Environmental Study论文模板 – Main Course Work: Pollution Prevention and Control

Introduction

To protect and enhance human health, knowledge about environmental pathways is essential. Pollutants are exposed to the environment through a mix of various environmental pathways, where they travel through a linear sequence of ecological compartments. Emission of substances from waste facilities is the main pathway that sees contaminants get to the environment. The environment contains large numbers of materials either in high and low concentrations, existing in gaseous, liquid, or solid form. For instance, in gaseous emissions, there are pollutants such as metals, acid gases, and other noncombustible substances (Sethupathi et al. 2017). Organic compounds and oxides of chemicals such as sulfur, nitrogen, and carbon have been released into the environment over time. As emissions disperse into the environment, living organisms are exposed to direct contact with the wastes through consumption of contaminated food and water or inhaling of air.  

There are various mixes of environmental pathways that pollutants go through in the atmosphere to reach to people. They undergo chemical and physical transformations in the process of getting to a final receptor. For investigators, estimating the number of contaminants as well as the patterns of exposure that people are exposed to in the environment is very important (Salthammer et al., 2018). This is done mainly through tracking the concentrations and movement of contaminants and evaluating the changes that they go through as they move through the environment from the incineration centers to the areas where they get into contact with people. At the same time, evaluating such issues helps in determining the contribution levels of various human activities to the contamination of the environment. This paper aims at assessing the environmental dynamics of substance emission into the environment as well as the pathways, receptors, and effects of various pollutants from both the landfill sites and incineration. Also, an evaluation of the effectiveness of best available techniques and control measures used in minimizing the effects of contaminants is done. This helps determine the pathways that could result in the exposure of human beings to the pollutants.

Pathways, Receptors, and effects of the various Pollutants

Substances that are released into the environment from different combustion sources are in one way or another distributed into the environment. These substances accumulate in the environment to create a significant environmental hazard. Some of the contaminants released from both landfill sites and incineration facilities contribute to the ecological compartments pollution on a scale of about 10km locally (Akortia et al. 2016). However, other types of pollutants are more persistent and are likely to be distributed further into the environment, even to a hundred kilometers. Some incineration byproducts do not necessarily remain in the air. Rather, they are deposited into the soil, waterways, and on the vegetation, and this makes them likely to come into contact with humans. These create a complex number of pathways that facilitate the movement of the pollutant from their sources to the places where they meet with humans.

To understand the movement and nature of pollutants, it is essential to examine these multiple pathways that define the flow of contaminants from one place to another (Archbold et al., 2016). Some of these follow a linear sequence of environmental compartments from the sources to the receptors. For instance, this can be illustrated by a particular pathway where incinerators emit pollutants into the atmosphere. The pollutant moves through the air depositing its particles into the plantation then an animal (such as a cow) feeds on the plantation. Humans then eat animal products such as milk or meat. Such a pathway follows a sequence of several compartments which include; an air compartment, to another air compartment, to the vegetation compartment, and then to the animal compartment. Finally, the receptor (humans) ingests the pollutants, due to the exposer of the pollutant into the ingestion route. Pathways can intersect each other in various environmental chambers, and this causes some sort of nonlinearity, which makes the paths more complex (van Vuuren et al., 2017).

Some pollutants are persistent in such a way that they can be dispersed over a large geographical area. This means that they can move beyond the local areas and even countries from which the contaminants come from. An example of such pollutants includes dioxins, furans, and mercury (NRCCHEWI, 2000).  These pollutants are semi-volatile and have high vaporizing pressure, which is incorporated within their particles. Substances are dispersed in the atmosphere through the use of atmospheric processes such as advection and diffusion (Andreau, Leroux, & Bouharrour, 2012). Various factors influence the behavior of contaminants in the environment, such as the local terrains and the meteorological designs in the area, as well as the facility designs in the lower atmosphere. The properties of wind, such as its strength, speed, and its turbulence, influence the stability of the atmosphere and the ability of pollutants to move from one place to another.

Soil is another factor that influences the movement of materials from one place to another. The mixture of minerals, water content, and the organic substances available in the ground as well as their proportions in the soil determine how a contaminant moves from one place to another, or it is transformed. Contaminants move into the land in the form of solids, liquids, or water air. These are either transported from one place to another or are transformed into various forms changing the characteristics of the soil. Studies indicate that particles that are deposited into the ground accumulate in the soil, they resurface on the surface and then come into contact with humans (NRCCHEWI, 2000). Also, the resurfaced particles are transported in either direction, either by water runoff or by the wind.

Furthermore, contaminants are transported through wind erosion, volatilization, diffusion, and leaching or mechanical movement to the deeper parts of the soil or to the plant surfaces. The transformation of the pollutants can be achieved through photolysis or other chemical changes by microorganisms (Anjum et al., 2018). These contaminants are absorbed in the root zones and transported upwards into the plants and chemically transformed into chemical products.

