Back in the old days, pollution in our world really didn’t mean a thing to us. But now we understand how serious of an issue it is becoming. Pollution affects our water, the air we breathe, and also our lands. In the state of California, pollution is only getting worse and worse over the years. According to “U.S.A Today,” California has eight of the 10 most polluted U.S. cities. The reason comes from a changing climate because it makes it harder to reduce ozone pollution and protect human health. It also comes from the activities of over 39 million people, and a mountainous terrain that traps pollution. It has come to a point where we have to come together as a society and think of solutions. We want to keep our state clean and not treat it like a big dumpster that can accept our trash without any consequences. 

The term pollution is defined as the “introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change.” Pollution comes in many forms: air pollution, littering, and water pollution. Let’s first discuss how “air pollution” is damaging us and our ecosystem. Air pollution or smog is defined as, “the presence in or introduction into the air of a substance which has harmful or poisonous effects.” Smog is relevant because most of our cities are built on plains or in valleys surrounded by mountains. Not to mention that the sunny and warm climate are perfect for forming and trapping air pollutants. It is damaging us, because when we breathe polluted air we are put at a higher risk for asthma and many respiratory diseases. Air pollutants are formed and released during the burning of petroleum-based products and certain fuels such as wood. The list goes from gasoline and diesel-powered motor vehicles such as cars, trucks, and boats, to factories and power plants. 

Furthermore, water pollution is defined as the contamination of water bodies, as a result from human activities such as dumping toxic waste. When toxic substances enter water bodies such as rivers,lakes and oceans, they dissolve and lie suspended in the water. As these substances stay in the water, they increase the levels of mercury and other toxins that is too high for human consumption. It also leads to pesticides and bacteria which are formed in the waterways followed by metals and many nutrients. According to the federal agency, a study shows a 170 percent increase in water toxicity in 2010 compared to 2006. Jared Blumenfield an administrator for the EPA’s pacific Southwest region states, “Water pollution is getting worse, at this point it is a failing grade.” In one EPA study, it showed that 30,000 of the state’s 215,000 miles of shoreline,streams and rivers do not meet the water standards. 

Moreover, land pollution is defined as the destruction of earth’s land surfaces, often directly or indirectly as a result of a person’s activities and their misuse of land resources. It is caused from deforestation and consequent erosion, agriculture, industry, mining, landfills, and illegal dumping of waste as well as urbanization and construction. As well as littering which is defined as any kind of trash thrown in small amounts, especially in places where it doesn’t belong.  For example, discarded soda cans found in wildlife areas such as grasslands, hills, mountains can be tempting to small animals who are looking for food or shade. However, they do not realize that they can be cut by the cans’ sharp edges. Land pollution can also cause an increased risk of wildfires because of the dry conditions. It is caused by pollutants in the soil that create the perfect environment for a wildfire. The fires can also spread quickly because of the dry conditions and widened area of polluted land. 

Although pollution is on the rise, there are many solutions we can take as a community to minimize the issue. One solution to reduce air pollution is to walk or ride a bike. This will reduce the use of emission that is released from your vehicles. Another solution is whenever you leave a room, make sure you turn off the lights. Don’t be afraid to use the sun, all it takes is opening up your blinds or window. For water pollution, don’t throw litter or toxic waste into rivers, lakes or oceans. Even a small water bottle cap can choke an animal who is desperate for food.  Another solution is to use safe detergent products when you are washing your car such as soap products labeled “non-toxic,” “phosphate free,” or “biodegradable;” and are vegetable or citrus based. Finally for land pollution, it is clear and obvious: recycling. When you recycle, you are basically helping reduce environment damage. As a recyclable product is turned back into a raw form that can later be used to create a new and different product. Another solution is to reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural activities. Instead of using fertilizer, use cottonseed meal, which is slightly acidic and contains nutrients that are readily available to plants without the risk of nitrogen burn that is associated with chemical fertilizers. 

Overall, I believe that pollution is very serious and we have to think of solutions. People just walk around our cities and litter without even caring. Little do they know, when they litter they are also damaging themselves and also our wildlife. I think that the government has to jump in and get more involved by providing more trash cans or dumpsters around the city. Maybe even raising the fee of littering, so people would think twice. Just something to make a positive change and impact on our communities. Although there are many solutions to promote a change in our state, it all comes down to us as citizens to spread awareness on the issue.  Tell your friend to recycle, or even pick up bottles around your neighborhood. Even the smallest things can have a positive effect on the environment. We are responsible for what happens to our state in the future, so start today and make a change.

Rice, Doyle. “California Has Eight 10 Most Polluted U.S Cities.” USA Today.

April 18th 2018.

Schenker, Alex. “Why Is Recycling So Important.” EarthFriends. July 26th, 2019. 

 Sharip, Mihray. “Air Quality in California & Steps to Help Reduce Air Pollution.” Loma Linda University. April 14th, 2017.

“How Littering Hurts Animals.” Peta

Fimrite, Peter. “EPA: California waters show widespread pollution.” SFGATE October 6th, 2011.