2.5 levels, with 14 percent from small industries.
  • The north-westerly winds entering Delhi carry sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitted from major power plants and refineries that face Delhi.

Factors responsible for Delhi's pollution:

  • Lack of wind movement:The lack of winds that can transport pollutants is one of the main factors affecting air quality.
  • Delayed withdrawal of monsoon: The withdrawal of late monsoon is not good for air quality in North India as time progresses towards winter. This is characterized by dry weather, clear skies and very low surface winds. The particles in the air are therefore not dispersed and are retained in the atmosphere.
  • Delhi's Geographical Location: Delhi lies northeast of the Thar Desert, northwest of the Central Plains and southwest of the Himalayas.
  • If the wind comes from the coast and brings pollutants with it, which are picked up along the way, they are 'trapped' just before the Himalayas.
  • Dust storms: Delhi-NCR is getting covered in a thick blanket of dust mainly due to dust storms from Rajasthan which is facing extremely dry weather conditions with high temperatures and wind speeds.
  • The destruction of the Aravallis, which protect northern India from dust storms, has increased this impact.
  • Also, a 2017 study by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (under the Ministry of Earth Sciences) and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) "multi-day dust storm" in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia was one of the main causes of smog in delhi.
  • Stubble burning: Stubble burning is the act of clearing agricultural fields by burning residue left on the land after harvest to prepare it for the next round of sowing.

Political reaction

  • National Green Tribunal (NGT)has banned crop residue burning in the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.
  • Some of the current laws regarding crop residue burning are: Section 144 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) to prohibit burning of paddy; The Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1981; the Environmental Protection Act, 1986; National Tribunals Act, 1995; and the National Environmental Appeals Authority Act, 1997.
  • National Crop Residue Management Policy (NPMCR):launched by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2014 to prevent crop residue burning by encouraging the purchase of modern machinery to minimize crop residue residue in the field
  • Central Sector Scheme for 'promotion of agricultural mechanization for in-situ management of crop residues in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi' for the period from 2018-19 to 2019-20 has been launched to tackle air pollution and subsidize machinery


  • In the cities of our country, which of the following atmospheric gases are usually taken into account when calculating the value of the air quality index?
  1. Carbon dioxide
  2. Carbonmonoxid
  3. Nitrogendioxid
  4. Sulfur dioxide
  5. methane

Choose the correct answer using the code below.

  1. Only 1, 2 and 3
  2. Only 2, 3 and 4
  3. Only 1, 4 and 5
  4. 1,2, 3, 4 i 5

Answer: B

  • Imagine the following situation;
    1. Carbonmonoxid
    2. methane
    3. Ozone
    4. Sulfur dioxide.

Which of the above are released into the atmosphere by burning crop/biomass residues?

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2, 3 and 4
  3. Only 1 and 4
  4. 1, 2, 3 i 4

Answer: D

  • Which of the following statements are correct regarding 'fly ash' produced by coal-fired power plants?
  1. Fly ash can be used to make bricks for construction.
  2. Fly ash can be used as a replacement for some of the Portland cement content in concrete.
  3. Fly ash consists only of silicon dioxide and calcium oxide and contains no toxic elements.

Choose the correct answer using the code below:

  1. 1 on 2
  2. 2 alene
  3. 1 out of 3
  4. 3 alene

Answer: A

Noise disturbances:

  • Unwanted or excessive noise that can have harmful effects on human health and the quality of the environment
  • Noisepollutionis commonly generated in many industrial plants and some other workplaces, but it also comes from highway, rail and air traffic and from outdoor construction activities.
  • However, exposure to excessive noise can affect your health and damage your hearing. Harmful or bothersome noise levels are considered nuisance or nuisance noise.
  • Sound is measured in relation todecibel(dB) has prescribed an optimal noise level of 45 dB during the day to 35 dB at night, according to the WHO (World Health Organization).
  • The Noise Pollution (Control and Regulation), 2000 defines ambient noise levels for various areas as follows:

Consequences of noise pollution:

  • hypertension:a direct result of noise nuisance caused by elevated blood values ​​for a longer period of time.
  • Hearing loss:It can be directly caused by noise pollution, whether you're listening to loud music on your headphones or being exposed to loud drilling noises at work, heavy air or land traffic, or isolated incidents where noise levels reach dangerous ranges, such as around 140 dB for adults. or 120 dB for children.
  • Sleep disordersare usually caused by constant air or ground traffic at night and are a serious condition as they can affect daily performance and lead to serious illness.
  • Child development:Children appear to be more sensitive to noise pollution, and a number of noise-related diseases and dysfunctions are known to affect children, ranging from hearing loss to psychological and physical effects.
  • Severalcardiovascular dysfunctions: High blood pressure due to noise pollution, especially at night, can lead to various cardiovascular diseases.
  • Dementiais not necessarily caused by noise pollution, but its onset may be favored or exacerbated by noise pollution.
  • Mental dysfunctions and noise irritation: Noise annoyance is actually a recognized name for an emotional response that can have an immediate impact.

Effects of noise pollution on wildlife and marine life:

  • Our oceans are no longer quiet. Thousands of oil wells, sonars, seismic survey devices, offshore pleasure craft and shipping now populate our waters, creating a serious source of noise pollution for marine life.
  • Whales are among the hardest hit, because their hearing helps them orientate, feed and communicate. Noise pollution thus disrupts the feeding habits, reproductive patterns and migration routes of cetaceans (whales and dolphins), and can even cause bleeding and death.
  • In addition to life in the sea, land animals also suffer from noise nuisance in the form of traffic, fireworks etc. and birds are particularly affected by the increased air traffic.

Measures to combat noise nuisance:

  • Strict enforcement of sound limits through loudspeakers and cars.
  • Restrictions on setting off fireworks and blowing horns in quiet areas.
  • Construction of green silencers when planting trees
  • Proper use of noise control equipment such as earplugs, noise-cancelling headphones, etc.
  • Job rotation to reduce exposure time in noisy industrial locations.

Act on noise pollution

  • Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981: Lists 'noise' as an air pollutant.
  • Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000: It defines and regulates noise pollution and its sources.
  • Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986: It sets noise standards for motor vehicles, air conditioners, refrigerators, diesel generators and certain types of construction equipment.
  • Industrial noise is regulated by State Pollution Control Boards/Pollution Control Committees (SPCBs/PCCs) of States/Union Territories under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

Recent guidance from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on noise pollution

  • The NGT has asked the CPCB to categorize cities based on their noise profile and identify the noisy hotspots.
  • CPCB has also been asked to suggest noise restoration plans within 3 months.
  • The NGT has also urged police forces in all states to purchase audio equipment.
  • They are also tasked with assisting pollution-fighting authorities in their efforts to reduce noise pollution.
  • Manufacturers of loudspeaker systems and sound reinforcement equipment must provide built-in sound meters and data loggers in their products.
  • This would help regulators identify violations and determine accountability


  • Water pollution is the contamination of natural water present in lakes, rivers, streams, oceans and groundwater due to the influx or deposition of pollutants directly or indirectly into the water systems.
  • Any alteration or modification of the chemical, physical and biological properties of water that may have harmful effects on living things and the environmentknown as water pollution
  • Not only is polluted water a disaster for aquatic ecosystems, the pollutants also seep through and reach groundwater, which can end up in our households as polluted water that we use in our daily activities, including drinking.
  • The UN estimates that 4,000 children die every day from drinking dirty water.

Causes of water pollution:

  • Industrial wastewater: Industrial wastewater has a complex nature of pollutants and includes organic and inorganic substances such as pharmaceutical residues, dyes and metals, which must be treated before being released into wastewater streams.
  • Social and religious practices:
  • Among various types of man-made actions, religious activities such as immersion of flour, oil, soap, ash, detergents, flower offerings and mass baths are also one of the important causes affecting the water quality of a water body.
  • The religious activities are deeply rooted in the cultural heritage; millions of people take a holy bath and perform religious activities
  • Use of cleaning agents and fertilizers:Water pollution with chemicals (such as cleaning agents) is a major problem in a global context. Many detergents contain about 35 percent to 75 percentphosphate salt.Over-enrichment of phosphate can cause the water massbesmothered by algae and other plants.Eutrophicationrobs the water of available oxygen and kills other organisms.
  • Agricultural runoff - Use of insecticides and pesticides: Agricultural runoff (non-point source) is water from fields as a result of irrigation, rain or melted snow that flows over the ground and can be absorbed into the ground, run into water or evaporate.
  • This runoff can contain pesticides, sediment (soil particles), nutrients (phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium from fertilizers) and metals, which can contaminate water sources.
  • Mining activities:Mining activities emit various metal wastes and sulphides from the rocks and are harmful to the water.
  • Acid mine runoff causes the acidity of water, which in turn disturbs the chemical composition of the water source by dissolving and releasing some harmful substances.
  • Marine dumping:In some countries, every household produces waste in the form of paper, aluminum, rubber, glass, plastic, food, if it is collected and thrown into the sea.
  • Accidental leakage Marine pollution:Oil spills are a major concern, as large amounts of oil end up in the ocean, which does not dissolve with water; this creates a problem for local marine animals such as fish, birds and sea otters etc.
  • For example, a ship carrying a large amount of oil can spill oil if it has an accident and can cause different types of damage to species in the sea, depending on the amount of oil spilled, the size of the sea, the toxicity of polluting dust.
  • Combustion of fossil fuels: Fossil fuels such as coal and oil produce a significant amount of ash into the atmosphere when burned. The particles, which contain toxic chemicals (often from sulfur present in coal), when mixed with water vapor, result in acid rain.
  • Facilities that handle radioactive materials:
  • The element used in nuclear power production is uranium, a highly toxic chemical.
  • Nuclear waste can pose serious environmental risks if not disposed of properly.
  • Urban development and running away: As more towns and cities develop, they have led to increased use of fertilizers to produce more food, soil erosion due to deforestation, increase in construction activities, inadequate sewerage and treatment, landfills as more waste is produced, increase in chemicals from industries to produce more materials.

Classification of water pollutants

  • Water pollutants can be divided into four main categories: chemical, physical, physiological and biological.
  • Although the physical and physiological pollutants are mainly due to chemical pollutants, they are categorized separately due to their nature.

1. Chemical pollutants:Chemical pollutants can be further dividedin organic pollutants and inorganic pollutants. Organic pollutants:

  • Organic pollutants are those compounds that contain carbon atoms and are mainly of biological origin.
  • These are the oxygen-depleting substances in water. They are brought to the stream from various sources such as waste water, animal and human excrement, refineries, distilleries, pulp and paper industry, tanneries, dairy industry, textile industry, slaughterhouses, etc.
  • BOD and COD are general indicators of a high organic content of wastewater.
  • The organic pollutants can be further divided into two.
  • Biodegradable organic pollutants:
  • These are the organic materials that are easily broken down by microorganisms.
  • Most of the naturally occurring organic compounds (derived from plants and animals) are biodegradable.
  • Examples:Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, alcohols, acids, aldehydes, esters, soaps, etc.
  • Non-biodegradable organic pollutants:
  • These are the organic materials that resist biodegradation.
  • Most of these are synthetic organics which are of great concern.
  • Some naturally occurring organic compounds break down so slowly that they are considered insensitive.
  • For example, lignic acid, tannic acid, cellulose and many of the organic compounds associated with petroleum.
  • Pesticides (DDT, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, endosulfan, lindane, toxaphene, mirex, heptachlor, etc.), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), plastics, dioxins, furans, phenols, dyes, cleaning agents, etc.
  • Inorganic pollutants:
  • Inorganic pollutants include inorganic acids, bases, salts, anions, cations, free chlorine, ammonia, etc.
  • They are supplied as a result of industrial waste water, waste water, household cleaning agents and surface water from urban and agricultural fields etc.
  • They affect the physical and chemical quality of the water.

Bord:Common inorganic pollutants found in water

2 physical pollutants:It is the pollutants that impair the physical parameters of the water quality. These include color, turbidity, suspended solids, radioactivity, foam and thermal contaminants

3 physiological pollutants:As previously mentioned, physiological pollution is caused by the presence of certain chemicals. Physiological contaminants are of two types: taste and smell.

4 biological pollutants:Biological pollution occurs due to the introduction and growth of micro- and macro-organisms in the water body, which negatively affect water quality, human health and the ecosystem. Various biological contaminants include bacteria, algae, weeds, viruses, protozoa and worms.

Sources of water pollution:

  • Water pollution classifications based on identifiability can be both point and non-point source

Point bridge:

Whenpollution comes from a single bron, it is called point source pollution.

Pollution from point sources can be:

  • septic systems on site
  • leaking tanks or pipelines containing petroleum products
  • municipal landfills
  • sweeping waste
  • industrial/factory wastewater
  • municipal sewage treatment plants

Not point source:

  • Pollution from non-point sources ispollution from diffuse sources.
  • Non-point source pollution is the leading cause of water pollution, but it is difficult to regulate because there is no single identifiable culprit.
  • These include:
  • Surplus fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides from agricultural and residential areas
  • Oil, grease and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production
  • Sediment from poorly managed construction sites, arable and forest areas and eroding stream banks
  • Salt from irrigation practices and acidic runoff from abandoned mines
  • Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet feces and faulty septic systems
  • Atmospheric deposition and hydromodification

Types of water pollution:

Dissolved oxygen:

Dissolved oxygen (DO) is a measure of the amount of free oxygen available in river systems. Presence of organic and inorganic waste in water lowers the level of dissolved oxygen in the water. DO less than 8 ppm (Parts Per Million) indicates fouling and less than 4 ppm heavy fouling. In unpolluted water, the DO should be around 14 ppm.

