The European Union is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2, the EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished, a monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002, and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency. The EU operates through a system of supranational and intergovernmental decision-making. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community, the community and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. While no member state has left the EU or its antecedent organisations, the Maastricht Treaty established the European Union in 1993 and introduced European citizenship. The latest major amendment to the basis of the EU. The EU as a whole is the largest economy in the world, additionally,27 out of 28 EU countries have a very high Human Development Index, according to the United Nations Development Programme.
In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence. The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7, because of its global influence, the European Union has been described as an emerging superpower. After World War II, European integration was seen as an antidote to the nationalism which had devastated the continent. 1952 saw the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, the supporters of the Community included Alcide De Gasperi, Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, and Paul-Henri Spaak. These men and others are credited as the Founding fathers of the European Union. In 1957, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany signed the Treaty of Rome and they signed another pact creating the European Atomic Energy Community for co-operation in developing nuclear energy. Both treaties came into force in 1958, the EEC and Euratom were created separately from the ECSC, although they shared the same courts and the Common Assembly.
The EEC was headed by Walter Hallstein and Euratom was headed by Louis Armand, Euratom was to integrate sectors in nuclear energy while the EEC would develop a customs union among members. During the 1960s, tensions began to show, with France seeking to limit supranational power, Jean Rey presided over the first merged Commission. In 1973, the Communities enlarged to include Denmark, Norway had negotiated to join at the same time, but Norwegian voters rejected membership in a referendum
Light pollution, known as photopollution, is excessive, misdirected or obtrusive artificial light. As a major side-effect of urbanization, it is blamed for compromising health, disrupting ecosystems, Light pollution is the adding-of/added light itself, in analogy to added sound, carbon dioxide, etc. Adverse consequences are multiple, some of them may not be known yet, scientific definitions thus include the following, The degradation of photic habitat by artificial light. The alteration of light levels in the outdoor environment owing to artificial light sources. The alteration of light levels in the environment due to man-made sources of light. Indoor light pollution is such alteration of light levels in the environment due to sources of light. The introduction by humans, directly or indirectly, of light into the environment. The first three of the four scientific definitions describe the state of the environment. The fourth one describes the process of polluting by light, Light pollution is a side effect of industrial civilization.
Its sources include building exterior and interior lighting, commercial properties, factories, since the early 1980s, a global dark-sky movement has emerged, with concerned people campaigning to reduce the amount of light pollution. The International Dark-Sky Association is one non-profit advocacy group involved in this movement, several industry groups recognize light pollution as an important issue. For example, the Institution of Lighting Engineers in the United Kingdom provides its members with information about light pollution, the problems it causes, and how to reduce its impact. Since not everyone is irritated by the same lighting sources, it is common for one persons light pollution to be light that is desirable for another. One example of this is found in advertising, when an advertiser wishes for particular lights to be bright and visible, other types of light pollution are more certain. For instance, light that crosses a property boundary and annoys a neighbor is generally wasted.
Where objective measurement is desired, light levels can be quantified by field measurement or mathematical modeling, authorities have taken a variety of measures for dealing with light pollution, depending on the interests and understandings of the society involved. Measures range from doing nothing at all, to implementing strict laws, Light pollution is a broad term that refers to multiple problems, all of which are caused by inefficient, unappealing, or unnecessary use of artificial light. Specific categories of light pollution include light trespass, over-illumination, light clutter, a single offending light source often falls into more than one of these categories
Heavy metals are generally defined as metals with relatively high densities, atomic weights, or atomic numbers. The criteria used, and whether metalloids are included, vary depending on the author, more specific definitions have been published, but none of these have been widely accepted. The definitions surveyed in this article encompass up to 96 out of the 118 chemical elements, only mercury, despite this lack of agreement, the term is widely used in science. A density of more than 5 g/cm3 is sometimes quoted as a commonly used criterion and is used in the body of this article. The earliest known metals—common metals such as iron and tin, and precious metals such as silver and platinum—are heavy metals. From 1809 onwards, light metals, such as magnesium and titanium, were discovered, as well as less well-known heavy metals including gallium and hafnium. Some heavy metals are essential nutrients, or relatively harmless. Other heavy metals, such as cadmium and lead, are highly poisonous, potential sources of heavy metal poisoning include mining and industrial wastes, agricultural runoff, occupational exposure, and paints and treated timber.
Physical and chemical characterisations of heavy metals need to be treated with caution, as well as being relatively dense, heavy metals tend to be less reactive than lighter metals and have much less soluble sulfides and hydroxides. Heavy metals are scarce in the Earths crust but are present in many aspects of modern life. They are used in, for example, golf clubs, antiseptics, self-cleaning ovens, solar panels, mobile phones, there is no widely agreed criterion-based definition of a heavy metal. Different meanings may be attached to the term, depending on the context, density criteria range from above 3.5 g/cm3 to above 7 g/cm3. Atomic weight definitions can range from greater than sodium, greater than 40, or more than 200, atomic numbers of heavy metals are generally given as greater than 20, sometimes this is capped at 92. Definitions based on atomic number have been criticised for including metals with low densities. For example, rubidium in group 1 of the table has an atomic number of 37 but a density of only 1.532 g/cm3.
