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Causes of Water Pollution

Last updated date: 23rd May 2024
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What is Water Pollution?

Water is a vital constituent for life support. The conservation and keeping up a good supply of water is thus very essential. The presence/addition of undesirable substances in water is referred to as water contamination. Natural, inorganic, chemical, radiological, and thermal contaminants impair the consistency of water, rendering it unsafe for drinking or usage. In this article, we have discussed the causes of water pollution and the types of water pollution.

Types of Sources of Water Pollution

The two types of sources of water pollution are:

Point Source

When pollutants are discharged from a specific location such as a drainpipe carrying industrial effluents discharged directly into a water body it represents point source pollution.

Non-point Source

Pollution discharged from diffused sources or over a wider area, such as runoff from farm fields, grazing lands, construction sites, abandoned mines, roads and highways, are examples of non-point sources.

What are the Causes of Water Pollution?

The causes of water pollution are: 

  • Domestic wastes such as household detergents, sewage, etc.

  • Industrial wastes.

  • Offshore and oil drilling.

  • Thermal pollution

  • Nutrient pollution

  • Oxygen depletion

  • Microbiological pollution

  • Suspended matter

  • Chemical water pollution

  • Oil spillage

It is necessary to discuss the sources of water pollution while discussing what are the causes of water pollution. The main reasons for pollution of water are their sources. 

Domestic Waste

The main sources of domestic waste are household detergents and sewage. It is generated from household activities like washing products, waste food and lots of other domestic items. The sewage, if not treated before being discharged, pollutes the water bodies.

Industrial Waste

Industries use water for many purposes such as processing, cooling and treatment of materials at various stages of production.

Nutrients Pollution

This is one of the main reasons of pollution in water bodies. Nutrient levels are high in some wastewater, fertilisers, and sewage. If they end up in bodies of water, they promote the growth of algae and weeds. When there are so many algae in the water, all of the oxygen is used up, and the species in the water die from lack of oxygen.

Surface water contamination applies to natural water found on the surface of the earth, such as rivers, lakes, lagoons, and the ocean. Surface water contamination applies to natural water found on the surface of the earth, such as rivers, lakes, lagoons, and the ocean. The reasons of pollution of surface water is Hazardous substances coming into contact with this surface water, dissolving or mixing physically with the water can be called surface water pollution. This is the major causes of water pollution.

Chemical Water Pollution 

Many industries and farmers work with chemicals that end up in the water is called chemical water pollution. These include chemicals that are used to control weeds, insects, and pests. Metals and solvent from industries can pollute water bodies. These are poisonous to many forms of aquatic life and may slow their development, make them infertile and kill them.

Oxygen Depleting 

Water bodies have microorganisms. When there is too much biodegradable matter (material that degrades quickly) in the water, it promotes microorganism activity, which consumes more oxygen. When oxygen is scarce, aerobic organisms perish, while anaerobic organisms prosper, creating dangerous toxins like ammonia and sulphides.

Pollutants of Water Pollution

Pollutants of water pollution are agents that cause water pollution. The major water pollutants are 

  • Microorganism- bacteria and viruses are the main components.

  • Toxic organics- DDT, aldrin, endosulfan, chlordane, and malathion.

  • Heavy Metals- Arsenic, chromium, lead, copper, and iron.

  • Gross Pollutants

  • Oils, detergents, and shampoo.

  • Sediments.

  • Nutrients.

  • Oxygen demanding substances.

Treatment of Water Pollution

There are two types of wastes that are mainly responsible for water pollution:

  • Household waste includes mainly sewage and municipal garbage.

  • Industrial wastes include soluble matter. The proper disposal of these wastes can save the water from pollution to much extent. 

Did You Know?

  • Oxygen is used up more quickly than it can dissolve in the water from the atmosphere. This drop may kill fish and other aquatic organisms.

  • Increased water temperature reduces the amount of light in the water available for plant growth.

  • Major water polluting industries in India include leather, pulp and paper industries.

FAQs on Causes of Water Pollution

Question: What are the Necessary Precautions We Should Take to Protect Water Bodies?

Answer: The necessary steps are given below:

Proper Collection and Disposal of Domestic Waste 

Separate septic tanks should be used by each house. The drainage of urban waste and human excreta into rivers, streams, and pools would be decreased as a result. Bathing and washing should not be done in rivers and lakes. The effective use of domestic sewage for industrial cooling is a good example. These efforts will save freshwater from being polluted.

Treatment of Industrial Waste to Yield Safe Effluents 

wastewater treatment techniques should be applied before the polluted water enters a river or lake. Wastewater treatment processes can be physical, chemical or biological.

Question: What is the Effect of Heavy Metal Pollution in the Water on Humans?

Answer: Lead poisoning causes mental retardation, mercury poisoning causes insanity, crippling disease and other birth defects including brain damage. Copper causes sporadic fever and hypertension.