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD):

BOD is the amount of oxygen consumed by bacteria or other aerobic microorganisms during the decomposition of organic matter under aerobic conditions. As tested, it is expressed in milligrams of oxygen consumed per liters of sample over a fixed incubation period. It is generally used as an indicator of the amount of organic pollutants in a water sample. BOD in polluted water will therefore generally be higher than in clean water. The higher value of BOD indicates a low DO content of water. Because BOD is limited to biodegradable materials only. Therefore, it is not a reliable method for measuring pollution in water.

Chemical oxygen demand (COD):

COD is a slightly better method used to measure the pollution load in water. COD measures the amount of oxygen consumed by the chemical breakdown or oxidation (degeneration) of organic pollutants in water. The measurement of COD is also expressed in milligrams per liters under a specific oxidizing agent, temperature and time and can be rounded to hours. This measurement looks for the oxygen consumed by a specific chemical oxidation process and is not a substitute for BOD or DO. It is also an indicator of the amount of organic pollutants in a water sample. COD is less specific than BOD because it measures the oxygen consumption of any pollutant that can be chemically oxidized, versus BOD, which is only the portion that degrades biologically.
invasive arterInvasive plant species, water hyacinths, aquatic weeds, also called the "Terror of Bengal", destroy the microenvironment to their advantage by producing allelochemicals that cause the destruction of native species and local biodiversity.

Agricultural pollution:

  • Agriculture is the leading cause of water degradation worldwide.
  • Agricultural pollution is the leading source of pollution in rivers and streams, the second largest source in wetlands, and the third largest source in lakes. It is also a major contributor topollution of estuaries and groundwater.
  • Every time it rains, fertilizers, pesticides and animal waste from farms and ranches wash nutrients and pathogens - such as bacteria and viruses - into our waterways.
  • Nutrient pollution caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in water or air,can cause algal blooms, a toxic soup of blue-green algae that can be harmful to humans and animals.

Heat pollution:

Afb.Effect of thermal pollution on dissolved oxygen in water

  • The main sources of thermal pollution are thermal and nuclear power plants.
  • Power plants - thermal and nuclear, chemical and other industriesuse a lot of water for cooling and the used hot water is discharged into rivers, streams or oceans.
  • Hot water discharge can raise the temperature of the receiving water by 10 to 15 °C above the ambient water temperature. This is thermal pollution.
  • Increasing the water temperature decreases the dissolved oxygen in the water.
  • One of the best methods to reduce thermal pollution isstore the hot water in cooling ponds, allow the water to cool before entering a receiving water body.

Dead Zones

  • When this dense algal bloom finally dies, microbial decomposition severely depletes dissolved oxygen, creating a hypoxic or anoxic "dead zone" that lacks enough oxygen to support most organisms.
  • Dead zones can be found in both freshwater lakes and oceans.

Fish kill

  • It is the sudden and unexpected death of a number of fish or other aquatic animals such as crabs or shrimps over a short period of time and often within a specific area in nature.
  • Most fish kills occur due to fluctuations in the natural environment, the most common cause being algal blooms and resulting water quality problems such as oxygen deficiency or toxin production.

Ground water pollution:

  • Groundwater contamination occurswhen man-made productssuch as petrol, oil, road salt and chemicalsend up in and cause groundwaterto become sounsafe and unfit for human use.
  • Materials from the soil surface can move through the soil and enter the groundwater. For example, pesticides and fertilizers can end up in the groundwater supply over time.
  • Road salt, toxins from mining sites and used motor oil can also seep into the groundwater.
  • In addition, untreated waste from septic tanks and toxic chemicals from underground storage tanks and leaking landfills can contaminate groundwater.
  • Factors Affecting Groundwater Pollution - The degree of groundwater pollution depends on the following factors: 1. Rainfall pattern 2. Depth of the water table. 3. Distance to the pollution source and 4. Soil properties such as texture, structure and filtration rate.

Causes of groundwater pollution

  • Discharge of toxic elements from industries and landfills and diffuse sources of pollution such as fertilizers and pesticides have over the years led to high levels of groundwater pollution withlevel of nitrates exceeding the permissible limits in more than 50% districts in India.
  • IndustriesManufacturing and other chemical industries require water for processing and cleaning purposes. This used water is returned to water sources without proper treatment. Industrial waste is also dumped in certain areas, the seepage of which leads to groundwater pollution.
  • Agriculture-the fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals used in growing plants pollute the groundwater.
  • residenceThese generate pollutants (microorganisms and organic compounds) for groundwater pollution
  • Mining-Discharge from mine drainage, spillage from oil fields, sludge and process water also contaminates the groundwater.
  • coastal areas-Salt water intrusion increases the salinity of groundwater in nearby areas.
  • Excessive extraction– It increases the concentration of minerals in the mined areas, causing them to become contaminated.

Groundwater Pollution in India:

uran contamination:

  • Uranium is weakly radioactive and remains so because of its long physical half-life. The biologicalhalf-life (the average time it takes for the human body to eliminate half the amount in the body) for uraniumis about 15 days.
  • The contamination of groundwater with uranium in India is one of the reasons for concern. ThatThe World Health Organization (WHO) has set a provisional standard for safe drinking water of 30 micrograms of uranium perfor India, but many of the states have uranium well above the prescribed limit.
  • According to the results published inlog"Environmental Science & Technology", er eruranium contamination in groundwater in aquifers in 16 states in India.
  • While the primary source of uranium isgeogenic (naturally occurring), anthropogenic (man-made) factors such as the lowering of the water table and nitrate pollutioncan further improve the mobilization of uranium.
  • Human activities, particularly overexploitation of groundwater for agricultural irrigation, may contribute to the problem.
  • Exposure to uranium can lead to several adverse health consequences, including bone toxicity and impaired kidney function.

Arsenic pollution:

  • Arsenic contamination in groundwater is one of the most crippling problems in India's drinking water scenario. According tolatest report of Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), 21 statesall over the country have pockets ofarsenic content higher than the permissible limit fixed by BIS of 0.01 milligrams per liters (mg/l).
  • The states alongGanga-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) river basin - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam— have been hardest hit by this man-made geogenic event.
  • In India, arsenic contamination was first officially confirmed inWest Bengal in 1983.
  • Effects:Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water containerscause cancer of the skin, lungs, bladder and kidneys.It can also cause other skin changes, such as thickening and pigmentation.
  • Increased risk of lung and bladder cancer and skin changes have been reported in people who consume itarsenic in drinking water at concentrations of 50 µg/litre or even lower.
  • Recent research says that arsenic contamination in groundwater has entered the food chain. That at the endcausing photoaccumulation of arsenic in the food crops, especially in the leaves, may be from contaminated water splashed on them.
  • Nevertheless, the focus remained on drinking water and affected regions became the main actor in the mitigation approach.

Nitrate and fluoride pollution:

  • Nitrate pollution and the enrichment of fluorine in groundwater is a common problem worldwide.
  • Nitrate pollution in the groundwater is due to leaching ofnitrate from agricultural soil, waste water or manure pits.
  • India also suffers from nitrate pollution and fluoride enrichment problems.
  • According toUNICEF, India possession1% of the total fluoride deposits in the earth's crust and the 17 states are endemic in fluorosis. Fluoride is necessary for teeth up to 1.50 mg/L. High concentrations of fluoride in groundwater have been reported in central-western India, and this enrichment occurs through geogenic sources.

The government's efforts to control groundwater pollution

  • A master plan for artificial groundwater recharge has been developed byCentral Groundwater Agency (CGWB) in 2013.
  • According to this plan, over85 billion cubic metersphased collection in rural and urban areas by 2023.
  • Groundwater Protection Legislation and Programs:The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Environmental Protection Act, 1986; the establishment of the Arsenic Task Force in West Bengal in 2005 and the launch of the Salinity Ingress Prevention Scheme in Gujarat in 2008.
  • Atal Bhujal Yojana, a central sector scheme to improve groundwater management and restore the health of the country's aquifers.
  • National Aquifer Management Project (2016):The project proposes to map 1.4 million square kilometers of groundwater reservoirs between 2017 and 2022.
  • National water policy 2012which proposes a framework for creating a system of laws and institutions and for an action plan with a unified national perspective.
  • National Aquifer Mapping and Management Program: It was initiated as part of the Groundwater Management and Regulation Program to delineate and characterize the aquifers in order to develop groundwater management plans.
  • Atal Jal Yojana:It aims to conserve groundwater in seven states that are experiencing the largest declines in aquifers, primarily due to mining for water-intensive crops. These are Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
  • Paani Bacho, Paise Kamao(save water, earn money) scheme: It was launched by Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to transfer direct electricity benefits to agricultural consumers. Farmers get Rs 4 as a direct benefit for every unit of electricity saved.


  • Which of the following can be found as contaminants in drinking water in some parts of India?
  1. Arsenic
  2. sorbitol
  3. fluoride
  4. Formaldehyde
  5. Career

Choose the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. Only 1 and 3
  2. Only 2, 4 and 5
  3. Only 1, 3 and 5
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4 i 5

Answer: C

Marine pollution:

  • According to UNEP report 2015, India dumps 0.6 tonnes of plastic waste into the oceans annually and ranks 12th in the top 20 countries responsible for ocean pollution.
  • The waste water and waste from the coastal cities is also dumped into the sea.
  • The other sources of marine pollution are spills of oil, grease, detergents, waste water, waste and radioactive waste, offshore oil extraction, oil spills.


  • About the marine environment:Ingestion, suffocation and entanglement of hundreds of marine species such as seabirds, whales, fish and turtles.
  • About nutrition and health:Toxic pollutants accumulate on the surface of plastic materials which, when ingested by marine organisms, enter their digestive systems and over time accumulate in the food web, leading to the transfer of pollutants between marine species and humans through the consumption of fish and shellfish.
  • Carcinogenic chemicals presentin the plastic materials disrupts the body's endocrine system and causes developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune disorders in both humans and wildlife.
  • About tourism:Plastic waste damages the aesthetic value of tourist destinations, leading to reduced tourism-related income and large financial costs associated with cleaning and maintaining the sites.


  • Long residual life of plastic:Once plastic waste ends up in the ocean, there is little we can do to collect it on a meaningful scale, especially on the ocean floor, which is several kilometers deep.
  • Failure to complywith laws and conventions, in part because of limited financial resources to enforce them.
  • The most important are the 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Waste and Other Substances(or the London Convention), the 1996 Protocol to the London Convention (London Protocol) and the 1978 Protocol to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
  • Structural errors:Under the linear plastic system, 95 percent of the total value of plastic packaging is lost to the economy after a single-use cycle, and many plastic products are placed in markets unable to collect and economically process them after use.
  • Worldwide, only 71 percent of plastic produced is formally collected, and less than 15 percent is actually recycled.
  • Lack of data:Uniform definitions and conventions for plastic waste data and metrics are lacking, and there is insufficient transparency regarding the plastics traded on the global market (type, chemical additives, etc.), trade flows, waste generation, consumption and post-use patterns.

Delicious oil:

  • Pollution of sea water by an oil spill, due to an accident or human error, is called an oil spill.
  • Oil is one of the most important sources of energy in the world, and due to its uneven distribution, it is transported by ships across the oceansand through pipelines across the country.
  • It has previously led to several accidents during the transfer of oil to ships, during transport when pipelines break, but also during drilling in the earth's crust.



  • Russia recently declared a state of emergency in itsKrasnoyarsk regionafter fuel from a power station leaked, causing 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil to escape intoAmbarnaya-rivier.


  • Recently oneJapanese ship named M V Wakashiohit a coral reef, resulting in an oil spill of over 1,000 tonnes iThe Indian Ocean.

Chennai Oil Spill 2017:

  • On 28 January 2017, two ships collidedKamarajar Port Limited (KPL)the harbor and resulted in a major oil spill disaster. The oil spill in Chennai has led to irreparable environmental damage.

Consequences of oil spills:

About life in the sea:

(Video) Plastic pollution: is it really that bad?

  • The immediate effect of an oil spill ismassive death of fish and turtles and of birds because they cannot fly with wings covered in heavy oil.
  • Thereduces the amount of light and oxygengo in the water. This suffocates marine life or puts it in a state of "beat the coma“.
  • The oildestabilizes all sea food chain, starting with plankton, microscopic organisms that live in the depths of the ocean and are deprived of the sunlight they need to cook.
  • Toxic chemicals seep out of the oil, and some of the oil itself sinks to the seabed, damaging coral reefs and endangering fish.

