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WHAT IS WATER POLLUTION
Introduction Every day, we cook, do laundry, flush the toilet, wash our cars, shower and do many things that use water. Think about how we use water in schools, hospitals and public places. Where do you think all the water, liquid waste, poop and urine end up? In many developed communities, wastewater and soluble waste (called sewage) is treated, cleaned and dumped into the sea or river. Even though they are treated, they are never the same as fresh water.
Water pollution Any change or modification in the physical, chemical and biological properties of water that will have a detrimental consequence on living things, is water pollution. Water pollution is any contamination of water with chemicals or other foreign substances that are detrimental to human, plant, or animal health.
How serious is the problem According to the environmental campaign organization WWF: "Pollution from toxic chemicals threatens life on this planet. Every ocean and every continent, from the tropics to the once-pristine polar regions, is contaminated. "
What are the main types of water pollution? 1. Nutrients pollution 2. Surface water pollution 3. Oxygen depletion 4. Ground water pollution 5. Microbiogical 6. Suspended matter 7. Chemical water pollution 8. Oil spillage
How do we know water is polluted? Some forms of water pollution are very obvious: everyone has seen TV news footage of oil slicks filmed from helicopters flying overhead. Water pollution is usually less obvious and much harder to detect than this. But how can we measure water pollution when we cannot see it? How do we even know it's there? There are two main ways of measuring the quality of water.
1. Chemical indicators of water quality Taking samples of the water and measuring the concentrations of different chemicals that it contains. If the chemicals are dangerous or the concentrations are too great, we can regard the water as polluted.
2. Biological indicators of water quality. Involves examining the fish, insects, and other invertebrates that the water will support. If many different types of creatures can live in a river, the quality is likely to be very good; if the river supports no fish life at all, the quality is obviously much poorer.
What are the causes of water pollution? i. Sewage viii. Septic Tanks ii. Waste water ix. Ocean and marine dumping iii. Nutrients iv. Chemical wastes x. Underground storage and tube leakages v. Radio active wastes vi. Oil pollution xi. Industrial wastes vii. Plastics viii. Alien species
How do sewages pollute water? Sewage contains all kinds of other chemicals, from the pharmaceutical drugs people take to the paper, plastic, and other wastes they flush down their toilets. Sewage disposal affects people's immediate environments and leads to water-related illnesses such as diarrhea. Sewage is often released in much greater quantities than the natural environment can cope with leading to pollution in water bodies.
How does waste water pollute water? Used water is wastewater. It comes from our sinks, showers, and toilets (think sewage) and from commercial, industrial, and agricultural activities (think metals, solvents, and toxic sludge). The term also includes stormwater runoff, which occurs when rainfall carries road salts, oil, grease, chemicals, and debris from impermeable surfaces into our waterways More than 80 percent of the world’s wastewater flows back into the environment without being treated or reused leading to pollution in water bodies.
How do radioactive wastes pollute water? Radioactive waste is any pollution that emits radiation beyond what is naturally released by the environment. It’s generated by uranium mining, nuclear power plants, and the production and testing of military weapons, as well as by universities and hospitals that use radioactive materials for research and medicine. Radioactive waste can persist in the environment for thousands of years, making disposal a major challenge. Accidentally released or improperly disposed of contaminants threaten groundwater, surface water, and marine resources.
How does oil pollution pollute water? Big spills may dominate headlines, but consumers account for the vast majority of oil pollution in our seas, including oil and gasoline that drips from millions of cars and trucks every day. Moreover, nearly half of the estimated 1 million tons of oil that makes its way into marine environments each year comes not from tanker spills but from land -based sources such as factories, farms, and cities. At sea, tanker spills account for about 10 percent of the oil in waters around the world, while regular operations of the shipping industry—through both legal and illegal discharges—contribute about onethird. Oil is also naturally released from under the ocean floor through fractures known as seeps.
How do plastics pollute water? Plastic is one of the most common materials, used for making virtually every kind of manufactured object from clothing to automobile parts; plastic is light and floats easily so it can travel enormous distances across the oceans; most plastics are not biodegradable (they do not break down naturally in the environment), which means that things like plastic bottle tops can survive in the marine environment for a long time.
How do alien species pollute water Alien species (sometimes known as invasive species) are animals or plants from one region that have been introduced into a different ecosystem where they do not belong. Outside their normal environment, they have no natural predators, so they rapidly run wild, crowding out the usual animals or plants that thrive there.
What are the effects of water pollution? Death of aquatic (water) animals The main problem caused by water pollution is that it kills organisms that depend on these water bodies. Dead fish, crabs, birds and sea gulls, dolphins, and many other animals often wind up on beaches, killed by pollutants in their habitat (living environment). Disruption of food-chains Pollution disrupts the natural food chain as well. Pollutants such as lead and cadmium are eaten by tiny animals. Later, these animals are consumed by fish and shellfish, and the food chain continues to be disrupted at all higher levels.
Diseases Eventually, humans are affected by this process as well. People can get diseases such as hepatitis by eating seafood that has been poisoned. In many poor nations, there is always outbreak of cholera and diseases as a result of poor drinking water treatment from contaminated waters. Destruction of ecosystems Ecosystems (the interaction of living things in a place, depending on each other for life) can be severely changed or destroyed by water pollution. Many areas are now being affected by careless human pollution, and this pollution is coming back to hurt humans in many ways.
How can we stop water pollution? Reduce your plastic consumption and reuse or recycle plastic when you can. Properly dispose of chemical cleaners, oils, and non-biodegradable items to keep them from ending up down the drain. Maintain your car so it doesn’t leak oil, antifreeze, or coolant. If you have a yard, consider landscaping that reduces runoff and avoid applying pesticides and herbicides. If you have a pup, be sure to pick up its poop
Prevention of water pollution cont’d Never throw rubbish away anyhow. Always look for the correct waste bin. If there is none around, please take it home and put it in your trash can. This includes places like the beach, riverside and water bodies. Use water wisely. Do not keep the tap running when not in use. Also, you can reduce the amount of water you use in washing and bathing. If we all do this, we can significantly prevent water shortages and reduce the amount of dirty water that needs treatment. Do not throw chemicals, oils, paints and medicines down the sink drain, or the toilet. In many cities, your local environment office can help with the disposal of medicines and chemicals. Check with your local authorities if there is a chemical disposal plan for local residents.
Prevention of water pollution cont’d Buy more environmentally safe cleaning liquids for use at home and other public places. They are less dangerous to the environment. If you use chemicals and pesticides for your gardens and farms, be mindful not to overuse pesticides and fertilizers. This will reduce runoffs of the chemical into nearby water sources. Start looking at options of composting and using organic manure instead. If you live close to a water body, try to plant lots of trees and flowers around your home, so that when it rains, chemicals from your home does not easily drain into the water.
Prevention of water pollution cont’d Education: Making people aware of the problem is the first step to solving it. Laws: One of the biggest problems with water pollution is its transboundary nature. Many rivers cross countries, while seas span whole continents. Pollution discharged by factories in one country with poor environmental standards can cause problems in neighboring nations, even when they have tougher laws and higher standards. Environmental laws can make it tougher for people to pollute, but to be really effective they have to operate across national and international borders. Economics: Most environmental experts agree that the best way to tackle pollution is through something called the polluter pays principle. This means that whoever causes pollution should have to pay to clean it up, one way or another. The principle deters people from polluting by making it less expensive for them to behave in an environmentally responsible way.
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