Root uptake of the chemicals is one of the minor pathways that pollutants from incineration facilities follow. Many chemicals enter plants through absorption from the soil and are translocated to the upper parts of the plant, and they are then accumulated in the plants (Anjum et al., 2018). Water, also plays a role in moving chemicals from one place to another. However, chemical behavior on the water is determined by various factors such as the rate of physical water movement and the chemical reactivity of water (Fuller, 2018). At the same time, the water surface influences the rate of chemical flow from one place to another. Another factor of influence is the ambient rates of transport and the ambient concentration of chemicals.

Effectiveness of the BAT Control Measures in Minimizing Pollutant Effects

Policies that control and prevent industrial pollution are likely to achieve significant environmental and financial benefits for humans. Various countries have applied the Best Available Techniques (BAT) in setting industrial levels of emission through the evaluation of evidence and dialogues of multiple stakeholders (EU, 2014). These policies trusted in reducing and preventing emissions from the pollution industries in the world. At the same time, BAT policies can be used in addressing the environmental impacts of industrial activities in a broad way, such as the waste prevention strategies, toxic substance substitution, and improved manufacturing processes to minimize the ecological effects that could affect survival (Yin, Zheng, & Li, 2016).

It is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of the BAT policies to enhance their impact on the future design of more systems. Failure to evaluate this, can lead to wastage of time and resources while implementing procedures that are not effective or that have inadequate measures. Therefore, governments can regulate the emission limits and industrial installations by understanding the impact of BAT policies. Also, enhanced communication with various stakeholders can be achieved when the impact of policies is evaluated, and this further helps the public understand the objectives and operations of BAT policies (EU, 2014). Evaluating the BAT policies aims at assessing the effects of industrial emissions. It also facilitates the analysis of costs and benefits of plans, further providing useful information for one to review the BAT reference documents.

There are several benefits of the BAT policies that are already in place; they provide positive implications to the environment and the industry at large. These policies align the environmental requirements for industrial installation and provide a basis for industry players (Liu, & Wen, 2012). Also, these policies foster enhanced resource efficiency and facilitate industrial upgrading. When the society implements BAT practices, they are likely to achieve savings due to improved quality of air and improvement of the industry as a result of more efficient operations. Minimization of waste is essential in the sense that it facilitates cost savings by improving efficiency in the use of materials and energy. Companies that follow the BAT policies are likely to identify the environmental issues presented. Thus, they can follow the legislations stipulated and reduce the likelihood of prosecution as well as avoid litigation and adverse publicity (Yilmaz, Anctil, & Karanfil, 2015). At the same time, the risk of pollution matter escaping in the environment is minimized when companies follow the BAT policies and control practices. This will boost the confidence of each other in ensuring that we protect the environment, thus promoting positive environmental relations between businesses.

Pollution control methods that have been applied have demonstrated considerable effectiveness in managing environmental pollution problems, especially the local ones (Laso et al. 2017). Systematic analysis of the emissions is done and applied in evaluating the kind of environmental pollution in question, which further facilitates the addressing of the ambient pollution problems available. Researchers have explained the importance of carrying out a comprehensive assessment and control methods of environmental pollution (Suhr et al., 2107). This can be evident from the kind of advancements that we have experienced in countries that undergo rapid industrialization and have stable pollution control structures. The pollution prevention methods and approaches focus directly on the application of practices and materials as well as energy. These are applied, and they help in avoiding the creation of pollutants and waste products from the sources. Corporate commitment is a valuable role player in the decision-making process to minimize the production of pollutants and waste products (Smith, 2018). It is also important to note that there are various societal benefits of reducing pollutants and reducing risks of the ecosystems and human health and health of the people at large.

Also, pollution control approaches have had considerable success in the production of short-term improvements for local pollution problems as well as in addressing the cumulative issues that present themselves over some time. Health-related environmental pollution control programs ensure that better life quality is achieved by minimizing the level of pollution to the lowest level possible (Saxena, Chandra, & Bharagava, 2016). The control programs which have been applied differently in different countries have managed to cover all the aspects of pollution and help maintain the coordination of corruption in all the areas. These coordination practices include city planning, development of industries, and management of water resources and transport infrastructure. Environmental pollution control methods have grown to be more sophisticated and expensive, such that there has been a growing interest in redesigning the industrial processes. These processes are subjective to the elimination of harmful effects of the environment and promoting the competitiveness of the industries in the industrial processes. Among the significant environmental benefits of pollution prevention approaches is the fact that there is an introduction of clean technologies and the reduction of toxic products as well as the elimination of worker exposure to the health risks.

Further, typical air quality management control measures have achieved to preserve the environment from a higher degree of pollution. For instance, the use of catalytic converters in vehicles and emission incinerators, the land use plan, and the factory shut down to reduce traffic have managed to achieve the minimum air pollution effects (Lei et al., 2015). The primary aim of air pollution management programs is to maintain or come up with clean air implementation policies and present strategies to follow up.