About persons:

  • The tourism industryis strongly affected by oil spills and oil pollution. Due to increasing oil pollution on beaches and coasts, tourist activities such as sailing, swimming, diving and adventure sports are making a comeback.
  • The coastlines and sandy beaches in the coastal areas can also indirectly become victims of oil water pollution.

Methods for cleaning up the oil spill:

  • Inclusion trees:Floating barriers called booms are used to contain the spread of oil and to enable recovery, removal or dispersion.
  • skimmers:They are devices used to physically separate spilled oil from the surface of the water.
  • Sorbenter:Different sorbents (eg straw, volcanic ash and polyester-derived plastic shavings) are used to absorb the oil from the water.
  • Dispersants:These are chemicals that contain surfactants, or compounds that break down liquid substances such as oil into small droplets. They accelerate its natural distribution in the sea.
  • Biological agents:Nutrients, enzymes or microorganisms such asAlcanivorax bacteria or Methylocella silvestristo increase the rate of natural biological degradation of oil is added.

Regulation of Marine Pollution in India

  • India is onehas signed MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution).
  • Indian policy is limited to banning single-use plastics only. Prevention of marine pollution is covered by the Merchant Shipping Rules, 2009 (under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958), Environment (Protection) Act 1986, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981 and rules made under the CPCB.
  • Automated Marine Pollution Observation System: The Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) established the system in 2018 to monitor ocean pollution levels and provide insights into how the ocean system is changing.
  • Information Service Algae Bloom (ABIS):INCOIS has developed a service for "Detection and Monitoring of Blooms in the Indian Ocean".
  • Periodic surveys of Indian-flagged shipsto ensure compliance with the above rules. Foreign ships are also inspected under the Port State Inspection Scheme and large fines are imposed for non-compliance.
  • Steering group with stakeholdersof all involved ministers and departments has been prepared by the Ministry for the Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The Committee coordinates activities, examines proposals and provides advice to Ministries, State and UT Governments on research, policy planning, technology dissemination, public outreach and education and other facets of the marine plastic waste problem.
  • The government has announced a series of steps to phase out single-use plastics with the ultimate goal of ending all use to reduce the country's plastic footprint duringRules for handling plastic waste (amendment) 2018.
  • BIScome out with oneIndian standardwhereby plastic microspheres with a diameter of 5 mm or less, which are insoluble in water, and solid plastic particles used for exfoliation or cleansing in personal care products are prohibited.
  • Practice at the state level:Kerala Suchitwa-mission,during which fishermen are busy finding and collecting plastic from the oceans.

National Oil Spill Response Plan:

  • India issued the National Oil Disaster Response Plan (NOS-DCP) in 1996. The Coast Guard was designated as the central coordinating authority.

The objectives of the plan are:

  • To develop suitable and effective systems for detecting and reporting oil spills.
  • Ensuring a rapid response to prevent, control and combat oil spills.
  • To ensure that adequate protection is provided to public health and welfare and the marine environment.
  • To ensure that correct response techniques are used to prevent, control and combat oil spills and to dispose of recovered material in an environmentally sound manner.

To ensure that all expenses are fully and accurately tracked to ease the cost of recovery.

Effects of water pollution:

Effects on humans:

  • Waterborne pathogens, in the form of disease-causing bacteria and viruses from human and animal waste, are a major cause of illness from contaminated drinking water.
  • Diseases spread by unsafe water include cholera, giardia and typhoid. Even in wealthy countries, accidental or illegal discharges from sewage treatment plants as well as runoff from farms and urban areas contribute harmful pathogens to waterways.
  • Heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury from pesticides and nitrate fertilizers end up in our water supplies. Once ingested, these toxins can cause a wide range of health problems, from cancer to hormone disruption to altered brain function. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable.
  • The connections oflead causes anemia, headache, loss of muscle power.
  • Water contaminated with cadmium can cause itai itai disease.
  • According to the WHO, nitrate in drinks water can cause methemoglobinemiaor blue baby syndrome or the reduced ability of the blood to transport vital oxygen around the body.
  • An excess of fluoride in drinking water causes neuromuscular disorders, gastrointestinal problems, malformations of teeth, hardness of bones and stiff and painful joints (skeletal fluorosis). Pain in bones and joints and outward bending of legs from the kneesCalledKnock-knee syndrome.
  • Fluorosis is a common problem in several states of the country due to the consumption of water with high levels of fluoride.

Effects on the environment:

  • To thrive, healthy ecosystems depend on a complex web of animals, plants, bacteria and fungi, all of which interact directly or indirectly. Damage to any of these organisms can cause a chain effect that endangers entire aquatic environments.
  • When water pollution aalgae bloom in a lakeofmarine environment,the spread of newly introduced nutrients stimulates plant and algae growth, which in turn lowers the oxygen content of the water. This lack of oxygen,known as eutrophication,suffocates plants and animals and candead zones' where water is essentially devoid of life.
  • In certain cases these are harmfulalgal blooms can also produce neurotoxins that affect wildlife, from whales to sea turtles.
  • Marine ecosystems are also threatened by marine debris, which can suffocate, suffocate and starve animals. Much of this solid waste, such as plastic bags and soda cans, ends up in sewers and drains and eventually in the ocean, turning our oceans into a landfill.
  • Meanwhile, ocean acidification makes it harder for shellfish and coral to survive. Although they absorb about a quarter of the carbon pollution caused each year by burning fossil fuels, the oceans are becoming increasingly acidic. This process does thatharder for shellfish and other species to build shells and can affect the nervous system of sharks, clownfish and other marine animals

Government initiatives to control water pollution in India:

  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1974):It established pollution control boards at the central and state levels and empowered them to prevent and control water pollution and to advise governments on matters relating to such pollution.
  • Namami Gange-programfor effective pollution reduction, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
  • National Water Policy, 2012: One of the main provisions includes conservation of river corridors and water bodies and ensuring that industrial effluents, local drains, fertilizer and chemical residues etc. do not reach the water source.
  • Ibudget 2019-2020, The government has unveiled a vision for 2030 which includes clean rivers, with safe drinking water for all Indians, sustaining and nurturing life and efficient use of water for irrigation using micro-irrigation techniques.
  • To assess the effectiveness of river cleaning programmes, the CPCB has been commissioned by the NGT to initiate a nationwide program to monitor biodiversity and index the rivers.

National River Conservation Plan (NRCP)

  • One of the important measures taken by the government to reduce river pollution is the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP), a national, top-down program targeting the internal pollution that ends up in surface water.
  • The NRCP was launched in 1985 and started its work with the Ganga Action Plan.

National water quality monitoring program:

  • The Central Pollution Control Boards (CPCB) in collaboration with State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) / Pollution Control Committees (PPCs)monitors the quality of water bodies at 2,500 locations across the country under the National Water Quality Monitoring Program (NWQMP), which indicates that organic pollution is the leading cause of water pollution. Based on the extent of organic pollution, the CPCB identified 150 polluted river stretches in 2008, which increased to 302 in 2015.
  • Input fromNational Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) og National Wetland Conservation Program (NWCP)for the conservation and management of identified lakes and wetlands in the country, which was merged in February 2013 into an integrated scheme ofNational Plan for the Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA)to carry out various conservation activities, including sewage interception, diversion and treatment, pollution reduction, lake beautification, conservation of biodiversity, education and awareness, community participation, etc.

Industrial water treatment:

  • Before raw sewage can be safely released back into the environment, it must be properly treated in a water treatment plant. In a water treatment plant, wastewater undergoes a series of chambers and chemical processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of the waste.


  • Denitrification is an ecological approach that can be used to prevent the leaching of nitrates into the soil and thereby prevent groundwater contamination with nutrients.

Septic tanks and wastewater treatment:

  • Septic tanks treat the wastewater where it resides, instead of transporting the waste through a treatment plant or sewer system. Septic tanks are usually used to treat waste water from an individual building.

Ozone wastewater treatment:

  • Ozone treatment of waste water is a method that is becoming increasingly popular. An ozone generator is used to break down pollutants in the water source.
  • The generators convert oxygen into ozone by using ultraviolet radiation or an electric discharge field.


  • Either chlorine gas or certain chlorine compounds are added to the water to complete the purification process. Extremely small amounts of chlorine, about 0.3 ppm, are usually sufficient to kill almost all microorganisms (certainly all pathogens) remaining in the water. At the same time, chlorine neutralizes many odors and flavors in the water.


  • Phytoremediation is a bioremediation process that uses different types of plants to remove, transfer, stabilize and/or destroy pollutants in the soil and groundwater.

Current topics in the news


  • Union Finance Minister at the presentation of the budgetannounced Jal Jeevan Mission to provide HarGharJal (piped water supply) to all rural households by 2024.


  • This mission will focus on integrated water supply and demand management at the local level, including the creation of local infrastructure for sustainable resources such as rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and domestic wastewater management for agricultural reuse.
    The mission will converge with other central and state government schemes to achieve its goals of sustainable water supply across the country.


  • NITI Aayogin association withMinisterie van JAL Shaktiand the Ministry of Rural Development has published the Composite Water Management Index 2.0
  • NITI Aayog launched and invented firstComposite water management index in 2018as a tool to create a sense of cooperative and competitive federalism among the states.
  • It provided practical guidance to states on where they were doing absolutely and relatively well and what they should focus on to keep their water safe.
  • The index contains 9 themes:

Radioactive pollution

  • Radioactive pollution is defined as physical pollution of living organisms and their environment as a result of the release ofradioactive substancesin the environment belowatomic explosionsItesting of nuclear weapons,production of nuclear weaponsand dismantling,extraction of radioactive ores, treatment and disposal of radioactive waste, andaccidents in nuclear power plants.
  • Radioactivity is a phenomenon ofspontaneous emission of particles such as protons (alpha particles), electrons (beta particles) and gamma rays (short-wave electromagnetic radiation) due to the splitting of atomic nuclei in some elements.
  • Isgenerated by uranium mining, nuclear power plants and the production and testing of military weapons,as well as by universities and hospitals that use radioactive materials for research and medicine.
  • Radioactive waste can remain in the environment for thousands of years, making disposal a major challenge. Accidentally released or improperly disposed pollutants threaten groundwater, surface water and marine resources.

Sources of radioactive radiation

  • Natural resources:They include cosmic rays from space and terrestrial radiation from radionuclides present in the earth's crust, such as radium-224, uranium-238, thorium-232, potassium-40, carbon-14, etc.
  • Man-made resources:
  • Nuclear power plants
  • Atomic weapons
  • Transport of nuclear material
  • Disposal of nuclear waste
  • uranium extraction
  • Radiation treatment

Types of radiation:

  • Non-ionizing radiation:It only affects the components that absorb and have themlow permeability.
  • Ionizing radiation: It hashigh permeabilityand causesbreakdown of macromolecules.


  • Effects of ionizing radiation:
  • They containX-rays, gamma rays, cosmic rays and other atomic rays caused by emissions of radioactive elements.
  • has ionizing radiationhigh permeabilityand can cause breakage of macromolecules
  • The molecular damage can cause short-range (immediate) and long-range (delayed) effects.
  • Short-term effects include burns, reduced metabolism, dead tissue and the death of various organisms.
  • Long-term effects include mutations that lead to increased incidence of tumors and cancers, shortening of lifespan and developmentThe mutated gene can remain in living organisms and affect their offspring.

Effects of non-ionizing radiation:

  • They include shortwave radiationsuch as the ultraviolet rays that are part of solar radiation.
  • They have alow penetrating powerand affect only the cells and molecules that absorb them.
  • They can damage the eyes, which can occur due to reflection from coastal sand, snow (known as snow blindness) or by looking directly at the sun during an eclipse.
  • They candamage the cells of the skin and blood capillaries and cause blisters and redness. This condition is known as sunburn.


  • Soil pollution is defined aspresence of toxic chemicals (pollutants or contaminants) in the soil, in concentrations high enough to pose a riskfor human health and/or the ecosystem.
  • In the case of pollutants that occur naturally in the soil, even when their content is not high enough to pose a risk,soil pollution is still present if the levels of pollutants in the soil exceed the levels that should be naturally present.
  • Soil contamination or soil pollution can occur through human activities or through natural processes. But most of the time it is due to human activities.
  • Soil contamination can occur as a result ofpresence of chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, ammonia, petroleum hydrocarbons, lead, nitrate, mercury, naphthalene, etc.excess.

Causes of soil pollution:

  • There are two main causes of soil contamination:anthropogenic (man-made) causes and natural causes.

Man-made pollutants:

  • Anthropogenic (man-made) soil pollution originates from various types of processes, some intentional (industrial) and others unintentional. Anthropogenic soil pollution can work with natural processes to increase toxic pollution levels in the soil.
  • Accidental spills and leaksduring storage, transport or use of chemicals (eg leaks and spills of petrol and diesel at service stations);
  • Foundry operations and manufacturing processes involving furnaces or other processes leading to the possible release of pollutants into the environment;
  • Mining activitiescrushing and processing raw materials, such as heavy metals, which release toxic substances;
  • Construction activities;
  • agricultural activitiesinvolves the spreading of herbicides, pesticides and/or insecticides and fertilizers;
  • Transport activities which release toxic emissions from vehicles
  • Dump chemical waste, accidentally or intentionally – such as illegal dumping;
  • Storage of waste in landfills, as the waste products can leach into the groundwater or generate polluted vapors
  • Cracked paint chipsfalling from building walls, especially lead-based paint.

