| Last Updated:: 23/02/2024
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Air pollution

Air Pollution is the introduction into the atmosphere of chemicals, particulates, or biological materials that cause discomfort, disease, or death to humans, damage other living organisms such as food crops, or damage the natural environment.

Acid Rain

The precipitation of dilute solutions of strong mineral acids, formed by the mixing in the atmosphere of various industrial pollutants -- primarily sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides -- with naturally occurring oxygen and water vapor.

Air quality

A measure of the level of pollution in the air.

Air Quality Index (AQI)

A numerical index used for reporting severity of air pollution levels to the public. It replaces the formerly used Pollutant Standards Index (PSI).

Assigned amount unit (AAU)

A Kyoto Protocol unit equal to 1 metric tonne of CO2 equivalent. Each Annex I Party issues AAUs up to the level of its assigned amount, established pursuant to Article 3, paragraphs 7 and 8, of the Kyoto Protocol. Assigned amount units may be exchanged through emissions trading.

Attainment area

A geographic area in which levels of a criteria air pollutant meet the health-based primary standard (national ambient air quality standard, or NAAQS) for the pollutant.


A suspension of small liquid or solid particles in gas.


The mass of air surrounding the Earth.

Activated Carbon

Highly adsorbent form of carbon used to remove odours and toxic substances from liquid or gaseous emissions. In industrial waste-water treatment, it is used to remove dissolved organic matter from waste water.

Agricultural Pollution

liquid and solid wastes from all types of farming activities, including run-off from pesticide and fertilizer use, and from feedlots; erosion and dust from ploughing; animal manure and carcasses; and crop residues and debris.

Airborne Particulates

Finely divided solids or liquids that may be dispersed through the air from combustion processes, industrial activities or natural sources.

Air Pollution Index (API)

Quantitative measure that describes ambient air quality. The index is obtained by combining figures for various air pollutants into a single measurement.

Air Quality Standards

Levels of air pollutants prescribed by regulations that may not be exceeded during a specified time in a defined area.


surrounding, environmental.

Black water

Blackwater is sewage wastewater from toilets or dishwashers and can contain food particles, faeces, and other human bodily fluids which are considered hazardous both to the individual and, if released into the ground, soil.

Biomass fuels or biofuels

A fuel produced from dry organic matter or combustible oils produced by plants. These fuels are considered renewable as long as the vegetation producing them is maintained or replanted, such as firewood, alcohol fermented from sugar, and combustible oils extracted from soy beans. Their use in place of fossil fuels cuts greenhouse gas emissions because the plants that are the fuel sources capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


A large number and wide range of species of animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms. Ecologically, wide biodiversity is conducive to the development of all species.


All types of energy derived from biomass, including biofuels.


Liquid transport fuels made from biomass.

Biodegradable Waste

Waste material composed primarily of naturally-occurring constituent parts, able to be broken down and absorbed into the ecosystem. Wood, for example, is biodegradable, for example, while plastics are not.

Background Concentration

Ambient concentration of pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, measured by background stations.

Carbon sink

Carbon sink is a natural or artificial reservoir that accumulates and stores somecarbon-containing chemical compound for an indefinite period. The process by whichcarbon sinks remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere is known as carbon sequestration.

Carbon sequestration

Carbon sequestration means capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere or capturing anthropogenic (human) CO2 from large-scale stationary sources like power plants before it is released to the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

A naturally occurring greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, concentrations of which have increased (from 280 parts per million in preindustrial times to over 350 parts per million today) as a result of humans' burning of coal, oil, natural gas and organic matter (e.g., wood and crop wastes).

Carbon tax

A charge on fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) based on their carbon content. When burned, the carbon in these fuels becomes carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the chief greenhouse gas.

Carbon count

A measure of the amount of carbon dioxide you produce through your lifestyle every day, for example through driving or using electrical appliances and lighting.

Carbon emissions

In the context of climate change, carbon dioxide released when substances, especially oil, gas, and coal, are burned by vehicles and planes, by factories and by homes.

