Friendly Eco Might

The Role Of Nanotubes In Bionic Plants

Bionic plants and their importance and the role of nanotubes in the process of photosyntheseis in plant chloroplast. Check what new research says about Nanotubes.

Global Warming Adaptation - Its Effects On Humans

Adaptation to global warming may be planned. The ability to adapt links to socio-economic development. What could be the effects if we adapt or don't adapt to Global Warming? Check out what is in it.

World Water Day Special: Shocking 5 Facts On Water Scarcity

Water scarcity isn't high on the lists of things we think about. Want to know what are the 5 shocking facts about water scarcity? Check it out here

Wind Energy Lead Over Nuclear Energy In China - Conservation

Good news is that wind power is leading over nuclear in China. But still, wind energy gives as low as 3% of China's power. Know why?

Which Is Eco-Friendly, An Electric Stove Or A Gas?

Want to cook food in kitchen? Which is Eco-Friendly, an electric stove or a gas? Check here for more.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Radioactivity and its Effects on Environment | Radioactive Pollution | Radioactive Radiations


Risky Radiations

Pollution is an undesirable change in the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of our environment. Such changes can occur in air, water, soil, etc. Now-a-days, with increasing technology, pollution has also increased and has taken various forms. The new forms of pollution include noise pollution, thermal pollution and radioactive pollution. These are caused mainly due to the increasing usage of technology. This article deals about one such pollution which is the most hazardous of all i.e., Radioactive Pollution.

What is Radioactivity?

Radioactivity is the spontaneous emission of alpha particles (protons), beta particles (electrons) and gamma rays (electromagnetic waves of very short wavelength) by disintegration of the atomic nuclei of unstable isotopes of certain elements. The elements that give off such radiations as they disintegrate are said to be radioactive elements. Radioactivity is a special property of certain unstable isotopes of a few elements like radium, thorium, uranium, strontium, radon, etc.

Radioactive pollution is the physical pollution of air, water and soil by radioactive materials. When radiations from radioactive elements get mixed with these, they get contaminated. This type of contamination is very harmful to all living organism and can cause fatal diseases. 

When perils caused by air contaminated with radioactive elements are numerous. Water contamination leads to many deadly health hazards. When soil gets contaminated, plants take up a part of these materials, which then find their way into animals and humans through food chains.

Some of the most lethal isotopes of radioactive elements, which cause huge damage to our environment include:

  • Radium - 224  
  • Uranium - 235  
  • Uranium - 238  
  • Thorium - 232  
  • Radon - 222  
  • Potassium - 40 
  • Carbon - 14  
  • Strontium - 90  
  • Cesium - 137  
  • Iodine - 131  
  • Iodine - 125  
  • Potassium - 32
Sources of radioactive radiations

The harmful radioactive isotopes of certain elements, which contaminate our environment, come from various sources. These sources are both natural and man-made. Some of these sources are:

Natural sources

  • Cosmic rays from outer space 
  • Radiations from rocks
Man-made sources
  • Mining  
  • Refineries 
  • Atomic explosions
  • Atomic reactors 
  • Nuclear fuels used to produce electricity 
  • Radiation therapy for Detection and treatment of certain diseases
  • Production of radioactive materials
Radioactive radiations are very harmful to health and cause serious health problems, most of which are incurable and life threatening. It mostly affects the cells which are actively growing and dividing. 

Some of the Health hazards caused by radioactive radiations include:
  • Damage of white blood corpuscles 
  • Bone marrow injure 
  • Lymph nodes are harmed
  • Defective eyesight 
  • Foetus (or embryo) gets severely damaged or even killed
Control of Radioactive Pollution:
  • Strictly enforcing all safety measure in nuclear reactors, industries and laboratories to prevent leakage of radioactive elements. 
  • Disposal of radioactive wastes should be done carefully. It must either be changed into a harmless form or must be stored in a safe place where it can gradually decay without giving out too much radiation.
  • Regular checking of pollution level must be done in high risk areas.
  • Preventive measures must be taken to keep background radiation within  limits.
  • Workers whose work involves production or usage of radioactive materials should use safety equipment i.e., safety garments, radiation resistant cases and also radiation indicators to know the total amount of radiation to which they are exposed.
  • Atomic explosions and use of atomic weapons must be given up. These cause large scale destruction and their effects are long lasting. The first atomic atom was exploded in Nagasaki in Japan and the second one in Hiroshima. These two places are still facing the ill-effects of the explosions, even decades after they took place.
Radioactive pollution is a new form of pollution which is the by-product of increasing advancement in science and technology. It must be carefully checked and prevented as there is no cure for damage caused by radiation and its effects are long lasting and life threatening.

Tags: Radioactivity, radioactive radiations, radioactive radiations effect, effects of radiation radiations on living things, disadvantages of radioactive radiations, radioactive pollution effects, radioactive pollution causes, radioactive pollution effects on humans, radioactive pollution solutions

Environmental Issues


Saturday, 5 July 2014

Acid Rains: Devastating Effects Of Acid Rains On Life | Formation Of Acid Rains | Why Acid Rains Occur?

