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What Do Factories Do to Help Stop Pollution?

In many countries, factories are required to abide by anti-pollution laws.
Waste factories use biofiltration systems to reduce air pollution.
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  • Written By: K. Testa
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 11 July 2014
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Factories throughout the world that want to help stop pollution have two basic options: working to control existing pollution and trying to prevent future pollution. In many countries, factories are obligated to abide by certain environmental laws; others must implement their own self-imposed methods to stop pollution. Usually, their goals are to minimize the damage done by existing pollutants and to attempt to prevent further pollution by modifying their industrial practices. A related option is to sell specific by-products as raw materials to other industries.

Air pollution usually takes the form of smoke or smog, but sometimes the pollutants are invisible to the naked eye. Contaminants can include particles in the air, as well as solid and liquid aerosols; other common air pollutants include sulfur oxides, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide, which are produced by industrial activities such as burning coal. To help stop pollution, a factory can modify its procedures or use different equipment. For example, filters on smokestacks can help stop pollution by catching harmful substances and cleaning fumes before they reach the air. In addition, a factory might reduce carbon monoxide emissions, for instance, by burning natural gas instead of oil or coal.

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Water pollution harms animals and plants that live in rivers, streams, and oceans. Factories can help stop pollution by treating sewage and other waste before releasing it into the environment. Furthermore, water treatment plants clean polluted water and add chemicals in order to make it considered safe for wildlife and, often, for human use. In the U.S. and abroad, dumping hazardous materials into ocean water is prohibited by international regulations. The U.S. is also one of many countries subject to federal legislation that mandates specific anti-pollution practices.

In addition to modifying their industrial practices, many factories try to stop pollution by selling certain pollutants as by-products. Rather than being dumped, the by-products are recycled or reused as raw materials for another product. A recently documented example demonstrates the conversion of "slag," a steel-making by-product, into a useful raw material for making cement. The most notable environmental benefit of these sales was a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

While these efforts to stop pollution might have alleviated some problems, they have not eliminated them. Climate change, for instance, continues to be a concern for all countries, and it is often unclear whether certain anti-pollution measures have been effective. In many industrialized countries, the ultimate goal is to prevent pollution altogether, rather than having to manage it.

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Discuss this Article

anon924741
Post 7

I still believe that there is no better example than my city. It managed to reduce air pollution twice in few years, look through the data. I live in Kur Gyvenu and I believe that we managed to reach it only working together. Every city may follow us, and may care about environment as we care!

croydon
Post 3

The pollution of air is such a frightening thing these days. I really worry about the world that my kids are going to live in, what with the bigger and bigger storms that are all over the news and so forth.

I try my best to walk whenever I can, or take my bike, but it seems really depressing to think about how little that is compared with what the factories put out. I'm glad there are some things they can do to make it less polluting.

Mor
Post 2

@MrsPramm - It's not as simple as that, really when you look at some of the industry that's in the world today. It's not a matter of making sure that each company is working cleanly by itself. As it says in the article, a lot of the time they are selling on their byproducts, like fly ash from burning coal being used in concrete.

It's a matter of giving them guidelines so they can work cleanly together. It's no good doing what a lot of countries do at the moment, which is recycle by shipping their byproducts overseas so another country has to deal with the pollution.

The whole world is being affected by pollution. People are never going to want to give up their ability to live decadently. The best thing to do is try to figure out how they can do that without destroying the world in the process.

MrsPramm
Post 1

It is actually possible for factories to work without creating pollution. It takes a while to set them up properly and usually takes a fair amount of investment as well, but usually once they are set up properly, they spend less money in the long run.

My friend likes to compare it to ants. They are one of the most ubiquitous creatures in the world and they modify it almost as much as we do, but they still manage to live in harmony with the Earth because they don't pollute, they use all their resources and recycle them naturally.

If we could only learn to do this with everything, humans could still live a comfortable life, without the threat of the collapse of the environment from pollution hanging over our heads.

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