CyberDodo and Urban pollution (1-19)

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The ground

By grouping millions of individuals on small surfaces, cities in fact multiply problems related to waste management, this waste yet another source of ground pollution.

As such, we find great amounts of numerous pollutants in the ground including : lead, arsenic, chromium, mercury, hydrocarbons, dioxins, acids, solvants, etc. It is probably superfluous to mention the great dangers that these toxic substances present to humans, animals and to Nature, more generally.

Unfortunately, there are other sources of pollution created by cities, notably noise and light pollution.

Noise pollution

Automobile traffic, in addition to creating considerable gaseous emissions, is also a source of considerable noise. In cities, millions of people live in an environment which is never quiet as cars, motorcycles, buses, lorries add to the noise created by trains, tubes, planes, etc.

A lack of privacy and inhabitant density exposes citizens to additional bothersome noise - from their neighbors – as they engage in professional or recreational activity, as the case may be.

The result is an increased level of stress for persons that are exposed to this, and a considerable decrease in their quality of life.

Light pollution

Permanent illumination in cities (public lighting, automobile traffic, signs, etc.) is another source of pollution to which many people are exposed. The absence of nighttime makes it impossible for some to even sleep. As for the stars, they long ago disappeared from city skies.

 Light pollution aggravates stress

Electromagnetic pollution

The inhabitants of most cities in the 21st century live in an electromagnetic « fog » due to waves emitted from more and more electronic devices.

Mobile telephone networks, with their antennas and their devices (mobile telephones), wireless internet networks (Wifi, etc.) with their computers, radios, televisions – in addition to personal appliances, such as microwave ovens, etc….create this fog.

In short, a long time ago cities could offer a quality of life better than that of the countryside. However, nonstop growth in the number of urban inhabitants, resultant decreases in living space and the related exacerbation of pollution problems forces human society to reconsider the urban lifestyle.

Rearranging the equation to put humankind at the centre, to offer humans decent living conditions and to imagine cities that respect both the environment and future generations, etc. – a major challenge for the megalopolises of today and tomorrow.

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It is basically the collection of pollutants created by cities, the number and dangerousness of these pollutants which would certainly surprise city dwellers everywhere ! Air, water, ground – the entire environment is involved…

Certainly, the situation is different in western countries versus in poorer countries, in countries with warmer climates as opposed to colder ones, but a global consciousness must definitely be engaged in order to make cities less polluted and hence less dangerous for their inhabitants.

Air

Cities are the source of numerous dangerous gases, particularly vehicles (passenger cars, lorries, buses, etc) which produce, in particular, carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxides (Nox), benzyne, ozone, etc. – in addition to fine particles emitted by diesel motors which represent a serious threat to human health.

Heating installations use fossil fuels which also pollute the air of our cities. However, in numerous urban agglomerations, the main source of the deterioration of air quality is from industrial facilities which spew out veritable poisons into the air, which is then breathed by riverside residents.

Smog, which so commonly caps our famous megalopolises is a terrifying palpable demonstration of atmospheric pollution.

 Water pollution is just one aspect of urban pollution

Water

For more than a century, cities have functioned as super magnets, attracting millions of rural residents to their proverbial shores.

Each of these individuals has needed water to live, that is, to drink, to prepare food, and also to wash up and for other basic needs. Cities under constant development must therefore constantly increase their water resources and their water treatment capacities.

In numerous countries, this has created nearly insurmountable problems and hundreds of millions of human beings are not guaranteed daily access to potable water ; as regards wastewater –the lack of effective collection and treatment facilities means that wastewater is often quite simply dumped back into Nature, often into the ocean, which creates serious and lasting pollution problems.

Lest we not forget the cleansing effect of rainwaters which wash numerous pollutants into the ground and other water sources, including lakes and oceans.

See our informational report on groundwater for more information.

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