Over two thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered by water.
As Earth’s population continues to grow, people are putting ever-increasing pressure on the planet’s water resources. In a sense, oceans, rivers, and other inland waters are being “squeezed” by human activities—not so they take up less room, but so their quality is reduced. Poorer water quality means water pollution.
Pollution is a human problem because it is a relatively recent development in the planet’s history: before the 19th century Industrial Revolution, people lived more in harmony with their immediate environment. As industrialization has spread around the globe, so the problem of pollution has spread with it.
When Earth’s population was much smaller, no one believe pollution would ever be a serious problem. It was once popularly believed that the oceans were far too big to be polluted. Today, with around 7 billion people on the planet, it has become apparent that there are limits. Pollution is one of the signs that humans have exceeded those limits.
Causes of Water Pollution
Water covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and makes up over 60% of the human body. Water pollution affects marine ecosystems, wildlife health, and human well-being. The answer to solving pollution is to make changes in our daily habits and pay more attention to the types of products you consume.
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The following list displays the causes of water pollution and the effects it has on human health and the environment.
#1. Troublemaker Sewage
With billions of people on the planet, disposing of sewage waste is a major problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) at least 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water source contaminated with faeces.
The sewage produce by each household is chemically treat and release into sea with fresh water. The sewage water carries harmful bacteria and chemicals that can cause serious health problems. Pathogens are known as a common water pollutant.
The sewers of cities house several pathogens and thereby diseases. Microorganisms in water are known to be causes of some very deadly diseases and become the breeding grounds for other creatures that act like carriers. These carriers inflict these diseases via various forms of contact onto an individual. A very common example of this process would be Malaria.
#2. Excessive Nutrients
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over half of the nation’s streams and rivers are polluted, and of those, 19% are impaired by the presence of excess nutrients. The term nutrient refers to sources of nourishment supporting organism growth. In the context of water pollution, nutrients generally consist of phosphorus and nitrogen which algae and aquatic plants use to grow and proliferate
An overabundance of nutrients can lead to a number of negative environmental effects, including detrimental health impacts (nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, etc.) and harmful algal blooms (HABs).
#3. Chemical waste
Industries produce huge amount of waste which contains toxic chemicals and pollutants which can cause air pollution and damage to every person and the environment. Also, they contain pollutants such as lead, mercury, sulphur, asbestos, nitrates and many other harmful chemicals.
Many industries do not have proper waste management system and drain the waste in the fresh water which goes into rivers, canals and later in to sea. So, the toxic chemicals have the capability to change the color of water, increase the amount of minerals, also known as eutrophication, change the temperature of water and pose serious hazard to water organisms.
#4. Radioactive waste
The nuclear waste produce by radioactive material needs to be dispose off to prevent any nuclear accident. Nuclear waste can have serious environmental hazards if not disposed off properly. Few major accidents have already taken place in Russia and Japan.
#5. Oil pollution
Oil is a major water pollutant. Routine shipping, sea port operations, and oil refining at the seas have led to water pollution through oil dumping and spillage. Once the oil spills in the water, it makes a thick layer on the surface of the water as it is insoluble in water. As a result, oil spills can extensively harm and kill marine life because it cuts the supply of dissolved oxygen and prevents light from penetrating into the water.
Dissolve oxygen is essential for the survival of aquatic organisms and sunlight is a requisite for photosynthesis. A good example is the 2012 BP oil spill that killed thousands of marine animal species like birds, fish, turtles, and sea otters.
Plastic is almost everywhere, and the growing rate of plastic pollution is even worsened due to the rising consumption and population growth. Plastic pollution has increasingly becoming a major nuisance and poses significant threats to the entire environment leading to land, air, and water pollution. Also plastics impact the natural environment and have grave consequences for humans, wildlife, and plants since they contain numerous toxic compounds.
After reading the above list, you might be wondering:
What to do to stop water pollution?
Dealing with water pollution is something that everyone (including governments and local councils) needs to get involved with. Here are a few things you can do to help.
Learning about the issue and talk to others about it, is the greatest and most important step to take. Here are a few more:
– Don’t pour fat from cooking or any other type of fat, oil, or grease down the sink.
For this, keep a jar where to put any fat and put it under the sink to collect the fat and discard in the solid waste when full.
– Don’t flush pills, liquid or powder medications or drugs down the toilet.
The treatments to clean waters with these chemicals are really hard to do and most of the water keeps the residues.
– Be a more careful car owner.
Good maintenance can reduce the leaking of oil, coolant, antifreeze, and other nasty liquids that are carrie by rainwater down driveways or through parking lots and then seep into groundwater supplies. Then, go a step further by always choosing a car wash over hosing down your ride yourself. So, the pros are require to drain their wastewater into sewer systems. Also, here the water is treat for all the bad stuff before being discharged. Many even recycle that water.
– Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units
In-sink ‘garburators’ require lots of water to operate properly, and also add considerably to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can lead to maintenance problems. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste.
– Don’t use your toilet as wastebasket
Never flush non-degradable products, like baby wipes or plastic tampon applicators. They can throw a huge wrench into the sewage treatment process and wind up littering beaches and water.
– Reduce the use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers
If you think you have to use them, at least reduce their use. Also, don’t dispose these chemicals or motor oil into the sanitary sewer or storm sewer systems.
With these tips you can help to stop the water pollution. Remember that you are the solution. So, you can work together with people of your community to keep the environment clean.
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