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Signs of Environmental Pollution

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Human activities have increased the levels of environmental pollution. Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) is the main source of pollution, as well as the use of chemical such as CFCs. These activites have led to global warming (worldwide raised temperatures) and the depletion of the ozone layer in the Earth's atmosphere, which protects us from the Sun's harmful radiation.

 

 

When factories empty their waste into canals, water pollution takes place in local rivers and lakes that the canal communicates with.

 

 

This results in plants and animals dying in those areas. The effect can be seen not only in the organisms that live in the water but also in organisms that live on the land around the polluted water. The water may also be used for crops and human consumption, so you can imagine the disaster that can be caused.

 

Indicator species are organisms that can be caused to determine the levels of pollution:

  • the stonefly larva can only live in clean water
  • the water spine fly is very sensitive to pollution
  • the alderfly cannot live in polluted water, because it cannot tolerate low oxygen levels
  • the mayfly larva tolerates some pollution but not much
  • the freshwater mussel is also semi-sensitive
  • the damselfly larva can live in water that is a bit polluted, but not much
  • the bloodworm can tolerate a lot of pollution
  • the rat-tailed maggot can also live in very polluted water
  • the sludge worm can live in polluted water, because it can cope with low oxygen levels
  • the water louse can tolerate high levels of pollution, too
  • lichen grows on trees and rocks; it is not found in cities, because pollution from cars kills it

 

In exam questions you would be given data about the organisms that live in different environments and the levels of pollution they tolerate. You would then have to work out the level of pollution.

What is the main factor of pollution?

Animals

Burning fossil fuels

Indicator species

Tick two possible reasons for the increase in skin cancer cases worldwide in the last few decades.

More people want to get a tan because it is trendy

There are high levels of pollution

The ozone layer of the atmosphere has depleted

The Sun's rays are now more harmful

The world's population has grown exponentially (more and more rapidly) since the 1950s, especially in the underdeveloped countries. Most of the pollution is caused in developed countries that have a lower population relatively to the area they occupy.

 

Find one possible explanation of this. 

There are countries like the USA that have a huge population.

Developed countries have the financial resources to buy more fossil fuels.

More children are being born by families in underdeveloped countries.

Fishermen that live around a lake have found a lot of dead fish and not enough living ones. Tick the possible reason.

Some bigger fish killed them

The levels of pollution in the water increased

Fishermen caught them but then threw the dead ones back in the water

A river has a certain species of fish living in it in two areas: one up in the mountain where the river begins and one one down a valley near a small village. Over a hundred years, the fish cannot be found near the village anymore. Suggest one possible reason.

It has been over-fished

It has become extinct

The water near the village is now polluted

A pond has bloodworms living in it but no stonefly larvae. Is it polluted?

Yes

No

Water sample from a lake contains lots of different species. Is it polluted?

Yes

No

Match the organisms to their level of sensitivity to pollution. 

Column A

Column B

water spine fly
sensitive
alderfly
semi-sensitive
lichen
tolerant
rat-tailed maggot
sensitive
damselfly larva
tolerant
sludge worm
sensitive

Look at the species living in 3 samples of water on the table and then decide which sample is from the most polluted environment.

 

Sample Animals found
A stonefly larva, water snipe fly, alderfly, mayfly larva
B rat-tailed maggot, sludge worm, bloodworm
C sludge worm, freshwater mussel, damselfly larva

 

 

A

B

C

Sample Animals found
A stonefly larva, water snipe fly, alderfly, mayfly larva
B rat-tailed maggot, sludge worm, bloodworm
C sludge worm, freshwater mussel, damselfly larva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the same samples again. Suggest which water is from a fast-running stream.

A

B

C

  • Question 1

What is the main factor of pollution?

CORRECT ANSWER
Burning fossil fuels
EDDIE SAYS
The main factor of environmental pollution is the burning of fossil fuels in cars and factories. This is the most common form of human pollution because we use it so much to get most of our energy.
  • Question 2

Tick two possible reasons for the increase in skin cancer cases worldwide in the last few decades.

