What are the harmful Effects of Radiation Pollution?



Most of the damages caused by radioactive pollutants are harmful to a living system. The effect of radiations depend upon half life, energy releasing capacity, as well as rate of diffusion. Some effects are (I) cells undergo rapid cellular diversion, (II) all forms of cancer can be increased by arising relations.

Damages induced by radiations in a biology organisation include the (I) damage to macro molecules such as enzymes-DNA, RNA (II) damage to cell membranes, mitochondria, lysozymes etc. (III) disrupts central nervous system, loss of sight, inactivation of bone marrow activity and (IV) Shortening of life and changes in characteristics due to mutation.

Within biotic communities and ecosystem, the radioactive elements may be radioactivity of the isotope. Strontium-90 for example is absorbed by plants ingested by animals and deposited in bone tissues close to blood forming tissue. It can also concentrate in natural biological system. Radioactive phosphate, Caesium and Iodine can also accumulate in plants and animals through natural food chains.

Radiation Hazards:

Harmful radiations are of two types:

(i) Non-ionizing radiations: e.g. ultra violet light

(ii) Ionizing radiations: e.g. a, p, y and X-rays.

1. Ultraviolet rays cause breakup of pigment molecules in plants leading to decrease in photosynthesis and subsequent death.

2. The effect of ultra violet-rays on eye can be stopped by use of spectacles.

3. U.V. rays act on DNA but also its action is counter acted by photo- reactivating enzyme which neutralises the damaging effects of UV rays.

4. X-rays, a, p, and y-rays in long use cause genetic changes and mutations in living organisms. At the same time they are used for preservation of food stuffs, treatment of cancers of blood, diagnostic schedules, to produce mutations in plants for higher yield and power of resistance against pests.

5. U.V-rays cause skin diseases in man and exhibit a role in promotion of skin of cancer and mutations.