What is Environmental Chemistry?

Environmental studies are concerned with the totality of our social, economic, ecological, physical and chemical interactions with our surroundings. The study of the composition, transport, reactions, consequences and fates of chemical species within the atmosphere is understood as environmental chemistry.


The branch of chemistry that involves the study of reactions, causes, transport and results, and fates of all chemical species found in soil, water and air conditions due to the consequences of technology on them, is called environmental chemistry. The empirical study of chemistry and chemical reactions that exist in natural settings also comes under environmental chemistry.

This field employs a selection of approaches from biology, math, chemistry, physics, hydrology, toxicology and alternative disciplines to raise the address to all the environmental issues.

Environmental chemists are typically focussed on managing pure surroundings and developing strategies that do not have an impact on the environment. Contaminants are a typical issue encountered by them, which they try to minimise.

Environmental Pollution

Environmental contamination is the result of unfavourable changes in our surroundings that affect plants, livestock and humans. A pollutant is a material that produces waste. Pollutants can be a solid, a liquid or a gaseous compound that are found in greater concentration than the normal quantity and are formed as a result of acts or natural occurrences.

Did you recognize that a typical person consumes 12-15 times more air than food? As a result, even minor concentration of poison within the environment can become significant in comparison to comparable quantities of food in terms of human health. Pollutants could also be biodegradable, like the discarded vegetables, which degrade quickly by natural processes. Pollutants that degrade slowly, on the opposite hand, will stay within the atmosphere or in the environment as their unchanged state for several decades.

Substances that are used in chemistry labs, like DDT, composite products, heavy metals, certain pesticides, radioactive wastes etc. are impossible to eliminate until released into the atmosphere. These toxins are toxic to several organisms as they cannot be degraded by natural processes. Pollutants come from a source that are carried by human activities into our air or water and can cause environmental degradation.

The ozone that covers the world is not uniformly dense at some elevations. There are concentric layers of air or zones of varying densities. The troposphere is that lowest area of the atmosphere where humans and other animals dwell. It rises to a height of approximately 10 km above water level. The stratosphere is found between 10 and 50 km above water level and above the troposphere. The troposphere is a turbulent, dusty zone that contains air, tons of water vapor and clouds. This is often an area with tons of air circulation and cloud formation.

The stratosphere, on the opposite hand, is formed from dinitrogen, dioxygen, ozone and a little amount of water vapor. In atmospheric science, troposphere and stratosphere emissions are the two sorts of atmospheric contamination examined. The presence of ozone within the stratosphere blocks about analytical 99.5 percent of the sun's toxic ultraviolet (UV) radiations from touching the earth's atmosphere, shielding human health and other species from its effects.

What are Contaminants?

They are the undesired substances present in the environment. Environmental chemistry has primarily involved the investigation of these undesirable compounds and their impact.

The following are the environmental chemistry toxins:

Small contaminants : These are metal particles that can be quickly detected and monitored. The processes of abrasion, fatigue and silting are going to be accustomed to find these particulate pollutants.

Chemical contaminants : These are toxins created by the chemical change methodology. Arsenic, nitrate, iodine, metal atom, lead and alternative contaminants grime the water and soil.

Gaseous emissions : This type of pollution happens due to parts like sulfur, chlorine, bromine etc. that can evaporate and grime the surroundings.

Microbial pollution : It's one of the harmful sorts of contamination and as a result, it affects not simply the atmosphere but also the living systems within it. Microbes like yeast, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses or toxins and its by-products are responsible for this. 

Environmental Chemistry Facts

  • Aluminum could also be used as a cloth that can be recycled indefinitely. The utilization of one metal can conserve enough electricity to power our televisions for a minimum of three hours. Humans use eighty trillion metal cans annually.
  • The chemical sector usually involves contaminated waste fluxes. However, there are several alternative causes chemical waste, like transportation, irrigation, power stations and unit chemicals like detergents. So, the waste streams of the industry are currently tightly regulated and handled till they're discharged into the atmosphere.
  • Once a substance is emitted into the atmosphere, it undergoes a chemical transition or decay, which is mentioned as chemical weathering. Weathering of the air is caused by several mechanisms and each of them causes a reduction in the concentration of poisons within the air.
  • Chemical contamination may have serious long consequences. The results of acute chemical contamination on the environment are unremarkably impermanent; however, they'll be ruinous.

Uses of Environmental Chemistry

The following are some of the environmental chemistry uses and applications.

  • Environmental chemistry totally investigates the prospect factors of all contaminants so as to obtain a cure for environmental protection.
  • Environment chemistry accustoms investigating products and their environmental impact.
  • Environmental chemistry is used to shield the groundwater that has been contaminated by dirt, pollen, and waste particles.
  • Environment chemistry is helpful for shielding surface water from pollutants by deposit, medicine and radiation processes.
  • The condition of the soil is preserved by environmental chemical strategies.
  • Within buildings, moth-resistant surfaces like parking heaps, rooftops, and highways are susceptible to accumulating unwanted contaminants like fuel, diesel, nutrients and sand (soil) and metals.
  • Environmental chemistry is used in waste management and cleaner production.

Context and Applications

This is often helpful for the courses in higher secondary education, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Bachelors and Masters of various science streams.

Practice Problems

Q1 .What is the importance of chemistry within the environment?

Ans : Environmental chemistry is socially important since it deals with the environmental effects of poisons, pollution, hindrance and environmental management.

Q2. What is the thought of environmental protection?

Ans : Environmental conservation is the responsibility of individuals, organizations and states to safeguard the natural surroundings. Due to the stresses of overconsumption, increment and innovation, the biophysical surroundings are degraded, typically indefinitely.

Q3. What role will inexperienced chemistry play in environmental protection?

Ans : Green chemistry reduces or removes the risks of chemical feedstock, reagents, solvents and parts, therefore eliminating the reason for contamination. If a tool lowers or eliminates the virulent chemicals, then the science accustomed to it qualifies as an inexperienced chemistry technology.

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