Acid Rain

Acid Rain rain go away! Never come again any other day!

Rain is the main part of our water cycle. It feeds rivers, lakes and streams, which in turn fulfill the needs of all living beings on earth. Now, just imagine rain itself being acidified! What disastrous effects can it have? It will be just like consuming extremely diluted acid! This is what is exactly happening in many parts of the world, especially the developed Rain is naturally slightly acidic as it contains dissolved carbon dioxide. But this does not cause any harm.

How are Acid Rains formed?

Acid rain is formed when along with carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide and other such poisonous gases also get dissolved in the rain in higher proportions. Acid rain has now taken alarming proportions and has become a subject of international concern as acids that fall to the ground in the form of rain are more acidic than lemon juice!

How do Acid Rains occur?

Acid rains occur as a result of air pollution. Air pollution is caused by numerous means; usage of fossil fuels, automobiles, industries, etc. Air pollution results in the accumulation of poisonous gases in the air. Acids get formed when poisonous gases like sulphuric dioxide, nitrogen oxide combine with water vapor. This vapor, when it gets condensed and precipitates, causes acid rain. These acids not only acidify rain, but also snow, fog and mist.

Acid deposition also comes out in the form of dry particles (crystallized acids) which get directly absorbed by water bodies and plants as they take in gases. Both, the wet and the dry types of acidification are equally harmful.

As acid rain is a by-product of air pollution, its effects are most severe at cities and industrial areas. But due to the movement of wind, they can be blown over thousands of kilometers. Acid gases can travel about 500 km a day. So, the acid rain in one state or country can be the effect of pollution in its neighboring state or country!

Acid rain has severe damage effects. They are:

  • The chemical balance of the soil is destroyed, which affects the growth of plants. Plants suffer from lack of nutrients and get prone to infection. They may even absorb some of the poisonous chemicals with the water. Even the crops we eat are affected in this way!
  • Rain feeds lakes and rivers. So, acid rain acidifies these sources of water, which in turn affects all the animals and plants dependent on these. Aquatic life is the worst affected. So, the water we drink is also acidified!
  • Many historical buildings and monuments get corroded due to acid rain. One of them is our Taj Mahal. Acid rain also corrodes metalwork (bridges, railings, etc) and even some types of concrete. So, all the cities and villages will die a slow.
These are the three main destructive effects of acid rain. It has numerous smaller side effects, which lead to the slow annihilation of the Earth.

So, what can be done to arrest this devastation?

Quite a few measures can be taken. Such measures include industrial preventive techniques to decrease the emission of toxic pollutants. Sulphur content in the fuel can be reduced before burning it by chemical processing. Lower temperatures can cut down the generation of nitrogen oxides in furnaces. Filters in factory chimneys and automobile exhaust pipes can reduce the discharge of toxins to a great extent. But these techniques are expensive; and the companies and governments, especially of the developing countries, are reluctant to adopt these and are still looking out for cheaper.

While it is for the industries to take these measures, we, in the meantime, can do our own little bit as an individual. Conserving energy by switching off electric appliances when not in use and reducing the number of vehicles on road by preferring public transport are two of the most simple but effective practices which we can adopt to lessen pollution and save our Mighty Eco.

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Environmental Issues


Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Persian Gulf War Has Affected the Nature | Saddam Hussein Lit Oil Wells of Kuwait

Persian Gulf War

Men’s War...Nature as Hostage

This is the story of the Persian Gulf War between Iraq and the 34 nation-alliance, led by the US. Many scientists and environmentalists were already panic stricken by the effects of this war on the environment. The ecosystem of the gulf region was a very sensitive one, which was getting severely damaged due to the war. Moreover, this area had the highest number of oil wells; and a small fire accident would be enough to cause an enormous, irreparable damage to the nature. Therefore, the coalition countries were pressurized to focus on trying to stop the war than on getting a victory. Saddam Hussein hatched a new idea now. He announced that if the coalition countries did not retreat immediately, he would set fire to all the oil wells of Kuwait.

But the coalition countries did not mind this threat and continued their attack. The step Saddam Hussein took in response to this left the whole world dumbstruck. Saddam Hussein lit up all the oil wells of Kuwait using explosives and escaped to his Iraq.

The ecosystem of the Persian Gulf was a very sensitive one. The ocean here is no more than a hundred feet deep. Due to this reason, hundreds of varieties of algae grew there. These were the first link of the food chain in that area. The gulf was also famous for its fishing centers. It was also the home for many species of coastal birds like heron, flamingo, etc.

What were the effects of Saddam Hussein's wicked act?

Due to the irresponsible behaviour of Saddam Hussein, the entire Persian Gulf and its inhabitants had to undergo a trial by fire. The flames of fire from the oil wells shot up in a height of about 50-60 feet. Every day, over 50 lakh barrels of oil got burned. This caused air pollution to such an extent that the thick clouds of smoke and other pollutants spread across an area of about 10,000 square miles, extending even up to the Kashmir. The entire country of Kuwait got suffocated under this dark cloud, which mainly constituted of sulphur dioxide and oil droplets. This led to acid rains all over the country.