Carbon footprint

A highly poisonous, odourless, tasteless and colourless gas that is formed when carbon material burns without enough oxygen. Carbon monoxide is toxic when inhaled because it combines with your blood and prevents oxygen from getting to your organs. If a person is exposed to carbon monoxide over a period, it can cause illness and even death. Carbon Monoxide has no smell, taste or colour. This is why it is sometimes called the “Silent Killer”. The most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home are house fires, faulty heating appliances such as boilers, blocked chimney or flues, and rooms not properly ventilated. Carbon Monoxide alarms can be used as a backup to provide a warning to householders in the event of a dangerous build up of carbon monoxide.


Convention on Biological Diversity.


Sharing a car to a destination to reduce fuel use, pollution and travel costs.


The pattern of weather in a particular region over a set period of time, usually 30 years. The pattern is affected by the amount of rain or snowfall, average temperatures throughout the year, humidity, wind speeds and so on. Ireland has a temperate climate, in which it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.

Certified emission reductions (CER)

A Kyoto Protocol unit equal to 1 metric tonne of CO2 equivalent. CERs are issued for emission reductions from CDM project activities. Two special types of CERs called temporary certified emission reduction (tCERs) and long-term certified emission reductions (lCERs) are issued for emission removals from afforestation and reforestation CDM projects.




Central Group 11 (negotiating coalition of Central European Annex I parties).



Carbon monoxide (CO)

A highly poisonous, odourless, tasteless and colourless gas that is formed when carbon material burns without enough oxygen. Carbon monoxide is toxic when inhaled because it combines with your blood and prevents oxygen from getting to your organs. If a person is exposed to carbon monoxide over a period, it can cause illness and even death. Carbon Monoxide has no smell, taste or colour. This is why it is sometimes called the “Silent Killer”. The most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home are house fires, faulty heating appliances such as boilers, blocked chimney or flues, and rooms not properly ventilated. Carbon Monoxide alarms can be used as a backup to provide a warning to householders in the event of a dangerous build up of carbon monoxide.


A rich soil-like material produced from decayed plants and other organic matter, such as food and animal waste, that decomposes (breaks down) naturally. Most food waste can be put into compost, but you should not include meat, bones, cheese, cooking oils and fish. These may take a long time to break down and attract unwanted pests.


The process of deliberately allowing food, garden and other suitable organic wastes to break down naturally over time to produce compost.


Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.


Carbon dioxide.


United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.


The reduction of trees in a wood or forest due to natural forces or human activity such as burning or logging.

DDT (Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane)

A chlorinated hydrocarbon used as a pesticide that is a persistent organic pollutant

Degradable and nondegradable wastes

The complete mixtures in the waters of rivers and lakes include many unknown chemicals. For practical purpose they may be divided into degradable and nondegradable wastes.Degradable wastes in water are those that are reduced in quantity by natural processes. These include organise wastes and thermal discharges. A great source of organic materials in water is domestic sewage. If these materials do not constitute too heavy a load, they are converted into stable inorganic materials by bacteria and other organisms. The degradation process uses the oxygen in the water and constitutes natural self-purification. If, however, the waters are too loaded with organic matter, degradation without sufficient free oxygen produces offensive odours, such as hydrogen sulfide and methane.Nondegradable wastes are salts-soluble in water-soluble gases, or particulate matter (tiny, suspended particles). These wastes may include a wide range of toxic metals arising from complex manufacturing processes; cadmium, mercury, and lead are examples. Generally, the effects of these substances on life are not fully understood, and permissible levels are not properly known. There have been incidences, however, of permanent neurological impairment and death among persons eating fish from waters heavily polluted by mercury.

Domestic waste

Waste produced within the home, including garden waste. See also household waste.


Disposing of waste illegally by not using bins or official recycling centres, civic amenity sites or landfills.


Highly toxic chemicals that can be formed in small amounts from forest fires or volcanoes but more often are produced unintentionally from industrial activities and from incinerating waste and burning fossil fuels.

Endangered species

These species are classified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceas animal or plant species in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range.


A prefix now added to many words indicating a general consideration for the environment e.g. ecohousing, ecolabel, ecomaterial.

Ecologically sustainable development -

Using, conserving and enhancing the human community's resources so that ecological processes, on which all life depends, can be maintained and enriched into the future.


A study of the relation of organisms to their environment, or in more simple terms, environmental biology. Ecology is concerned especially with the biology of groups of organisms and with functional processes on the lands, in the oceans and in fresh waters. Ecology is the study of the structure and function of nature [mankind being considered part of nature]. Ecology is one of the basic divisions of biology which are concerned with principles or fundamentals common to all life.


