Water pollution occurs when natural waters (lakes, rivers, seas, etc.) are present various types of foreign chemicals to its original composition, which modify its properties making it unhealthy, harmful to life and therefore useless for fishing, agriculture, recreation, and human consumption.
Water is the most abundant liquid substance on the planet and the universal solvent present in most substances and in all living beings, which without it could not exist. Life itself originated in the seas of our planet.
However, that has not prevented numerous human activities from generating an important impact on the water quality of the planet, by disposing of liquid, solid and even gaseous substances in the environment.
And although there are also natural processes and human initiatives that seek to counteract water pollution, it is much easier to dirty it than to make it drinkable.
What are the Water Contaminants?
Garbage and solid waste are part of the main water pollutants.
The main water pollutants are:
Product of urban consumption (sewage), industrial processes or other everyday human uses.
Garbage and solid waste
As waste materials, metals, plastics, glass, objects that fall from ships, etc.
Chemical and agro toxic products
The chemicals used for the agricultural industry, to treat soils or for other specific uses, are often washed by rain and run into the seas or groundwater.
Sediments and minerals
Like volcanic ash, sediments, and soil or construction particles, such as dust, lime, etc.
Resulting from nuclear plants, they are extremely toxic elements that are stored in lead containers and are often thrown into the ocean as they have no better place to dispose of them.
Causes of the Contamination of the Water
As we have seen, the main causes of water pollution come from the way of life of human beings and, especially, from the way we consume natural resources and have by-products and waste from our activities.
Since the Industrial Revolution and the exponential growth of the world population during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the needs of water, energy and raw materials of humanity has only increased.
And the contamination of water, air, and the land is a direct consequence.
Consequences of Water Pollution
Pollution does not only remain in the water but spreads to the earth and in the air.
The main consequences of water pollution can be:
The presence of certain chemicals in the water can cause the abnormal proliferation of certain microbes or algae, which unbalances the trophic chain and generates abnormal competencies that, in the long run, cause the excessive death of certain species that will decompose by adding organic matter to the Water.
Changes in water chemistry can reach lethal extremes, in which local fauna and flora become extinct or migrate to other areas, causing severe ecological damage.
Changes in temperature, pH and other water properties due to added substances or suspended solids affect the behavior of the liquid masses, reducing their evaporation and therefore their precipitation and altering the local climate.
Ground and air pollution
Water pollution does not only remain in the water but spreads to the earth and air, according to the water cycle, in a domino effect of unpredictable consequences.
How to Avoid Water Pollution?
To avoid or reduce water pollution, just be aware of it and ensure its most cost-effective, efficient and responsible use. This happens by:
1. Urban and industrial policies more responsible
Forcing them to dispose of the industrial by-products and sewage products correctly, mitigating the impact that these wastes inflict on the sea and lakes.
2. Consumer awareness campaigns
The waste of drinking water is a daily reality, ranging from the tap that is open while lathering our hands, to the drinking water that we splurge “cleaning” the sidewalk.
3. Recycling culture
The decrease in the solid waste that will give, in one way or another, water or sanitary landfills in contact with groundwater, can occur through recycling and more responsible consumption.
What are the Solutions for Water Pollution
Contaminated water often has a solution. There are processes of purification and cleaning such as:
• Methods of bacteriological control and biological control of water.
• Wastewater treatments and reuse before returning them to the sea.
• Filtering mechanisms of various kinds.
• Also, fight air and land pollution.
Why is it Important to Avoid Water Pollution?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines contaminated water like that, whose “composition has been modified so that it does not meet the conditions for its intended use in its natural state.”
We are not talking about any resource. Remember that it is our main natural resource, source of our well-being and health and an essential element for industrial, food, medical and health processes and, in general, for development.
Let’s start by becoming aware. However, we are currently facing a huge challenge: the contamination of our most important water sources, such as rivers, oceans, canals, lakes, and reservoirs.
