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USC / Environmental Studies / ENST 150gx / What are examples of non-point sources of pollution?

What are examples of non-point sources of pollution?

What are examples of non-point sources of pollution?


School: University of Southern California
Department: Environmental Studies
Course: Environmental Issues in Society
Professor: Ekaterina svyatets
Term: Summer 2016
Tags: Environmental Studies, agriculture, GMOs, air pollution, commercial fishing, environmental science and sustainability, water pollution, and final study guide
Cost: 50
Name: Environmental Issues in Society - Final Study Guide
Description: Contains all of the information following the second midterm, which is all of the material we need to know for the final exam. Good luck, everybody! Thanks for a great semester!
Uploaded: 12/02/2016
6 Pages 222 Views 8 Unlocks


What are examples of non-point sources of pollution?

Notes by: Anastasia Barbato

Environmental Issues in Society - Final Study Guide 

Topic 1: Air Pollution 

1. Energy Legislation

a. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ​ (2009) - or simply known as the “Recovery Act”; clean energy investments and a reduction of carbon pollutants, strengthening the economy, clean transportation, and taxing oil companies

i. Oil Industry’s Response:​ American Petroleum Institute; Independent Petroleum Assoc. Of America; made the argument that the tax would end up falling on the consumers (not true)

2. Natural Sources

a. fires, volcanoes release toxins into the atmosphere

What are criteria pollutants based on?

3. Unnatural Sources

a. dust storms caused by topsoil degradation/erosion from unsustainable farming b. Industry releasing pollution into the air o the city from cars and factories (smog) 4. Clean Air Act of ​ 1970 - government regulation of air pollution (EPA); sets air quality standards for criteria pollutants (NAAQS); very difficult to pass this act (businesses and corporations lobbying against it)

a. 1990 - strengthened regulations for auto emissions

5. Point & Non-Point Sources of Pollution

​ a. Point sources - specific spots where large quantities of pollutants are discharged (factories, refineries, power plants)

b. ​ Non-point sources - consisting of many small resources that are diffused over a greater area (cars, airplanes)

How does the ozone layer protect the planet?

6. ​ Criteria Pollutants - very common pollutants that are monitored by the EPA; must meet a “criteria”; harmful to the environment, must be regulated; all have horrible effects on human health (respiratory, carcinogenic, etc.) Don't forget about the age old question of What is the difference between aerial and vegetative hyphae?

a. The criteria is based on human and environmental health standards

b. Types of criteria pollutants

i. ​ Carbon Monoxide (CO) - colorless, odorless; vehicles and engines, industry, waste combustion, combustion of fuel (gas, stoves, cars, etc.)

​ ii. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) - colorless w/a strong odor; electricity production, industry; acid precipitation damages water, soil (corrosive); caused from

burning sulfur-heavy coal

​ iii. Nitrogen Oxide (NO2) - has an odor, brown color; vehicles, industrial production combustion processes, tobacco smoke; causes eye, nose,

throat irritation, respiratory issues; contributes to smog and acid rain We also discuss several other topics like What hr would cause chest pain?

​ iv. Lead (Pb) - gasoline and industrial smelting; bioaccumulates; government regulates the lead exposure; very toxic, damaging to growth and

neurological processes; lead-based products were the main culprits

(paints, plumbing, toys, jewelry); lead is regulated now since 1978

​ v. Tropospheric Ozone - ground level; colorless, strong odor; secondary pollutant; major component of smog; harms tissues that cause respiratoryWe also discuss several other topics like What were the most significant similarities and differences between life in america’s industrial cities and the southern states in this period?


Notes by: Anastasia Barbato

problems; valley of Los Angeles traps the heat and toxic chemicals that We also discuss several other topics like Can two paintings depict the same thing?

create it; LA consistently doesn’t meet EPA standards; high heat creates

more of it

​ vi. Particulate Matter - suspended solid particles; dust, soot, sulfates, nitrates; from dust and combustion processes; traffic = more emissions =

more particles; small particles are more damaging and penetrate the

lungs easily, causing respiratory issues

7. State Implementation of Regulations on Air Quality

a. Clean Air Act leaves it to the states to decide how to achieve the NAAQS​ (Nat’l Air Quality Standards);​ failure to comply = nonattainment regions; must be

revised and reevaluated by the EPA (Federal Implementation Plan used if state cannot comply consistently)