Effluent means liquid discharged as waste. Industries discharge effluents into water and air, causing pollution. So does sewage disposal.


Ecologically, the environment is the sum of all external conditions and influences affecting the life and development of organisms. (1) The sum total of external conditions which influence an organisms. (2) The sum total of all the external forces or factors, both abiotic and the biotic that affects the physiological behaviour or performance of an organism or a group of organisms.

Emission reduction unit (ERU)

A Kyoto Protocol unit equal to 1 metric tonne of CO2 equivalent. ERUs are generated for emission reductions or emission removals from joint implementation projects.


In the context of the atmosphere, gases or particles released into the air that can contribute to global warming or poor air quality.

Fresh Water

Water containing no significant amounts of salt; potable water suitable for all normal uses cf. potable water.

Fossil fuels

Fuels – such as coal, gas, peat and oil – that are formed in the ground over a long time from dead plants and animals and are used up once they are burned for energy.


Filtration is a process for separating suspended and colloidal impurities from water by passage through a porous medium or porous media. Filtration, with or without pretreatment, has been employed for treatment of water to effectively remove turbidity [e.g., silt and clay], colour, microorganisms, precipitated hardness from chemically softened waters and precipitated iron and maganese from aerated waters. Removal of turbidity is essential not only from the requirement of aesthetic acceptability but also for efficient disinfection which is difficult in the presence of suspended and colloidal impurities that serve as hideouts for the microorganisms.

Fugitive emissions

In the context of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, these are greenhouse gases emitted from fuel production itself including, processing, transmission, storage and distribution processes, and including emissions from oil and natural gas exploration, venting, and flaring, as well as the mining of black coal.


Means animal and vegetable wastes and residue from preparation, cooking and dispensing of food and from the handling, processing, storage and sale of food products and produce.

Global warming

The gradual increase in temperature of the Earth’s surface caused by human activities that cause high levels of carbon dioxide and other gases to be released into the air.

Greenhouse effect

The insulating effect of atmospheric greenhouse gases (e.g., water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, etc.) that keeps the Earth's temperature about 60 °F (16 °C) warmer than it would be otherwise cf. enhanced greenhouse effect.

Greenhouse gases

Gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, which tend to trap heat radiating from the Earth’s surface, so causing warming in the lower atmosphere. The major greenhouse gases that cause climate change are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (NO2). See also greenhouse effect and global warming.


Household waste water that has not come into contact with toilet waste; includes water from baths, showers, bathrooms, washing machines, laundry and kitchen sinks.

Grit; sewage

Grit in sewage is obtained from domestic sewage, floors of garages and service stations, first storm of the season etc.The volume or quantity of grit is determined by diverse factors such as area of unpaved surfaces in the locality, characteristics of ground, design of grit chambers, intensity of cleaning the streets, location of grit chambers, method of cleaning the streets, occurrence of storms and their intensity, provision of catch basins and system of sewage, combined or separate.


Water that collects or flows underground in the small spaces in soil and rock. It might be a source of water for springs and wells and then used for drinking water.


The place or environment where an animal (or plant) naturally or normally lives and raises young

Hard water

Alkaline water containing dissolved salts that interfere with some industrial processes and prevent soap from lathering.


A hazard is asituation which poses a level of threat to lefe, health, property or environment. Most hazards are dormant or potential with only a theoritical risk of harm, however, once a hazard becomes active, it can create an emergency situation causing disaster.

Hazardous waste

Waste that poses a risk to human health or the environment and needs to be handled and disposed of carefully. Examples include oil-based paints, car batteries, weed killers, bleach and waste electrical and electronic devices.


Energy derived from the motion of molecules; a form of energy into which all other forms of energy may be degraded.

Heat treatment; sludge

Two processes of heat treatment (not drying) of sludge exist. In the process developed originally by Porteous, the sludge is heated with live steam at 1800C and high pressure of 10 to 15 atm, for 30 minute or so. The smell can be disposed of by discharging the gases under the boiler grate as combustion air for the boiler. The liquor resulting from the filter presses is also foul, with a high BOD and must be returned for biological treatment.

Heavy metals; water pollution

The term heavy metal is less precisely defined. In chemical terms it can refer to metals with specific gravity greater than about 4 or 5, but more often, the term is simply used to denote metals that are toxic. The list of toxic metals includes aluminum, arsenic, beryllium, bismuth, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, strontium, thallium, tin, titanium, and zinc. Some of these metals, such as chromium and iron, are essential nutrients in our diets, but in higher doses are extremely toxic.