Natural pollutants:

  • Natural accumulation of compoundsin soil due to imbalance between atmospheric deposition and runoff with rainwater (e.g. concentration and accumulation of perchlorate in soil in arid environments)
  • Natural production in the soilunder certain environmental conditions (eg natural formation of perchlorate in the soil in the presence of a chlorine source, a metal object and use of the energy generated by a thunderstorm)
  • Leaks from sewer pipes to the underground(eg addition of chlorine which can generate trihalomethanes such as chloroform).

Effects of soil pollution:


  • Reduced soil fertility
  • Reduced nitrogen fixation
  • Increased erodibility
  • Greater loss of soil and nutrients
  • Deposit of sludge in tanks and reservoirs
  • Reduced crop yield
  • Imbalance in the earth's fauna and flora


  • Hazardous chemicals seeping underground
  • Ecological imbalance
  • Release of polluting gases
  • Release of radioactive rays that cause health problems
  • Increased salt content
  • Reduced vegetation


  • Clogging of drains
  • Flooding of areas
  • Public health issues
  • Contamination of drinking water sources
  • Bad smell and release of gases
  • Problems with waste management


  • Land is no longer available to grow food.
  • If contaminated soil is used to grow food, the soil will usually produce lower yields.
  • Can do even more damage as lack of plants on the ground will cause more erosion.
  • The pollutants will change the composition of the soil and the types of microorganisms that will live in it.
  • For example, it is possible for soil pollution to change entire ecosystems.

Measures to combat soil pollution:

  • Soil erosion can be controlled by a variety of forestry and agricultural practices. E.g:
  • Plant trees on bare slopes.
  • Contour cultivation and strip cultivationcan be practiced instead of changing cultivation
  • Terraces and construction of diversion channelscan be performed.
  • Reduce deforestationand replacing manure with animal waste also helps prevent soil erosion in the long term.
  • Correct dumping of unwanted materials:
  • Excess human and animal waste poses a disposal problem. Open dumping is the most widely used technique.
  • Today, controlled landfilling is followed for the disposal of solid waste. The surface thus obtained is used for housing or sports fields.
  • Production of natural fertilizer:
  • Biopesticides should be used instead of toxic chemical pesticides. Organic fertilizers should be used instead of synthesized chemical fertilizers.
  • For example: Organic waste in animal manure can be used to make compost instead of throwing it away and contaminating the soil.
  • Recycling and recycling of waste:
  • To minimize soil pollution, wastes such as paper, plastic, metal, glass, organic materials, oil products and industrial waste water, etc. should be recycled and reused. For example: Industrial waste must be treated correctly at source. Integrated waste management methods should be adopted.
  • Prohibition of toxic chemicals:
  • There should be a ban on chemicals and pesticides like DDT, BHC etc. which are lethal to plants and animals. Nuclear explosions and improper disposal of radioactive waste should be banned.

Deterioration of the country:

  • Land is an essential resource for humanity, just like air and water.
  • The deterioration of the country-ofdegradation or loss of the earth's productive capacity for now and in the future— is a global challenge that affects everyone through food insecurity, higher food prices, climate change, environmental risks and the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Land degradation iscaused bymultiple powers includedextreme weatherespecially drought and human activities that pollute or degrade soil quality and land use, adversely affecting food production, livelihoods, and the production and provision of other ecosystem goods and services.
  • India is facing a serious problem of land degradation. About32% of the total geographical area of the country is undergoing a process of desertification/land degradation.
  • INISRO 2016 rapportfound that about 29% of India's land (in 2011-2013) was degraded, up from 0.57% from 2003-05.
  • ByAt COP-13, India had committed to restore 13 million hectaresdegraded and cleared land by 2020 and a further 8 million hectares by 2030.
  • Soil degradation is occurring at an alarming rate, contributing to a dramatic decline in crop and pasture productivity worldwide.

Threats to the integrity of the earth:

  • Land degradation has accelerated in the 20th century due to increasing and combined pressures fromagriculture and livestock(overcultivation, overgrazing, reforestation),urbanization, deforestation and extreme weather events such as drought and coastal upwelling that salt the soil.
  1. Desertification:
  • Desertification is a form of land degradation where a relatively dry land area becomes increasingly dry.
  • Desertification leads to the loss of water bodies, as well as vegetation and wildlife.
  • Out of the total 328.72 MHA of the total geographical area of ​​India,4 million hectares (MHA) are undergoing desertification.
  • Over the past 10 years, 26 of India's 29 states have reported an increase in the area undergoing desertification.About 40 to 70 percent of the land has undergone desertification in eight states: Rajasthan, Delhi, Goa, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Nagaland, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh.
  • The highest increase in land degradation is seen inLunglei district of Mizoram (5.81 percent increase from 2003-05 to 2011-13).
  • Loss of land cover, mainly due to rainfall and surface water runoff, is one of the major causes of desertification. It is responsible for 10.98 percent of the country's desertification.
  • Other important causes include wind erosion (5.55 percent), human settlements (0.69 percent), vegetation degradation (8.91 percent), and salinity (1.12 percent).
  • India was a signatory to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertificationin Paris on 17 June 1994. The main agenda of this Convention isto achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030.
  • But despite all this, India has witnessed an increase of 1.87 million hectares undergoing the process of desertification between 2003-05 and 2011-13.
  • Land degradation and desertification can affect human health through complex pathways. As land degrades and deserts expand in some places, food production declines, water sources dry up, and populations are forced to move to more hospitable areas.Potential health consequences of desertification include:
  • greater threats of malnutrition from reduced food and water supplies;
  • more water and food-borne diseases due to poor hygiene and lack of clean water;
  • respiratory diseases caused by atmospheric dust from wind erosion and other air pollutants;
  • spread of infectious diseases as populations migrate.
  1. Deforestation:
  • Deforestation ispermanent removal of trees to make room for anything other than forest.This may be to clear the land for farming or grazing, or to use the wood for fuel, construction or manufacturing.
  • Forests cover more than 30%of the Earth's surface, according toWWF.
  • Several factors, whether human or natural, cause deforestation. Natural factors include natural wildfires or parasitic diseases that can lead to deforestation. Nevertheless, human activities are among the leading causes of global deforestation.
  • This is reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), almost caused the expansion of agriculture80% of global deforestation, where the construction of infrastructures such as roads or dams, along with mining activities and urbanization, are the remaining causes of deforestation.
  • WWFhas been working to protect forests for more than 50 years. WWF works with governments, businesses, communities and other stakeholders to promote responsible forest management certification, combat illegal logging, reform trade policies, protect forest areas and more.
  1. Overgrazing:
  • Overgrazing occurs when consumption of vegetation biomass by livestock and other grazers (eg, wildlife) exceeds the vegetation's ability to recover in a timely manner, exposing the soil and reducing the vegetation's productive capacity.
  • Overgrazing reduces the land's usefulness, biodiversity and productivity and is one of the causes of desertification and erosion. It is also considered a cause of the spread of invasive species of non-native plants and weeds.

Causes of overgrazing:

  • Lack of proper management of animals and wildlife
  • The farmer's socio-economic conditions
  • Drought or decrease in rainfall
  • Improper land use
  • Overpopulation of land with more animals
  • Poor irrigation practices in arid and semi-arid areas

Consequences of overgrazing:

  • Soil erosion
  • The deterioration of the country
  • Loss of valuable species
  • Food shortage/Famine
  • Death of people and livestock
  • Deforestation
  • Global warming

Overgrazing solutions:

  • Good management of animals
  • Management of land use
  • Sustainable Grazing Practices
  • Switch to other ways of feeding livestock
  1. Soil content:
  • Soil salinity is a measure of the concentration of all soluble salts in soil water.

Factors affecting soil salinity:

Several factors affect the amount and composition of salts in the soil:

  • Water quality for irrigation– The total amount of dissolved salts in the irrigation water and their composition has an influence on the salinity of the soil. Therefore, various parameters such as spring water EC (electrical conductivity) and mineral content must be tested.
  • Fertilizer applied- The type and amount of fertilizer applied to the soil affects salinity. Some fertilizers contain high levels of potentially harmful salts, such as potassium chloride or ammonium sulfate.Excessive use and abuse of artificial fertilizersleads to salinity build-up and should be avoided.
  • Irrigation regime and type of irrigation system– The higher the amount of water supplied, the closer the salt content in the soil is to the salt concentration in the irrigation water. As the soil dries, the concentration of salts in the soil solution increases.
  • Field characteristics and agricultural history- A poorly drained soil can reach a salt content that is harmful to the plants and the entire crop. Soil that has not been flushed from a previous growing cycle can contain high levels of accumulated salts.
  1. Soil erosion:
  • Soil erosion is onenaturally occurring processaffects all landforms. In agriculture, soil erosion refers toworn away from the topsoil of a field by the natural physical forces of water and wind or by forces associated with agricultural activities such as tillage.
  • Erosion, whether by water, wind or tillage,includes three different actions: soil loosening, movement and deposition.
  • Topsoil, which is rich in organic matter, fertility and soil life, is moved elsewhere "on-site" where it builds up over time or transported "off-site" where it fills drainage channels.
  • Soil erosion reduces agricultural productivity and contributes to the pollution of adjacent streams, wetlands and lakes.
  • Soil erosioncan be a slow process that goes on relatively unnoticed or can occur at an alarming rate, resulting in severe loss of topsoil. Soil compaction, low organic matter, loss of soil structure, poor internal drainage, salinization and soil acidification are other serious soil degradations that can accelerate the soil erosion process.

Causes of soil erosion:

  • Agriculture:Agriculture is probably the most important activity that accelerates soil erosion.
  • Grazing:Grazing animals roam large grasslands or natural grasslands and eat grass and shrubs. Grazers expose soil by removing the plant cover in front of an area.
  • Logging and Mining:Open pit mining disturbs the soil and makes the soil vulnerable to erosion. Logging removes trees that protect the soil from soil erosion. The tree roots hold the soil together and the canopy protects the soil from heavy rain. Forestry results in the loss of leaf litter or dead leaves, bark and branches on the forest floor. Leaf litter plays an important role in protecting the forest soil from erosion.
  • Barley:Construction of buildings and roads disturbs the soil and exposes the soil to erosion. In some places, native landscapes such as forest and grassland are cleared, exposing the surface to erosion (in some places, the land on which to build is agricultural land).
  • Leisure activities:Recreational activities can accelerate soil erosion. Off-road vehicles disturb the landscape and eventually create just patches where no plants can grow.

Why is it so important to prevent and stop soil erosion?

According toThe Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),some key roles for bottoms are:

  • Soils help combat and adapt to climate change by accumulating and storing carbon and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the atmosphere;
  • Resilient soils allow water infiltration through the soil, filtering pollutants and preventing them from leaching into the groundwater;
  • Soil captures and stores water for crops, while degraded soil holds less water;
  • Reducing surface evaporation and increasing water use efficiency and productivity are also processes promoted by healthy soils;
  • Soil provides fiber, fuel, medicine and other ecosystem services;
  • The soil is home to 1/4 of biodiversity and is an important part of the global cycles that make all life possible.

Consequences of land degradation:

  • Pollution and clogging of waterways due to land degradation:
  • Most of the soil eroded from the ground, along with the chemical fertilizers and pesticides used on agricultural lands, are discharged into streams and rivers.
  • Over time, the sedimentation process can clog waterways, resulting in water scarcity. Agricultural fertilizers and pesticides also damage marine and freshwater ecosystems and limit the domestic use of water for the population that depends on it for survival.
  • Increased risk of flooding due to land degradation:
  • Soil degradation leads to the removal of the soil composition that plays a role in retaining and absorbing water.
  • For this reason, the transformed land cannot absorb water, making floods more frequent.
  • In other words, soil degradation removes the soil's natural ability to hold water and thus contributes to an increasing number of floods.
  • Loss of arable land due to soil depletion:
  • As land degradation contributes to land degradation, it also means a significant loss of arable land. The literal translation of arable land is "can be plowed".
  • About 40% of the world's agricultural land is lost due to degradation of soil quality due to agrochemicals and soil erosion.
  • Most crop production methods result in loss of topsoil and damage to the natural composition of the soil that makes agriculture possible.
  • Drought and drought caused by land degradation:
  • Drought and drought are problems that are greatly affected and exacerbated by land degradation. Although it is a concern related to natural environments in arid and semi-arid regions, the UN recognizes that drought and aridity are man-made (anthropogenic) factors, mainly due to land degradation.
  • Therefore, the factors that contribute to the deterioration of soil quality, such as overgrazing, poor tillage and deforestation, are also the main causes of desertification characterized by drought and arid conditions. In the same context, soil degradation can also lead to a loss of biodiversity.
  • Reduction of soil quality due to soil degradation:
  • The deterioration of soil quality is one of the main causes of land degradation and is believed to be responsible for 84% of the shrinking area. Year after year, huge hectares of land are lost due to soil erosion, contamination and pollution. About 40% of the world's agricultural land has suffered severe degradation due to erosion and the use of artificial fertilizers, which prevent soil from regenerating.
  • The deterioration of soil quality due to chemical fertilizers in agriculture also further leads to water and soil pollution, which reduces the value of the earth's soil.

