Environmental Pollutants: Sewage and Fossil Fuels ENV/100 March 2013 Environmental Pollutants: Sewage and Fossil Fuels Environmental pollutants, according to the Blacksmith Institute (2013) negatively affect billions of the worldâ€™s population as a result of exposure to poisons associated with sewage and the fossil fuel crude oil. These poisons have led to long-term detrimental effects on ecosystems and has attributed to the premature deaths of 40% or 2. 8 billion of the worldâ€™s population of which three million children under the age of five die prematurely because of exposure these contaminants.
Researchers estimate that this number will grow to approximately 3. 6 billion by 2050 if these invasive toxins continue to remain prevalent in the worldâ€™s environment (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, 2012). In this paper, Team D will discuss the effects that sewage and crude oil have on the quality of air, soil, and water, environmental biological diversity, disposal methods, and alternative solutions toward the use of crude oil (University of Phoenix, 2013, Week Five Syllabus).
Sewage As defined by Oilgae (2013) sewage refers to wastewater that commonly derives from liquid or solid human activities that contaminate the Earthâ€™s air, soil, and water. These contaminates contain infectious organisms, referred to pathogens that cause diseases, such as bacteria dysentery and cholera, viral diseases of hepatitis and polio, and protozoal disease of amoebic dysentery and giardiasis (Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, 2002).
Additionally, as stated by Nakate (2013) these toxins alter biological diversity through eutrophication, which degrades water quality, ultimately alters aquatic species, hinders native plants, and increases biological oxygen demand (BOD). As the rise in levels of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous as well as organic wastes in water pathways initiates extreme growth of bacteria and algae that proves lethal to living organisms as well as disrupts the function and structure of the entire ecosystems.
These pollutants generally fall under four specific categories; commercial, industrial, sanitary, and surface runoff and effective management of their sewage waste byproducts (Oilgae, 2013). Commercial According to Oilgae (2013), this category contains liquid and solid waste materials associated with offices, restaurants, and service organizations in which sewage waste, such as cleaning chemicals or garbage placed in open air dumpsterâ€™s seep into the surface soil and water, or emit into the air through decomposition.
Industrial This sewage originates from discarded water employed during the chemical and manufacturing process, such as mining (Oilgae, 2013). Mining produces high-levels arsenic, cyanide, and sulfuric acid wastewater or tailing, which miners dump into surface water pathways or pile uncovered that contaminates ground water, soil, and air through emissions of the toxic dust particles and through rainwater (Blacksmith Institute, 2012). Sanitary
Shandilya (2013) defines this category as domestic waste initiated from institutional and residential activities that dispense wastewater associated detergents, soaps, and human bodily wastes that drain into sewage systems, lakes, or streams, which contaminates drinking water and harms animals and aquatic life. Surface Runoff This category represents as agricultural sewage, which includes fertilizers and pesticides that contain rich nutrients, such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, which accelerates enrichment leading to eutrophication as the waste travels through rainwater or dumped into water pathways (Shandilya, 2013).
Sewage Waste Management The effective management of sewage waste would include abolishing untreated sewage and enforce a pre-treatment process that includes extensive filtering of effluents, employing microbes that convert wastes into solids; therefore, easily separated, and disinfecting partially pure effluents through chemical precipitation (Hollis, 2013). The pre-treatment process of chemical precipitation involves adding chemicals to the waste to create particles that remove toxins through decantation; therefore, properly transferring, disposing, and reusing the cleansed water (Edwards, 1994).
This treatment process can prove beneficial to other wastes producers like that of fossil fuel crude oil. Fossil Fuel: Crude Oil Crude oil, as illustrated by Kaiser (2009) represents the worldâ€™s primary industrial energy source with estimates showing 30 to 40% of the world uses this fossil fuel for energy consumption, and indentified as black gold. This oil, a hydrocarbon, and derived from organic material from lakes and oceans that contain pressure and heat.
Oil, generally falls into two categories; conventional, which proves less expensive, easy, and fast, or non-conventional that has an established reputation s expensive, slow, and difficult; whereas, crude oil has a classification of light, medium, or heavy, depending on the American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity. Crude oil, receives is name because it has dozens of different hydrocarbon compounds in which oil refineries work on accomplishing refinery of crude oil in three steps. 1. Breaking down thousands of compounds within the crude oil to chemical units. . Remove contaminants, entirely. 3. Transform the individual chemical units. As the oil becomes refined and separated into various fuels, this conversion leads to creation of numerous products, such as gasoline and other petroleum products that transports through 23,000 miles of pipeline within the United States. This conversion and transportation of fossil fuel byproducts has proven harmful to the environment as well as the disposal of these fossil fuel oils in which society must seek alternative energy resources. Fossil Fuel and the Environment
Fossil fuels, according to Green Energy Choice (2013) have become one of the worldâ€™s greatest greenhouse gas emitters that contribute three-fourths of the entire worldâ€™s carbon, methane, and other gas emissions. The production of electricity involves burning fossil fuels at an extremely high temperature, which results in high concentrations of pollution in the water and air. For example, the atmosphere naturally absorbs one ton of greenhouse gases; however, the atmosphere traps approximately 25% extra of the sunâ€™s radiation because of the annual rise in greenhouse gas secretions.