Household waste

Waste that contains paper, cardboard, textiles (for example fabric or carpet), timber, food, garden clippings, glass, plastic and other manufactured materials.


A chemical the kills or inhibits growth of a plant.

Hydro energy

Potential and kinetic energy of water used to generate electricity

Hydroelectric power

The electrical power generated using the power of falling water.


Incinerator is a furnace or a container for incinerating waste materials. Incinerator emits effluents to the skies.


The act of rearing and hatching eggs by the warmth of the body

Industrial waste

Waste resulting from any process of industry, manufacturing, trade or business; from development of any natural resource; from any mixture of the waste with water or normal wastewater; and wastewater containing pollutants in higher concentrations than normal domestic sewage as defined in this section.

Industrial waste waters; water pollution

There is no general uniformity of substances found in domestic wastwaters, industrial wastewaters show increasing variation as the complexity of industrial processes rises. It is an account of biological treatment processes are ordinarily employed in water-pollution control plants, large quantities of industrial wastewaters can interfere with the processes as well as the total load of a treatment plant. The organic matter present in many industrial effluents often equals or exceeds the amount from a community.

Juvenile water

It is water that has come to the earth surface from great depths for the first time. It is derived from magma.

Kyoto protocol

This the first substantial agreement to set greenhouse gas emission limits in 1997. The Kyoto Protocol is an important step towards achieving the aim of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [FCCC], that of preventing dangerous anthropogenic or human-made interference with the climate system.


A site that is specially designed to dispose of waste and operates with a licence granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA reviews licences and, with local authorities, monitors landfills around the country for emissions.


Waste that is thrown away carelessly, mainly made up of plastic, metal, glass, paper or food. Common examples are chewing gum and cigarette butts.


It is the scientific study of physical, chemical, meteorological and biological conditions in fresh water, especially of ponds and lakes.

Municipal waste

Waste produced in urban areas, mainly made up of household waste but also some small commercial waste that is similar to household waste.

Medical wastes

Isolation wastes, infectious agents, human blood and blood products, pathological wastes, sharps, body parts, contaminated bedding, surgical wastes, potentially contaminated laboratory wastes, and dialysis wastes.


The movement of animals, fish and birds in search of food or shelter, often on an annual basis according to the seasons.

Municipal solid waste management

Economic development and prosperity are accompanied by the generation of large amount of wastes that must be reused in some way or disposed in landfills. Waste generation can be reduced to some extent by improved design of products and packing material and by increasing intensity of service per unit mass of material used.Solid wastes can be classified into municipal (residential and commercial), industrial, construction and demolition wastes. The Municipal Solid Wastes (MSW) are the most non-homogeneous since they consists of the residues of nearly all materials used by humanity: of other organic wastes, papers, plastics, fabrics, leather, metals, glass and miscellaneous other materials. Processing or disposal of MSW requires separating the MSW into a number of streams and subjecting each stream to the most appropriate method of resource recovery. The separation of MSW components can take place at the source, i.e. at households or businesses or at Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) using manual and electromechanical methods.

Nonpoint source pollution

Nonpoint source pollution refers to pollution that originates from multiple sources over a certain area.

National Ambient Air Quality Standards

These are federal standards for six pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act.

Natural resources

Natural resources are naturally-occurring things or objects that are for human needs, such as air, water, land, food as well as energy sources such as oil, natural gas, and coal.

Noise pollution

Noises that disturb the environment and people’s ability to enjoy it, for example continually sounding house alarms, loud music, air conditioning or other electrical units and aircraft or motor engines.

Noxious gases

Poisonous gases that can harm people and the environment. Some gases have a strong smell, for example sulphur dioxide and methane, while others, such as carbon monoxide, do not have any smell at all.

Nutrients; water pollution

Nutrients are chemicals, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon, sulfur, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, boron, and cobalt, that are essential to the growth of living things. In terms of water quality, nutrients can be considered as pollutants when their concentrations are sufficient to allow excessive growth of aquatic plants, particularly algae. When nutrients stimulate the growth of algae, the attractiveness of the body of water for recreational uses, as a drinking water supply, and as a viable habitat for other living things can be adversely affected.

