Meaning And Causes Of Thermal Pollution

Thermal pollution

Thermal pollution is defined as sudden increase or decrease in temperature of a natural body of water which may be ocean, lake, river or pond. In thus we talk about meaning and causes of thermal pollution.

Meaning And Causes Of Thermal Pollution


When someone thinks of pollution, the idea of thermal pollution often doesn’t come to mind. People will first think of things like carbon emissions, personal pollution and waste, and a variety of other changing factors. However, thermal pollution is a real and pure problem in our modern society.This normally occurs when a plant or facility takes in water from a natural resource and puts it back with an altered temperature. Usually, these facilities use it as a cooling method for their machinery or to help better produce their products.

Causes of Thermal pollution

Following are the main causes of thermal pollution are as fallow:

1. Water used as coolant & ejected back into water bodies:

Mainly, the water that is used as coolant and transferred back to natural water bodies is the chief reason for thermal pollution. This kind of activity is mostly done by production; manufacturing and power plants. These plants use water to cool down their machines and eject back the hot water into water bodies. Thus, the natural water goes through a sudden rise in temperature.

2. Soil Erosion:

Soil erosion is another major factor that causes thermal pollution. Consistent soil erosion causes water bodies to rise, making them more exposed to sunlight. The high temperature could prove fatal for aquatic biomes as it may give rise to anaerobic conditions.

3. Nuclear Power Plants:

Nuclear power plants emit a large amount of unutilized heat and traces of toxic radio nuclear into nearby water streams. Emissions from nuclear reactors and processing installations are also responsible for increasing the temperature of water bodies.

4. Water as Cooling Agent in Power, Manufacturing and Industrial plants:

Production and Manufacturing plants are biggest source of thermal pollution. These plants draw water from nearby source to keep machines cool and then release back to the source with higher temperature. When heated water returns to the river or ocean, the water temperature rises sharply. When oxygen levels are altered in the water, this can also degrade the quality and longevity of life in wildlife that lives underwater. This process can also wipe away streamside vegetation, which constantly depends on constant levels of oxygen and temperature. By altering these natural environments, industries are essentially helping decrease the quality of life for these marines based life forms and can ultimately destroy habitats if they are not controlled and careful about their practices.

5. Domestic Sewage:

Domestic sewage is often discharged into rivers, lakes, canals or streams with­out waste treatment. The municipal water sewage normally has a higher tem­perature than receiving water. With the increase in temperature of the receiv­ing water the dissolved oxygen content (DO) decreases and the demand of oxy­gen increases and anaerobic conditions occur.

6. Unawareness among people:

Growing thermal pollution is also the result of unawareness among people. Even after knowing the hazardous effects of thermal pollution on environment, there are abundant industries which are continuously using ways that encourage this pollution.

If you want to read about meaning and types of pollution. You can read it here.

Meaning And Different Pollution Types

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