Eco-Vocabulary Quiz: Pollution and Waste
When it comes to ecological issues, do you know your windmills from your oil spills? How about your PCB's from your POP's? Take our eco-vocabulary quiz and find out if you're an environmental maven!
Test Your Eco-Vocabulary: Pollution and Waste
2) Endocrine disruptor
1) POP: "Persistent Organic Pollutant." Don't be fooled by the word "organic!" This is a group of man-made chemicals that are easily absorbed by living things. They don't go away and aren't digested, but rather just move from one species to another through the food chain. Examples from this toxic family include DDT, PCB, and dioxin.
2) Endocrine disruptors: Chemicals that interfere with the body's hormone system. Hormones in human and animal bodies are messengers, telling different organs what to do, and even a tiny dose of endocrine disruptors can mix up, cancel, or change the message. Many POP's are endocrine disruptors.
3) Eutrophication: The process of water gaining nutrients, which can come either from a natural source or from human sources like nearby fertilized fields or sewage dumping. Eutrophication usually causes blooms of algae, which grow in the shallows. However, when these algae die, they sink, and oxygen-sucking bacteria eat them. This can occur on such a massive scale that all the oxygen gets sucked out of the water, suffocating every water-breathing animal down to the sea floor. This is then called a "dead zone."
4) Bioswale: A row or ditch of wetland plants, planted by a roadside, housing development, or other paved surface to filter pollutants and nutrients from the water before it runs into the storm drains. Bioswales not only clean the water of all the gunk it picks up off the concrete, but also slow it down, reducing erosion.
5) Upcycling: Taking some low-value garbage (like an old car tire) and turning it into something high-value (like a fashionable wallet). Upcycling has the great advantage of diverting old waste and breathing new life into it, and is also a great way to reuse! Unfortunately, we generate too much waste to upcycle all of it.
--Image by iStockphoto/hjalmeida