CORRECT ANSWER
More people want to get a tan because it is trendy
The ozone layer of the atmosphere has depleted
EDDIE SAYS
More and more people spend hours under the Sun in order to get a tan, but depletion of the ozone layer allows harmful Sun radiation to enter the atmosphere. The ozone stops most of the harmful rays from getting through the atmosphere - without this, we risk more cancer.
  • Question 3

The world's population has grown exponentially (more and more rapidly) since the 1950s, especially in the underdeveloped countries. Most of the pollution is caused in developed countries that have a lower population relatively to the area they occupy.

 

Find one possible explanation of this. 

CORRECT ANSWER
Developed countries have the financial resources to buy more fossil fuels.
EDDIE SAYS
Underdeveloped nations may need a lot of fossil fuels due to their high population, but have neither the resources to buy them nor the infrastructure to use them. On the contrary, people that live in developed countries use fossil fuels unwisely; in fact, they waste them, causing high levels of pollution.
  • Question 4

Fishermen that live around a lake have found a lot of dead fish and not enough living ones. Tick the possible reason.

CORRECT ANSWER
The levels of pollution in the water increased
EDDIE SAYS
Dead fish means there has been waste of some sort damped in the lake, which increases water pollution. There many different ways we can spot what type of pollution was dumped and most of them involve looking at the living creatures in the environment.
  • Question 5

A river has a certain species of fish living in it in two areas: one up in the mountain where the river begins and one one down a valley near a small village. Over a hundred years, the fish cannot be found near the village anymore. Suggest one possible reason.

CORRECT ANSWER
The water near the village is now polluted
EDDIE SAYS
It has not become extinct because it still lives in the river up in the mountain. If it was over-fished, more fish would have still come down to the waters in the valley. The most possible explanation is that the village has now developed into a big city and the waters are polluted.
  • Question 6

A pond has bloodworms living in it but no stonefly larvae. Is it polluted?

CORRECT ANSWER
Yes
EDDIE SAYS
Stonefly larvae cannot live in polluted water. This is a biological marker for pollution.
  • Question 7

Water sample from a lake contains lots of different species. Is it polluted?

CORRECT ANSWER
No
EDDIE SAYS
A healthy environment usually contains lots of different species. There can be lots of pollution loving animals in the water though - so be careful here.
  • Question 8

Match the organisms to their level of sensitivity to pollution. 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

water spine fly
sensitive
alderfly
sensitive
lichen
sensitive
rat-tailed maggot
tolerant
damselfly larva
semi-sensitive
sludge worm
tolerant
EDDIE SAYS
- the water spine fly is very sensitive to pollution
- the alderfly cannot live in polluted water, because it cannot tolerate low oxygen levels
- lichen grows on trees and rocks; it is not found in cities, because pollution from cars kills it
- the rat-tailed maggot can also live in very polluted water
- the damselfly larva can live in water that is a bit polluted, but not much
- the sludgeworm can live in polluted water, because it can cope with low oxygen levels
  • Question 9

Look at the species living in 3 samples of water on the table and then decide which sample is from the most polluted environment.

 

Sample Animals found
A stonefly larva, water snipe fly, alderfly, mayfly larva
B rat-tailed maggot, sludge worm, bloodworm
C sludge worm, freshwater mussel, damselfly larva

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
B
EDDIE SAYS
Sample B contains only species that tolerate pollution, so it is the most polluted one.
  • Question 10
Sample Animals found
A stonefly larva, water snipe fly, alderfly, mayfly larva
B rat-tailed maggot, sludge worm, bloodworm
C sludge worm, freshwater mussel, damselfly larva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the same samples again. Suggest which water is from a fast-running stream.

CORRECT ANSWER
A
EDDIE SAYS
Sample A contains only species that live in clean water and mayfly larvae that are semi-sensitive. This means it is probably fast-running and renewed regularly, which maintains it clean.
---- OR ----

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