As 98% of the United States energy creation coming from the non-renewable fossil sources, the disposal of oil proves vital toward protecting the environment. Disposal of Oil As communicated by Septer (2013), recycling waste or used oil proves valuable to the environment, and the economy as inadequate disposal of waste oil damages water, land, and air resources. Recycling oil assists in the preservation of natural resources and conserves energy production. The most important motive for recycling oil surrounds the preservation of resources associated with crude oil.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that â€œ2. 5 quarts of high-quality lubricating oil is produced from just one gallon of waste oil; conversely, it takes an astonishing 42 gallons of crude oil to manufacture the same 2. 5 quarts of high-quality oilâ€ (para. 3). Therefore, recycling oil proves beneficial because it does not pollute water pathways and does not finish in landfills as well as lowering the cost through oil re-refining rather than oil filtering.
Therefore, the improper disposal of oil, such as throwing it away harms the environments; whereas, the energy saved in converting waste oil into fresh oil have has vast benefits, such as cleansing one gallon of waste oil employs â€œless resources than refining 42 gallons of crude oilâ€ (para. 6). Alternative Solutions According to Alternative Energy (n. d. ) crude oil represents a limited accessible fossil fuel and analysts believe that by 2050 accessible crude oil in its entirety will become extinct, which has led scientist to create alternative fuel sources other than fossil and nuclear.
The world uses nuclear fuel as demonstrated with the more than 300 global nuclear power plants in which France and Japan generate approximately 80% of electrical power from these plants. As illustrated by Alternative Energy (n. d. ) two alternate energy resources to replace the use of crude oil include solar and wind energy. Solar energy has proven to become one of the best power energies for the environment in that the solar power systems can remove â€œmore than 110,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases out of atmosphere as well as prevent the requirement to burn 60,000 pounds of coalâ€ (para. ). Solar does not produce acid rain, urban smog, or any other pollutants. Wind power represents the second alternate energy source and quickly becoming one of the most hopeful new energy sources for electricity and the cost has reduced by â€œ15% with doubling of installed capacity worldwideâ€ (para. 13). Subsequently, worldwide wind energy capacity has reached approximately 16 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity after 1999 and these energy hours provide enough energy comparable to the size of five Miami cities. Conclusion
As premature deaths continues to rise with an expectation of reaching more than three billion by 2050 along with the increasing growth in population, the Earthâ€™s natural resources ultimately will become extinct because of the relentless and prevalent environmental pollutants of which sewage and crude oil contribute. Team D has illustrated the importance of understanding the initiators of sewage and crude oil pollutants, their cause and effect on the environment as well as proper waste management presented by chemical precipitation, and alternatives energy sources of solar and wind.
However, the decisions made today will significantly influence the days of tomorrow; therefore, to protect the environment and the community members within each ecosystem, humanity must strengthen its commitment toward the reduction of premature deaths and its creators. References Alternative Energy. (n. d. ). Alternative energy. Retrieved from http://www. altenergy. org/ Blacksmith Institute. (2013). The world’s top ten toxic pollution problems 2012: Pollution facts. Retrieved from http://www. worstpolluted. org/pollution-facts-2009. html Edwards, J. D. (1994, December 30).
Chemical precipitation – – Basics. Retrieved from http://cleanh2o. com/ww/chemppt. html Green Energy Choice. (2013). Fossil Fuels: How do they negatively affect the environment? Retrieved from http://www. greenenergychoice. com/green-guide/fossil-fuels. html Hollis, T. (2013). How to manage waste water. Retrieved from http://www. ehow. com/how_ 10030919_manage-waste-water. html Kaiser, D. (2009, October 23). Alternative energy replacements for crude oil. Retrieved from http://suite101. com/article/alternative-energy-replacements-for-crude-oil-a161973 Nakate, S. 2013, January 24). Sewage water pollution. Retrieved from http://buzzle. com/ articles/sewage-water-pollution. html Oilgae. (2013). Types of wastewater. Retrieved from http://www. oilgae. com/algae/cult/sew typ/typ. html Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. (2002, October). Surfacing sewage & its effects on our environment. Retrieved from http://www. deq. state. ok. us/factsheets/land/ srfsewage. pdf Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. (2012, March 15). OECD environmental outlook to 2050: The consequences of inaction.
Retrieved from http://www. oecd-ilibrary. org/environment/oecd-environmental-outlook-to- 2050_9789264122246-en Septer, J. D. (2013). Waste oil recycling information. Retrieved from http://www. ehow. com/ about_6596196_waste-oil-recycling-information. html Shandilya, R. (2013, March 5). Facts about water pollution. Retrieved from http://www. buzzle. com/articles/facts-about-water-pollution. html University of Phoenix. (2013). Week Five supplement: Course Syllabus. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, ENV/100 â€“ Principles of Environmental Science course website.
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