Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that causes adverse change. There are different types of pollution like air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, land pollution. Water pollution is the pollution of bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, seas, the oceans as well as groundwater.
Earth is the only planet to have liquid water on its surface. About 71 percent of earth’s surface is water-covered and the oceans hold about 96 percent of all earth’s water, only 2.5 percent water we can use for our essential things. The human body must require the nearest 3-liter water every day. Water is one of the very important elements of our life and the environment.
There are many reasons for water pollution. Some of the reasons directly affected on water pollution and some indirectly. Many factories, industries are dumping contaminated water, chemicals, and heavy metals into major waterways as a result of direct water pollution. One more reason for water pollution is the use of modern techniques in farms. Farmers apply nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium in the form of chemical fertilizers, manure, and sludge. It causes farms to discharge large quantities of agrochemicals, organic matter, saline drainage into water bodies, it indirectly affects water pollution.
As water is an important element of human health, polluted water directly affects the human body. Water pollution causes various diseases like typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, cancer, etc. Water pollution damages the plants and aquatic animals present in the river by reducing the oxygen content from the water. Polluted water washes the essential nutrients which plants need out of the soil and also leaves large amounts of aluminum in the soil, which can be harmful to plants. Wastewater and sewage is a by-product of daily life and thus produced by each household through various activities like using soap, toilets, and detergents. Such sewage contains chemicals and bacteria which are harmful to human life and environmental health. Some time our tradition also becomes a cause for water pollution. Some people throw the statues of deities, flowers, pots, and ashes in rivers.
While many of the solutions for water pollution need to be applied on a broader macro-level for that individual, companies, and communities can have a significant and responsible impact on the water quality. Companies, factories have to dispose of leftover chemicals and containers properly as per the product instructions. Farmers also have to reduce the use of nitrates and phosphates from fertilizers, pesticides, and contamination of groundwater. The Swachh Bharat Mission of the government had led to reduced groundwater contamination. Under the Namami Ganga program, the government has initiated several major projects to clean Ganga.
As we all know, “Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” We have to save water. We must keep the water clean. If everyone will follow their responsibility against water to protect it from getting polluted then it will be easy to get clean and healthy drinking water. Clean water is a must for us and our kids' present, future, and a healthy environment.
1. What are the effects of water pollution?
Water pollution has a great impact on human health. Water pollution kills. It's been recorded that in 2015 nearly 1.8 million people died because of water pollution. People with low income are exposed to contaminated water coming out from the industries. Presence of disease causing pathogens in drinking water are the major cause of illness which includes cholera, giardia, and typhoid. Water pollution not only affects human health but also our environment by causing algal bloom in a lake or marine environment. Water pollution also causes eutrophication which suffocates plants and animals and thus causes dead zones. Chemicals and heavy metals from industrial and municipal wastewater contaminate waterways and harm aquatic life.
2. What are the causes of Water pollution?
Water being a universal solvent is vulnerable to pollution as it dissolves more substances than any other liquid on earth. Therefore, water is easily polluted. Toxic substances from farms, towns, and factories readily dissolve into water and mix with it, resulting in water pollution.
Agricultural pollution is one of the major causes of contamination in rivers and streams. Use of excessive fertilizers, pesticides, and animal waste from farms and livestock operations lets the rain wash the nutrients and pathogens—such bacteria and viruses—into our waterways. The other major cause of water pollution is used water, termed as wastewater which basically comes from our sinks, showers, toilets and from commercial, industrial, and agricultural activities. It's been reported that the world's 80 percent wastewater flows back into the environment without being treated or reused. Oil spills and radioactive waste also causes water pollution to a great extent.
3. How to prevent water pollution?
It is important to keep our water bodies clean so we can take the following preventive measures to prevent from water pollution:
Chemicals like bleach, paint, paint thinner, ammonia, and many chemicals are becoming a serious problem. Dumping toxic chemicals down the drain or flushing them down the toilet can cause water pollution. Thus, a proper disposal is important. Also, household chemicals need to be recycled.
Avoid buying products that contain persistent and dangerous chemicals. Buying non-toxic cleaners and biodegradable cleaners and pesticides cuts down on water pollution.
Prevent from pouring fats or greasy substances down the drain as it might clog the drain resulting in the dumping of waste into yards or basement which can contaminate the local water bodies.
4. What is the role of medical institutions in polluting the water?
Pharmaceutical pollution affects aquatic life and thus there is a need to take preventive measures. Consumers are responsible for winding up pharmaceutical and personal care products in lakes, rivers, and streams. There's a lot of unused and expired medication that can potentially get into the water if not disposed properly.