Organic food

Plants and animals that are grown or reared without the use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides or hormones.


Any living thing, from bacteria and fungi through to insects, plants, animals and humans.

Ozone layer

The thin protective layer of gas 10 to 50km above the Earth that acts as a filter for ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. High UV levels can lead to skin cancer and cataracts and affect the growth of plants.

Point source pollution

Point source pollution refers to pollution discharged at specific locations, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants or industrial waste treatment facilities.


pH is a numerical measure of the acidity or alkalinity of water. The pH scale ranges from 1 (acidic) to 14 (alkaline). A pH of 7 is neutral. The technical definition of pH is that it is a measure of the activity of the hydrogen ion (H+) and is reported as the reciprocal of the logarithm of the hydrogen ion activity. Therefore, a water with a pH of 7 has 10-7 moles per liter of hydrogen ions; whereas, a pH of 6 is 10-6 moles per liter. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14.

Particulate matter

Fine solid or liquid particles that pollute the air and are added to the atmosphere by natural and man-made processes at the Earth’s surface. Examples of particulate matter include dust, smoke, soot, pollen and soil particles.

Pesticides; water pollution

The term pesticide is used to cover a range of chemicals that kill organisms that humans consider undesirable and includes the more specific categories of insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, and fungicides.There are three main groups of synthetic organic insecticides:organochlorines (also known as chlorinated hydrocarbons), organophosphates, and carbamates. In addition, a number of herbicides, including the chlorophenoxy compounds 2,4,5-T (which contains the impurity dioxin, which is one of the most potent toxins known) and 2,4-D are common water pollutants.

Quaternary treatment

It is an advanced stage of waste water treatment. It aims to remove all kinds of organic and inorganic contaminants present in the wastewater to enable the wastewater treated quality to the portable water standards.

Radioactive Waste

Material that contains or is contaminated with radionuclides at concentrations greater than those established as "exempt" by the competent authorities. To avoid persistent harmful effects, long-term storage is necessary, for which purpose so-called "isotope cemeteries" and abandoned quarries are used.


Water that falls to earth as precipitation from atmospheric humidity. It may contain undesirable quantities of nitrogen, sulphur and heavy metals which give rise to problems of "acid rain".


Processing and use of wastes in production and consumption processes, for example, melting of scrap iron so that it can be converted into new iron products.

Red List of Threatened Animals

listing of animals threatened with extinction. The 1994 IUCN Red List, compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, includes more than 6,000 animal species known to be at risk.


Refuse Driven Fuel.


To break waste items down into their raw materials, which are then used to re-make the original item or make new items.

Renewable energy

Energy from renewable resources such as wind power, solar energy or biomass.

River basin

The portion of land drained by a river and the streams that flow into it. The quality of a river basin affects the quality of water, so efforts to protect and improve water quality must often include plans for managing river basins.


Portion of rainfall, melted snow or irrigation water that flows across the ground's surface and is eventually returned to streams. Run-off can pick up pollutants from air or land and carry them to receiving waters.

Remote sensing

The essence of remote sensing is to acquire information about an object without keeping the measuring device in physical contact with the object. Today, remote-sensing techniques of scientific invention are beginning to yield information about the emitted radiation or force fields of an object by means of suitable detectors sensitive to the radiation or force. In hydrology, for example, it is possible to spot diseased crops, polluted water, or the flow of hot springs with infrared cameras, to survey ice thickness and distribution with microwave detectors, and to measure soil moisture and rainfall intensity and distribution in thunderstorms by radar.

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs)

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs), the set of gases and particulates that are primarily responsible for the half of global warming not caused by CO2 and that have atmospheric lifetimes of less than 20 years. These pollutants, including black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), have relatively short atmospheric lifetimes but significant warming impacts on the climate, particularly in the Arctic and other vulnerable regions.

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).

Sanitary landfill

A method of waste disposal by spreading the waste over land and covering them with a seal of earth. Communities often use landfills to reuse wastes, to help fill low areas, or to build recreational facilities.


Air pollution consisting of smoke and fog, which occurs in large urban and industrial areas and is mainly caused by the action of sunlight on burned fuels, mostly from car exhausts. Smog can cause eye irritations and breathing problems and damage plant life.

Surface water

Water that is collected on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland or ocean.

Sustainable development

Development using land or energy sources in a way that meets the needs of people today without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


Domestic or industrial waste carried in the drains and pipes of the sanitary sewer.