Soil conservation initiatives


The 14th Conference of the Parties (CoP14) of the UNCCD wasmeet for the first time in India.


  • Adoption of the Delhi Declaration: Commitment to a range of issues including gender and health, ecosystem restoration, action on climate change, private sector involvement, Peace Forest Initiative and restoration of five million hectares of degraded land in India.
  • Drying tool box:It is a kind of knowledge base that contains tools that strengthen countries' capacity to effectively anticipate and prepare for drought and mitigate its consequences.
  • International coalition for action against sand and dust storms(SDS): SDS source base maps will be developed to improve monitoring and response to these storms.
  • Sustainability, stability and security (3S) initiative:Launched by 14 African countries to address migration due to land degradation, it aims to restore land and create green jobs for migrants and vulnerable groups.
  • Youth meeting on desertification and soil convenedthe first official gathering in partnership with UNCCD COP14 to bring together youth advocates from different parts of the world, build their capacity, share knowledge, build networks and meaningfully engage them in the UNCCD processes.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

  • It is one of three treatiesemerged from the historic Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 de Janeiro, including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Changeand Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • It has been establishedi 1994,it isonly legally binding international agreement linking environment and development with sustainable land management.
  • The conventionrequires national governments to take action to tackle desertificationand focus on having onebottom-up-metodeto achieve its goals by involving the local communities.
  • Of2018 – 2030 The convention's strategic framework isan extensive international commitmentachieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) goalsto:
  • Restoring the productivity of degraded land.
  • Improving the livelihoods of people who depend on them.
  • Mitigate the impact of drought on vulnerable populations.
  • India has ratified the Convention to Combat Desertificationi1996and the Ministry of the Environment, Forestry and Climate Change is the convention's central ministry.
  • India is toopart of the Bonn Challenge, which is an international effort to bring 150 million acres of the worlddegraded and cleared land in restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN)

  • The UNCCD defines LDN as a state in which the quantity and quality of land resources needed to support ecosystem functions and improve food security remain stable or increase within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems.
  • It is a unique approach that compensates for the expected loss of productive land with restoration of degraded areas.
  • Land cover and land cover change, soil productivity and soil organic carbon are the three indicators used by the pilot countries to establish the baseline of land degradation, identify potential negative trends and formulate corrective actions.

Steps taken to reach LDN

  • Program for setting LDN targets:As part of this, the UNCCD supports interested countries in the national process of establishing Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets, including the definition of national baselines, targets and associated measures to achieve LDN.
  • Creation of an LDN fundinvest globally in profitable land rehabilitation and sustainable land management projects, including sustainable agriculture, sustainable livestock management, agroforestry, etc.
  • Global landscape forecasterby UNCCD demonstrates the central importance of soil quality to human well-being, assesses current trends in land conversion, degradation and loss, identifies the driving factors and analyzes the impacts, etc.
  • In India:
  • National Action Plan (NAP)to combat desertification was launched in 2001 for 20 years.
  • Atlas of Desertification and Land Degradation (2016)of the entire country was prepared by ISRO and 19 other partners using Indian remote sensing satellite data in a GIS environment.
  • Schemes such as the Integrated Watershed Development Programme, Per Drop More Crop, National Afforestation Programme, National Green Mission etc have components to address land degradation.

UPSC Previous Year Questions

Main courses

  1. Causes of Soil Erosion and its Control in India (2005)
  2. Examine the cause and extent of 'desertification' in India and suggest remedial measures. (2012)

preliminary rounds

  1. Consider the following pair: (2014)

Program / Ministry of Projects

1 Program for drought-prone areas: Ministry of Agriculture

  1. Desert Development Programme: Ministry of Environment and Forests
  2. National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas: Ministry of Rural Development

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly paired?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) you are 3

(c) 1, 2 i 3

(d) None

Answer: (D)



(Video) Air Pollution 101 | National Geographic

  • solid waste"means any waste or refuse, sludge from a sewage treatment plant, water treatment plant or air pollution control plant and other discarded material arising from industrial, commercial, mining, agricultural and community activities.
  • It is important to note that the definition of solid waste is not limited to waste that is physically solid waste. Very solid waste is liquid, semi-solid or contains gaseous material.

Types of solid waste:

It can be divided into different typesdepending on their source:

  • Municipal Solid Waste (MSW):It consists of household waste, construction and demolition waste (CnD), waste from sanitation and waste from streets, mainly from residential and commercial complexes.
  • According to MoEF, it includes commercial and household waste generated in municipal or notified areassolid or semi-solid form except industrial hazardous wastebut including treated biomedical waste;
  • Industrial solid waste (ISW):In most cases, it is labeled as hazardous waste because it may contain toxic substances, is corrosive or highly flammable, or reacts when exposed to certain things, e.g. gases.
  • Biomedical waste or hospital waste:It is mostly infectious waste, which may consist of waste such as sharps, dirty waste, disposables, anatomical waste, cultures, discarded drugs, chemical waste, etc., usually in the form of disposable syringes, swabs, bandages, body fluids, human feces, etc. .These can pose a serious threat to human health if not handled in a scientific and discriminating manner.
  • Hazardous Waste:"Hazardous waste" means any waste which, by reason of any of its physical, chemical, reactive, toxic, flammable, explosive or corrosive properties, constitutes or may be expected to constitute a hazard to health or the environment, alone or in contact with other trash. . or drugs.


  • Technologies for bioremediationusing naturally occurring microorganismssuch as bacteria, fungi and yeast,to break down dangerous substances into non-toxic or less toxic substances.
  • There isvarious advantagesof the use of bioremediation processes compared to other remediation technologies:

(1) Biologically basedremediation charges dangerous substancesrather than simply transferring pollutants from one environmental medium to another;

(2) Bioremediation is generalless distractingfor the environment than excavation-based processes; And

(3) Ofcosttreatment of a hazardous waste site using bioremediation technologiessignificantly lowerthan those for conventional treatment methods.

  • Bioremediation applications are categorized as eitherin situ or ex situ.
  • Applications on sitetreat contaminated soil or water where they were found.
  • Ex situ bioremediation requires excavation or pumping of contaminated soil or groundwater, respectively, before the treatment begins.
  • In situ techniques are generally cheaper, generate less dust and waste, and release less pollutants than ex situ techniques because no excavation processes are required.
  • On the other hand, ex situ techniques are generally easier to master, faster and can treat a wider range of pollutants and soil types than in situ techniques.

Bioremediation related technologies

  • Bioventing– an in situ remediation technology that uses microorganisms for biological degradation of organic components in the groundwater system.
  • Biology– extraction of metals from their ores using living organisms instead of using harmful chemicals such as cyanide etc.
  • Agriculture– ex-situ waste treatment process carried out in the upper soil zone or in biotreatment cells. Contaminated soil, sediments or sludge is transported to the Landfarming site, incorporated into the soil surface and turned periodically to aerate the mixture
  • Composite– Aerobic bacteria and fungi break down the organic matter into compost, which is used as fertilizer.
  • Bio-augmentation– addition of Achaea or bacterial cultures necessary to accelerate the rate of degradation of a contaminant.
  • Bio-stimulation- adaptation of the environment to stimulate existing bacteria capable of bioremediation.

Waste management:

  • Centralized method:This method includescollection of municipal waste from the entire area and through landfill, dumping beyond the city/nagar panchayat boundary
  • This process is being monitoreddoor-to-door collection of solid wasteby waste collectors who hand over to the collection team, who then dispose of the collected waste in the landfill.
  • The garbage collectors are employees of the Municipal Corporation of the Nagar Panchayat. The collection team is usually contracted through a tender procedure.
  • Decentralized method: This is a model that can be seen in individual places such asSuryapet in Andhra Pradesh and Bangalore in Karnataka.
  • The garbage iscollected per department and is divided at the source into biodegradable and non-biodegradable.
  • The biodegradable waste is composted at a nearby facility through various methods of aerobic and anaerobic composting.
  • The non-biodegradable waste is further broken down into paper, plastic, metal and other waste and then further collected by recyclers for upcycling or downcycling of products.

Methods for solid waste treatment:

  • Heat treatment: Incineration is the burning of waste in the presence of oxygen, so that the waste is converted into carbon dioxide, water vapor and ashes. Also called the Waste to Energy (WtE) method, it is a way to recover energy from waste.
  • Pyrolysis and gasification:In this method, thermal treatment takes place in the complete absence of oxygen or with less air.
  • Biological treatment methods:This involvesmicroorganisms use for dissectthe biodegradable components of the waste. The 2 types of processes:
  • Aerobic:This requires the presence of oxygen and includes swath composting, aerated static pile composting andcomposting in the barrel, vermiculture
  • Anaerobic digestion:Occurs in the absence of oxygen.
  • Landfills and open dumps:
  • Sanitary Landfills:It is controlled dumping of waste on land in such a way that the contact between waste and the environment is significantly reduced, and the waste is concentrated in a well-defined area.
  • Landfillsare open areas where waste is dumped exposing it to natural elements, strays and birds. Due to the lack of any kind of monitoring and the lack of a leachate collection system, this leads to the contamination of both soil and water resources.
  • 4 R Principle: Waste reduction strategy
  • Reduce:reduce the use of plastic.
  • Reuse:buy rechargeables instead of disposables.
  • to recycle:Separate your waste for better disposal and buy recycled/green products.
  • Restoration or refund:Various mechanical, biological and fuel systems and technologies can transform, process or break down waste into new materials or energy. This means turning waste into fuel for production processes or equipment designed to produce energy.

Rules for handling solid waste, 2016:

  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has reported the newRules for handling solid waste (SWM), 2016.These will replace the Municipal Solid Waste (Handling and Treatment) Regulations, 2000.which has existed for 16 years.
  • These rules aresixth category of waste management rulespublished by the Ministry, as it has donepreviously notified rules for the handling of plastic, electronic waste, biomedical waste, hazardous waste and construction waste.
  • According to the EU's Minister for the Environment, Forests and Climate Change, 62 million tonnes of waste are currently produced annually in the country, of which 5.6million tonnes is plastic waste, 0.17 million tonnes is biomedical waste, hazardous waste generation is 7.90 million tonnes per year and 15 lakh tonnes is e-waste.

Highlights of the SWM Rules, 2016:

  • Breakdown at the source:The new rules have mandated waste segregation to channel waste into wealth through recovery, reuse and recycling. Waste producers should now sort waste into three streams:Biodegradable, dry(Plastic, paper, metal, wood, etc.) andHazardous household waste(diapers, napkins, mosquito repellants, cleaning agents, etc.) before it is handed over to the collector.
  • Collection and disposal of sanitary waste:Ofmanufacturers or brand ownersof sanitary napkinsare responsible for awareness of proper disposalof such waste from the generator and will provide a bag or wrapper for disposal of each wipe or diaper with their hygiene product package.
  • Collection Return of packaging waste scheme:According to the rules,brand ownerswho sell or market their products in non-biodegradable packaging material,must set up a system to collect the packaging waste generated by their production.
  • User charges for collection:The new rules have empowered local authorities across India to set user charges. Municipalities charge user fees for the collection, disposal and treatment of bulk generators. According to the rules, the generator must pay"User fee" for the waste collector and a "Placement fine" for waste and non-separation,the size of which will be determined by the local authorities.
  • Waste treatment and processing:As per the new rules, it has been recommended that the biodegradable waste should be processed, treated and disposed of through composting or bio-waste.methanation in the buildingas far as possible and the remaining waste is handed over to the waste collector or the agency as directed by the municipality. The developers of a special economic zone, industrial area, industrial area must set aside at least 5 percent of the total area of ​​the plot or at least 5 plots/sheds for recycling and recycling facilities.
  • Promotion of the use of compost: According to the rules, the Fertilizer Ministry,The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers should provide assistance to develop the urban compost marketand promote co-marketing of compost with fertilizer in the ratio of 3-4 bags to 6-7 bags at the fertilizer companies, insofar as compost is made available for marketing to the companies.
  • Promote waste to energy:The rules oblige all industrial units that use fuel and are located within 100 km of a fixed waste baseRefuse Derived Fuel (RDF)factory to take measures within six months from the date of notification of these regulations to replace at least 5 percent of their fuel requirements with RDF manufactured in this manner.
  • Revision of parameters and existing standards:According to the new regulations, the landfill must be 100 meters from a river, 200 meters from a pond, 500, 200 meters from highways, residences, public parks and water supply sources and 20 km from airports/air bases. The emission standards have been completely adjusted and include parameters for dioxins, furans, reduced limits for particles from 150 to 100 and now 50. The compost standards have also been adjusted to comply with the fertilizer order.
  • Waste management in hilly areas:According to the new rules, the construction of landfills on hills must be avoided. Land for construction of sanitary landfills in hilly areas will be identified in the plains within 25 kilometers. However, transfer stations and treatment facilities must be operational in the hilly areas.
  • Creation of a central monitoring commission:The government has also established a central monitoring committee headed by secretary MoEF&CC to oversee the overall implementation of the rules.


