The environment and pollution

Pollution is a reality that is very present in our environment, in several completely different forms. All these types of pollution do not have the same degree of destruction, but it is still important to recognize their presence. Here is a short list of some of the faces that can take pollution as well as some of its detrimental effects on the environment.

Let us remember, however, that pollution is the result of our choices as a consumer society. We condemn it, but we do not want to radically change our way of life. The real challenge is to achieve ecological versus economic equilibrium.


Air Pollution: Air pollution is possibly the most common type of pollution. It is mainly caused by gasses and particles released into the atmosphere by automobiles, thermal power stations, other industries or by certain natural phenomena (volcanoes). Acid rain and smog (dense smoke over cities) are two of the results of air pollution and they cause heart problems and lung problems in all animals, not just in humans.

Soil pollution: Soil pollution is often industrial, that is, some companies do not always take the necessary precautions to avoid the leakage of toxic waste. Agriculture is also one of the causes of soil pollution. Consider only fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides.

Water Pollution: Water pollution is often directly linked to soil pollution. The rain quickly transports pesticides and other toxic substances, from dry land to seas and oceans. The eutrophication of lakes and rivers is one of the effects of this pollution. It causes, among other things, an increase in the presence of algae and a decrease in animal and plant biodiversity.


Radioactive pollution: This type of pollution is mainly caused by industries when generating electricity from a nuclear power plant. The waste that results from the process is radioactive and therefore very harmful to living beings: they emit dangerous particles that can cause tumors or even mutations …

Sound pollution: Noise pollution may not be as damaging as The previous ones, but it can still cause hearing problems, irritability, insomnia and even depression. However, it is difficult to determine the effects of this pollution on living beings other than humans.

Olfactory pollution: This pollution is rarely toxic, but remains unpleasant! We think here of the odors released by refineries, wastewater treatment plants, breeding.

Light pollution: Light pollution refers to the presence of abnormal or disturbing light, as well as the effect of this artificial lighting on the entire ecosystem. This subject is in fact slightly controversial because many deny that this is a true type of pollution.


As we have seen, all these types of pollution affect our environment, that is to say, they harm the well-being of the human being, but also the other species that surround us! Here are some links to sites offering information on these endangered species:

1. Extinction of species
2. Animals in danger of extinction
3. Animals in danger


A detective for the environment, I propose an investigation. You can make it in front of you or on the bus. Arm yourself with papers and a pen. In 15 minutes, observes the cars passing by. You know that most vehicles can accommodate five people. Write down on your paper how many occupants there are in each car. The results are striking!



– On average, cars occupy an average of 1.07 passengers on journeys to and from work;
-In Europe, half the journeys are less than five kilometers;
-Transport accounts for 16% of the budget of a household;
-25% of air pollution is linked to transport, the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses in France;
-The emissions of cars cause air pollution that causes several respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological diseases as well as allergies.



One solution: carpooling!

The carpooling is the principle to carry out a common path with a non-professional driver (not a taxi or a bus) and one or more passengers. This practice has many advantages:

-Personnel: Significant personal savings (carpooling saves close to $ 2,250 each year), stress reduction;
– Reduced congestion and road accidents, reduced costs and requirements for road construction and repair, and reduced costs associated with air pollution.



The future is clearly in carpooling. Several projects have been set up to encourage its practice: the creation of reserved lanes, free websites for announcements, a dynamic carpooling system with GPS, etc. The means are multiple and the benefits considerable. Talk it over!

The Seventh Continent

For a week, keep the plastic waste of your family. Then lay them on the floor. How much does this waste plate? A few square meters? Imagine now if all the families of the Earth kept their plastics to cover the largest possible surface. How many square kilometers would this surface measure? One could practically create a seventh continent with. But it already exists. In the Pacific Ocean, there is a waste plate measuring about 2700 kilometers. Imagine an area three times the size of Quebec (about 4.5 million km²). The area, which is nearly 30 meters deep, contains about 3.5 million tons of waste, mostly plastic.


How is it possible?

Each year, out of 100 million tons of plastic produced each year, about 10% end up in the ocean. Of this percentage, 70% flow while the rest is allowed to rock by sea currents. From North America and Asia, this waste can drift for years to reach the seventh continent in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. The North Pacific Waste Plate was created because of different marine currents that meet. The current of the North Pacific, the current of California, the north equatorial current and the current Kuro Shivo converge in what is called an oceanic gyre. The currents collide, Creating oceanic eddies that take hostage as hostages. The waste remains caught in the eddies, forming this famous “plastic soup” or “vortex of garbage”.

Are there any dangers for marine animals?

Plastics, made up of extremely toxic products such as DDT and PCB, take more than 500 years to decompose. They accumulate and, over time, disintegrate and transform into small particles, forming a sort of floating sand. What should we think of this harmful sand which, for hungry marine animals, resembles strangely their food? Fish and seabirds accumulate plastic particles in their stomachs that are impossible to digest. More than 267 marine species are victims of the questionable matter of the seventh continent. And, food chain compels, this problem will touch us one day.

The ground is tired

Soil conditions are currently experiencing problems. And I’m not referring to your neighbor’s yellowed grass! Soil degradation involves soil depletion in water and minerals. Have you ever heard of erosion or desertification? These are the possible consequences of soil degradation.
The soil is mainly used in the agricultural sector. Luckily, the techniques in agriculture have changed a lot. It was time because the old practices of intensive agriculture have destroyed the soil for decades! Indeed, many farmers exploited soils until their productivity began to decline. Obviously, all minerals and soil water were drained. Nevertheless, as productivity declined (usually after 5-6 years of intensive farming), farmers continued by reproducing the same destructive pattern of other lands. They abandoned completely siphoned fields, fields that took decades to regenerate to drain new ones.

The ground is tired of Pollution

Today, fortunately, Science has led to the development of new efficient and eco- responsible practices to protect soil. Here are the means proposed:

  • The green manure (legume or grass-legume mixture) improve soil fertility and protect it from erosion and frost;
  • The natural windbreaks (rows of trees and / or shrubs) protect the soil from erosion by slowing the wind speed;
  • The crop rotation (succession of different cultures) in the same field improves the fertility of the soil, reduces the use of pesticides and prevents erosion and the cycle of diseases;
  • The riparian zones (grasses and shrubs that separate streams of fields) prevent erosion of riverbanks , help keep the minerals and protect waterways from contamination;
  • The technique of direct seeding and reduced labor (less aggressive seeding of the soil) protects the soil from erosion and promotes infiltration.

There are several ways to protect soil in agriculture. For more information, please consult Agri-Réseau’s Good Agri- Environmental Practices guide. There are also the MAPAQ (Quebec Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food) and Agri-Réseau sites that provide relevant information and solutions to farmers. Do not hesitate to visit their website! The only problem with the new agricultural practices is that it is not enough to develop them, it is also necessary that the people of the middle apply them! So, for sustainable agriculture, talk about it!