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Environmental Chemistry

Course CodeBSC306
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Study Environmental Chemistry

Understanding the processes of change is the key to managing environmental chemistry. This course develops your fundamental understanding of these processes and the chemicals that inhabit the environment; giving you a foundation for managing environmental chemistry. In this course, you'll learn:

  • The difference between chemicals and necessary chemicals
  • Sampling and testing techniques
  • Applications of environmental chemistry to human health

Better management of our environment must begin with understanding of the changes caused by humans in our quest for industrialisation and higher production. Excellent for environmental managers and assessors, factory managers, mechanics, town planners, landscapers, and more.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to environmental chemistry and basic chemical
  2. Organic, inorganic and biological contaminants in the environment
  3. Air pollution and treatment
  4. Water pollution and treatment
  5. Soil pollution and treatment
  6. Environmental chemistry and human health
  7. Environmental chemistry field sampling and testing
  8. Sustainability and green chemistry

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


Green chemistry is the design of chemical processes, products and policies that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances and reduce use of non-renewable resources. It addresses every aspect of production, from initial design through to distribution and end of life for a product. 

The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry:

1. Prevention 
Reduce waste through preventative practice: design processes that prevent waste production.

2. Atom economy 
Design methodology that maximises the use of all materials in the product. Aim to use up all the starting materials in creation of the final product. Waste few or no atoms.

3. Production of less hazardous chemicals from the outset 
Whenever possible, design methods that use safer substances, ideally those with low or no toxicity regarding humans and the environment.

4. Designing safer chemicals 
Design chemical products that have the desired effect while keeping human and environmental toxicity to a minimum.

5. Safer solvents
Whenever possible, reduce use of auxiliary compounds such as solvents and separation agents. If use is necessary, aim to use safer compounds, with little or no toxicity to humans and the environment.

6. Designed with energy efficiency on mind 
Minimise energy requirements whenever possible. Aim to run processes at ambient temperature and pressure whenever possible. 

7. Use renewable feedstocks 
Whenever possible, use renewable stocks and materials rather than limited or depleting ones. E.g. use renewable agricultural products or usable waste rather than fossil fuels.

8. Reduce derivatives 
Minimise or avoid derivitisation such as the use of blocking groups, protection/deprotection, temporary modification etc. Derivative use requires additional reagents and generates more waste.

9. Catalysis 
Use catalysts where possible – small amounts are effective, and can catalyse a given reaction more than once. Avoid stoichiometric reagents where possible, as these are single-use.

10. Designed for future degradation 
Design compounds that will degrade after use to reduce waste and prevent environmental accumulation.

11. Analysis for pollution prevention 
Use real-time, in-process monitoring to collect data and control or eliminate by-products which contribute to waste.

12. Safer chemistry for accident prevention
Design processes and products to minimise potential chemical accidents such as explosions, fires, and releases into the environment.

Green Chemistry is the Future of Environmental Protection

Green chemistry aims to prevent pollution and use sustainable practices which, in turn, sustain the earth and its living populations. This is necessary for human civilisations to continue. Sustainable civilisations using green technology:

  • Protect human health
  • Protect the environment
  • Are more likely to have stable economies due to efficient use renewable resources and efficient, limited use of non-renewable resources

Reducing and preventing pollution is a key part of ongoing environmental and human health. There are many green technologies and green practices to help with this. This can mean everything from developing new processes on a manufacturing level to changing the chemicals used for a service.