The same problem may occur with atomic weight based definitions, criteria based on chemical behaviour or periodic table position have been used or suggested. The United States Pharmacopeia includes a test for metals that involves precipitating metallic impurities as their coloured sulfides. The lanthanides satisfy Hawkes three-part description, the status of the actinides is not completely settled, in biochemistry, heavy metals are sometimes defined—on the basis of the Lewis acid behaviour of their ions in aqueous solution—as class B and borderline metals
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system, such as an animal, fungus, archaeon, or bacterium. All known types of organisms are capable of some degree of response to stimuli, reproduction and development and homeostasis. An organism consists of one or more cells, when it has one cell it is known as an organism. Most unicellular organisms are of microscopic scale and are thus described as microorganisms. Humans are multicellular organisms composed of trillions of cells grouped into specialized tissues. An organism may be either a prokaryote or a eukaryote, prokaryotes are represented by two separate domains—bacteria and archaea. Eukaryotic organisms are characterized by the presence of a cell nucleus. Fungi and plants are examples of kingdoms of organisms within the eukaryotes, estimates on the number of Earths current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which only about 1.2 million have been documented. More than 99% of all species, amounting to five billion species. In 2016, a set of 355 genes from the last universal ancestor of all living organisms living was identified.
The term organism first appeared in the English language in 1703 and it is directly related to the term organization. There is a tradition of defining organisms as self-organizing beings. An organism may be defined as an assembly of molecules functioning as a more or less stable whole that exhibits the properties of life. Dictionary definitions can be broad, using such as any living structure, such as a plant, fungus or bacterium, capable of growth. Many definitions exclude viruses and possible man-made non-organic life forms, as viruses are dependent on the machinery of a host cell for reproduction. A superorganism is an organism consisting of individuals working together as a single functional or social unit. There has been controversy about the best way to define the organism, several contributions are responses to the suggestion that the category of organism may well not be adequate in biology. Viruses are not typically considered to be organisms because they are incapable of autonomous reproduction and this controversy is problematic because some cellular organisms are incapable of independent survival and live as obligatory intracellular parasites
Biodegradation is the disintegration of materials by bacteria, fungi, or other biological means. Although often conflated, biodegradable is distinct in meaning from compostable, while biodegradable simply means to be consumed by microorganisms, compostable makes the specific demand that the object break down under composting conditions. Organic material can be degraded aerobically with oxygen, or anaerobically, biosurfactant, an extracellular surfactant secreted by microorganisms, enhances the biodegradation process. Biodegradable matter is generally organic material serves as a nutrient for microorganisms. Microorganisms are so numerous and diverse that, a range of compounds are biodegraded, including hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Decomposition of biodegradable substances may include both biological and abiotic steps, in practice, almost all chemical compounds and materials are subject to biodegradation, the key is the relative rates of such processes - minutes, years, centuries. A number of factors determine the rate of organic compounds.
Salient factors include light and oxygen, temperature is important because chemical reactions proceed more quickly at higher temperatures. The degradation rate of organic compounds is limited by their bioavailability. Compounds must be released into solution before organisms can degrade them, Biodegradability can be measured in a number of ways. Respirometry tests can be used for aerobic microbes, first one places a solid waste sample in a container with microorganisms and soil, and aerate the mixture. Over the course of days, microorganisms digest the sample bit by bit. Biodegradability can be measured by anaerobic microbes and the amount of methane or alloy that they are able to produce, in formal scientific literature, the process is termed bio-remediation. In advanced societies, laundry detergents are based on linear alkylbenzenesulfonates, branched alkybenzenesulfonates, used in former times, were abandoned because they biodegrade too slowly. Plastics biodegrade at highly variable rates, pVC-based plumbing is specifically selected for handing sewage because PVC biodegrades very slowly.
