We are very familiar with the word environment. It includes the air we breathe, the water that covers most of the earth's surface, the plants and animals around us and much more. These days, when we hear people talk about “the environment”, they are often referring to the overall condition of our planet, or how healthy it is.
Environmental chemistry is a branch of chemistry which deals with the study of chemicals and chemical processes. occuring in the enviroment by direct human activities. It also deals with sources, causes and methods of controlling air, water and soil pollution.
Any undesirable change in our environment that has harmful effects on plants, animals and human beings is called environmental pollution.
Environmental pollution is usually caused by the addition of waste products of human activity to the environment. The substances which cause pollution of environment are called pollutants. The pollutants may be solids, liquids or gaseous substances present in significant concentration in the environment.Our environment becomes polluted day by day, by the increased addition of industrial and domestic wastes to it. The air we breathe, the water we drink and the place where we live in, are highly contaminated.
The pollutants are classified as bio-degradable and non-biodegradable pollutants.
The pollutants which can be easily decomposed by the natural biological processes are called bio-degradable pollutants. Examples:plant wastes, animal wastes etc.
The pollutants which cannot be decomposed by the natural biological processes are called Non bio-degradable pollutants. Examples: metal wastes (mainly Hg and Pb), D.D.T, plastics, nuclear wastes etc., These pollutants are harmful to living organisms even in low concentration. As they are not degraded naturally,it is difficult to eliminate them from our environment.