Lesson Notes By Weeks and Term - Primary 5


WEEK 1&2





Learning Objectives

At the end of topic should be able to:

  1. Define pollution and list some agents of pollution.
  2. List common causes of pollution
  3. Discuss the role of human activities in the degradation of the environment iv) Identify the causes of pollution on land, water, and air v) Suggest ways of reducing pollution of the environment


A chart showing different types of pollution.


Scheme of work

All relevant materials     

9-Years Basic Education Curriculum

Online information


Pupils are familiar with the topic in their previous classes.



Meaning of Pollution

Our environment is our surroundings. It consists of the living (biotic) and non-living (a biotic) elements of our surroundings. The three major components of the environment are physical, biological and socio-economic. 

The environment contains every essential element which man needs to survive. At the same time, the environment contains potential hazards which pose threats to the existence of man and other living organisms. These hazardous elements are either natural or man-made.

Pollution means making the environment unsafe for plants and animals. When the air, water and land get contaminated" they become serious health hazards and security threats to man and other living organisms.


Pollutants are substances that are capable of contaminating the environment.

Pollutants can be in their solid, liquid and gaseous forms


Types and Causes of Pollution

Pollution may affect the soil, rivers, seas or the atmosphere. This means that there are many forms or types of pollution with different causes.


Types of Pollution

There are three major types of pollution, namely:

  • Land pollution
  • Water pollution and
  • Atmospheric or air pollution 



When we sweep the floor in our homes or compounds without first sprinkling water on the floor, dust rises into the air. Tractors also raise dust when they are used to cultivate farmland in dry weather. Lorries and cars raise dust as they move on roads, especially untarred roads.

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is passed into the air whenever anything burns in air. Vehicles that use petrol or diesel add a lot of carbon dioxide to the air. The flaring of natural gas also causes the pollution of air with carbon dioxide.

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuel burns in an insufficient amount of atmospheric oxygen. There are reports of people who have died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning when they operated their electric generators in homes with closed doors and windows.

Harmful effects of air pollution

  1. Smoke makes us cough and causes tears to flow from our eyes. In Nigeria, packets of cigarettes carry this notice: ‘The Federal Ministry of Health warns that smokers are liable to die young’.
  2. Carbon dioxide forms 0.3% of the atmosphere. An increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide beyond this level causes the earth to become warmer than it should be. This has bad effects on the weather, e.g. high temperatures, rising of the sea level and strong storms.
  3. Carbon monoxide is poisonous to human beings. Inhaling much carbon monoxide causes death.
  4. Inhaling particles of wood, clay, chalk and other materials leads to disorders in the human breathing system. 

Control of air pollution

Air pollution can be controlled in these four major ways:

  1. Provision of good ventilation in homes by having an adequate number of windows.
  2. Sprinkling of water on the floor or land before sweeping it.
  3. Keeping engines in good repair and well-serviced form.
  4. Avoiding operating electric generators in closed rooms.

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