Everything is a surprise when one is unaware of it. To be aware and alert reduces the element of surprise. To be aware is also precursor to being prepared. One cannot be prepared when he is not watching out.
A disclaimer: the only reason that the US comes up in most of the surprising facts is because they have done thorough research on the different aspects of the pollution. And have more facts and figures out there.
See the 24 Surprising Facts That Cause Pollution
- Americans depends on bottled water and they buy above 29 billion bottles of water every year. Making all these bottles uses 17 million barrels of crude oil annually, which would be enough fuel for 1 million cars on the road for one year. Only 13 per cent of these are recycled.
- 14 billion pounds of garbage mostly plastic is dumped into the ocean every year.
- In 2011 the tsunami in japan damaged, the Fukushima nuclear reactor was damaged. The Japanese dumped 2 million gallons of radioactive wastes into the Pacific Ocean. A few days later there were radioactive fish 50 miles offshore.
- Pollution in China alters the weather in the US. it takes just five days for the winds and circulating currents to carry heavy air pollution to from China to the US .the pollution stops the clouds from producing rain or snow.
- Non-stick cooking ware and stain repellent clothing impair immunity in children. They contains two pollutants –perfluoro-octanoic acid and perfluoro-octanesulphonic acid. These also affect the actions of the vaccines by not allowing the formation of sufficient antibodies.
- Almost 130000 computers are thrown out daily in the US. Over 100 million cell phones are discarded every year.
- The world‘s largest polluter is the US Department of Defense, producing morehazardous waste than the five largest Us chemical companies.
- The Mississippi River carries 1.5 million tonnes of nitrogen rich pollutants into the Gulf of Mexico each year, creating a Dead Zone here every summer, almost the size of New Jersey.
- In the united states alone people use over1.8 billion disposable diapers, 220 million tyres and 30 billion foam cups a year
- For 1.1 billion people around the world, clean water is unobtainable.
- The EPA states that there are at least 36000seriously contaminated sites in the US
- Light pollution causes the death of hundreds of turtle babies. These follow the light over the horizon from the sea to find their way to it. But the lights of the cities lure them away and lead them in the wrong direction.
- Oil spills cause a large scale contamination in a short period. But other sources of oil pollution are more hidden. The first one is the oil droplets from all forms of land vehicles which is washed off into the ocean via storm water. There is also the oil leakage and spill that occurs from small recreational boats like jet skis. When engines are not maintained well, or an operational error, human error or simple negligience occurs, small leakages of oil occurs which are not counted in the larger picture of pollution. But a thousand droplets of oil still cause damage as a million ones.
- Noise pollution causes stress related illness, hearing loss, sleep disruption, lost productivity and high blood pressure. Since it is a very subtle form of pollution an exact number of people suffering from it is not calculable.
- Increased Carbon dioxide levels are acidifying the oceans causing a change of the delicate environments like coral reefs.
- A single NASA space shuttle launch releases 28 tons of carbon dioxide, 13 tons of hydrochloric acid kills fish and plants in a half a mile radius arounf the launch site; also releases 23 tons of particulate matter that settles around the area. A single shuttle launch produces the same environmental impact as New York on a weekend.
- 33000 airplanes fly in and out of Los Angeles airport each month producing 19000 tons of carbon dioxide every month.
- Space debris floating in orbit around the earth is a potential hazard. Approximately 28000 objects were placed in orbit , of which 9000 are still floating around but only 6 per cent of these are functional now. Explosions occur because of the residual fuel present in some of them, they collide with one another, they are a danger to other space missions such as the International Space Station.
- Some of the Indoor air purifiers that claim to tackle mold and bacteria problem, generate ozone to do so. Ozone is the main contaminant in smog and causes lung damage in different degrees. Ozone from these air purifiers pollute the indoor air and must be avoided.
- Lead is known to produce permanent brain and lung damage. Though lead paints have been banned, old walls with peeling paints also release lead dust into air which coat children’s hands. New paints release Volatile Organic Compounds which have adverse effects when breathed in low doses over a long time. To protect our indoor air, adequate ventilation is the key. Hobby paints and glues are just as bad. Ideally these need to be used outdoors.
- Carpets harbour dust mites, fungus, dirt and other unhealthy particles that trigger allergies and asthma. Some carpets are treated with chemicals and continue to release Formaldehyde which is also a cause of cancer. Cabinets and other furniture made of pressed wood contain formaldehyde too which is released over a period of time.
- Indoor cleaning products which promise shiny, bacteria free home come at a deadly price. They contain powerful and toxic solvents, antibiotic pesticides and many times chlorine. Never mix Chlorine based cleanser with Acid based cleanser as this release toxic Chlorine gas. This is a very potent indoor pollutant.
- The gas stove daily used in our kitchens produces unsafe levels of nitrogen dioxide. Failing to run the fan after hot showers will lead to mold and mildew in the washroom. Ventilation is the key to keeping the indoor air clean.
- The last one on this list is not a surprise. Every year 3000 non-smokers die of lung cancer because they live or work with a smoker. This fact is well known and advertised but basic disregard is the cause of these deaths.
The list above is not exhaustible. But as mentioned before if one is alert and watchful, and reads the small print, one is prepared. Avoid dangerous habits. Instead develop new ones of recycling, reusing and reducing.