8. Facts about Air Pollution

a. Developing nations have more air pollution

i. Factories, power plants have unregulated pollution; overpopulation and

increased traffic creates more pollution

9. Smog - unhealthy mixture of air pollutants in urban areas

a. Types of smog

i. Industrial - industries burn coal and oil; sulfur burned from coal combines w/oxygen to form sulfuric acid We also discuss several other topics like What are the two models of the pace of speciation?
We also discuss several other topics like Why did we have a civil war?

ii. Photochemical - morning traffic, heat increases chemical concentrations; forms brown haze; NO2 VOCs

b. Residence Time - the time a pollutant stays in the atmosphere; creates local and global impacts over time

i. SO2, NO2, NO, etc. smog doesn’t last more than a few hours; gone by

afternoon, but still harmful

10. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - emitted from solids & liquids; chemicals w/short & long-term health effects; chemical consumer products (10,000+ VOCs)

a. Present in:

i. Building materials, cleaning/personal care products; higher temperatures -> greater off-gassing (when VOCs are released as gas into the air),

pesticides, office equipment, correction fluids, markers, paints/lacquers

ii. Flame retardants - present in furniture, vehicles, electronics, even food; PBDEs cause DNA damage and are present in our lives

​ 1. Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) - brominated flame retardant 11. Ozone Layer - protects the earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation; chemicals harm the ozone layer

a. Ozone-Depleting Substances

i. CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) - remain in the atmosphere for a century; the UV radiation splits the molecule into chlorine and carbon; destroys

ozone (creates ozone hole in the Arctic)

b. Montreal Protocol - 196 nations came together to cut CFC production in half by 1998; our biggest environmental success story; research developed rapidly; it


Notes by: Anastasia Barbato

was a lot cheaper and easier to substitute CFCs rather than change the entire carbon emitting industry

Topic 2: Agriculture 

1. Facts about Agriculture

a. Animal product consumption increases as incomes increase

b. 25% of the world’s land is used for domestic animal production

c. The ecological footprint of livestock is large and has a significant environmental impact (energy expended, water used, deforestation for grazing land, methane emissions, chemical ingestion)

2. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) - industrial meat production not designed for animal health by rather designed for maximum return (economic benefit) a. Environmental Impacts

i. Manure runoff - non-point pollution

ii. Salmonella - heavy use of antibiotics causes bacterial resistance,

bioaccumulation of the drugs in the animals

1. Antibiotic resistance could kill more people a year than cancer;

most antibiotics are actually given to livestock to prevent infections

from the horrid living conditions (80% go to animals)

2. CA and some states limit antibiotic use in healthy animals and

prevent antibiotic resistance

3. Deforestation - pastures and animal grazing for meat production cause mass deforestation to meet growing demand for meat

a. FACTS:​ 58 million acres of rainforest in Latin America has been converted to cattle pastures; most land is held by a few ranchers (monopoly)

b. Government Policies in Latin America

i. Encourage deforestation for cattle grazing/meat production/corn farming/ etc. for domestic use and export

c. Effect on climate change (increase)

i. Trees are not absorbing CO2 and release it when they die (1.6 billion tons/yr)

ii. Livestock = methane emissions (100 million tons/yr)

iii. Topsoil erosion = less absorption of CO2

d. rBGH & rBST - Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone to produce more milk

4. Pesticides - herbicides, fungicides, insecticides; negatively affects animals/organisms that contribute to environmental health

5. Food Desert - an urban area in which it is a difficult to find affordable or healthy fresh produce

a. Affects human health (increase obesity, heart disease, malnutrition)

6. Food Waste - 40% of food in the US is wasted each year; ⅓ of food we produce and buy gets thrown into landfills


Notes by: Anastasia Barbato

a. Causes:​ expiration date, over-purchasing, doesn’t “look good” (cosmetic standards); expiration date really meant for grocery stores to not sell food past the date it may expire by, not meant for human health concerns

i. Confusing labels lead to huge amounts of food waste; the regulations are designed to protect the consumer

b. Solutions:​ labels may be adjusted to reflect the last possible date the product may be consumed; important to find balance between protections and waste 7. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) - foods modified on the genetic level to increase production, taste, cosmetic appearance, etc.