It is one of the great concerns of our time because without good quality water it is impossible to guarantee the well-being of the environment, the human species, animals and plants. Find out why it is produced to know how we can fight it!
What does it Mean that the Water is Contaminated?
Surely you’ve heard the phrase “water is life” on more than one occasion. To understand the serious problem we face, we must first understand what characterizes water in poor conditions.
The presence of chemical or other components in a density greater than the natural situation. That is the existence of substances such as microbes, heavy metals or sediments. These pollutants degrade water quality.
To ensure water safety and protect the health, the World Health Organization offers recommendations in the Guidelines for drinking water quality.
Microbiological quality analyzes will be carried out (the study of microorganisms that indicate fecal pollution, such as the existence of Escherichia coli or the diagnosis of pathogen density).
Chemical quality, it analyzes will be carried out to monitor the presence of additives, the elements that come mainly from the components and chemical products used to obtain and distribute the water.
Human activities influence negatively. Had you thought about it?
Find out below some of the reasons that make one of our most precious natural resources dirty and find out more about our current environmental problems in the article.
Water Pollution Causes Many Problems
Currently, millions of people in the world die from drinking contaminated water, a situation that is especially acute in those contexts of social exclusion, poverty, and marginalization.
To understand this situation, we may have to go back to the main causes that have caused water pollution. Let’s see what they are:
Industries represent an important source of pollution for water, given that it causes harmful results and many of them permanent in the environment.
On the other hand, many industrial companies with freshwater pour each waste of the plant into natural sites such as rivers and oceans; which causes accumulation of all its chemical waste used.
Often industrial wastes are based on Asbestos, lead; mercury, nitrates; sulfur and oils; components that damage the composition of water immediately and at the same time; the marine species that are under these surfaces.
Increase in temperatures
It seems like global warming also influences water pollution. How is it possible? The explanation is simple: when an ecosystem suffers temperatures above usual, water sources decrease their amount of oxygen, which causes water to alter its composition.
Use of pesticides in agriculture
The vast majority of agricultural processes of our time use fertilizers and chemicals for the cultivation and production of food. So, the use of pesticides causes water pollution and this will lead to health issues.
Excessive felling of trees helps rivers, lakes and other water sources dry out. In addition to this, the clearing of forests does not in all cases include the removal of the roots of the trees that are on the banks of the rivers,
which causes the appearance of sediments and bacteria under the ground and the consequent contamination of this precious resource.
Finally, we cannot forget a practice that has traditionally caused water pollution in various parts of the planet: oil spills and their derivatives.
These spills are due to the poor transport of oil and the filtration of products such as gasoline, which is generally stored in underground tanks.
In many cases, the tanks are leaking and the substance is filtered to the bodies that are around them, including water sources suitable for human consumption.
Effect of Water Pollution: You may suffer from
The consumption of dirty water or its use for hygiene and sanitation is linked to multiple ailments.
The World Health Organization talks about diarrhea, cholera, hepatitis A, dysentery, polio, and typhoid fever, among others.
The prevention, through the improvement of the supply, sanitation and hygiene infrastructures, would facilitate the use of clean water for food and family cleaning at the expense of stagnant water.
Dirty and impure water causes risk. According to the WHO, diarrheal diseases cause millions of deaths annually and the only cause in the lack of safe water along with insufficient hygiene and sanitation.
Something as simple and every day for your family as washing your hands with soap and water or drinking a glass of clean water can stop the spread of diseases that can be fatal.
Did you know? Without water, hygiene, and sanitation, health is put at risk. 40% of deaths in children are caused by the consumption of water in poor condition or lack of hygiene in an emergency.
The Improving Nutrition Outcomes with Better Water Sanitation and Hygiene report prepared by experts indicates that malnutrition is related to an insufficient diet and infectious diseases since there is a correlation between food, health, and care.
In this way, a healthy diet will cover nutritional needs, but an adequate environment is also necessary, with health services, sanitation, and appropriate hygienic practices, and, for all this, it is essential to have safe water.