Some packaging materials on the hand are being developed that would degrade readily upon exposure to the environment. A prominent example is poly-3-hydroxybutyrate, the renewably derived polylactic acid, others are the cellulose-based cellulose acetate and celluloid. Under low oxygen conditions biodegradable plastics break down slower and with the production of methane, the breakdown process is accelerated in a dedicated compost heap
Publicly owned treatment works
A publicly owned treatment works is a term used in the United States for a sewage treatment plant that is owned, and usually operated, by a government agency. In the U. S. POTWs are typically owned by government agencies. The term is used extensively in U. S. water pollution law, many POTWs were established and/or expanded with grants or low-interest loans from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. There are over 16,000 POTWs in the U. S. serving 75 percent of the total population, the remainder is served by decentralized or private septic systems. The POTWs treat 32 billion US gallons of wastewater every day, Sewage treatment plants in the United States Clean Water State Revolving Fund Sewage treatment Water pollution Water supply and sanitation in the United States
Mercury is a chemical element with symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is commonly known as quicksilver and was formerly named hydrargyrum, Mercury occurs in deposits throughout the world mostly as cinnabar. The red pigment vermilion is obtained by grinding natural cinnabar or synthetic mercuric sulfide, mechanical pressure gauges and electronic strain gauge sensors have replaced mercury sphygmomanometers. Mercury remains in use in research applications and in amalgam for dental restoration in some locales. It is used in fluorescent lighting, electricity passed through mercury vapor in a fluorescent lamp produces short-wave ultraviolet light which causes the phosphor in the tube to fluoresce, making visible light. Mercury poisoning can result from exposure to water-soluble forms of mercury, Mercury is a heavy, silvery-white liquid metal. Compared to other metals, it is a conductor of heat. It has a point of −38.83 °C and a boiling point of 356.73 °C. Upon freezing, the volume of mercury decreases by 3. 59%, the coefficient of volume expansion is 181.59 × 10−6 at 0 °C,181.71 × 10−6 at 20 °C and 182.50 × 10−6 at 100 °C.
Solid mercury is malleable and ductile and can be cut with a knife, because this configuration strongly resists removal of an electron, mercury behaves similarly to noble gases, which form weak bonds and hence melt at low temperatures. The stability of the 6s shell is due to the presence of a filled 4f shell, an f shell poorly screens the nuclear charge that increases the attractive Coulomb interaction of the 6s shell and the nucleus. Like silver, mercury reacts with hydrogen sulfide. Mercury reacts with solid sulfur flakes, which are used in mercury spill kits to absorb mercury, Mercury dissolves many other metals such as gold and silver to form amalgams. Iron is an exception, and iron flasks have traditionally used to trade mercury. Several other first row transition metals with the exception of manganese, other elements that do not readily form amalgams with mercury include platinum. Sodium amalgam is a reducing agent in organic synthesis, and is used in high-pressure sodium lamps. Mercury readily combines with aluminium to form a mercury-aluminium amalgam when the two pure metals come into contact, since the amalgam destroys the aluminium oxide layer which protects metallic aluminium from oxidizing in-depth, even small amounts of mercury can seriously corrode aluminium.
For this reason, mercury is not allowed aboard an aircraft under most circumstances because of the risk of it forming an amalgam with exposed aluminium parts in the aircraft, Mercury embrittlement is the most common type of liquid metal embrittlement
Regulation and monitoring of pollution
Since pollution crosses political boundaries international treaties have been made through the United Nations and its agencies to address international pollution issues. The Kyoto Protocol is an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and it reaffirms sections of the UNFCCC. A total of 141 countries have ratified the agreement, notable exceptions include the United States and Australia, who have signed but not ratified the agreement. The stated reason for the United States not ratifying is the exemption of large emitters of greenhouse gases who are developing countries, like China. An UN environmental conference held in Bali 3–14 December 2007 with the participation from 180 countries aims to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which will end in 2012. During the first day of the conference United States, Saudi Arabia and Canada were presented with the Fossil-of-the-day-award, the bags included the flags of the respective countries. In Canada the regulation of pollution and its effects are monitored by a number of depending on the nature of the pollution.
The three levels of government equally share in the responsibilities, and in the monitoring and correction of pollution, chinas rapid industrialization has substantially increased pollution. China has some relevant regulations, the 1979 Environmental Protection Law, which was modeled on U. S. legislation. Twelve years after the law, only one Chinese city was making an effort to clean up its water discharges and this indicates that China is about 30 years behind the U. S. schedule of environmental regulation and 10 to 20 years behind Europe. In July 2007, it was reported that the World Bank reluctantly censored a report revealing that 750,000 people in China die every year as a result of pollution-related diseases. Chinas State Environment Protection Agency and the Health Ministry asked the World Bank to cut the calculations of premature deaths from the report fearing the revelation would provoke social unrest. The basic European rules are included in the Directive 96/61/EC of 24 September 1996 concerning integrated pollution prevention and control, in the 1840s, the United Kingdom brought onto the statute books legislation to control water pollution.
