Emerging Contaminants: Pollution Control and Abatement

Emerging Contaminants: Pollution Control and Abatement

Emily Ng'eno (Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya) and Victor Odhiambo Shikuku (Kaimosi Friends University College, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1871-7.ch010


This chapter discusses water pollution control and abatement strategies in relation to emerging contaminants. The pollution prevention measures described in the chapter can broadly be categorized into four main areas that are highly interdependent: behavioral changes, new technical solutions to aid remediation of the environment, further research and data availability, and legislation or policy reforms. These main areas have been expanded in detail under 13 subtitles that are not only interdependent but also practical and achievable. The chapter demonstrates that if the proposed measures are collectively taken into consideration, then most of the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, especially the goals relating to water quality, would become a reality. The benefits of pollution control and abatement are widespread and far-reaching and can better the quality of life on the planet.
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Background Information

ECs, mainly found in wastewater, aquatic environment and soil bring in the latest potential ecological and human health risks. ECs comprise synthetic or naturally occurring mass-produced hazardous chemicals present in our everyday consumer products and microorganisms that have been detected in drinking water at trace concentrations and the associated threat to biota is unknown and in dispute. These uncommonly monitored contaminants have the potential to enter the environment and cause adverse ecological and human health effects (Raghav et al., 2013, Thomaidis et al., 2012). They include pharmaceuticals, personal care products, biocides (pesticides and herbicides), fragrances, plasticizers, hormones, flame retardants, nanoparticles, perfluoroalkyl compounds, chlorinated paraffins, siloxanes, algal toxins, various trace elements including rare earths, radionuclides, endocrine disrupting compounds as well as microorganisms that are less monitored or regulated in the environment among others (Gavrilescu et al., 2015; Dulio et al., 2018; Petri et al.,2015; Sarantuyaa & Frank-Kamenetsky, n.d.).

Relative to the conventional or traditional contaminants, ECs have five distinguishing characteristics:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Effluent: The final release of a wastewater treatment plant.

Pollution Prevention: Is any practice that reduces, eliminates, or prevents pollution at its source.

Runoffs: Is the flow of water down a gradient that occurs when excess stormwater, meltwater, or other water sources flows over the Earth's surface.

Ecosystem: Plants and animals and how they relate with their physical environment.

Point Source: Is a single identifiable source of pollution like a drainage pipe.

Micropollutants: Are inorganic and organic environmental contaminants that are bioactive, nonbiodegradable and persistent even at very low concentrations, in the range of micro, nano or pico-grams per litre and cannot be fully eliminated with conventional wastewater treatment methods.

Water Sources: Any water reservoir including surface waters like rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, or ground waters.

Non-Point Source: Is diffuse/discreet source of pollution which occur over a wide area and cannot be identified to a single source.

Pollution: It is the introduction of a harmful or hazardous substance into the environment.

Emerging Contaminants: Are synthetic or naturally-occurring hazardous chemicals present in most consumer products and microorganisms that have been detected in drinking water at trace concentrations and their risks to biota is unknown or mostly disputed.

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