Types of Pollution and its Effects


If you’ve traveled to any polluted area, you’ll instantly understand that it’s very discomforting. The fact that you’re breathing in more dangerous particles than oxygen sends a chill down many people’s spines. Nevertheless, many of us – including me – go on with our daily lives: driving to work or school, buying plastic covered goods, and so on. We always think of making a change, but never act on them. Maybe wholly understanding the issue will help spark that drive.

This image shows the distribution of indexes from various countries of different aspects of pollution in this world: air, noise, light, comfort level, and the summation of different pollutants.

Firstly, we have to understand what these numbers mean. The image shows us a range between -3 and a little under 4. As any box plot would, it shows the extrema, 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile of each catagory. But, what do these numbers mean? A value greater than zero means positive and a value less than zero means negative, sounds obvious. However, it’s relative to the topic. For example, a positive value for the ‘Air’ catagory means a decent air quality; however, a positive value for ‘Noise and Light’ means a high amount of those pollutants.

Now that we understand what the data visualization holds, we can analyse each aspect of it. To begin, the air box plot shows us a range between -2 and 2. Additionally, the plot shows us that the 50th percentile is below zero, therefore, the bottom 50 percent of the total countries used in this visualization have a relatively negative air quality. Regardless, there is still countries above zero which means that around the 60th percentile and above have decent air quality.

Moving onto the ‘Noise and Light’ part of the plot, we can see that there is a large concentration, relative to the air plot, near the zero mark. This means that there are many countries that have the same issue, even though some are in the negative area. Noise and light pollution seems to be one of the more generalizable causes of overall pollution in countries, based on the visualization.

Furthermore, unlike the ‘Noise and Light’ plot, the ‘Comfort Level’ plot in the data visualization means that a value greater than zero mean a good comfort level and a negative value means a bad comfort level. When analyzing the plot, we can see that there is a larger percentile above the zero mark, which shows us that many countries – taking pollution level into account – still have a decent comfort level for people living in the countries.

Finally, the overall pollution plot. This visualization shows us that there is a wide range of countries with different levels of pollution ranging from -3 to a little over 3. Not only does this mean that many countries have various different pollution levels and as a result comfort levels, but also shows us how momentous and pressing the issue actually is. There are many more countries with a positive pollution index, meaning more pollution, compared to the number of countries with a negative pollution index.

All around the world, there are pollutants, of all forms, roaming urban areas. This pollution not only disrupts the comfort of living but also, painfully, progresses the world into a more destructive era. As earth week comes and goes, think about what we, as a community, can do for the world, and what you, as an individual can do to make a difference; anything small can change the world for the better.

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