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Business and Environmental Protection: Causes and Types of Pollution, Need for Pollution Control and Role of Business in Environment Protection

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  • Last Updated : 08 Feb, 2023
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What is Business and Environmental Protection?

Environmental protection is a serious issue that business leaders and decision-makers must confront. The term “environment” refers to the totality of man’s surroundings, both natural and man-made. These surroundings are also made up of resources that are beneficial to human life. Natural resources include land, water, air, fauna and flora, and raw materials, while manmade resources include cultural heritage, socioeconomic institutions, and people. It is widely acknowledged that the quality of the environment is rapidly deteriorating, mainly due to industrial activity.

This is a common sight in major cities such as Kanpur, Jaipur, Delhi, Panipat, Kolkata, and others across our country. Their emissions have a negative impact on people’s health. Pollution, or the release of harmful substances into the environment, is largely caused by industrial production. As some waste is inevitable in the use of materials and energy, manufacturers face a significant challenge in reducing the negative impact of this waste through the use of appropriate technologies. Environmental protection stands to benefit everyone. Pollution alters the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the air, land, and water. Pollution endangers both human and nonhuman life. It also degrades living conditions by wasting or depleting raw materials. The country’s cultural heritage is also under threat, and protecting all historical monuments has become incredibly hard. Pollution exists because the environment can only absorb limited pollutants and wastes.

Causes of Pollution

It must be acknowledged that waste is generated by all sectors of our society, including industry, government, agriculture, mining, energy, transportation, construction, and consumers. Pollutants in waste are chemical materials that have been discarded during the manufacturing or consumption process. Pollution is caused by pollutants that are released into the environment beyond its ability to absorb them. 

Industry is a major source of waste, both in terms of quantity and toxicity, among the various sources of pollution. Production, distribution, transportation, storage, and consumption of goods and services are known to be the most serious sources of pollution in the environment. Most of enterprises are responsible for causing air, water, land and noise pollution.

Types of Pollution

1. Air pollution:

Air Pollution is mostly caused by the manufacturing industry, which emits smoke, other pollutants, and carbon monoxide. The weakening of the ozone layer as a result of pollution has resulted in global warming. Automobiles, factories, homes with combustion appliances, and forest fires are a few common sources of air pollution. Particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide are pollutants of major public health concern. Indoor and outdoor air pollution are major factors which contribute to morbidity and mortality and are known to cause respiratory and other illnesses.

Global climate and ecosystem changes have a direct impact on air quality. Numerous factors that contribute to air pollution, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are also sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Because they lessen the burden of disease linked to air pollution and help with both short and long-term climate change mitigation, policies to reduce air pollution offer a win-win strategy for both climate and health.

2. Water Pollution:

Water pollution has killed numerous creatures and poses a severe threat to human existence. This has been caused by sewage problems as well as industrial waste released into rivers. Water is particularly prone to contamination. Water, sometimes known as a “universal solvent,” has the ability to dissolve more chemicals than any other liquid on the planet. It’s also why water has been so easily contaminated. Toxic compounds from farms, cities, and factories easily dissolve and combine with it, producing water pollution.

Non-point source agricultural pollution is one prominent example of water pollution. Agricultural fertilisers, pesticides, and soil-eroded particulate matter can enter streams, rivers, lakes, bays, and even the ocean after heavy rain events. The growth of algal blooms is then stimulated by high concentrations of nutrients, like phosphorous and nitrogen, which causes eutrophication, or oxygenation of the water. From the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, the resulting “fish kills,” “dead zones,” and drinking water crises are frequent across the United States. Water pollution can be decreased through agricultural practices that improve soil health and minimise synthetic inputs.

3. Land Pollution:

When hazardous material is dumped on soil, it contaminates the land. As a result, the land loses its quality and becomes unfit for farming or planting. The dumping of solid or liquid waste items on land or underground in a way that can pollute soil and groundwater, endanger public health, and create unpleasant conditions and nuisances

Municipal solid waste (MSW, often known as municipal garbage), construction and demolition (C&D) waste or debris, and hazardous waste are the three types of waste that cause land contamination.

4. Noise Pollution:

Noise pollution from factories and automobiles is not only annoying but it also a substantial health hazard. Noise pollution may cause a variety of ailments, including hearing loss, heart problems, and mental illness.

Machines, transportation, and propagation systems are the primary sources of outdoor noise globally. Poor urban planning may result in noise disintegration or pollution, and adjacent industrial and residential structures may result in noise pollution in residential areas. High noise levels can have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system and increase the risk of coronary artery disease in humans. Noise can also increase the risk of death in animals by altering predator or prey detection and avoidance, interfering with reproduction and navigation, and contributing to permanent hearing loss.

Need for Pollution Control

1. Reduction of Health hazards:

Pollutants in the environment are being blamed for a growing number of diseases, including cancer, heart attacks, and lung complications. Pollution control measures can not only reduce the severity of such diseases, but they can also promote a healthy way of life on Earth.

2. Reduced risk of liability:

It is possible that an enterprise will be held liable for compensating people who have been harmed by the toxicity of gaseous, liquid, and solid wastes released into the environment. As a result, it is a good business practice to instal pollution control devices in its facilities to reduce the risk of liability.

3. Cost reduction:

An effective pollution control programme is also required to reduce operating costs. Cost savings are especially noticeable when improper production technology produces more waste, resulting in the higher waste disposal and cleaning costs.

4. Improved public image:

As society becomes more conscious of environmental quality, a company’s waste-control policies and practices will have a greater influence on people’s attitudes toward its operations. A company that promotes environmental causes will have a good reputation and will be perceived as a socially responsible enterprise.

5. Social benefits: 

Pollution control has many other advantages, such as improved visibility, cleaner buildings, a higher quality of life, and the availability of natural products in a purer form.

Role of Business in Environment Protection

We have a social responsibility to protect the environment’s quality since it is vital to all of us. Every member of society, whether the government, corporate companies, customers, employees, or other members of society, can do something to reduce pollution to the environment.

The government can adopt legislation to prohibit the sale of dangerous items. Consumers, employees, and members of society can avoid using particular items and engaging in activities that are harmful to the environment. Every business has a social duty to take action not just to reduce pollution but also to safeguard environmental resources.

Businesses are the main sources of money, employment, commerce, and technology. They also control huge financial, physical, and human resources. In most situations, a change or modification in the manufacturing process, redesign of equipment, substitution of low-quality materials with superior ones, or other innovative ways might greatly reduce or even eliminate pollution completely.

Some of the particular initiatives that businesses can take to protect the environment are listed below:

  1. A strong commitment by the enterprise’s top management to develop, maintain, and create a work culture based on environmental protection and pollution prevention.
  2. Ensuring that all divisions and workers share the enterprise’s commitment to environmental protection.
  3. Developing strict patterns and programmes for procuring high-quality raw materials, utilising superior technology, implementing scientific waste disposal and treatment processes, and improving staff skills for pollution management.
  4. Adherence to the rules and regulations set by the government for pollution control.
  5. Participation in government programmes, including hazardous material management, river cleanup, tree planting, and deforestation control.
  6. Organizing educational seminars and training materials to share technical knowledge and expertise with suppliers, dealers, and customers in order to get them to participate in pollution control programmes.

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