What can You do to Avoid Water Pollution in Your House?
Is water pollution a matter of concern in your home? It is time to be aware of the current situation and see what we can do as a consumer.
Deposit each residue in its corresponding place
Medications should not be thrown in the trash or thrown into the toilet, as they could end up in drinking fountains.
The WHO says that studies have found in wastewater, drinking water and water sources trace concentrations of drug products.
Select your clothes well
The textile production house is one of the most polluting in the world due to its bad practices, such as the dumping of toxic waste anywhere.
Dirty fashion, pollution in the textile supply chain is intoxicating viscose, a report by the Changing Markets Foundation that has the collaboration of Ecologists in Action will help you be more responsible with your purchases.
Explain your sons and daughters what sea pollution is
Parents can have positive values from childhood. Their decisions and daily actions will show you the way forward.
But they can also help their children with educational videos showing marine wealth or the consequences of our bad practices.
Causes and Consequences of Water Pollution
Water is the basic resource to guarantee the life of all living beings on the planet. However, its shortage and pollution cause millions of people to have poor access to this needed asset.
Although there are techniques such as purification or desalination that facilitate the treatment, use, and consumption of water in areas with quality or supply problems, in the first place it is necessary to avoid contamination.
Causes of the contamination of the water, The human being is the main cause of water pollution, which can be affected in many ways:
With the dumping of industrial waste; due to the increase in temperatures, which cause the alteration of water by reducing oxygen in its composition or because of deforestation, which causes the appearance of sediments and bacteria under the soil and the consequent contamination of groundwater.
In the same way, pesticides used in agricultural crop fields are filtered through underground channels and reach consumption networks and also with the accidental oil spill.
Some of the causes are:
In general, this type of pollution is mostly generated by the different activities of the human being; since they are sources they add polluting elements to the water reserves.
However, two kinds of pollution reflect man:
1. Point sources
These sources are those that discharge pollutants of different severity in the different locations of any country, these normally cover pipes or sewers in surface water.
Among the examples cited in these sources are the factories; sewage treatment plants or sewage; oil wells and oil ships.
2. Diffuse sources
Unlike the previous ones, these polluting sources are those that certainly cannot be specified with any determination and accuracy.
The examples that fit within this type of sources are traffic; the pollutants displaced through rivers; pollutants that enter through groundwater and are known to be diffuse since their origin cannot be controlled by being fully decentralized.
The reason for water pollution is solid and organic waste and waste such as urine, laundry waste, requiring good treatment for sewage and establishing it as a priority for life.
Wastewater disposal is a context that many organizations have begun to undertake. However, this is complicated in developed countries because many inhabitants do not have access to all the sanitary conditions required for life.
These types of waters are nothing more than the causes of many problems, one of them the extent of water pollution since they are the areas where everyone usually deposits any pollutant;
Chemicals and also pharmaceutical substances that completely damage the hygienic structure of water causing other problems.
How to Avoid Water Pollution?
Water is one of the most precious natural assets that the planet and our societies need.
In fact, one of the most urgent problems that we are going to have to face in the coming decades is that of access to drinking water, since the degradation of aquifers.
As well as droughts and torrential rains (direct consequences of climate change) threaten access to fresh water, both for humans and for terrestrial ecosystems.
Because of this, we must take measures urgently, not only to prevent this process of water pollution from continuing but so that it is possible to reverse the damage already caused and rebuild ecosystems damaged by human action.
Here are some basic and simple ways of how to avoid water pollution and preserve this fundamental natural resource.
• Prohibition of polluting chemicals and physical products
• Use clean and renewable energy
• Treatment and purification of gray water
• Pursue and avoid overexploitation of aquifers
• Responsible use of water
• Use soaps and natural cleaning products
• Avoid consuming products with many packages
• Recycle oils and heavy metals
• Consume more vegetables and fewer animal products
• Awareness and education to avoid water pollution