Causes of Water Pollution And How To Prevent Water Pollution
Water Pollution :
The natural world is being polluted by manmade contaminants in the water. These pollutants are often toxic to wildlife, livestock, and humans. People can become sick or die if exposed to harmful levels of toxic chemicals that have entered the water supply after being dumped into it.
Causes of Water Pollution And How To Prevent Water Pollution
Causes Of Water pollution
Industries like mining and manufacturing use large amounts of water which they return to the environment after it has been polluted. This polluted water contains chemicals and metals that can poison wildlife and people if consumed, used for irrigation, or come in contact with the skin.
People often litter into waterways such as rivers and oceans because they don’t realize how harmful this is. Children are often exposed to litter when playing near rivers and streams. Some of it is the type that floats away from its source and drifts along with the river current until it reaches a body of water or ocean.
Livestock waste can also pollute fresh and saltwater of aquatic habitats. It is estimated that livestock on the earth outnumber humans by a ratio of 20 to 1!
Effects Of Water Pollution
The effects depend on how much water is polluted, where it is polluted, what type of pollutant it contains, and the environment’s natural ability to cleanse itself.
Water used for drinking can be polluted if contaminants are present above regulated levels set by national governments or international treaties. Water polluted with more than one contaminant can cause multiple health problems at the same time. People may be exposed to water pollution if they drink, swim, bathe, fish, play sports, irrigate crops or livestock, or use it in recreational activities like boating and water skiing.
What is Water Pollution And How Does It Affect Our Society :
Water pollution affects our society on many levels and can cause serious health problems. It may cause discomfort to people living near the polluted water, restrict the recreation activities they are able to enjoy, encourage people to move away from their homes, or even cause them financial hardship because of the expenses involved in cleaning it up.
Another example is that the water may become so polluted that humans and animals will no longer be able to use it for drinking or irrigation. Water is a basic necessity for life, and not having enough of it can cause serious problems for society as a whole.
Effects of water pollution on humans
When the water supply is polluted it can cause a number of serious health problems for people, including:
- Fecal contamination of drinking water where there are bacteria and viruses that can infect people and cause diarrheal disease. These diseases may range from a mild upset stomach to severe dysentery where people experience diarrhea with blood and mucus for weeks or months.
- Water that is high in nitrates can cause methemoglobinemia (blue baby disease) where the infants’ blood vessels turn blue because of a lack of oxygen (methemoglobin). Chronic exposure to nitrate pollution can lead to conditions like bladder and colon cancer, thyroid problems, birth defects, and reproductive complications.
- Exposure to heavy metals can affect the nervous system, skin, kidneys, liver, and respiratory tract. Some of these metals are toxic even in low concentrations like lead which damages the nervous system at very low levels. Mercury is another common pollutant that concentrates in fish muscle tissue which may be eaten by humans resulting in poisoning.
- Pesticides, herbicides and insecticides may be present in the water supply also because of runoff from farms or lawns where they were used carelessly or improperly. These add to the effects on humans if ingested by making it harder for our bodies to absorb nutrients and fight against infection.
- Toxic organic compounds like dioxin and PCBs may be present in the water which can cause birth defects, hormonal imbalances, miscarriages, and even cancer.
Effects of water pollution on animals
When the water supply is polluted it can also cause a number of serious health problems for both wild and domesticated animals:
– They may ingest bacteria or viruses from the polluted water that cause diseases such as cholera, anthrax, botulism, and rabies.
– Insecticides and herbicides can kill insects on which fish depend on as a food source resulting in stunted growth or death.
– Some metals like mercury build up in fish tissues over time which can be passed to humans in the food supply and cause serious health problems for all who eat it.
– Pesticides can kill insects and aquatic species like fish and amphibians which depend on them as a food source or habitat.
Different types of water pollution
- Point source pollution which comes from a specific single location such as a factory or waste treatment plant that releases chemicals into the water supply.
- Nonpoint source pollution is caused by rainfall across the land surface and picks up many types of pollutants including fertilizers, pesticides, oil spills, organic debris, sediment, and other materials which may run off into rivers or streams and eventually out to sea.
- Pollution of the ocean water from coastal areas is caused by disposal of raw sewage, wastewater from industries, docks, and ships, runoff from cities near the coastlines, oil spills from boats and tankers, limestone quarrying operations that produce sediment runoffs, etc.
- Water pollution from fisheries is caused by the discharge of chemicals and organic wastes from all aspects of the fishing industry including processors, shipping, packing facilities, fishermen who dump leftover bait or fish guts overboard, etc.
- Atmospheric water pollution comes from activities that release water vapor into the atmosphere such as power plants which produce steam as a cooling agent, car and truck emissions which produce water vapor from internal combustion engines.
- Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are added to the atmosphere by human activities like deforestation, burning fossil fuels or biomass for energy, using heavy machinery etc. This warms the earth’s surface resulting in climate change with severe consequences.
- Thermal pollution of water happens when waste heat is discharged into a stream or river which has the potential to impact aquatic life by reducing dissolved oxygen levels and altering reproductive patterns.
- Radioactive pollutants can be released from nuclear power plants, uranium mining operations, processing facilities for medical radioactive materials, etc. which contaminate drinking water and pose a risk to human health.
- Solid waste pollution results from improperly disposed of materials such as food, yard cuttings, plastics, household chemicals, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, the improper disposal of human and animal wastes, etc.
How to prevent water pollution
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible to lessen the need for new resources which contribute to pollution like manufacturing products, mining for raw materials etc.
- Consider using biodegradable products that won’t pollute our waterways or harm animals when they are disposed of or washed down the drain.
- Reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides in gardens, lawns, and farms can help prevent soil erosion which results in water pollution.
- Properly dispose of household hazardous waste items such as paints, motor oil, batteries etc. instead of dumping them into storm drains or the trash.
- Use nontoxic solutions for pest control around your home and garden instead of chemical pesticides.
- Use nontoxic paint strippers, cleaning products, furniture polishes etc. to reduce the amount of chemicals that flow into waterways when they are washed down the drain.
- Collect water runoff from driveways or roofs with rain barrels for watering lawns or gardens instead of using drinking water for this purpose.
- Use a low flow shower head, faucet aerators and other water conservation devices in your home to lessen the amount of drinking water discharged into waterways by household wastewater.
- Plant native trees and shrubs along rivers or lakes instead of a lawn to slow down runoff from rainfall. Also, build rain gardens or buffer strips with native vegetation in front of your home to slow down runoff.
- Use drip irrigation in gardens and lawns which allows water to be applied directly at the base of plants instead of watering in circles around them. This reduces water waste which results in water pollution.
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