Current tools for removal of hazardous materials from environments

Vimal Chandra Pandey, Vijai Singh
Contd from previous issue
This can help modify microorganisms to gain the ability to sense and degrade hazardous chemicals from contaminated sites, in turn, allowing us to grow vegetation and improve crop productivity. In this chapter, conventional and advanced molecular biology tools for the removal and detoxification of contaminants from soil and water to improve environmental conditions are highlighted.
Environmental pollution represents an obstacle to the economical exploitation of coal deposits. In industrialized countries, the rules for protection of the environment are stricter than in developing countries. Thus, to get a license to open mines involves lengthy procedures which in turn cause delay. Indian authorities have also started to put stringent conditions in place regarding environmental pollution. Consequently, ecological problems can be totally prevented, but such measures are costly.
Some environmental consequences of mining and processing coal deposits are deforestation, land damage, water pollution and hydrological damage, air pollution, noise pollution, ground vibration and rock dispersal, and visual impact. Such environmental impacts are increasing day by day because the scale of individual mining operations is increasing as mining of lower grade deposits increases. The current trend toward surface mining, and mine mechanization, is also aggravating such problems.
The use of environmental standards as criteria for decision making in a developing country like India has to be properly assessed. If the norms of developed countries are applied in India, costs will be very high. Thus, the standards selected should be compatible with the country’s economic situation.
(To be contd)
In the current Anthropocene, environmental pollution is a global problem that is inextricably linked with rapid industrialization and urbanization. Pollution hampers the environment sustainability and ecosystem services. In this chapter, we will briefly introduce environmental pollution (now popularly called pollution science) before the introduction of the theme topic.
Environmental pollution is the unfavorable alteration of our surroundings, wholly or largely as a byproduct of man’s actions, through direct or indirect effects of the changes in the energy pattern, radiation levels, and chemical and physical constitution and abundance of organisms. Environmental pollution is a global problem and is common to both developed as well as developing countries, which attracts the attention of human beings for its severe long-term consequences. The decline in environmental quality as a consequence of pollution is evidenced by loss of vegetation, biological diversity, excessive amounts of harmful chemicals in the ambient atmosphere and in food grains, and growing risks of environmental accidents and threats to life support systems. Pollution is viewed from different angles by different people but is commonly agreed to be the outcome of urban-industrial and technological revolution and rapacious and speedy exploitation of natural resources, increased rate of exchange of matter and energy, and ever-increasing industrial wastes, urban effluents, and consumer goods. Holdgate (1979) defined environmental pollution as the introduction by man, into the environment, of substances or energy liable to cause interference with legitimate uses of environment. Singh (1991) has defined pollution in a very simple manner, i.e., “Disequilibrium condition from equilibrium condition in any system.” This definition may be applied to all types of pollution ranging from physical to economic, political, social, and religious. Over the past couple of decades, various sources of pollution were identified that altered the composition of water, air, and soil of the environment. The substances that cause pollution are known as pollutants. A pollutant can be any chemical (toxic metal, radionuclides, organophosphorus compounds, gases) or geochemical substance (dust, sediment), biological organism or product, or physical substance (heat, radiation, sound wave) that is released intentionally or inadvertently by man into the environment with actual or potential adverse, harmful, unpleasant, or inconvenient effects. Such undesirable effects may be direct (affecting man) or indirect, being mediated via resource organisms or climate change. Depending on the nature of pollutants and also subsequent pollution of environmental components, the pollution may be categorized as follows:
1. Air Pollution
2. Water Pollution
3. Soil/Land Pollution
4. Noise Pollution
5. Radioactive Pollution
6. Thermal Pollution
Among these types of pollution, air pollution is the main type threatening the environment, humans, plants, animals, and all living organisms.