Environmental Chemistry (Option E)

Human activities involve intensive use of limited resources found in air, water and soil. Many of these activities produce waste products that build up in the environment to produce pollution with increasingly local and global effects. An understanding of this impact is essential and beyond the study of chemistry. © IBO 2007

Environmental Chemistry is the scientific study of chemical processes occurring in the environment being impacted by human activity. This study of the environment may be further branched down and categorized into the Air Pollution, Acid Deposition, Greenhouse effect, Ozone depletion, Water treatment and Soil. The focus in researching on this field is to develop a fundamental understanding of the nature from these chemical processes, in order to ensure the evaluation of human activities are accurately evaluated.

Air Pollution: Study of chemicals or biological materials that causes harm or discomfort to living things in the environment.

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Air Pollution (Picture 1)

  1. Acid Deposition: Acid Deposition is commonly known as acid rain. Acid rain usually occurs when emissions from from the combustion of fossil fuels and other industrial processes undergo complex chemical reactions in the atmosphere and fall to the earth either by wet or dry deposition. Wet deposition examples include snow, cloud rain etc. Dry deposition includes dry particles and gas.Artifacts destroyed by Acid Rain(Ecological Society of America, 2000)

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external image econom1.jpg

Effects of Acid Rain (Picture 2)

Greenhouse effect: Greenhouse gases are gasses that absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range. The study of this area mainly studies the effects of greenhouses gases acting as a blanket, insulating the earth. A strong example of greenhouse effect is Global warming.

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Greenhouse effect (Picture 3)

Ozone Depletion: The Ozone Layer is a layer of atmosphere that blankets the earth, deflecting harmful ultraviolet rays radiated from the sun. The study in this field investigates the underlying causes of the depletion of the ozone layer in recent years.

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Ozone Depletion in Purple Region (Picture 4)

Water Treatment: Water treatment is the process in which water may be purified or filtered to make water more desirable and acceptable for specific uses. The study in this field is mainly on the processes of filtering and purifying water for the benefit of mankind.

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Water Treatment Technique (Picture 5)

Soil: Under the soil section of environmental chemistry; we are required to study the different types of soil; soil pollution, cause and effects of soil pollution, as well as the method and process in which are developed in restoring soil with rich nutrients.

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Soil (Picture 6)

The above are just some examples of different aspects of environmental chemistry. It is important to study Environmental Chemistry because it involves understanding how the chemistry of the environment works either in a state with human interaction or in its natural behavior. The results from these research will then give the public information on the consequences of pollution and toxic contamination. From the results, society may then modify their activities so that development of society will be of without gross negative activities.

Abatt. J. (n.d) Retrieved on March 28th from Environmental Chemistry on http://www.chem.utoronto.ca/research/environmental.php
Ecological Society of America. 2000. Acid Deposition. Retrieved March 15, 2011, from Esa: http://www.esa.org/education_diversity/pdfDocs/aciddeposition.pdf
N.A. (n.d). Environmental chemistry. In N.A. IBO. Retrieved March 15th
Picture 1: http://www.breathepureair.com/airqualityblog/
Picture 2: http://msetdata.rst2.edu/portfolios/m/mcdermott_h/dataweb/AR%20student%20projects/am_jd_ps_sg/economist.htm
Picture 4: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/intpol/
Picture 5: http://www.water.epa.gov/learn/kids/drinkingwater/watertreatmentplant_index.cfm
Picture 6: http://www.uvm.edu/~pss./