Solid Waste

Useless and sometimes hazardous material with low liquid content.Solid wastes include municipal garbage, industrial and commercial waste, sewage sludge, wastes resulting from agricultural and animal husbandry operations and other connected activities, demolition wastes and mining residues.

Solid waste Disposal

Ultimate disposition or placement of refuse that is not salvaged or recycled.

Solid Waste management

Supervised handling of waste material from generation at the source through the recovery processes to disposal.

Suspended Particu1ate Matter (SPM)

Finely divided solids or liquids that may be dispersed through the air from combustion processes, industrial activities or natural sources.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

All material that passes the standard glass river filter; now called total filtrable residue. Term is used to reflect salinity.

Total Suspended Particles (TSP)

A method of monitoring airborne particulate matter by total weight.

Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

A measure of the suspended solids in wastewater, effluent, or water bodies, determined by tests for "total suspended non-filterable solids."


1. ability of an organism to endure unfavourable environmental conditions;
2. amount of a chemical in food considered safe for humans or animals.


Total Suspended Particulate Matter


Poisonous or harmful to the body (ecotoxic relates to damage to the environment).

Toxic Pollutants

Materials contaminating the environment that cause death, disease and/or birth defects in the organisms that ingest or absorb them. The quantities and length of exposure necessary to cause these effects can vary widely.

Transboundary Pollution

Pollution that originates in one country but, by crossing the border through pathways of water or air, is able to cause damage to the environment in another country.


A poisonous substance that can either be natural (produced by plants, animals or bacteria) or manufactured.


Threshold -(ecology) a point that, when crossed, can bring rapid and sometimes unpredictable change in a trend. An example would be the sudden altering of ocean currents due to the melting of ice at the poles.


United Nations Environment Programme, international organization established in 1972 to catalyse and coordinate activities to increase scientific understanding of environmental change and develop environmental management tools.

Ultraviolet Rays

Radiation in" the wavelength range between visible light and X-rays, divided into wave length bands A, B, C. Much of the ultraviolet radiations in bands Band C are prevented from reaching the earth's surface by the ozone layer present in the atmosphere.


1. increase in the proportion of a population living in urban areas;
2. process by which a large number of people becomes permanently concentrated in relatively small areas, forming cities.

Urban Run-off

Storm water from city streets and adjacent domestic or commercial properties that contains litter, and organic and bacterial wastes.


1. An organism, often an insect or rodent that carries disease.
2. An object (e.g., plasmids, viruses, or other bacteria) used to transport genes into a host cell. A gene is placed in the vector; the vector then “infects” the bacterium.


The gaseous phase of substances that are liquid or solid at atmospheric temperature and pressure, e.g., steam.

Vinyl chloride

A chemical compound, used in producing some plastics, that is believed to be carcinogenic

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature.

Vegetation Cover

All trees, shrubs, herbs, deciduous plants and so forth that cover an area or region.

Venting of Landfi11

Emission of gas from controlled tips consisting by volume of 50 per cent methane and 50 per cent carbon dioxide, sometimes with some nitrogen.


Organic compounds that evaporate readily and contribute to air pollution mainly through the production of photochemical oxidants.


A wetland is an area where a surface is flooded for an extended period of time or where the soil is saturated by groundwater that moves or stays close to the surface. Wetlands can include many kinds of locations, including oceans, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, swamps, bogs, potholes, and areas that are dry during parts of the year.

Water Pollution

Harmful and objectionable material presence in water - obtained from sewers, industrial wastes and rainwater run-off - in sufficient concentrations to make it unfit for use.

Water Quality

Physical, chemical, biological and organoleptic (taste-related) properties of water,

Water Quality Criteria

specific levels of water quality desired for identified uses, including drinking, recreation, farming, fish production, propagation of other aquatic life, and agricultural and industrial processes.

Water Quality Index

weighted average of selected ambient concentrations of pollutants usually linked to water quality classes.

Water Conservation

Preservation, control and development of water resources, both surface and groundwater, and prevention of pollution.

Water Abstraction

removal of water from any source, either permanently or temporarily. Mine water and drainage water are included. Water abstractions from groundwater resources are defined as the difference between the total amount of water withdrawn from aquifers and the total amount charged artificially or injected into aquifers. See also net abstraction of water.


