Friday, March 21, 2014

Mysterious characteristics of pollutants and concepts

Butterfly effect: the flapping of the wings of a butterfly in one part of the world might ultimately affect in some way the weather in another part of the world. For example the burning of high sulphur coal in the U.S promotes acid rain in Canada.
Grasshopper effect or global distillation:  It is the geochemical process by which airborne persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are transported from warmer to colder regions of the earth. POPs are travelling long distances in a series of hops of a grasshopper. POPs are semi-volatile in character and environmental half lives result in long-range atmospheric transport and global planetary distribution.
Grasshopper effect is also called global process of distillation, where pollutants evaporate in warmer areas are transported by winds to the Arctic and then condense out to become concentrated in Arctic food chains.
Boomerang effect or Circle of poison - The residues of some banned or unapproved chemicals used in synthetic pesticides exported to other countries can return to the exporting countries on imported food. Winds can also carry persistent pesticides from one country to  another.

Linear effect: the environmental damage increases linearly with the pollution concentrations. In other words “the total damage or risk is directly proportional to the accumulated exposure’ e.g., bioaccumulation of mercury, lead, cadmium and asbestos.
Greater – than –linear effect: the environmental damage increases with an increase in pollution concentrations, but a decreasing rate. This means that, as pollution concentrations continue to increase, the environmental damage will continue to decrease. This is  the case with thermal pollution.
Threshold effect: the pollution effect produces no effect until a certain threshold in pollution concentration is achieved. In other words, so long as a given threshold is not exceeded, the damage from pollution would be completely repaired as quickly as it is produced. This effect is found with biodegradable pollutants.
Critical load concept: a critical load is the amount of pollution delivered to an ecosystem that will not cause harmful changes in physical, chemical or biological factors.
Saturation threshold concept: in some cases, a given concentration of a pollutant will ‘saturate’ the toxic response and further increases in pollutant supply will not result in further reductions in plant performance.
Trickle – down effect: Pollution of our environment in some cases may not damage our health immediately, but can be harmful after a long-term exposure. The growing pollution of the atmosphere, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem has a trickle –down effect on the species and societies.
Tragedy of commons concept (Hardin1968) – a concept states that any resource open to everyone (open-to – all) will ultimately be destroyed e.g., air pollution, ocean pollution.
Concept of exhaustion: It is all about taking too much out of the environment. The concept of exhaustion refers to the depletion of both non-living and living natural resources. Pollution is dumping too much into the environment.
Concept of environmental simplification: a healthy and balanced ecosystem maintains diversity.  The environmental destruction focuses on the process of homogenization and simplification in the naturally complex ecosystems.
‘Fouling the nest’ concept: pollution is usually a process of biochemical contamination of our home planet.
Not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) syndrome: the nuclear wastes from the atomic power plants of a developed country are disposed in the sea or land of a underdeveloped country.

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