Chemistry, in general, is fundamental to understanding how the earth works. Chemistry can be divided into various categories, each being responsible for exploring particular aspects of the field. Environmental chemistry is one of the essential branches of chemistry that focuses on studying the impact of chemical agents on our environment. Whether produced intentionally or as by-products of industrial processes, chemicals affect the environment and, consequently, our health. Therefore, the discoveries environmental chemists make allow us to create a safer place on earth. To help you get a better idea of how this branch of chemistry works, here are ten reasons why environmental chemistry matters:
#1. Environmental Chemistry Studies Air Pollution
Air pollution refers to the contamination of indoor and outdoor spaces by physical, chemical, or biological agents. Environmental chemistry studies how chemicals contaminate the air and how polluted air affects our health. A study shows that air pollution increases mortality and the number of patients struggling with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, identifying how the major chemical air pollutants (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and lead) diffuse in the air is crucial for improving the overall air quality.
#2. Environmental Chemistry Investigates Water Pollution
Just like the air, water can also be contaminated by various chemicals, bacteria, or trash. When it comes to water pollution by chemical agents, environmental chemistry comes into play. Identifying the nature of chemicals and how they impact water quality is key to determining whether the water can be used for various activities, including drinking and swimming. As contaminated water can be poisonous or even cause fatal diseases, reducing the amount of chemicals polluting the environment is essential.
#3. Environmental Chemistry Analyzes Soil Pollution
Soil pollution is another type of environmental contamination that significantly affects the overall quality of our life. Therefore, it is considered to be a high-priority ecological concern. As a matter of fact, minimizing exposure to polluted soil is of huge importance for all living beings. Environmental chemistry plays a key role in understanding what chemicals trigger soil pollution and provides information about the causes, effects, and control of soil contamination.
#4. Environmental Chemistry Studies How Different Chemicals Impact the Environment
Generally speaking, environmental chemistry focuses on exploring how chemical agents affect the environment as a whole. Whether the chemicals are natural or man-made, they can significantly change the overall quality of the environment we live in. Therefore, it is of huge importance to determine whether certain chemicals are harmful to our planet and how they impact the environment.
#5. Environmental Chemistry Explains How Human Health Is Affected by Chemical Pollutants
Being exposed to high levels of air, water, and soil pollution can cause a broad range of adverse health effects. Some of the most widespread health effects of living in a contaminated environment are perinatal disorders, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, allergies, malignancies, and mental disorders. Environmental chemistry is crucial for solving global public health problems by providing detailed information on managing environmental pollution.
#6. Environmental Chemistry Is Fundamental to Understanding How Global Energy Usage Affects Climate Change
Climate change causes dangerous weather events that are becoming increasingly severe. From more frequent heat waves and droughts to intense storms and melting glaciers, climate change significantly impacts weather patterns on our planet. As global energy usage is one of the major reasons for climate change, environmental chemistry is key to understanding how burning fuels or producing electricity can affect the atmosphere. Besides, environmental chemistry allows scientists to solve global warming issues.
#7. Environmental Chemistry Is Key to Understanding the Ozone Holes
The ozone layer in the stratosphere is essential for shielding living beings from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Sun. As various chemicals diffuse in the environment, chlorine and bromine atoms destroy ozone molecules, causing ozone depletion. In addition, the thinning of the ozone layer is often referred to as the ozone hole. This phenomenon is studied by environmental chemists. Since ozone depletion leads to increased UV radiation levels that can be harmful for living beings, understanding how the ozone holes work is crucial.
#8. Environmental Chemistry Helps Us Learn More About the Greenhouse Effect
The greenhouse effect refers to heat from the Sun being trapped close to the earth’s surface by greenhouse gases. Without these gases, our planet would not be warm enough for us to feel comfortable. However, since many chemical compounds can act as greenhouse gases, this phenomenon raises climate change problems. Environmental chemistry is crucial for identifying the chemicals acting as greenhouse gases and understanding the greenhouse effect in general.
#9. Environmental Chemistry Is Essential for Reducing Environmental Contamination
To reduce environmental pollution, it is essential to understand how different chemicals contribute to its contamination in the first place. Being aware of what the harmful chemicals are and how they are diffused in the environment allows scientists to solve the global problem. Therefore, environmental chemistry is crucial for reducing the amount of pollutants in the air, water, and soil.
#10. Environmental Chemistry Explains How the World Works on the Molecular Level
When it comes to solving environmental pollution, identifying the chemical agents causing the contamination is not enough. Learning more about how these chemicals work or which chemical reactions occur in the environment is just as crucial. Environmental chemistry studies how different chemicals affect our planet and living beings on the molecular level. Without environmental chemists, we would not be able to identify or decrease the amount of major air, water, and soil pollutants.