What Causes Air and Water Pollution?: An Online Treasure
Hunt for 3rd Year High School (Science)
Authored by F. Ditan and P. Arinto
Air and water pollution are two of the most pressing problems in the world
today. Many experts are trying to address these problems, which obviously cannot
be solved by one person alone. They are so complex that the entire scientific
community, as well as experts from other disciplines, must work together to help
solve them. And there’s you and me, of course. Unless we do our part, pollution
will just grow worse and worse until the Earth will no longer be a fit place for
us to live in! Alas, where will we go then?
Our ability to help address the problem of pollution will be greatly increased
by a better understanding of what causes it. In this activity, we will learn
about the causes of air and water pollution. The point of view we will use in
looking at these problems is that of chemists. We will read about what
substances cause air and water pollution.
The activity requires that you work in groups of three. Each group must locate
the answers to the questions below in the Web resources listed. After answering
the questions, proceed to the Big Question.
- What are the common air pollutants? What elements comprise each of these
- When is ozone beneficial to human beings and other living things and when
is it harmful? How does air pollution damage beneficial ozone and how does air
pollution make harmful ozone worse?
- What is the term for the particles found in the air, including dust, dirt,
soot, smoke, and liquid droplets? What contributes the most to the quantity of
particles in the air?
- What are the greenhouse gases and how are they produced?
- Water pollutants can be biological or chemical in nature. What is/are the
difference/s between these two types? What are the common chemical pollutants?
- What chemical properties affect the movement and distribution of
pollutants in water?
- What is eutrophication and what causes it?
The Big Question
Air and water pollution are a grave cause for concern because they harm our
environment and our health. These in turn have adverse impacts on the economy.
The following Web pages contain information on the health impact of air and
In the Philippines, air and water pollution is increasing at an alarming rate.
In your community (barangay or barrio), what human activities contribute to air
and water pollution? What substances are released to the environment during
these activities? How can the air and water pollution in your community be
Write a short report answering these questions and submit your report at our
next class meeting. The report is individual work—that is, each of you will
write and submit your own report.