How Can Rain Contribute to Pollution?
When rain and pollution are thought of together in the same breath, most people will think of acid rain which falls to earth and causes damage to crops, contamination of watercourses and damage to buildings and statues. However "ordinary" rain can also play a major part in the pollution of the surrounding area.
This occurs when the falling rain provides a means through run-off for hazardous substances to enter nearby watercourses or to seep into the ground where it not only poisons plant life in the direct vicinity but can also get into groundwater which can then result in causing damage to plant life and pollution to bodies of water far away from this source.
Water run-off is often overlooked but is in fact one of the most common forms of damage to the nearby environment through contaminated water. It is a particular issue for fire fighters who discharge large volumes of water onto structures to put out a fire, as this water can mix in with any hazardous or toxic substance present on the site which will then carry it away and into the groundwater and surrounding streams and rivers. It is for this reason that those responsible for fire safety also have environmental training as part of their overall health and safety training programme.
Along with run-off, exceptionally heavy rainfall can result in the flooding of an area. Without suitable protection to hold the water back, this flooding can cause the dangerous substances to mix with the water and provide it the means to escape into the surroundings. This can result in contamination and damage to the environment on a large scale, with the water having the capability of reaching areas of land far away.
Suitable environmental risk assessments should be performed to determine the potential consequences of rain and flooding so that suitable measures can be put into place before a situation occurs. Having workers who hold a NEBOSH Environmental Certificate or other similar health and safety qualification will also benefit an organisation with regards to having a workforce who can positively contribute to environmental safety.