a. Possible Consequences of GMOs:​ possible allergic reactions, human body’s reaction to new genes (gene transfer); indirect effects on food safety

b. Benefits of GMOs:​ resistance to pests, weather conditions, viruses; greater production

c. “Super Weeds” - resistant to herbicides; not occurring in nature (Roundup resistant)

d. BT Corn - species of corn w/a transplanted gene from bacteria to become a pesticide

e. “Roundup Ready” crops - crops genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup, which kills all other plant life

i. Creates efficiency; produced by Monsanto

ii. Soy, corn, canola, alfalfa, cotton, sorghum, wheat

iii. If Roundup Ready seeds are used, they will only work with Roundup in terms of resistance (corporate monopoly)

iv. Terminator seeds - the seeds are only good for one season, causing farmers to buy new seeds every season (inefficient, leads to lack of


f. Issues with GMOs

i. Low biodiversity from monoculture crops

ii. Company abuse of monopoly over GMOs

iii. Unsure if BT Corn has negative health effects when ingested by living organisms

g. Regulation in the US

i. Not much regulation; nonspecific

ii. NIH (National Institute of Health) - in charge of research and biotech regulation of GMOs

iii. FDA, USDA, EPA - all in charge of creating regulations on GMOs; in compliance with legal requirements; safety of pesticides, possible

pesticide resistance research

iv. GMO labeling

1. Required to be labeled by EU, where it is highly regulated and

gives flexibility to set up own regulation; NOT IN THE UNITED



Notes by: Anastasia Barbato

v. World Trade Organization - must label GMOs in products traded

between countries

1. CT, MN, VT now have labeling laws

2. Congress attempting to implement labeling laws on the nat’l level

Topic 3: Oceans and Fish 

1. Major challenges facing the ocean today:

a. Illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing

b. Ocean acidification

c. Pollution

2. Threat to Global Climate Change to and from Fishing

a. Coral bleaching from increased temperatures and pollution

b. “Ghost nets” snagging on coral, fish ,turtles, marine mammals; made of plastic so doesn’t degrade

i. Breakdown time for marine debris: aluminum can 80-200 years, cigarette butts 5 years, cotton towels 6 years, and more

c. Plastic pollution - fish ingest microplastics, absorbing toxic chemicals (bioaccumulation)

i. Certain areas in ocean have big plastic gyres

ii. Mercury bioaccumulates in fish

iii. Microbeads - face wash, plastic beads as stuffing, toothpaste and other cosmetics

1. Not captured by sewage treatment plants; absorb toxins and

pollution from ocean water; confused for food by marine


3. Fisheries

a. # of fish being caught is decreasing because of the growing global population and demand; fishing disrupts oceanic food chains

b. US Commission on Ocean Policy, United Nations tackling this issue in sustainability

i. 90% of the world’s large predatory fish are gone!

ii. Unsustainable because we fish adult female fish, removing the producers and reducing the population

1. Bigger females lay more eggs, and also are the most caught by

fishermen, leading to declining fish populations

iii. 76% of fisheries are collapsing (catching more than can be replenished naturally in a given time)

4. Market-based solutions - individual transferable quota; individual fishing quota; territorial rights to fisheries

a. Commercial fishing catches bycatch (organisms not intended to be caught but gets stuck in the nets anyway)

b. Tragedy of the Commons: it’s difficult to know how much is being caught and how much is wasted

i. Deep-sea trawling creates large amounts of bycatch


Notes by: Anastasia Barbato

5. Causes for Decline of Fisheries

a. Highly inefficient technology

i. Factory fishing - fishing at such a high scale that it is industrialized, efficient

ii. Types of nets

1. Driftnets, longlines, bottom-trawling; all kill more than just fish; also

kill seabirds, turtles, sharks

b. Government subsidies for fisheries leads to more fishing (extended

unemployment benefit, tax exemption, low interest loans/grants, etc.)

c. Increased demand for fish due to increased per capita consumption and increased population

d. Lack of adequate fisheries data (poor labeling, historical data)

i. “Sustainable fishing” does not currently exist

ii. Marine Stewardship Council - has data collected to tell which species to avoid, to eat, and to fish; helpful but not sustainable

6. Bycatch

a. 5:1 ratio of bycatch to commercially intended fish caught

b. 500 million seafood meals/2 billion pounds of bycatch globally

c. “Waste” includes species valuable but not intended to be caught by a specific company

d. Economic, regulatory, and collateral discards of bycatch

i. Regulatory - catch w/o a permit to be caught

ii. Economic - non-profitable catch

iii. Collateral - unintended & non-profitable catch

e. FACT:​ ½ of the world’s marine organisms have been lost in the last 40 years 7. Recreational Fishing

a. With the oceans in collapse, even the low % of fish caught recreationally can be harmful

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