Thermal Pollution has predominantly drawn the concern of several environmentalists and steps are being taken to control it.
The release of excess heat to the atmosphere is the primary cause of thermal pollution. Almost every industry needs the energy to run its machines. However, the excess heat energy released affects the atmosphere and our surroundings adversely.
The source of thermal energy is not limited to heavy scale industries. Rather, the coolant systems in several public buildings, large-scale deforestation, thermal power plants and lack of environmental awareness are some of the major reasons causing thermal pollution. Our world is quite limited on resources and uncontrolled thermal pollution may lead to global warming, which if unchecked, in the long run, would lead to global extinction.
Let’s have a look over some of the points to control thermal pollution
Top 10 Ways to Prevent Thermal Pollution
Let’s have a look over some of the points to prevent and control thermal pollution.
1. Cooling towers and artificial lakes
Industries which generate excess heat release the heated water into water channels. This water affects the normal temperature of the water bodies affecting the ecosystem adversely. An economic solution to the problem is using cooling ponds to let the heated water lose its temperature with time. Once the temperature is in equilibrium with the surroundings, it can be released into water bodies or recycled for further use. Artificial lakes work on the same principle and can help check thermal pollution by using natural processes to minimize heat transfer to natural water bodies.
2. Save Electricity
Electricity was never a cheap commodity. Its production involves burning of coal in thermal power plants, which is used to heat up water and in turn, the steam produced is used to power turbines which generate electricity. However, the waste heat generated from thermal power plants is in large quantities and can cause excess thermal pollution. Hence, when we save electricity, we indirectly prevent thermal pollution.
3. Use of alternative cooling agents- other than water.
A majority of our infrastructure surrounds around the use of water as a coolant. The primary reason behind it is the ease of availability and easy disposal once the cooling purpose is fulfilled. However, the heated water disturbs the ecosystem of water bodies. Hence, emphasis should be laid on using coolants other than water. Air-cooled systems are the best alternative to water-based cooling systems. For smaller units, oil-based cooling systems would fulfill the task of cooling. Well, the oil is reusable and can be used for multiple cooling cycles.
4. Release heated water in less vulnerable regions
Several heavy scale industries are established close to water bodies. It helps with an easy discharge of waste in an economic way. However, several natural water bodies have a sensitive ecosystem. In other words, the vegetation of the particular water body would not survive a sudden rise in temperature. Hence, steps should be taken to prevent the release of heated water in less vulnerable regions.
5. Circular plowing to prevent erosion.
This farming practice is a method of plowing and is also used to prevent tillage erosion. Stones are placed around the boundaries to prevent erosion, and hence retain the texture and quality of the soil.
6. Reuse of heated water
The heated water generated from industries can be reused to heat up homes or buildings. This process, in turn, would minimize the heat transfer to natural water bodies and help in preventing thermal pollution.
7. Tree planting along the shorelines
The most economic way to control any form of pollution is afforestation. Tree plantation along shorelines would help the soil to retain its texture and productivity. Additionally, the trees would help control air pollution and result in a better and more stable ecosystem.
Cogeneration works on the principle of ‘reuse’, where the residue heat from the generation of electricity is used to provide heat to homes and buildings. Hence, Cogeneration or Combined Heat and Power is an effective measure to prevent thermal pollution.
9. Use of alternative sources of energy
Electricity generation through conventional thermal power plants is the major source of pollution. Thermal power plants use steam-driven turbines to generate electricity. Hence, it results in thermal pollution. As a precaution, solar energy or hydropower plants could be used to prevent the thermal pollution in the production of electricity.
10. Environmental Awareness
In the present set of conditions, the issues of thermal pollution are set to increase over a period. The only viable solution would be raising environmental awareness and making people familiar with the ill-effects of rapid industrialization.
Our planet Earth is unique in every aspect. Being the only planet in the solar system to sustain life, it turns out that saving it from destruction is our concern. Hence, proper measures should be taken to prevent pollution and in turn save our planet, Earth.