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Chemistry has always been of great value to almost all the fields of human being. Nowadays its significance to ecology can be hardly overestimated. Upon an initiative of IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) UN announced 2011 to be the Year of Chemistry. Its motto was “Chemistry is Our Life and Future”, closely related to one of the vital field of chemistry, namely environmental chemistry. Hazardous wastes, carbon footprints, global warming, renewable energy sources - these and other environmental topics are being discussed and debated more vigorously than ever.

Environmental (or ecological) chemistry is the scientific study of the chemical and biochemical phenomena that occur in the natural media. It shouldn’t be confused with either green chemistry, which seeks to reduce potential pollution at its source or chemical ecology. It can be defined as the study of the sources, reactions, transport, effects, and fates of chemicals in the air, soil, and water environments and the effect of both human and biological activities on these. These impacts may be observed both on a local scale, through the presence of urban air pollutants or toxic substances arising from a chemical waste site, and on a global scale, through depletion of stratospheric ozone or climatic changes. Environmental chemistry is an interdisciplinary science that includes atmospheric, aquatic and soil chemistry, analytical chemistry being the key scientific knowledge to all and each of them.

The specialists of ecochemistry focus mainly on in-depth understanding of the natural chemical processes, so that human activities can be accurately evaluated. Environmental chemists draw on a range of concepts from chemistry and various environmental sciences to assist in their study of what is happening with chemical species in the environment. The most important general chemistry approaches include understanding of chemical reactions and equations, sampling, and analytical techniques.

Quantitative chemical analysis is a key part of environmental chemistry, since it provides the data that frame most environmental studies.

Environmental chemistry is used by many environmental agencies, research bodies and groups around the world to detect and identify the nature and source of pollutants. The world famous organizations, such as the Environment Agency (in England and Wales), the Environmental Protection Agency (in the United States) the Association of Public Analysts conduct their investigations in many countries. Some of them specialized in, for instance, monitoring and assessment of hazardous wastes of chemical production and experimentation or carbon footprints, can offer additional "green chemistry" sections and new case studies, plus updated coverage of instrumental analysis, farming applications, and even bioengineering.

The Environmental Chemistry Group (ECG) considers all aspects of the complex relationships between chemistry and the environment. The ECG aims to understand the behavior of chemicals in the water, soil and atmospheric environments; exploring their sources, reactions, transport and, in particular, their effects on each of these environments. Chemicals may be of natural, anthropogenic, biogenic or geochemical origin.

Thus, ecochemistry provides an integrated, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems as well as sustainable strategies of

human activities.

/Baird C. Environmental Chemistry/

Notes to the text:

to draw on – опираться на; обращаться к ч.-л.

updated coverage – усовершенствованный и всеобъемлющий охват


1. What complementary (взаимодополняющие) disciplines does environmental chemistry employ? 2. How can ecological chemistry be defined as? 3. What do ecological chemists specialize in? 4. What’s a key part of environmental chemistry? 5. What environmental aspects are assessed by specialists in ecological chemistry? 6. Where do the world famous environmental protection agencies conduct their research?

6. Read the sentences and define which of them are referred to a) ecological chemistry, b) green chemistry, c) chemical ecology.

1. It focuses on both the production of signaling molecules (i.e. semiochemicals) and response to them, defensive chemicals and toxins. 2. The quest to reduce greenhouse gases has triggered the development of new chemical fixation of carbon dioxide. 3. We study heavy metal contamination of land by industry as they can then be transported into water bodies and taken up by living organisms 4. They also dealt with chemical responses of organisms to abiotic factors such as temperature and radiation. 5. Typical urban pollutants include gasoline, motor oil and other hydrocarbon compounds, metals, washed off roads, parking lots and rooftops during rain storms. 6. It is of particular importance among ants and other social insects — including bees, wasps, and termites — as a means of communication essential to social organization. 7. This research team developed photochemical recycling of europium from Eu/Y mixtures from red lamp phosphor waste streams. 8. Air quality monitoring is performed using specialized equipment and analytical methods used to determine air pollutant concentrations. 9. We published a review devoted to heavy metals, their occurrence and toxicity for plants in India. 10. The use of non-hazardous materials in pharmaceutical formulation avoids the emergence of toxic potential to the environment.

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