It was extended to all rivers and coastal water by 1961, the Act came into force in England in April 2000. Within the current regulatory framework, Pollution Prevention and Control is a regime for controlling pollution from industrial activities. The regime introduces the concept of Best Available Techniques to environmental regulations, the Best Available Techniques aim to balance the cost to the operator against benefits to the environment. The system of Pollution Prevention and Control is replacing that of Integrated Pollution Control and is taking effect between 2000 and 2007, the Pollution Prevention and Control regime implements the European Directive on integrated pollution prevention and control. The United States Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1963 to legislate the reduction of smog and that legislation has subsequently been amended and extended in 1966,1970,1977 and 1990
Plastic pollution involves the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, or humans. Plastics that act as pollutants are categorized into micro-, meso-, or macrodebris, the prominence of plastic pollution is correlated with plastics being inexpensive and durable, which lends to high levels of plastics used by humans. However, it is slow to degrade, Plastic pollution can unfavorably affect lands and oceans. Humans are affected by pollution, such as through the disruption of the thyroid hormone axis or hormone levels. In the UK alone, more than 5 million tonnes of plastic are consumed each year and that leaves a remaining 3.8 million tonnes of waste, destined for landfills. Plastic reduction efforts have occurred in areas in attempts to reduce plastic consumption and pollution. There are three forms of plastic that contribute to plastic pollution, microplastics as well as mega-. Mega- and micro plastics have accumulated in highest densities in the Northern Hemisphere, concentrated around urban centers, Plastic can be found off the coast of some islands because of currents carrying the debris.
Both mega- and macro-plastics are found in packaging, fishing-related items are more likely to be found around remote islands. These may be referred to as micro-, meso-, Plastic debris is categorized as either primary or secondary. Primary plastics are in their form when collected. Examples of these would be bottle caps, cigarette butts, secondary plastics, on the other hand, account for smaller plastics that have resulted from the degradation of primary plastics. Microdebris are plastic pieces between 2 µm and 5 mm in size, Plastic debris that starts off as meso- or macrodebris can become microdebris through degradation and collisions that break it down into smaller pieces. Microdebris is more commonly referred to as nurdles, nurdles are recycled to make new plastic items, but they easily end up released into the environment during production because of their small size. They often end up in ocean waters through rivers and streams, microdebris that come from cleaning and cosmetic products are referred to as scrubbers.
Because microdebris and scrubbers are so small in size, filter-feeding organisms often consume them. A2004 study by Richard Thompson from the University of Plymouth, UK, found an amount of microdebris on the beaches and waters in Europe, the Americas, Africa. If not ingested, this microdebris floats instead of being absorbed into the marine environment, Thompson predicts there may be 300,000 plastic items/km2 of sea surface and 100,000 plastic particles/km2 of seabed
Atmospheric particulate matter – known as particulate matter or particulates – are microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the Earths atmosphere. The term aerosol commonly refers to the mixture, as opposed to the particulate matter alone. Sources of particulate matter can be man-made or natural and they have impacts on climate and precipitation that adversely affect human health. The smaller PM2.5 were particularly deadly, with a 36% increase in lung cancer per 10 μg/m3 as it can penetrate deeper into the lungs, some particulates occur naturally, originating from volcanoes, dust storms and grassland fires, living vegetation, and sea spray. Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, power plants and various industrial processes, coal combustion in developing countries is the primary method for heating homes and supplying energy. The composition of aerosols and particles depends on their source, wind-blown mineral dust tends to be made of mineral oxides and other material blown from the Earths crust, this particulate is light-absorbing.
In addition, sea spray aerosols may contain organic compounds, which influence their chemistry, Secondary particles derive from the oxidation of primary gases such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides into sulfuric acid and nitric acid. The gases from which they originate—may have an origin and a natural biogenic origin. In the presence of ammonia, secondary aerosols often take the form of ammonium salts and this is mainly because the presence of sulfate and nitrate causes the aerosols to increase to a size that scatters light effectively. Organic matter can be primary or secondary, the latter part deriving from the oxidation of VOCs. Organic matter influences the atmospheric radiation field by both scattering and absorption, another important aerosol type is elemental carbon, this aerosol type includes strongly light-absorbing material and is thought to yield large positive radiative forcing. Organic matter and elemental carbon together constitute the carbonaceous fraction of aerosols, Secondary organic aerosols, tiny tar balls resulting from combustion products of internal combustion engines, have been identified as a danger to health.
The chemical composition of the aerosol directly affects how it interacts with solar radiation, the chemical constituents within the aerosol change the overall refractive index. The refractive index will determine how light is scattered and absorbed. The particles are hygroscopic due to the presence of sulfur, and SO2 is converted to sulfate when high humidity and this causes the reduced visibility and yellow color. Aerosol particles of natural origin tend to have a larger radius than human-produced aerosols such as particle pollution, the false-color maps in the third image on this page show where there are natural aerosols, human pollution, or a mixture of both, monthly. Most of the Southern Hemisphere is covered by ocean, where the largest source of aerosols is natural sea salt from dried sea spray. Because land is concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere, the amount of small aerosols from fires, over land, patches of large-radius aerosols appear over deserts and arid regions, most prominently, the Sahara Desert in north Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, where dust storms are common