There are many different kinds of solutions, and many different factors that affect solubility such as temperature and energy. Whether or not chemicals are soluble in water can affect how they interact with their environment. This is especially important when discussing pollution; different types of chemicals can pollute the environment in different ways, such physical pollution or water contamination.
For example, the use of fertilizer for lawns and agriculture has a detrimental impact on waterways. Nitrogen, one of the components of fertilizer, is extremely soluble, so it can leach downwards through the soil and contaminate groundwater. When there is an excess of nitrogen in water, an excess of algae and other sea plants grow. When these plants die, the suck all the oxygen out of the water, and make it hard for fish and other organisms to survive. This results in “dead zones”— massive stretches of water that contain no life, and are getting increasingly larger as agriculture grows. Water with over 10 parts per million nitrate-nitrogen can cause a disorder that inhibits the ability to use oxygen as infants
The interesting part about this whole thing is that recently in the U.S government has begun to push for the increased production of ethanol fuel, made of corn, in an attempt to cut down on greenhouse gases. However, the increased number of corn crops could increase the nitrogen pollution in water by up to 34%. Scientists have said that the only way to both increase ethanol fuel production while reducing nitrogen pollution would be for Americans to stop eating meat.
This is a bold statement—But the damage caused by fertilizer is too obvious to ignore. So what’s the next step? Is there a middle ground between having nitrogen pollution and greenhouse gases? Though it may seem bizarre now, at what level of environmental damage would banning the consumption of meat be a realistic and reasonable measure? How far is far enough to force a whole country to make such a dramatic lifestyle change?