What is water pollution
No life without water
The contamination of rivers, lakes, groundwater, seas and oceans by substances that are detrimental to living creatures is called water pollution. Water pollution is serious business because water is a condition of life on earth. All organisms are made of water, some live in it, others drink it. Animals and plants are not satisfied with any type of water. It must have a certain water quality. If water contains toxic substances or dangerous microorganisms, living things can become sick or even die. From a human point of view, polluted rivers, lakes and seas are not exactly attractive. In addition, fish and shellfish from contaminated water can also be unsuitable for consumption.
Types of pollution
There are seven major types of water pollution. The polluters are:
1. Petroleum products
2. Pesticides and Herbicides
3. Heavy metals
4. Hazardous waste
5. An excess of organic material
7. Contagious Organisms
Oils and chemicals are used as fuel, lubricants and in the manufacture of plastics, along with other materials, and can end up in the water through leaks in ships, tankers, pipelines and underground storage tanks. Oil can also contain hazardous polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs). These are chemical components that are very toxic and difficult to break down. For this reason, oil spills near the coast are often a disaster for nature and the environment.
Pesticides and herbicidesthat are used in pest and weed control can be carried with rainwater, especially with high pesticide use. Some of the chemicals do not degrade and remain dangerous for a long period of time. When animals eat plants that have been sprayed with non-degradable chemicals, these substances can be absorbed into the tissues and organs of the animals. When other animals eat these contaminated animals, the chemicals move up the food chain. The higher you go in the food chain, the higher the level of pollution. When people eat contaminated fish, their health can also be harmed. In addition to food, people also come into contact with contaminated drinking water containing pesticides. More than 14 million Americans drink pesticide-contaminated drinking water. Also, nitrates, often derived from fertilizers, can even cause a mortal form of anemia in children.
Heavy metals such as copper, lead, mercury and selenium can get into the water in different ways. The most common sources are industry, exhausts from cars, mines, and even natural dirt. As with pesticides, the concentration of heavy metals increases with the height of the food chain. This can lead to negative effects. Cadmium in fertilizers obtained from wastewater can be absorbed by grain. If this grain is eventually eaten by humans in certain quantities, cadmium can cause diarrhea and, in the long term, liver and kidney cancer.
Hazardous waste is chemical waste that is toxic, reactive, and corrosive or flammable. It can contaminate water reservoirs if these substances are not handled carefully. The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio (USA) was so polluted in 1969 that it caught fire. PCBs (a type of chemical that used to be used in general electrical equipment) are also released into the environment through oil leaks.
fertilizer and other nutrients are used to promote plant growth. If too much fertilizer is used, it seeps into the groundwater. The nutrients first stimulate the growth of plants and algae in the water. When these plants die and sink to the ground, microorganisms break them down. During the decomposition process, the microorganisms breathe oxygen that is bound in the water. The oxygen levels in the water can drop to a dangerous level that animals that depend on the water will die. The process of decreasing oxygen levels is called eutrophication.
Soil partswhich are found in abundance in river beds, lakes and oceans, can also pollute the subsoil. Because of soil erosion, the nutrient density in the water can become very high. Soil erosion occurs when, for example, water washes away the surface of the soil where trees previously held the soil. The moving sediments can also cover the gravel layer on the river banks. This in turn can have negative effects on many fish species (e.g. salmon and trout) because they lay their eggs in the gravel.
Research by the American Center for Control and Prevention of Deseases (CDC) estimated that in 1994, around 900,000 Americans were through Organisms in drinking water got sick. Based on this estimate, one in 1000 of these sick people will die. Many pathogenic organisms that occur naturally in very small quantities are considered contaminating when they appear in drinking water. Parasites such as Giardia, Lamblia, and Cryptosporidium are sometimes found in urban water reservoirs. In 1993, a Cryptosporidium outbreak caused 400,000 sick people and 100 deaths in Milwaukee, Wisconsin water supplies.
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