Incineration Versus landfill

Incineration of waste products can be done using technologies and practices that meet the current limits of regulatory constraints and other environmental emission limits (Heck et al., 2016). The characteristics of emissions from incineration facilities, as well as the residual ash, are affected by the types of waste that are fed into the incineration facilities and the combustion efficiency of the facility (Wang et al., 2018). Incineration proves to have the least damages to the environment whenever the facilities are equipped with modifications to minimize excessive emissions. For instance, if the air injection rates are modified and optimal combustor designs are selected, the incinerators will reduce the emission of products into the air.

In comparison with landfill, incinerators, take up less space as compared to landfill sites (Nabavi-Pelesaraei et al. 2017). However, though some claim that incinerators cause both air and noise pollution, it is essential to note that landfills do not reduce the volume of waste products that they hold, and therefore, they require more space, which is scarce and expensive to acquire. On the other hand, incinerators can reduce the waste from higher volumes to lesser volumes. Further, incinerators are very efficient in producing energy from waste products and recovering heat from these materials. On the other hand, it is essential to note that landfills generate methane gas, which is a more potent greenhouse gas as compared to the carbon dioxide produced from the incinerators.  In 2011, landfilling was estimated to provide most of the carbon emissions that waste management accounted for in the environment (Mitrano et al., 2017).

Burning waste seems to be a better method than landfilling because it requires less space, and when well managed, it can result in minimum emission. It is a quick way of getting rid of waste products and can lead to less long term effects. Burning plastics ensures that they are lost forever and that they cannot influence the environmental changes further.  Just throwing plastics into a landfill creates a badge of more and more materials piled in one space and occupying a lot of space. Incineration contributes highly to the zero-waste circular economy, which aims at achieving true sustainability. Just piling materials together undermines the efforts of reducing waste in the environment both locally and internationally. As opposed to incinerators, many landfills are prone to the production of leachate, a toxic liquid that results from rain passing through a dump and then seeping its way through the soil into the water of the ground. In the process, organic compounds and inorganic materials that are harmful in consumption are carried through into the water. For instance, heavy metals, pesticides, and solvents combine with water, and this water is conveyed for use in households.

Despite the noted advantages of incinerators over landfills, it is essential to note that both methods will not be able to manage the amount of waste produced daily by human beings. Therefore other ways of managing waste should be employed. Such practices include reusing and recycling products. This serves as a great instrument in helping to solve the problem of waste management. People should opt for products with the minimum biodegradable packaging, purchase products that have long lives, and reuse existing items in different ways that will help recycle the products properly, and this will highly contribute to the waste management system.

Coursework 2: Reflection on Industrial Visit

The visit to the incineration center was a great experience of finding out how waste is disposed of from the environment. It turned out to be a meaningful learning experience as we learned more about the way waste is eliminated or turned into other useful purposes. One of the key takeaways that I gained from the visit was the level of professionalism that people who work in these areas have and the amount of work they do in ensuring that waste products are eliminated. From the volume of waste materials that were all around the incineration plant, it was clear that the country at large produces a massive amount of waste. From the experience, I was able to learn that out of the massive volume of garbage produced, only a quarter of it is burnt in the incineration plants, and the rest is either recycled or dumped into the landfills. It was discouraging to realize that just like many other individuals, I contributed to the production of massive amounts of waste. I learned the importance of the government’s emphasis on reducing, reusing, and recycling one of the strategies that I had not been using before. This has now induced some transformation in me because I will now strive to do better in achieving zero waste lifestyle and reduce the amount of garbage produced in my household.

I believe that we should all appreciate immensity of the work done by the incineration operators. These centers help people and the society to effectively manage wastes and thus minimize the problems associated with waste management; such as diseases and environmental pollutions. If we did not have incineration plants, the environment would turn from being green and clean to be a grey and rubbish-filled one, due to the large amounts of wastes products produced. Also, it is essential to note that incineration centers utilize waste products to produce energy and fuel, which can be used for other purposes. Even the scrap metal that is provided in the process can be used as an asset for the country. The scrap metals can be used to produce new products and machineries which can be applied for improving the economy.

Another advantage of the incineration plants is that they help to properly store waste products and facilitate proper disposal; hence, minimizing their threats to public health. One of the managers at the incineration plant took his time to give us a talk and guide us through the learning process of its operations. The talk with the manager in the incineration center helped me realize that sensitizing the public of the proper ways of minimizing waste would help ensure that waste is managed correctly. To eliminate the inconvenience caused by a large number of garbage that lies in the streets and the landfills, creating more incineration centers would be helpful, and therefore the government should ensure that this is achieved. Finally, it is important to note that incineration centers have greater positive impacts as compared to landfills in management of environmental waste.

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