The Pollution Environment
There is sometimes a tendency for contamination to be considered somewhat simplistically, in isolation from its context. It is important to remember that pollution cannot properly be assessed without a linked examination of the environment in which it occurs. The nature of the soil or water which harbours the pollution can have a major effect on the actual expressed end-result. In the case of soil particularly, many properties may form factors in the modification of the contamination effect. Hence, the depth of soil, its texture, type, porosity, humus content, moisture, microbial complement and biological activity can all have a bearing on the eventual pollution outcome. Inevitably, this can make accurate prediction difficult, though a consideration of system stability can often give a good indication of the most likely pollution state of a given environment.
The more stable and robust the environmental system affected, the less damage a given pollution event will inflict and clearly, fragile ecosystems or sensitive habitats are most at risk. It should be obvious that, in general terms, the post-pollution survival of a given environment depends on the maintenance of its natural cycles. Equally obviously, artificial substances which mimic biological molecules can often be major pollutants since they can modify or interrupt these processes and pollution conversion can spread or alter the effect.