Removal by falling precipitation of pollutants from the air layer below the clouds.

Water Cycle

Sequence of climatological events. The heat of the sun evaporates water from land and water surfaces; vapour, being lighter than air, rises until it reaches the cooler upper air level where it condenses into clouds; further condensation produces precipitation that falls to earth as rain, sleet or snow; some of the water is retained by the soil and some run-off returns to rivers,lakes and oceans.


Natural flooding and overirrigation that brings water at underground levels to the surface. As a consequence, displacement of the air occurs in the soil with corresponding changes in soil processes and an accumulation of toxic substances that impede plant growth.

Water Mining

depletion (beyond replenishment) of water bodies, notably aquifers.


Any matter, whether liquid, solid, gaseous, or radioactive, which is discharged, emitted, or deposited in the environment in such volume, constituency or manner as to cause an alteration of the environment.

Waste management

The management of waste collection, handling, processing, storage and transport from where it is produced to where it is finally disposed. See waste prevention.

Waste disposal

The activity to get rid of the wastes either by putting the same in a landfill or incinerated or recycled etc.

Waste generation

Generation of unwanted materials including recyclables as well as garbage. Waste generation = materials recycled + waste to landfill.

Waste treatment

Physical, chemical and biological processes employed to remove dissolved and suspended solid from waste water.

Waste water

Liquid and water-carried industrial wastes and sewage from residential dwellings, commercial buildings, industrial and manufacturing facilities, and institutions, whether treated or untreated, which are contributed to the publicly owned treatment works. Storm water, surface water, and groundwater infiltration may be included in the wastewater that enters a publicly owned treatment works.

Wastes; industrial

Anything, including heat, discarded or released from industrial operations of any kind, including the food processing industry. The decision to release or discard a particular waste has traditionally been made strictly on economic grounds, that is, whether it is cheaper to release or throw something away than to recover a marketable product.

Wastes; municipal

Substances discarded by private households, offices, shops, etc., as unusable. Generally collected by a local authority for disposal by dumping, sanitary landfill, composting or pyrolysis. It is used as a fuel for power production in large incinerators. Typically composed of paper, organic matter, plastics, metals and non-metallic minerals [ash].

Waste prevention

An aspect of waste management that involves reducing the amount of waste we produce and minimising the potential harm to human health or the environment from packaging or ingredients in products.

Water vapour

Water in its gas form – instead of liquid or solid (ice).

Water conservation

The protection, development, and efficient management of water resources for beneficial purposes. Water is combined with carbon dioxide by green plants in the synthesis of carbohydrates, from which all other foods are formed. It is a highly efficient medium for dissolving and transporting nutrients through the soil and throughout the bodies of plants and animals. It can also carry deadly organisms and toxic wastes, including radio-activity.

Water softening

Meaning of abbrevation : A water-treatment process by which undesirable cations [of calcium and magnesium] are removed from hard waters. The presence of these cations in water is undesirable for household purposes, boiler feed, food processing, and chemical processing, because of reactions that form soap scum, boiler scale, and unwanted by-products.

Wind energy

Kinetic energy of wind used for electricity generation using turbines


Any biotum displaced from its normal habitat; a chemical foreign to a biological system.

Yard Waste

The part of solid waste composed of grass clippings, leaves, twigs, branches, and other garden refuse.

Yellow Fever

Infectious disease of the tropics and subtropics, caused by a virus and transmitted by a mosquito. It can be fatal but may be prevented by vaccination with attenuated viruses.


The quantity of water (expressed as a rate of flow or total quantity per year) that can be collected for a given use from surface or groundwater sources.

Zero Air

Atmospheric air purified to contain less than 0.1 ppm total hydrocarbons.

Zero emissions

An engine, motor or other energy source that does not produce any gas or release any harmful gases directly into the environment.


process in physical planning, or the results thereof, in which specific functions or uses are assigned to certain areas (for example, industrial zones,residential areas).

Zero liquid discharge facility (ZLD)

ZLD is an industrial plant without discharge of waste waters. ZLD plants produce solid waste. Target ZLD is normally reached by: 1. Waste water strong recovery,
2. Separation by evaporation or boiling of water part of waste water not reusable, in evaporators, crystallizers and condensate recovery.

Zero Waste

Zero Waste is a goal that is both pragmatic and visionary, to guide people to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that may be a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.
Source: Web