The current pandemic bears perfect testimony to how devastating a viral disease outbreak can be. With the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s clear how a pandemic can affect millions of lives across the world not just health-wise but also wreak havoc in terms of economy and livelihood.
Pollution (of different types) is one of the major factors that contribute to viral disease outbreaks. In this post, we take a closer look at virus kind of pollution and their impact on environment & how different types of pollution in the environment can lead to the outbreak of viral diseases that not only affect humans but animals as well.
What are virus pollution in the environment?
There are different types of pollution in the environment which can contribute to the odds of viral disease outbreaks. The types of pollution listed below are issues that currently exist.
1) Agricultural and sewage runoffs
Runoffs from agricultural farms and sewage systems are one of the common types of pollution that play a major role in increasing the likelihood of viral disease outbreaks. Runoffs from agricultural farmlands and rural, semi-urban, and urban sewage systems that contain manures and human feces are highly dangerous.
The manures and feces in the runoffs can contain disease-causing germs, bacteria, and other microbial pathogens. The likelihood of these disease-causing microbial pathogens leading to a disease outbreak gets higher if they mix with river water.
2) Discharges from manufacturing plants and healthcare facilities
Discharges from factories and large-scale manufacturing plants is one of the most severe types of chemical pollution that pose a high level of threat to the entire ecosystem. Chemical pollution is a major virus kind of pollution in the environment, and manufacturing plant discharge is a major contributor.
The discharges often contain harmful chemicals that can contaminate food and marine life. This, in turn, significantly increases the risk of disease outbreaks that can spread from one food chain to another and eventually to humans.
Wastages discarded from healthcare facilities such as hospitals, bacteria and virus laboratories, are highly likely to contain a number of microbial pathogens. When mixed into the river water or nearby farmlands, the odds of the transmission of the disease-causing pathogens become higher.
3) Animal husbandry and slaughterhouse pollution
Pollution and poor hygiene practices in wild animal husbandry and slaughterhouses are one of the major causes for the outbreak of viral diseases. Wild animals usually carry of host of harmful disease-causing pathogens.
When animals, including blood in slaughterhouses, get mixed, there’s a high risk of rapid transmission of these microbial pathogens. The consumption of the meat of the infected animals, in turn, causes the disease to spread to humans.
Trash may seem unobvious, but the pollution type does contribute to increasing the risk of disease outbreaks. How? Many items in industrial and household trash contain harmful chemicals which can cause contamination among some animals or in certain food chains. The contamination can, in turn, spread, become more severe, and cause diseases.
Impact of virus pollution on the environment
Pollution that causes the spread of disease-causing viruses, bacteria, and other microbial pathogens affects the environment in some of the most harmful ways. Harmful contaminants that get mixed with river water affect marine life in hazardous ways. As marine animals get affected, the food chains and the entire marine ecology gets affected.
Consumption of the disease-causing contaminants by wild animals can cause disease outbreaks which can transmit from one food chain to another, and eventually to humans.