One can live without food for approximately 20 days but not more than 3 days without water. About 75% of the earth is covered with water, but less than 3% of it is available as freshwater. However, not all the existing freshwater is available for human consumption. Continue reading to know how the Contamination of water can lead to destructive outcomes.
Almost 69% of freshwater is present is in the form of an ice cap and glacier in places like Antarctica and Greenland ice sheet, which means less than 1% of earth water is available for drinking. Hence, it’s our responsibility to understand the importance of water and preserve it.
Over 80% of the world’s fresh water is getting dumped, untreated back into the environment, polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans. Drinking of this ill-treated water kills more people each year than any other disease. If we don’t take any action today the situation will only get worsen tomorrow. Hence, we must take thoughtful measures to eliminate the harmful effects of water pollution.
What is water pollution?
The release of the toxic and harmful substances into the groundwater or into lakes, rivers, estuaries, and oceans to an extent where they start to interfere with the natural system functioning of the ecosystem leads to water pollution. Other than this the presence of any substance such as chemicals, microorganisms, or excessive nutrients may also cause water pollution.
Types of water pollution
Water is known as a “universal solvent” because of its ability to dissolve more substance than any other liquid on the planet. This is the reason why all the toxins, chemicals, waste materials easily get dissolved in it and make it polluted. Let’s discuss water pollution types.
Groundwater is one of our least visible but most critical natural resources. It gets polluted when contaminants such as fertilizers, pesticides, and waste leaching from landfills and septic systems, making their way into an aquifer. Once polluted, an aquifer becomes unsafe for humans and remains unstable for decades.
Surface water pollution
It includes natural water found on earth’s surface like rivers, lakes, lagoons, and oceans which is daily getting polluted by the dumping of hazardous substances into it.
Ocean water pollution
The main cause of ocean water pollution is oil spillage, usually, it has only a localized effect on wildlife but can spread in a few miles.
Sometimes the pollution is natural and is caused by microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. These can cause severe critical diseases if used for drinking purposes.
Some wastewater like sewage contains a high level of nutrients in it, which encourages the growth of algae and weed in the water bodies. Too much of algae uses up all the oxygen making it difficult for the survival of other organisms due to oxygen starvation.
Water pollution causes
A deeper inspection of our water resources today gives us a dreadful blow. Water pollution is caused by the infestation of various wastes ranging from floating plastic bags to chemical waste, converting our waterbodies into a pool of poison. Let’s discuss some of the water pollution sources:
The agricultural sector is the major contributor to water pollution, as it releases nutrients, pesticides, salts, sediments, organic carbon, pathogens, metals, and drug residues in excess amount in water bodies.
Sewage and wastewater
When the sewage is disposed of in the water bodies without treating it well, it causes huge damage to the existing wildlife and ecosystem.
Oceans are mainly affected by oil pollutions. Many oil spills from the large tankers, routine shipping, run-offs, and dumping are exaggerating the current water pollution status.
Industries produce a tremendous amount of waste, which contains toxic chemicals and pollutants, causing air pollution and damage to the environment.
Water pollution effects
There are many disadvantages of water pollution, which is leading to the destruction of human health and the ecosystem in many ways. Such as
A waterbody is becoming overly enriched with nutrients, leading to the growth of excessive simple plant bodies like algae (or bloom) and plankton which consumes all the oxygen due to this less amount of oxygen is available for the other organisms living in the water.
2. Threats to freshwater biodiversity
From all the species of biodiversity, 6% belongs to freshwater and has great importance. Water pollution affects water quality and reduces the water supply. It also reduces the oxygen supply, used by fish and other aquatic organisms.
3. Diseases caused by water pollution
This is the major disadvantage of water pollution because it gives shelter to many waterborne pathogens to grow and spread. Diseases spread by the drinking of unsafe water include cholera, giardia, jaundice, amoebiasis, malaria, paratyphoid fever, dysentery and can also damage the nervous system and cause cancer because of the carbonates and organophosphates that they contain.
4. Increased temperature of water bodies
The temperature has a major influence on biological activity and growth as it governs the kinds of organisms that can live in rivers and lakes. Fish, insects, and other aquatic species all have a preferred temperature range, which if gets too far above or below this preferred range, decreases the number of individuals of the species.
The key challenge to better management of water quality comprises of contamination, drainage, and water quality problems due to partially treated wastewater from urban settlement and industries.
Below are a few steps on how to prevent water pollution in various sectors.
1. In the energy sector
- By using the fuel to its maximum efficiency
- By using environment-friendly fuel.
2. In the agricultural sector
- By reducing, reusing, and recycling of water.
- Reducing the use of chemicals.
- Use of pesticides that are less harmful to the environment.
3. In the industrial sector
- Better water treatment programs
- Using non-toxic or less toxic chemicals as chemicals, degreasers, and other maintenance chemicals.
- Implementing water energy conservation practices.
4. In school and college programs
- Water pollution prevention programs.
- Using reusable water bottles instead of throw-away.
- Finding new ways to water pollution solution.
Water is an essential fluid on which all life depends but unfortunately has become a global garbage can. Protecting water quality has become extremely necessary and critical, else water pollution can cause an entire ecosystem to collapse if left unchecked.