Difference Between Pollution and Degradation

Pollution and Degradation are two different words that mean different things in different situations. As words, they both have different meanings.

Pollution describes a state of damage to the nature of the environment. Degradation is a situation when the status goes down and can occur in any scenario.

Pollution means the state in which the environment gets damaged. It is an act of polluting or the state of being polluted. Pollution typically represents a situation when natural surrounding gets damaged.

It is due to kinds of pollutants. The pollutants can be of different types, for example, chemicals.

Degradation is a word that explains a situation that shows the downfall of something. The status of a particular object or subject when it goes down is Degradation.

It can be due to any kind of reason depending on the situation and the object or subject.

Pollution vs Degradation 

The main difference between Pollution and Degradation is that Pollution is particularly about the destruction of the natural environment or resources. It is the contamination of natural resources and the environment. On the other hand, Degradation is not specific about any scenario. It can represent any situation getting worse.

Pollution vs Degradation

A pollution is an act of making something worse. For example, The state of air becoming dangerous and dirty because of pollutants is an action that is represented by pollution.

The air gets polluted by chemicals from fact6ories is known as pollution. Like Air, there are water, Soil, etc. kind of pollution as well.

Degradation is a situation where the status of a particular thing due to damage goes downward. For example, this word can be used for a person, situation, or any other thing.

A person going down in his or her character can also be described by the word degradation.

Comparison Table Between Pollution and Degradation

Parameters of ComparisonPollutionDegradation
SynonymsContamination, impurity, etc.Breakdown, devaluing, etc.
MeaningThe process of harming the environment.The process of getting worse due to any situation 
Used forIt is usually used to describe the situation related to the environment or the destruction of any resources of the environment.It is not related to any particular situation rather can be used for a general situation.
OriginIt is derived from “polluere” a Latin word.It is derived from the old french word “degradare.”

What is Pollution?

Pollution is damage caused to air, water, soil, etc., because of pollutants. The pollutants can be of any kind and can harm any part of the environment.

The increase of harmful substances in the environment is called pollution. Three major types of pollution are Air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution.

As different kinds of harmful pollutants get into the environment, it causes pollution. These pollutants are often caused due to human action and very rarely occurs naturally.

Due to human actions, factories or other activities, many kinds of harmful gases are formed and causes air pollution.

Water pollution is also a very sensitive issue due to human activities. The release of harmful chemicals from factories all over is causing water pollution.

Not just factories but the daily lifestyle of human beings are also causing water pollution in many ways. For example, producing a huge amount of garbage, sewage, etc. It is derived from the word polluere.

Soil pollution is also caused due to many human activities. Dumping of sewage, industrial activities, etc., is some of the reasons for soil pollution.

Along with these three, we have thermal pollution, noise pollution, light pollution, etc. All these types of pollution mean all kinds of harm done due to overuse.

What is Degradation?

Degradation is the process of being degraded. It is the process of something gradually getting damaged and going down the ladder. This word can denote any kind of downfall.

This can be for a person, object, situation, etc. The downfall of a political party can also be the Degradation of that party.

Degradation can also be used in the environmental sector. Environmental degradation is a process in which the environment is compromised and destroyed day by day.

The destruction of biodiversity in that area is also degradation. It can be caused due to natural factors or can be due to human influences. It is derived from the word degradare.

There are also many other uses of the word degradation. For example, the Degradation of natural resources consists of damaging natural resources.

Deforestation, exploitation of fossil fuels or minerals, etc., are some of the acts of degradation of natural resources. There is no particular use of the word Degradation, unlike pollution.

Degradation can be used in any situation and for any subject. Degradation is breaking down, and the process of getting damaged but can be for any subject.

The cause of the degradation also depends on the subject. For example, Natural resource degradation can be due to human activities, industrial activities, etc.

Main Differences Between Pollution and Degradation

  1. Pollution is specially used to denote damage to the environment, and Degradation can be used for any subject matter.
  2. Pollution denotes the process through environment gets destroyed, while Degradation denotes any kind of downfall in any subject.
  3. Pollution denotes the process of action, while Degradation denotes the acts of getting destroyed.
  4. Pollution can be due to overuse or exploitation of the environment. Degradation is the resulting process of any damage done.
  5. The phonetic structure of pollution is pəˈluːʃ(ə)n, and, degradation is dɛɡrəˈdeɪʃ(ə)n
  6. Pollution is derived from the Latin word Polluere and the late middle English word Pollute. Degradation was derived from the Latin word and Old french word degradare.
Difference Between Pollution and Degradation


Pollution and Degradation both represent some kind of damage. Pollution is the damage done to the environment. Decreasing the amount of pollution to save the world from degradation is important.

Understanding the difference and meaning of these two sentences is important. One is specifically related to the environment, while Degradation is the destruction of any subject or matter.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/095712729290020S
  2. https://chemistry-europe.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cphc.201300247
  3. https://www.nature.com/articles/44801
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030438940700564X
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