Christopher California

Thermal Pollution

Thermal pollution is not well known but it is still killing lots of animals.

Dear President,

As you may well know, one thing bringing disaster to our world and our country is pollution. There are many types of pollution, two being air pollution and water pollution, those being the more known ones. One type of pollution, though not well known is thermal pollution. Thermal pollution is not known very well but it is still affecting the environment very badly and you should do something to stop it. Some of it’s effects are killing millions of fish, speeding or slowing marine animal’s metabolisms, and disrupting the food chain.

First, what is thermal pollution? Thermal pollution is when something takes in water from a natural resource, cools or heats it up, and ejects it back out changing the temperature of the water rapidly. This sudden change of temperature due to factories taking in water, using them as coolants, and spitting them back out is the main cause of thermal pollution.

One effect that thermal pollution can have is the killing of millions of fish. When the heated water coming out of factories using it as coolants, the temperature of the water can change rapidly. Since fish are cold-blooded, they do not have a regulated body temperature like we do. Now that a fish that is used to cold water and suddenly warm water gets introduced, the metabolism and nerves of the fish go crazy trying to adapt to the sudden change in temperature, causing death. Whenever even one factory decides to export their water back, it is possible for all the fish in the area to die. An article in said that, “A sudden thermal shock can result in mass killings of fish, insects, plants or amphibians.”

Another effect of thermal pollution is that it is altering the metabolisms of the animals in the environment where the water is being exported. When fish are living in cold water, their metabolisms slow down naturally due to the lack of food sources. When warm water gets introduced to the once cold water, they think that it is a warmer season and their metabolisms speed up expecting more food. Since it is actually not a warm season where more food is available, the fish end up dying to lack of food. Karen Mihaylo reported that water temperatures usually change gradually as the seasons change. During cold seasons, when fewer food sources are available, fish metabolisms slow. When industrial discharges heat up the water, fish metabolisms also speed up, causing malnutrition due to insufficient food sources. Mass fish kills can occur as a result.

The last effect of thermal pollution I have is the disruption of the food chain. This happens because of migration. Normally fish or animals in general tend to go to the best environment possible for their species. If warm water gets put into an ocean in one part of the world, some fish might sense this and migrate there since their senses tell them warm water means food. Now when they migrate, the predators no longer have prey and the place that the fish migrated to do not have enough food killing two environments.

Now let me give you a refresh, what is the main cause of thermal pollution? Factories. According to Rinkesh, “thermal pollution is when an industry or other human-made organization takes in water from a natural source and either cools it down or heats it up. They then eject that water back into the natural resource. Production and Manufacturing plants are biggest source of thermal pollution.” You might think that it is worth it, that factories are very important, and that a few million fish aren’t anything. I do not think this. There is also a very easy way to fix this problem. The factories can just send the water to cooling ponds, cooling towers, and use it for cogeneration. Please consider my letter.


Christopher Nguyen

Lobo School of Innovation

LSI World Arts

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