When water resources become unfit for consumption and harmful to the organism of living beings, damage to the environment and human life is devastating. Water pollution is a serious environmental problem faced by many cities in the world today.
Water is a finite resource and its contamination results from human activity itself. Forests are devastated and affect the course of rivers and, at the same time, urban centers and industrial activity are becoming increasingly important. With the growth of cities, more waste is discarded in nature, compromising water resources.
The industry, in turn, also accounts for a large amount of waste discharged into rivers and seas. Not to mention productive activities, such as oil exploration and agribusiness. All human actions compromise the environment and can impact future generations.
Do you want to better understand the reasons for water pollution and how human activity compromises natural resources? Read on, find out the main causes and consequences of water pollution, and be prepared for your next tests!
What is water pollution?
The contamination of water bodies by chemical, physical or biological agents is extremely harmful to human life and other living organisms in the area, such as plants, animals, and other microorganisms.
Water is fundamental to life and, once contaminated, becomes unfit for utilization. Pollution harms the local flora and fauna and creates other problems, such as disease or even the extinction of local species.
The disposal of solid waste in the water is a major public health problem. In the case of untreated sewage, the greatest risk is of diseases for the riverside population, in addition to the compromise of fauna, with the death of fish and other animals that live in forests around the contaminated rivers and lakes.
Human action is also a huge problem. Plastic derivatives, such as PET bottles, bags, straws, and other items, are irresponsibly discarded on beaches and rivers. Metal packaging (cans), derived from paper and glass, also have the same destination, further compromising the waters and marine animals. A large number of turtles and other animals that live in the waters die from ingestion of waste discarded irresponsibly by man.
An even more serious problem arises from the contamination of groundwater, which can occur due to several factors that can be considered real environmental disasters. Accidental leaks at gas stations, for example, can reach the groundwater and cause major contamination, since the products sold in these establishments are derived from hydrocarbons and, therefore, highly polluting.
However, petrol stations are not the only ones responsible for contamination by hydrocarbons. Companies that provide automotive washing services often do not have specific equipment for the treatment of the water used, discarding the washing residues on public roads and river galleries.
Likewise, many oil change service providers are also not careful about disposing of their waste, further compromising groundwater with oil products.
It is worth remembering that the disposal of waste oil used in the soil can reach the groundwater, generating great water pollution. This applies not only to lubricating oils, which contain hydrocarbons but also to any type of oil, even that used in the kitchens of all houses and restaurants.
Therefore, awareness is essential. If each citizen does his part and sends the used oil for recycling, the contamination will be less and it will be easier to deal with the effects and problems caused by the contaminated water.
Types of water pollution
There are four main sources of water pollution:
- sedimentary pollution, which occurs when particles are suspended. These particles come from the soil, due to erosion, deforestation, or even the extraction of ores. Sediments stop direct sun’s rays and interfere with the animals’ ability to search for food;
- biological pollution, caused by domestic and industrial waste, released into sewers without prior treatment. In addition to residues of toxic materials used in industry, untreated effluents may contain pathogenic microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and worms;
- thermal pollution, which occurs when the temperature of an ecosystem is high or low. As a result, several organisms cannot resist, directly affecting biodiversity;
- pollution by chemical agents, which can be intentional or accidental, resulting from the improper disposal of contaminating residues in watercourses, rivers, and seas. This contamination causes great damage to marine life and damages the entire ecosystem.
Causes of water pollution
The main cause of water pollution is human action. Agricultural, domestic and industrial activities generate waste that, if disposed of inappropriately, compromises water resources.
In the case of agricultural activity, pollution occurs through the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, which can infiltrate the soil, with the risk of reaching the water table. In addition, the substances used in the manufacture of such products can be dissolved by rain, causing impacts on the ecosystem.
The industries, in turn, also generate various effluents and polluting residues, which are discarded in river waters, with the risk of real ecological disasters.
In the case of domestic activity, the use of some products, such as detergents, also contributes to and depletes the supply of oxygen from the water, compromising the ecosystem. In addition, sanitary waste, normally sent to public landfills and other deposits (“dumps”) in the open, is responsible for the contamination of the water table, especially due to the penetration of leachate in the soil.
In this sense, the lack of basic sanitation systems is an aggravation of water pollution.
Water pollution: consequences
The main consequences of water pollution, in addition to compromising the environment for future generations, are diseases caused by consumption or exposure to the contaminated resource. The main pathologies resulting from this contract are:
- typhoid fever;
Worldwide, water contamination is responsible for more than ten million annual deaths, half of which corresponds to the child population.
How to avoid water pollution
Sewerage and waste treatment systems are the responsibility of the government. However, there are simple actions that can be taken by the entire population to reduce water pollution. Information and commitment are enough. Find what every citizen must do to reduce the impact on water resources:
- dispose of waste properly;
- Start applying the fundamental of 3 R i.e reduce, reuse, and recycle.;
- prefer organic foods and invest in composting these residues;
- avoid the use of industrial fertilizers or pesticides;
- do not discard plastic materials (such as bags, straws, bottles, and similar items) in nature. Products containing plastics in the composition, such as disposable diapers and sanitary napkins should never be discarded in toilets;
- prefer products from companies recognized as environmentally responsible;
- reduce water consumption, avoiding waste.
Water pollution is a serious problem that can affect future generations. Water is a finite resource and, therefore, its use and conscious consumption are essential. Likewise, soil pollution must be contained, since the infiltration takes polluting agents to the water table, causing serious environmental problems and imbalances to the ecosystem. For this reason, these themes motivate discussions around the world.
Name- Sunil Trivedi
Bio- Sunil Trivedi is the Managing Director of Aqua Drink. With 15 years of experience in the water purification industry, Sunil and his team have been ensuring that his clients consume 100% potable water to lead a healthy life and keeping water-borne diseases miles away.