What is Industrial Pollution?Its causes, effects & controlling methods

Industrialisation started gaining its popularity by 19th century even though it was initiated in the 18th century in the European Countries. Industrialization witnessed a drastic change in the living of humans economically and socially. By the development of industrialisation the industrial pollution also came into existence. Thus let us drown into the facts and information about industrial pollution. You can understand what industrial pollution is, its causes and effects, major pollutants in industrial pollution and the measures to reduce it, by going through his article.

What is Industrial Pollution?

Ever since the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s and 1800s, the effects of the industries have been seen throughout the Earth. The face of the world changed as need for raw materials, cheap labour and markets increased.   Industrialized countries ravaged others, in their quest for greatness. Human lives were neither considered nor spared. The land was not cared for, nor was the environment. Everything was used and abused. Wars were fought for control and the some parts of the world even in the 21st century are struggling to rise up from the ashes.

The effects of industries are myriad because they are of all kinds and each has various processes that take place in each of them. The contamination emanating from the industries pollute the air, water, soil and they add to the light and noise pollution. Radioactivity is a by–product of the energy industry. Most of the pollution can be traced to some industry or the other.

industrial pollution causes effects types control

The various industries causing pollution are the mining and metallurgical industries, power   generating plants, manufacturing factories, processing industries, etc. The main processes causing pollution are

  • Burning of coal and other fossil fuels like oil, petroleum, natural gas.
  • Use of chemical solvents in tanning and dyeing industries and others.
  • Release of untreated gaseous and liquid wastes into the environment.
  • Incorrect disposal of radioactive wastes.
  • Unchecked noise emanating from machines such as those used in oil exploration and drilling constructions
  • Operations working towards deadlines or otherwise working night shifts to increase production create light pollution and various other health issues.
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The Main Causes Of Industrial Air Pollution Are:

  • Lack of policies to control pollution– many industries bypass laws made by the pollution control board because of lack of effective policies and poor enforcement. This is usually done to avoid the higher costs of disposing wastes correctly or installing waste treatment facilities.
  • Unplanned industrial growth– As development and economic growth takes precedence over environmental or health concerns, rules and norms are flouted causing unplanned growth of industries.
  • Use of out-dated technologies– This is again done to avoid the higher cost of updating technology. Older machinery produce larger amounts of wastes and it are always good to take advantage of the advances in technology though the initial costs are higher.
  • Presence of large number of small scale industries– These usually don’t have enough capital and rely on government grants to run their day to day business. When they are classified as small scale, they do not have too many regulations to follow and hence end up releasing more toxins /wastes into the environment.
  • Inefficient waste disposal– Untreated wastes cause water and soil pollution directly.it lowers the quality of air in surrounding areas. Industrial pollution is major cause of chronic health problems
  • Leaching of resources from our natural world– This is the feature of the mining industry which extracts raw material from the earth. At the same time much of it is spilt, leached and in case of radioactive materials, radiation is released. Oil leaks during transportation are also cause of much of the marine pollution.

Major pollutants in Industrial Pollution:

Poisonous Gases like nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphurous oxide, chlorine gas, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphuric acid, mercury, particulate matter, smoke col dust , fly ash, fluorine, inorganic waste pigments, Alkalis, phenols, chromates, organic wastes, heavy metals  and even hot water.

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Types of wastes

Process wastes– They waste generated in an industry during washing and processing of raw materials. This may be organic or inorganic depending on the raw materials. Both are toxic to livig organisms

Chemical wastes– The chemical substance generated as a by-product during the preparation of a product are the chemical waste product. These include heavy metals and their ions, detergents, acids and alkalis etc.

Effects of industrial Pollution

  • Water pollution– Many untreated effluents have been added to water sources causing these to be polluted. Sometimes the chemical nature of the water is altered, sometimes temperature and many times nutrient rich pollution also occurs. Fish are stressed and they die out. Plants are affected and at the same time insects and amphibians are affected too.
  • Air pollution Industrial by-products in the form of gases are released from Iron and steel industries, power plants. These cause harmful effects on human health such as eye irritations, occurrences and aggravation of respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive pulmonary disorder and Emphysema. The residue settles on the plants and is consumed by the animals which are then consumed by the larger animals. The toxins get accumulated in these animals and cause them harm too. The plants growth and reproduction is affected.Many of the gases released are greenhouse gases affecting the temperature of our atmosphere and causes global warming. Acid rain is a consequence of air pollution following industrial pollution.
  • Loss of wildlife Many species of plants, birds, insects, animals are affected by industrial pollution. Habitats are being destroyed. Scenic locations are affected by these industries
  • Economic effects Though industrialisation may appear to be a sign of development and progress, the costs  involved in pollution control and clean-up of water sources and polluted areas is very  high. There is a loss of tourism revenue. There is a lot of expenditure on health. And sometimes relocation of entire communities also is required.It is usually the economically backward, lesser educated, working class that is most affected by industrial pollution. They will be the ones residing closest to the industrial zone and working there. They are not usually able to sustain their struggle for their rights. They usually do not question the growth or expansion of the industrial sector as this provides job opportunities for them and facilities for their families. Those who are able to move away will move to the suburbs.
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Controlling Industrial Pollution

  • Control at source
    Source control is by careful selection of raw material, proper maintenance of machinery , adoption of newer technologies and know- how, setting up efficiently functioning waste treatment facilities etc.
  • Selection of industry site
    This is a very important factor considering the environment around the factory
  • Treatment of industrial wastes
    Wastes must be treated before disposal.
  • Plantation
    Need to plant and grow more trees as these act as buffers and natural purifiers for the environment
  • Stringent Government ActionGovernment agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency must be allowed to take stringent action against defaulters and corporations that flout the rules laid down by such agencies.
  • Assessment of environmental Impact
    Environmental impact assessment should be carried out regularly which intends to identify and evaluate the potential and harmful impacts of the industries on natural ecosystem.
  • Strict implementation of Environmental Protection Act


Developed nations are the ones that are most affected by industrial pollution. And developing nations in the name of progress are not far behind. But as more stringent rules are brought about the industrialized nations are out sourcing their manufacturing units to lesser developed countries that have more lenient environmental laws.  This will cause the already delicate ecosystems in these areas to be affected; Not only the environment, but also the people. Planned production and growth should be maintained for a balance between man’s progress and nature’s sustainance.