Which of the following statements is correct according to India Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016?

a) The waste producer must divide waste into five categories.

(b) The rules apply only to notified urban local units, notified towns and all industrial towns.

(c) The regulations provide precise and comprehensive criteria for identifying sites for landfills and waste treatment facilities

(d) It is mandatory on the part of the waste generator that the waste generated in one district cannot be shifted to another district.

Answer: C


  • Biomedical waste includes human and animal anatomical waste, treatment equipment such as needles, syringes and other materials used in healthcare facilities during treatment and research. This waste is generated during diagnosis, treatment or immunization in hospitals, nursing homes, pathology laboratories, blood banks, etc.
  • This appears from a report fromCentral Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India produces about 101 tons per day of COVID-19-related biomedical waste in addition to regular biomedical waste generation of about 609 tons per day.

Good handling of biomedical waste

  • Scientific disposal of biomedical waste through separation, collection and treatment in an environmentally sound manner minimizes the negative impact on healthcare personnel and the environment.
  • The hospitals are obliged to put in place the mechanisms for effective disposal, either directly or through common facilities for the treatment and disposal of biomedical waste.
  • The hospitals serving 1,000 patients or more per month must obtain permission and separate biomedical waste into 10 categories that pack five-color backs for disposal.
  • There are 198 Community Biomedical Waste Treatment Plants (CBMWF) in operation and 28 under construction. 21,870 HCFs have their own treatment facilities and 1,31,837 HCFs use the CBMWFs.

Problems with unscientific disposal of biomedical waste

  • The amount of waste generated in India is estimated at 1-2 kg per bed per day in a hospital and 600 grams per day per bed in a clinic.
  • 85% of hospital waste is non-hazardous, 15% is infectious/hazardous. Mixing hazardous substances leads to pollution and makes the entire waste hazardous. Therefore, there is a need to separate and process.
  • Improper removal increases the risk of infection; encourages recycling of prohibited disposables and discarded medicines; and develop resistant microorganisms
  • Lack of separation:Municipalities collect COVID-19 biomedical waste from homes, but it often also contains other household waste. This reduces the efficiency of the incinerators at the waste treatment plants, as it produces more emissions and unburned ash.
  • Guidelines are not followed: Due to the gravity of the situation, some states are not following CPCB guidelines for Covid-19 related waste and existing biomedical waste management rules further increase the risk.
  • Congested capacity: PPE is used everywhere from hotels to hospitals, train stations to airports, crematoria to cemeteries, so the disposal mechanisms in cities are not equipped to handle this huge amount.
  • Investing in incinerators is also a problem, since this infection (COVID-19) is random, the machines may become useless when the number of cases starts to decrease.

Key features of the rules for biomedical waste management 2016 (amended 2018)

  • Waste pre-treatment: Waste generated in laboratories, microbiological waste, blood samples and blood bags that must be pre-treated on site by disinfection or sterilization in the manner prescribed by the WHO.
  • Phasing out the use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves and blood bags.
  • Better separation: Biomedical waste is classified into 4 categories: untreated human anatomical waste, animal anatomical waste, soiled waste and biotechnological waste.
  • Storage of waste: Setting up the premises for a safe, ventilated and secured place for storing separated biomedical waste.
  • Regular training and vaccination of all healthcare personnel.
  • Ensureproper transportand treatment of waste without harming human health and the environment.
  • Record maintenance and monitoring of the activities in connection with biomedical waste management.
  • Set up a GPS and barcode facility at the Joint Biomedical Waste Disposal Facility.

Waste water management

  • The United Nations University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), noted that effective wastewater treatment can help achieve the SDGs.
  • The world produces about 380 trillion liters (tl) of wastewater each year, which is expected to increase by about 51 percent by 2050 to 574 tl.
  • Asia contributed the most with 42 percent of global wastewater generation, followed by Europe and North America (18 percent each) in 2015.
  • FromNITI Aayog's Composite Water Resources Index, India is facing one of its biggest and most serious water crises. The demand for water is expected to double the available supply by 2030. While almost 80% of the water supply flows back into the ecosystem as wastewater.
  • In India, 70% of states treat less than half of their wastewater.
  • Water shortages in most cities (due to population growth and declining water availability) can be addressed through wastewater management. Eg. According to a study, wastewater recycling can meet more than 20 percent of Bangalore's daily needs.

Measures for waste water management

  • NITI Aayog's Composite Water Resources Indexwhich ranking mode includes water treatment capacity as a parameter to enable efficient water management.
  • NITI Aayog underUrban Management Program on 'Water Reuse and Recycling'works on capacity building for managing urban water cycles for sustainable and resilient water infrastructure and healthy cities.
  • National Policy on Faecal Sludge Management and Segregation (FSSM) should be implemented under Swachh Bharat, AMRUT and Smart City Mission.
  • Construction of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) for treatment of sewage from domestic and industrial waste. Also, Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) for a cluster of small scale industries.
  • The 'Namami Gange Programme' under the 'Ganga Action Plan' was launched for effective pollution reduction, conservation and rejuvenation of the national Ganga River and the Yamuna Action Plan to restore the Yamuna River.
  • The Ministry of Jal Shakti has established the National Water Mission Awards to recognize excellence in water conservation, water efficiency and sustainable water management.

Practical tips:

  • Avadi sewage treatment plant: Tamil Nadu Police Housing Corporation successfully constructed an off-grid sewage treatment plant that not only solved the problem of sewage but also provided a purified water pond for fishing, vegetable cultivation and groundwater recharge.
  • Sewage fed aquaculture system in Kolkata:Farmers around the city of Kolkata in India developed a technique to use domestic sewage for fish farming and other agricultural purposes.
  • NEWater from Singapore is reclaimed water, purified using double membrane (via microfiltration and reverse osmosis) and ultraviolet technology that can be used for potable and non-potable purposes

Plastic pollution:

  • Single-use plastics, also known as single-use plastics, are often used for plastic packaging and include items that are intended to be used only once before being thrown away or recycled.
  • These include grocery bags, lunch boxes, bottles, straws, containers, stirrers, Styrofoam cups or plates, etc.
  • According to the Un-Plastic Collective Report, an estimated 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced since the early 1950s, about 60% of which has ended up in landfills or the natural environment.
  • In India alone, 9.46 million tons of plastic waste is produced annually, of which approximately 43% is single-use plastic.
  • India produces nearly 26,000 tonnes of plastic per day, according to a 2012 CPCB estimate. Even worse, just over 10,000 tonnes of plastic waste per day remains uncollected.

Consequences of single-use plastics (SUP)

  • Uncollected plastic waste eventually ends up in the natural environment - in our seas and oceans or piled up on our land.
  • By 2050, the amount of plastic in seas and oceans around the world will outweigh the fish, says an overall estimate fromby the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. With less than 11 kg,India's per capita plastic consumption is almost one-tenth that of the US at 109 kg.
  • It is not biodegradable, instead they slowly dissolve into smaller pieces of plastic called microplastics, causing more problems. It can take thousands of years for plastic bags and Styrofoam containers to break down.
  • The toxins, poisons and persistent pollutants present in some of these plastic products are leached and enter the human body, where they cause various diseases, including cancer, and can damage the nervous system, lungs and reproductive organs.
  • Through fish (contaminated with microplastics) alone, humans ingest between 39,000 and 52,000 microplastic particles each year.
  • Plastic kills an estimated 1 million seabirds each year and affects approximately 700 species that become infected by ingesting plastic.
  • Single-use plastic makes up an average of 49% of beach litter.
  • If plastic production, disposal and incineration continues on its current growth trajectory, these global emissions could reach 1.34 gigatons per year by 2030, equivalent to more than 295 coal-fired power plants with a capacity of 500 MW.
  • The ubiquity of plastic seems to be a curse for the countries of the third world, as poor countries, especially in Asia, not only have their own plastic waste, but also the plastic waste that ends up on their shores from developed countries.
  • India has imported 99,545 tonnes of plastic flakes and 21,801 tonnes of plastic pieces from South America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Global steps

  • The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) had declared the theme of World Environment Day 2018 as'Fight plastic pollution'.
  • G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastics Waste, which aims to facilitate further concrete action on marine waste, albeit on a voluntary basis.

Challenges of banning single-use plastics

  • It is difficult because no one takes responsibility for the single-use plastic they throw away, and it is difficult to change behavior to the switch from not using single-use plastic
  • It is difficult to ban the product that is of great benefit to the public without thinking of a sustainable and equally utilitarian alternative product. For e.g. Disposable plastics help keep medical equipment sterile and safe to use.
  • It affects most industries, as SUP is part of packaging and thus directly or indirectly linked to all industries.
  • India's plastics industry officially employs about 4 million people in 30,000 processing units, of which 90% are small to medium enterprises.
  • Banning plastic bags made from multi-layer packaging could disrupt the supply of key products such as biscuits, salt and milk.
  • Ban will increase the price of most FMCG products as manufacturers will try to switch to alternative packaging (which may be more expensive).
  • Bans could lead to loss of revenue and job losses in the plastics processing industry.
  • Solutions and alternatives taken by India and the world to combat plastic pollution:
  • In 2018, on World Environment Day, India went big on its commitment to curbing plastic pollution by announcing that “India is committed to eliminating all single-use plastics in the country by 2022.
  • Indian airports are single-use plastic-free: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) reaffirms India's pledge to become a plastic-free countryannounced in January 2019 that 129 airports across the country will become single-use plastic-free.
  • Kumbh, celebrated as the purest festival of India vizi 2019,
  • Parliamentary elections held Vegetables:The Ministry of the Environment, Forests and Climate Change establishedstandard guidelinesfor the use of alternative material for the election campaign.
  • India paves way to fight marine pollution with new partnerships: The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change announced two major partnerships with developed countries like Norway and Germany to help fight marine pollution.
  • Prime Minister Modi launched the 'Plastic Free' campaign on Independence Day: In his Independence Day speech, PM Modi launched a 'plastic free' campaign.
  • Conversion to fuel:In 2014, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) developed a unique process to convert plastic waste such as polyethylene and polypropylene into petrol or diesel.
  • Degradable plastics:IIT Madras has demonstrated an environmentally friendly strategy to degrade the chemically inert and the physicalstable plastic polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)by continuous stirring in water containing glucose and metal ions for approx. 15 days at 70°C.
  • Ireland: They introduced onetax on plastic bags at points of sale, known as "PlasTax".
  • Norway deposit system: Since 1999, Norway has operated a deposit system for its spirit bottles and cans, where the public can return them to deposit machines to get the deposit back.
  • Plastic ban:Major states in India such as Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Telangana have introduced a ban on single-use plastics at the state level.
  • Food in exchange for plastic waste:Chhattisgarh became a part of India first state to open a unique garbage cafe that provides food to the poor and homeless for free instead of plastic waste.Example - cafe iChhattisgarh's Ambikapur, Odisha's Kotpad Notified Area Council (NAC) enz.
  • Andhra Pradesh launched 'Rice for Plastic' campaign to eradicate single-use plastics while feeding the hungry
  • Indore, the cleanest city in India, introduces a separate bag for plastic waste:Indore Municipal Corporation announced a separate collection bag for all types of plastic waste such as carrier bags, milk bags, water bottles, discarded pails, mugs, tetra packs, pens and plastic packaging.
  • Tiles made from plastic waste:In addition to building roads with plastic waste, many states also make pavement tiles. Plastic tiles have already been used in cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad.

Rules for handling plastic waste 2016 (amended in 2018)

  • Defines minimum thicknessof plastic carrier bags, i.e. 50 microns. This would increase costs and reduce the tendency to offer free carrier bags.
  • Responsibility of local authorities: Rural areas are brought under the rules, as plastic has also reached rural areas. The Gram sabhas have been given the executive responsibility.
  • Extended producer responsibility: Manufacturers and brand owners have been made responsible for the collection of waste originating from their products.
  • Producers must keep a registerfrom their suppliers to whom they have supplied raw materials for production. This is to curb the production of these products in an unorganized industry.
  • Responsibility of the waste producer:All institutional plastic waste producers will sort and store their waste in accordance with solid waste management regulations and deliver sorted waste to authorized waste treatment facilities.
  • Responsibility for street vendors and traders: Failure to supply such carrier bags will result in a fine. Only registered dealers will be allowed to distribute plastic carrier bags to local authorities on payment of a registration fee.
  • Promote the use of plastics for road construction or energy recovery.
  • A central registration system for registration of manufacturer/importer/owner.
  • Phasing out multi-layer plastics (MLP) that are "non-recyclable or non-energy recoverable or have no alternative use".


