AP Environmental Science : Pollution

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #4 : Ecological Impacts

Efforts to reclaim a dry riverbed into a flowing source of water is an example of what kind of human ecological action? 

Possible Answers:

Mitigation

Preservation

Restoration

Remediation

Correct answer:

Restoration

Explanation:

Mitigation is defined as actions taken to prevent or reduce the occurrence of natural disasters and damage to an environment. Restoration is the renewal of an environment or ecosystem after it has been almost or completely destroyed. Preservation is a collection of efforts aimed at sustaining a vulnerable or unstable ecosystem. Remediation is often the clean up or removal of contaminants from an environment. 

Example Question #5 : Ecological Impacts

It's known that pollution can have negative impacts on human health, economics, and ecological communities. Which of the following is not an effect of pollution?

Possible Answers:

Acid rain

Ozone depletion

Biodiversity conservation

Contaminated water

Correct answer:

Biodiversity conservation

Explanation:

The correct response is biodiversity conservation. Pollution alters ecological communities by adding harmful chemicals, substances, and abiotic factors into the environment. This has a negative effect on biodiversity - not a positive effect. Thus, we would not except for species to be conserved in a region with pollution. We know that pollution can lead to acid rain, contaminated water, and ozone depletion so those answer choices are incorrect.

Example Question #413 : Ap Environmental Sciences

Which of the following most accurately describes the dominant theme of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring?

Possible Answers:

The adverse affect of pesticide use on the ecosystem, particularly on songbird populations

The adverse affect of habitat loss from development and logging on migratory bird populations

The potential loss of biodiversity, particularly bird species as a result of climate change

The potential risk of pesticide application to human health, particularly with air and drinking water quality

A push for legislation to protect declining wildlife populations and their habitat

Correct answer:

The adverse affect of pesticide use on the ecosystem, particularly on songbird populations

Explanation:

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring focused primarily on the widespread application of pesticides, the lack of government regulation of said pesticides (especially DDT), and their negative impacts on bird populations (i.e. songbirds that were at risk and would result in a spring lacking their songs). The book challenged industry claims that downplayed toxicity of their products and triggered a grassroots environmental movement that helped create the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Example Question #11 : Ecological Impacts

What is a potential result of fertilizer runoff into streams and rivers?

Possible Answers:

Free fertilizer for downstream farmers

Poisoning of water invertebrates by pesticides

Eutrophication and increased algal bloom

Increased lake and river fertility

Making trees downstream grow larger

Correct answer:

Eutrophication and increased algal bloom

Explanation:

Fertilizer runoff can cause eutrophication, where nutrient-enriched freshwater mixes with saltwater and causes huge algal bloom, such as red tide. These can be toxic to both ocean organisms and to humans. 

Example Question #31 : Pollution

Each of the following is an example of a waterborne disease EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

polio

typhoid

cholera

tuberculosis

meningitis

Correct answer:

tuberculosis

Explanation:

Tuberculosis has an airborne mechanism of transmission. Cholera, typhoid, polio, and meningitis are all diseases capable of waterborne transmission.

Example Question #1 : Health Impacts

Which of the following is NOT an example of bioaccumulation?

Possible Answers:

Mercury found in industrial waste enters the ocean, where it is absorbed by plankton and subsequently absorbed by fish that eat plankton, and bigger fish that eat the smaller fish. It thus accumulates at the higher trophic levels.

Nuclear fallout from atomic weapon tests conducted in the South Pacific has been found in samples of local coconuts and fish populations, leaving several islands uninhabitable.

Mishandled or spoiled food can contain toxins that result in illness and cause vomiting and diarrhea, the body's natural method of expelling said toxins.

Up until the 1980s, hunters used lead shot to hunt waterfowl, and the lead was consumed by the waterfowl, accumulating in their tissues and heightening risk of lead poisoning.

Most commercial fruit and vegetable producers spray chemical herbicides, which accumulate in human consumers when we don't wash our produce before eating it.

Correct answer:

Mishandled or spoiled food can contain toxins that result in illness and cause vomiting and diarrhea, the body's natural method of expelling said toxins.

Explanation:

Bioaccumulation is the process of a toxin entering an organism at a rate faster than it is evacuated. Toxins from food poisoning are expelled by the body's response to evacuate the substance, while mercury in seafood or lead in waterfowl populations tend to accumulate over time.

Example Question #2 : Health Impacts

Which of the following is NOT a primary pollutant?

Possible Answers:

CFCs

Correct answer:

Explanation:

A primary pollutant comes from a direct source, while a secondary pollutant is formed by chemical reactions from primary pollutants in the environment.  (sulfuric acid) is a product of chemical reactions in the environment, producing acid rain.

Example Question #3 : Health Impacts

Which of the following toxins is most likely to cause a birth defect?

Possible Answers:

Teratogen

Carcinogen

None of these

Mutagen

Correct answer:

Teratogen

Explanation:

A teratogen is most likely to cause a birth defect. Exposure to a teratogen specifically causes deformities in an embryo.

Example Question #4 : Health Impacts

Smog is primarily made up of __________.

Possible Answers:

carbon monoxide

carbon dioxide

ozone

nitrous oxides

Correct answer:

ozone

Explanation:

Ozone is created when sunlight reacts with nitrous oxides and other pollutants, many of which originate from gasoline vapors, combustion products, etc. It is harmful when breathed. On hot days, some metropolitan areas issue smog warnings.

Example Question #31 : Pollution

This pollutant is not easily excreted. Accumulations of this pollutant in the body can affect the kidneys, liver, and nervous system. The largest concentrations of this pollutant are found near battery plants and smelters.

Possible Answers:

Iron

Ozone

Carbon monoxide

Lead

Correct answer:

Lead

Explanation:

Lead, a heavy metal, accumulates in the body. Children are especially susceptible to airborne lead. Iron, also a metal, can be problematic in large quantities, but is also necessary in extremely small amounts for proper function.

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