But this was not the end of the disaster. Before fleeing towards their country, the Iraqi soldiers had broken down many taps of the oil collecting centers. Due to this, over 60 lakh barrels of crude oil began to gush out and formed hundreds of pool, some of expanded over acres of land. As these pools of crude oil spread, lakhs of barrels of oil reached the sea and a little amount of it also seeped underground. The result of this can be well imagined. The different varieties of algae, which grew there and were the primary producers in the food chain there were completely destroyed.

Acid rains severely affected the flora and fauna of the region. The worst affected of all were the birds. They consumed the flesh of the fish and animals, which was contaminated by the oil; and were choked to death. Otherwise, they swam in the "black pools of oil". Almost 20,000 birds were killed.

This is a brief description of the catastrophic result of the Persian Gulf war. A nature loving soldier,

“We managed to chase the enemy away. But we still have to win the war.”
This was not the first time that men, due to their idiocy, had placed nature itself as a bet on a race between themselves. But it reached its heights during the Persian Gulf war. Our environment is now a hostage between the carelessness of the developing countries and the double standard laws of the developed countries. It’s high time we release it from its bondage and start to respect it as Mother Nature.

Tags: Persian Gulf War, Persian Gulf War Effects on the nature, effects of war on environment, Saddam Hussein, Kuwait oil wells, ecosystem, food chain, Saddam Hussein wicked act, oil wells in Kuwait, Saddam Hussein burns Kuwait oil wells, effects of Persian Gulf War, Saddam Hussein Persian Gulf War.

Environmental Issues


Monday, 16 June 2014

Ozone Layer Depletion: The Threat Faced By Us | Ozone Depletion and Its Effects | Ozone Hole

Ozone Layer Depletion

A Hole in Our Earth's Armour

Humans, without being able to understand Nature completely or chalk out their activities in the interests of its protection, have got themselves stuck into a big problem i.e., the Ozone Problem.

Ozone (O3) is a gas, which is closely related to oxygen (O2). Like oxygen, ozone is also a great friend of all living forms on earth, as it shields the earth from the harmful UV radiations of the sun. Ozone surrounds the earth completely and blocks the path of the UV rays.

Where did this ozone come from?

When the earth was in its initial stage of development, there was no ozone. Several biochemical reactions lead to the formation of oxygen. When sunrays came in contact with oxygen, ozone was formed. Ozone which gets produced recurrently in this way has now formed a 15 mile thick fortress around the earth and defends the inhabitants of earth from the sun UV rays.

From the 60th decade of the previous century, rumors were set afloat that the Ozone layer had got a bit thinner. In 1974, a big hole was observed in this Armour of our Earth! The hole was over the North Pole. Similar holes were observed over the South Pole in 1984.

Who is the cause for Ozone hole?

Now, scientists have confirmed that the crook who has laid siege on this Ozone fortress and is causing turmoil is none other 'Chlorine'. Chlorine is used extensively as a refrigerant, solvent, in spray cans, foam packaging and in other smaller applications. Few other chlorine-containing compounds include methyl chloroform, which is a solvent, and carbon tetrachloride, an industrial chemical. Halons, which are extremely effective fire extinguishing agents, and many effective produce and soil fumigants, also contain chlorine. All such chemicals are collectively called as CFCs (Chloro Fluro Carbons).

How are these compounds depleting Ozone Layer?

All of these compounds have special lifetimes long enough to allow them to be transported by winds into the stratosphere. Once there, they break down due to the sun’s radiation and release chlorine. The chlorine thus released combined with ozone to form chlorine monoxide, which is a highly unstable compound. Due to its instability, it again gets broken down into chlorine and oxygen. The chlorine thus released then combines with another ozone molecule. This leads to a gradual decline in the ozone layer.

What would happen if Ozone Layer continues to deplete?

Between 1969-1988, the ozone layer had seen a decrease of about 1.7 – 3%. According to WHO, if the ozone layer decreases by another 1%, then the risk of blindness, cancer and other such UV caused diseases would increase by about 3%.

This astounding development has lead to much turmoil within the scientific world. In the interests of the health and well being of the entire human race, a few important decisions were taken and agreements were signed by nations across the world. But all such things are easier said than done.

What is the response to Ozone Layer depletion?

Though many nations across the world signed such agreements and organized many discussions on that issue, none were able to ban the use of CFCs. Many developing countries (including India) have already invested millions in the production and usage of CFCs. So, many environmentalist organizations are trying to pressurize the government to stop the production of these chemicals. Hope they succeed and the mighty fortress of our ecosystem, the Ozone Layer stands strong enough to protect our Earth for years to come!

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Environmental Issues


The Author

Somanath Yadavalli is a 17 year old, 12th grade student, studying in VVS Independent PU College, Bellary, Karnataka, India. He is managing several blogs from his own living room. His passion is to do something for his planet. Read more...

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