  • Define disposable plastic:It will help categorize goods according to their "qualitative and quantitative aspects" as well as according to "technical characteristics".
  • Separation, collection and recycling: India uses about 14 million tonnes of plastic annually but has no organized plastic waste management system, leading to widespread littering.
  • Investment: Significant investment is needed to improve waste sorting at source and support end-to-end waste sorting to strengthen treatment.
  • Political framework: There is a need for oneNational action plan or guidelinesaim to phase in the plastic ban in terms of urgency.
  • Simultaneous strengtheningresearch and developmentfunds for various alternatives and environmentally friendly products.
  • Effectively implement laws and policies: It must be clear which items must be included in the EHR
  • Focus on innovation in design:The government should invest money in encouraging the establishment of companies that provide sustainable products as an alternative to the current non-recyclable products.

Current issue

  • Palau bans sunscreen Harmful to corals
  • Pacific Island, Palau has become the first country to ban sunscreen that is harmful to corals.
  • The country has banned common ingredients in cosmetics, including oxybenzone.
  • Research shows that the oxybenzone can stunt infant growth, cause corals to bleach at lower temperatures and reduce their resilience to climate change.

Microplastics in deep oceans

  • Scientists have determined that deep-sea biodiversity hotspots are also likely to be microplastic hotspots.
  • While microplastics are known to spread across the global ocean floor, the processes that control their distribution and concentration in the deep ocean remain largely unknown.
  • The researchers have investigated the spatial distribution and final settlement position of microplastics and their impact on biodiversity hotspots in the deep oceans.

Note: Plastic waste that is less than five millimeters long is called microplastic


Why is there great concern about the 'microbeads' ending up in the environment?

  1. They are considered harmful to marine ecosystems.
  2. They are considered to be the cause of skin cancer in children.
  3. They are small enough to be absorbed by crops in irrigated fields.
  4. They are often used as food adulteration.

Answer: A


  • E-waste is everythingelectrical or electronic equipmentwas thrown away. This includes working and broken items thrown in the trash or donated to a charitable retailer such as Goodwill. If the item remains unsold in the store, it is often discarded.
  • E-waste is particularly dangerous because of toxic chemicals that naturally leach from the metals inside when buried.
  • India generates about eight million tonnes of e-waste every year. December 2017,The UN reported that the world generated 44.7 million tons of electronic waste in 2016,India's contribution to this was a substantial 2 million tonnes,is among the top five countries in terms of e-waste production.
  • OfThe Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the focal pointfor e-waste management planning and environmental sustainability.
  • Department of Telecommunications,In the National Telecom Policy 2012 (NTP), the Ministry of Communications emphasizes the periodic removal of all electronic waste as electronic waste,Strengthening the framework to address environmental and health-related issues related to the telecommunications sector.
  • National Telecom Policy 2012 and NTP 2018, promote the use of energy efficient equipment andteach energy technologies achieve long-term sustainability.

Components and effects of e-waste

ArsenicWorks lungs and kidneys

Prolonged exposure has carcinogenic effects

BariumBreathing problem


Decreased nerve reflexes

BerylliumCauses lung cancer
CadmiumAffects the kidneys

Muscle weakness

Central nervous system disorder


Lost appetite


Impact of elements released from e-waste:

  • Improper handling of e-waste is harmful to the environment and humanity. Since this waste is nothing but a combination of plastic and toxic chemicals, they are released into the environment.
  • Pollutantssuch as dioxins and furans from polyvinyl chloride, lead, beryllium, cadmium, mercury etc.ends up in our environment and causes the following health risks:
  • Reproductive problems
  • Developmental issues
  • Damage to the immune system
  • Interference with regulatory hormones
  • Damage to the nervous system
  • Kidney damage
  • Inhibits brain development in children
  • Can lead to lung cancer
  • Chronic beryllium targets
  • Skin conditions
  • Cadmium deposits on the liver and kidneys
  • Asthmatic bronchitis
  • DNA damage
  • Muscle weakness
  • Disruption of the endocrine system
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals in e-waste can lead to serious health risks, sometimes fatal. These toxins enter our body through inhalation, absorption through the skin or ingestion.
  • Environmental effects:The toxic materials from electronic devices are released into water, groundwater, soil and air, affecting both land and sea animals.
  • Improper e-waste management also contributes to global warming. In total, 98 million tons of CO2 equivalents were released into the atmosphere from discarded refrigerators and air conditioners that were not managed in an environmentally sound manner.
  • Low recycling capacity: Almost all e-waste contains some form of recyclable material, including plastics, glass and metals; However, due to improper disposal methods and techniques, these materials cannot be recovered for other purposes.
  • Only 17.4% of total e-waste was collected and recycled worldwide.
  • Dumping in developing countries: A large amount of e-waste from developed countries is dumped in developing countries, affecting the environment and the health of the people there.

E-waste (Management) Rules 2018:

  • According to the newE-waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018 the manufacturer, producer, importer, transporter, refurbisher, separator and recycler is responsiblefinancial penalties as imposed under the provisions thereofEnvironment (protection) law.
  • According to the latest change isThe Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) can conduct random sampling of electrical and electronic equipmentmarketed to control and verify compliance with the provisions on the reduction of hazardous substances and the cost of sampling and testing is borne by the government, which was not the case in the previous amendment.In the past, the costs were borne by the producers.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR):

  • EPR is a policy approach that gives producers significant responsibility – financial or physical – for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.
  • The manufacturer's responsibility for the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment from the electrical and electronic equipment previously marketed, such as through dealers, collection centers, through buy-back agreements, exchange schemes, deposit systems, etc.
  • Either directly or through an authorized agency and channeling the items thus collected to authorized recycling companies.

Advantages of EPD

  • It closedloop accessunder EPR, produced waste is used to manufacture another product. This reduces the production cost of the new product by using waste.
  • It helps to reduce the hazardous environmental impact of the waste produced.
  • EPR has shifted the burden of waste management onto these product manufacturers and has thus encouraged the adoption of innovative production techniques, etc.
  • The EPR policy will help with that3R book(Reduce-Reuse-Recycle) enables a circular economy and extends the product's life cycle.

Concerns about EHR

  • It has high regulatory costs and fines for companies for non-compliance with guidelines.
  • A formalized reverse logistics system is lacking; therefore, setting up a collection network can be extremely complex and expensive.
  • The informal sector controls about 90% of waste management flows and upgrading them to the formal sector and ensuring compliance will be challenging.
  • Social awareness and responsibility are important points of attention in successful waste management.
  • Source sorting of waste will be a challenge due tolack of technological methods and the involvement of unorganized and unconscious labour.

Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste

  • It was adopted in 1989 and entered into force in 1992.
  • The convention aims to protect human health and the environment against the negative effects resulting from the generation, transboundary transport and handling of hazardous waste and other waste.
  • Best Exercise:In October 2019, the EU adopted newRight to repair standards, which means that from 2021 companies will have to make devices that last longer and supply spare parts for machines for up to 10 years.


  • By adopting the circular economy, which aims to eliminate waste not only from recycling processes, but throughout the life cycle of products and packaging, maximizes value and eliminates waste.
  • Provide incentives to industry by introducing tax credits or other conditions to support the transition to phasing out plastics.
  • Need to integrate the informal sector, increase citizens' environmental awareness and promote effective coordination and communication between relevant stakeholders.

Current topics

  • India's first e-waste clinic for sorting, processing and disposal of waste from domestic and commercial units will soon be established in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Recently, the government released a draft “Unified Framework for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) under the Plastic Waste Management Rules (PWMR) 2016.
  • Above concept EHR cadres
  • EPR framework under PWMR 2016 has proposed three models:
  • Plastic credit model: Here, the manufacturer is not obliged to recycle its own packaging, but to ensure that a corresponding amount of packaging waste is recovered and reused in order to fulfill its obligation. Producers and processors/exporters can exchange plastic credits for a financial transaction at a price and other terms negotiated between them.
  • Producer responsible organizations (PROs): An organization will handle the waste on behalf of producers. Municipal authorities can also register as a PRO or waste collector. There will be a national PRO advisory committee to regulate the management of plastic waste in the country.
  • Fee-based mechanism: Hereby, the producers will contribute to the EPR corpus fund at central level, each producer contributes based on the production of plastic waste towards the necessary effort.
  • It also has provisions for thatimpose fines on producersif they don't reach their fundraising goal.
  • This money will be used forcreate an infrastructure for handling plastic waste.
  • Therecommend a graded approachto meet the targets, starting with 30% in the first year and rising to 90% in five years.
  • It givesInformation, Education and Communication (IEC)to achieve efficient waste sorting, collection, transport and recycling.
  • INnational registerwill be established to involve all stakeholders in improving monitoring and making the plastic waste management system more transparent.
  • The monitoring of the entire EHR mechanism willresponsibility of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).


In India, “extended producer responsibility” was introduced as a key element in which of the following?

  1. The Biomedical Waste (Handling and Treatment) Rules, 1998
  2. The Recycled Plastics (Production and Use) Rules, 1999
  3. The e-waste (handling and processing) rules, 2011
  4. The Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011

Answer: C


  • Light pollution is the presence of man-made and artificial light in the nighttime environment.
  • Too much light on the retina causes extreme discomfort to the eyes.
  • It is exacerbated by excessive, misdirected or intrusive use of light, but even carefully used light fundamentally alters natural conditions.
  • Effects of light pollution
  • Disturbingreproductive cyclesof some animals and loss of biodiversity due to changes in wildlife predation and migration patterns
  • It bothers peoplecircadian rhythmthat regulate hormones and other body functions such asPsychological behavior change
  • Excessive blue light emitted by LEDs directly affects people's sleep patterns by suppressing sleep productionhormone melatonin, which mediates the sleep-wake cycle in humans.
  • That toothreatens 30 percent of nocturnal vertebrates andmore than 60 percent of invertebrates are nocturnal, artificial light also affects plants and microorganisms.

Nitrogen pollution

  • In a car engine (at high temperature), when fossil fuel is burned, dinitrogen and dioxygen combine to produce significant amounts of nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), as shown below:
  • N2 (g) + O2 (g) → 2NO(g)

NO immediately reacts with oxygen to give NO2

  • 2NO (g) + O2 (g) → 2NO2 (g)

The production rate of NO2 is higher when nitric oxide reacts with ozone in the stratosphere.

  • NO (g) + O3 (g) → NO2 (g) + O2 (g)
  • The annoying red haze in traffic and crowded places is caused by nitrogen oxides.
  • Higher concentrations of NO2 damage
  • leaves of plants and slow down the rate of photosynthesis.
  • Nitrogen dioxide is irritating to the lungs and can lead to acute respiratory disease in children.
  • It is also toxic to living tissue. Nitrogen dioxide is also harmful to various textile fibers and metals.
  • Nitrogen compounds leached from agricultural soils have led to water pollution problems around the world, while nitrogen emissions from industry, agriculture and vehicles are major contributors to air pollution.
  • Nitrogen becomes a pollutant when it enters the environment and reacts with other organic compounds. It is either released into the atmosphere, dissolved in water sources such as rivers, lakes or groundwater, or remains in the soil.
  • Although it can lead to beneficial growth of species that can use this nutrient, nitrogen as a pollutant is often harmful to the environment and health.

The Colombo Declaration on Sustainable Nitrogen Management

  • The goal of the declaration is to halve nitrogen waste by 2030
  • Environment ministers and officials from more than 30 countries attended the event.
  • The event supported the UN's plans for a campaign called "Nitrogen for life".
  • The statement has been developed with technical support from the International Nitrogen Management System (INMS).
  • INMS is a joint activity of UNEP and the International Nitrogen Initiative. Several pollution threats stem from reactive nitrogen in air, water,Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, eutrophication etc.
  • It is necessary to reduce reactive nitrogen, which will help to reduce the eutrophic zones that affect fishing and tourism.
  • Need for Carbon-like frames

UPSC Previous Year Questions

Main courses

  1. Justify with the necessary logic "Biological remediation methods can be cheaper than conventional physical and chemical pollution treatments". (2006)
  2. Commentary on the spatial components of municipal solid waste management in the country. (2010)
  3. Name the National Water Policy of India. Using the Ganges River as an example, discuss the strategies that can be used to control and manage river water pollution. What are the legal provisions for handling and treatment of hazardous waste in India? (2013)
  4. Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are the country's three megacities, but air pollution is a much more serious problem in Delhi compared to the other two. Why is that so? (2015)
  5. What are the barriers to cleaning up the huge amounts of discarded solid waste that are constantly being produced? How do we safely dispose of the toxic waste that has accumulated in our living environment? (2018)

preliminary rounds

Consider the following: (2019)

  1. Carbonmonoxid
  2. methane
  3. Ozone
  4. Sulfur dioxide

Which of the above are released into the atmosphere by burning crop/biomass residues?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 1 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 i 4

Answer: D

In India, the use of carbofuran, methylarathion, phorate and triazophos is viewed with suspicion. These chemicals are used as (2019)

(a) Pesticides in agriculture

b) Preservatives in processed foods

(Video) Environmental pollution

c) fruit ripening agents

(d) Moisturizing agents in cosmetics


Which of the following is/are the possible consequences of heavy riverbed sand mining? (2018)

  1. Reduced salinity in the river
  2. Contamination of groundwater
  3. Lowering of the groundwater level

Choose the correct answer using the code below.

(a) you 1

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 i 3


How National Green Tribunal (NGT) differs from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)? (2018)

  1. The NGT was established by law, while the CPCB was established by government order.
  2. The NGT ensures environmental justice and helps reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts, while the CPCB promotes the cleanliness of streams and wells and aims to improve air quality in the country.

Which of the above statements are correct?

(a) you 1

(b) you are 2

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) 1 more 2 more

Response: B

Regarding 'fly ash' produced by coal-fired power plants, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2015)

  1. Fly ash can be used to make bricks for construction.
  2. Fly ash can be used as a replacement for part of the Portland cement concrete.
  3. Fly ash consists only of silicon dioxide and calcium oxide and contains neither

toxic elements.

Choose the correct answer using the code below.

(a) 1 mod 2

(b) you are 2

(c) 1 out of 3

(d) only 3


Which of the following can be found as contaminants in drinking water in some parts of India? (2013)

  1. Arsenic
  2. sorbitol
  3. fluoride
  4. Formaldehyde
  5. Career

Choose the correct answer using the codes below.

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2, 4 and 5 only

(c) 1, 3 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 i 5


Which of the following are some important pollutants released by India's steel industry?


  1. Oxides of Sulphur
  2. oxide of nitrogen
  3. Carbonmonoxid
  4. Carbon dioxide

Choose the correct answer using the code below.

(a) 1, 3 and 4 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 i 4


Which of the following devices end up in the environment as e-waste as a result of improper/indiscriminate disposal of old and used computers or their components?

1) Beryllium

2) Cadmium

3) Chrome

4) Heptaklor

5) Mercurius

6) Stories

7) Plutonium

Choose the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. Only 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7
  2. Only 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6
  3. Only 2, 4, 5 and 7
  4. 1, 2,3,4,5,6 i 7

Answer: B

There is some concern about the nanoparticles of some chemical elements used by industry to manufacture various products. Why? (2014)

  1. They can accumulate in the environment and contaminate water and soil.
  2. They can enter food chains.
  3. They can trigger the production of free radicals.

Choose the correct answer using the code below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) you are 3

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 i 3

Answer: D

Brominated flame retardants are used in many household products such as mattresses and upholstery. Why is there any concern about using it? (2014)

  1. They are highly resistant to environmental degradation.
  2. They can accumulate in humans and animals.

Choose the correct answer using the code below.

(a) you 1

(b) you are 2

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) 1 more 2 more


There is concern over the increase in harmful algal blooms in India's marine waters. What could be the causative factors for this phenomenon? (2011)

  1. Discharge of nutrients from estuaries.
  2. Land drainage during the monsoon.
  3. Upwelling in the oceans.

Choose the correct answer from the codes below:

(a) you 1

(b) 1 and 2 only

(Video) What is POLLUTION? | Types of POLLUTION - Air | Water | Soil | Noise | Dr Binocs Show -Peekaboo Kidz

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 i 3



Environmental pollution? ›

Environmental pollution is defined as “the contamination of the physical and biological components of the earth/atmosphere system to such an extent that normal environmental processes are adversely affected.

What is the answer of environmental pollution? ›

Environmental pollution is defined as “the contamination of the physical and biological components of the earth/atmosphere system to such an extent that normal environmental processes are adversely affected.

What is pollution answer key? ›

Pollution is any undesirable change that takes place in the environment which is harmful to both living and non-living things. Was this answer helpful?

What is the short answer to the air pollution question? ›

The Short Answer:

Air pollution is caused by solid and liquid particles and certain gases that are suspended in the air. These particles and gases can come from car and truck exhaust, factories, dust, pollen, mold spores, volcanoes and wildfires. The solid and liquid particles suspended in our air are called aerosols.

What is environmental pollution in 200 words? ›

200 Words Essay on Environmental Pollution

Causes | Environmental pollution is the contamination of the environment through the emissions of pollutants including harmful gases, chemicals, and particulate matter. It is caused by human activities such as burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial pollution.

What causes environment pollution? ›

Dumping of refuse on open land, waste burning, and inadequate landfills are the major contributors to soil pollution. Fossil fuels from petrochemical plants, petroleum refineries, and power-generating plants also support soil pollution.

What are main causes of pollution? ›

Vehicle emissions, fuel oils and natural gas to heat homes, by-products of manufacturing and power generation, particularly coal-fueled power plants, and fumes from chemical production are the primary sources of human-made air pollution.

What are the 4 main types of pollution? ›

The major kinds of pollution, usually classified by environment, are air pollution, water pollution, and land pollution. Modern society is also concerned about specific types of pollutants, such as noise pollution, light pollution, and plastic pollution.

Why is pollution a problem? ›

Pollution stunts economic growth, exacerbates poverty and inequality in both urban and rural areas, and significantly contributes to climate change. Poor people, who cannot afford to protect themselves from the negative impacts of pollution, end up suffering the most.

Why is it important to stop pollution? ›

Reducing pollutants in the air is important for human health and the environment. Poor air quality has harmful effects on human health, particularly the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Pollutants can also damage plants and buildings, and smoke or haze can reduce visibility.

How does pollution affect our health? ›

Both short- and long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to a wide range of diseases, including stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, trachea, bronchus and lung cancers, aggravated asthma and lower respiratory infections.

What is environmental pollution easy? ›

Environmental pollution is of five basic types namely, Air, Water, Soil, and Noise pollution. Air Pollution: Air pollution is a major issue in today's world. The smoke pouring out of factory chimneys and automobiles pollute the air that we breathe in.

What is pollution in 1000 words? ›

The intrusion of pollutants into the global environment is called pollution. The contaminant is the designation of these contaminants. Pollutants can come from both humans and nature, such as garbage and volcanic ash. Pollution comes in many forms, including air pollution, water pollution, and noise pollution.

What is a short paragraph about pollution? ›

The word pollution was derived from the Latin word pollution, which means to make dirty. Pollution is the process of making the environment pollute the water and the air by adding harmful substances. Pollution causes an imbalance in the environment. This imbalance threatened the very survival of all forms of life.

What are 3 natural causes of pollution? ›

natural sources, including volcanic eruptions, windblown dust, sea-salt spray and emissions of volatile organic compounds from plants.

When did pollution start? ›

As cities became more populated towards the end of the 19th century, industrialized cities across Europe and the United States were experiencing a new kind of pollution: waste from industries and factories.

How is pollution affecting the earth? ›

Air pollution can damage crops and trees in a variety of ways. Ground-level ozone can lead to reductions in agricultural crop and commercial forest yields, reduced growth and survivability of tree seedlings, and increased plant susceptibility to disease, pests and other environmental stresses (such as harsh weather).

Does light cause pollution? ›

Light pollution, or artificial light at night, is the excessive or poor use of artificial outdoor light, and it disrupts the natural patterns of wildlife, contributes to the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, disrupts human sleep, and obscures the stars in the night sky.

Where is pollution the worst? ›

List of most-polluted cities by particulate matter concentration
1Saudi ArabiaDammam
47 more rows

Who is affected by pollution? ›

Poorer people and some racial and ethnic groups are among those who often face higher exposure to pollutants and who may experience greater responses to such pollution.

What is pollution causes and effects? ›

Air pollution and the release of gasses into the atmosphere can have many negative effects on the environment like global warming, damage of the ozone layer and acid rain. It can also make people sick. It can make it difficult to breathe and it. causes diseases such as lung cancer, respiratory infections, and heart.

Does pollution cause climate change? ›

Emissions of pollutants into the air can result in changes to the climate. These pollutants, including greenhouse gases, are often referred to as climate forcers. Ozone in the atmosphere warms the climate, while different components of PM can have either warming or cooling effects on the climate.

What will happen if we stop pollution? ›

Global temperatures could continue to rise for a few years, or a few decades, after all emissions stop, and then they may fall back down again as the climate system stabilizes. That means past a certain point, the world may not be able to avoid temporarily overshooting the Paris Agreement's temperature targets.

Can pollution be controlled? ›

Specific Pollution Prevention Approaches

In the energy sector, pollution prevention can reduce environmental damages from extraction, processing, transport and combustion of fuels. Pollution prevention approaches include: increasing efficiency in energy use; use of environmentally benign fuel sources.

How can we avoid pollution essay? ›

The first way to reduce pollution is to practice the 3Rs concept namely reduce, reuse and recycle. Citizens should reduce the usage of air-conditioners as it will release harmful gases , for instant ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons which will result in reducing air pollution.

What kind of pollution bother you most? ›

The pollutant that affects people the most is particulate matter (often abbreviated to PM and used as a measure for air pollution).

Why is it important to take care of the environment? ›

Our forests, rivers, oceans and soils provide us with the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we irrigate our crops with. We also rely on them for numerous other goods and services we depend on for our health, happiness and prosperity. These natural assets are often called the world's 'natural capital'.

Why protect the environment? ›

Protecting our environment is the foundation for sustaining our planet, community, and economy. Our environment supports and houses our ecosystems, allowing them to grow and thrive. If we fail to protect our environment, we will put the lives of humans, animals, plants, and more at risk.

How do people damage the environment? ›

Humans impact the physical environment in many ways: overpopulation, pollution, burning fossil fuels, and deforestation. Changes like these have triggered climate change, soil erosion, poor air quality, and undrinkable water.

What causes water pollution? ›

The main water pollutants include bacteria, viruses, parasites, fertilisers, pesticides, pharmaceutical products, nitrates, phosphates, plastics, faecal waste and even radioactive substances. These substances do not always change the colour of the water, meaning that they are often invisible pollutants.

What is 1 example of pollution? ›

Household combustion devices, motor vehicles, industrial facilities and forest fires are common sources of air pollution. Pollutants of major public health concern include particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide.

What are facts about pollution? ›

1. 99% of people breathe polluted air. 3. 91% of those premature deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, and the greatest number in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.

What is environmental answer? ›

Everything that we see in our surroundings forms environment. It is our basic life support system. It provides us air, water, food and land-the basic needs of our life.

What are 4 types of environmental pollution? ›

The major kinds of pollution, usually classified by environment, are air pollution, water pollution, and land pollution. Modern society is also concerned about specific types of pollutants, such as noise pollution, light pollution, and plastic pollution.

How can we stop environmental pollution? ›

Reducing pollution
  1. Commute smart by walking or riding to work or the shops instead of driving. ...
  2. Choose a fuel-efficient vehicle next time you are replacing your car. ...
  3. Save energy, by turning off the television and make sure you flick the light switch when you leave the room. ...
  4. Buy energy -efficient appliances.

What are the effects of environmental pollution? ›

Pollutants in the environment or climate-related events can have a massive impact on our health. Air and noise pollution, and heavy metals like mercury are directly related to health issues like asthma, hearing loss, dehydration and heart diseases.

What are types of environment answers? ›

Types of Environment. There are two different types of environment: Geographical Environment. Man-made Environment.

What causes environmental? ›

Population expansion, overconsumption, overexploitation, pollution, and deforestation are some of the human activities that harm the environment on a global scale (either directly or indirectly).

What is natural environment answers? ›

A natural environment is a type of an environment where human impact or interaction has been extremely limited. A natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally, meaning in this case not artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth.

What is an example of environmental pollution? ›

Cars spew pollutants from their exhaust pipes. Burning coal to create electricity pollutes the air. Industries and homes generate garbage and sewage that can pollute the land and water. Pesticides—chemical poisons used to kill weeds and insects—seep into waterways and harm wildlife.

What are the 3 main types of environment? ›

The three types of environment are:
  • Internal environment.
  • External macro environment.
  • External micro environment.

Why we should stop pollution? ›

Reducing pollutants in the air is important for human health and the environment. Poor air quality has harmful effects on human health, particularly the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Pollutants can also damage plants and buildings, and smoke or haze can reduce visibility.

How can environmental problems be solved? ›

Recycle (& then recycle properly) Implementing recycling habits into your daily life is one of the most effective ways to help lessen landfill waste, conserve natural resources, save habitats, reduce pollution, cut down on energy consumption, and slow down global warming.

Who is responsible for environmental pollution? ›

We are responsible for pollution on earth as we have cut down the trees which is the cause of polluted air and global warming. Moreover we have set up the factories which emit their waste in air and water. Throwing of garbage, including plastic on roads also leads to pollution.


1. Environmental Pollution Animation 2 YouTube
(Abdullah Rashid)
2. How Environment Get Polluted |5 Major Causes of Environment Pollution in 2020|
(Environmental Secret)
3. Environment Pollution | Types of Pollution | Pollution Control | Quick Revision
(Ace Lessons)
4. Environmental pollution overview || Chapter - 8
(Aim with Rakesh)
5. Pollution Mini Documentary: Types | Causes | Effects
6. Class 5 Science Environmental Pollution
(Learning Notebook)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Laurine Ryan

Last Updated: 11/14/2023

Views: 5641

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Laurine Ryan

Birthday: 1994-12-23

Address: Suite 751 871 Lissette Throughway, West Kittie, NH 41603

Phone: +2366831109631

Job: Sales Producer

Hobby: Creative writing, Motor sports, Do it yourself, Skateboarding, Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Stand-up comedy

Introduction: My name is Laurine Ryan, I am a adorable, fair, graceful, spotless, gorgeous, homely, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.