Water Pollution Essay: Causes And Effects Of Water Pollution And How To control It
The importance of water for sustenance of life cannot be overemphasized. Whether it is in use of running water in our homes, rearing cattle and growing crops in our farms, or the increased uses in industry, remain immeasurable.
Human activities including industrialization and agricultural practices contributed immensely in no small measure to the degradation and pollution of the environment which adversely has an effect on the water bodies (rivers and ocean) that is a necessity for life. This essay tries to discuss basically what water pollution is and equally to address the source, effect control and water pollution management as a whole.
Water in three states: liquid, solid (ice), and gas (invisible water vapor in the air). Clouds are accumulations of water droplets, condensed from vapor-saturated air Water (chemical formula: H2O) is a transparent fluid which forms the world’s streams, lakes, oceans and rain, and is the major constituent of the fluids of organisms.
As a chemical compound, a water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms that are connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at standard ambient temperature and pressure, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice; and gaseous state, steam (water vapor). It also exists as snow, fog, dew and cloud. Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface.
What is water pollution
Water Pollution Definition : Water pollution is the contamination of water in water bodies such as rivers, oceans, lakes and swamps. This means that one or more substances have built up in water to the extent of causing problems to people, animals and plants.
Addition of certain substances to the water such as organic, inorganic, biological, radiological, heat, which degrades the quality of water so that it becomes unfit for use. Water pollution is not only confined to surface water, but it has also spread to ground water, sea and ocean.
So, whether or not water is considered to be polluted will depend on what that water was going to be used for.
sources of water pollution
There are numerous causes of water pollution. The main ones are listed below: Types of sources
- Sewage leakages
- High population density
- oil spillage
- Industrial waste dumped into our waters
- Pollution of ground water through drilling activities
- Flooding during rainy season which carries waste deposits into waters.
- Heavy metal
- Toxic waste disposal at sea
- Mineral processing plant (e.g. coal production)
- herbicides and fertilizers
- Failing septic system
- House hold chemicals
- Animal wastes
Causes of water pollution
Some of the major Causes of Water Pollution are as follows:
- Thermal Pollution : The main sources are the thermal and nuclear power plants. The power plants use water as coolant and release hot waters to the original source. Sudden rise in temperature kills fishes and other aquatic animals.
- Underground water pollution : In India at many places, the ground water is threatened with contamination due to seepage from industrial and municipal wastes and effluents, sewage channels and agricultural runoff.
- Marine pollution : Oceans are the ultimate sink of all natural and manmade pollutants. Rivers discharge their pollutants into the sea. The sewerage and garbage of coastal cities are also dumped into the sea. The other sources of oceanic pollution are navigational discharge of oil, grease, detergents, sewage, garbage and radioactive wastes, off shore oil mining, oil spills.
- Untreated sewage from households : Dye, lotion, soap, hair oil, shampoo, powder, deodorant, moisturizer and many other such products also contribute in water pollution. These products go to the sewage without any treatment. Untreated sewage from households can contaminate different water bodies in the process. When sewage pipes break, there is a chance that the wastes will contaminate drinking water. Sometimes, poorly treated sewage is released into water bodies. Domestic cleaning products can be very dangerous pollutants.
- Garbage : Plastics are non-biodegradable. Mass plastics clog water bodies and contaminate water.
- Urbanization : Urbanization is a key factor in increasing the amounts of water pollution.
- Dumping solid waste : Humans often carelessly dump their trash in the sea or near rivers.
- Oil spills : Accidental oil spills have a devastating effect on seas.
- Dissolved gases : Polluting gases in the air can dissolve into salt and fresh water and pollute it.
- Boat fuels : Fossil fuels used in the shipping industry are one of the largest causes of both air and water pollution.
Effects of water pollution
Water pollution damages human health makes our living conditions precarious and threatens life on the planet.
Effects on aquatic ecosystem:
- Polluted water reduces Dissolved Oxygen (DO) content, thereby, eliminates sensitive organisms like plankton, molluscs and fish etc.
- Biocides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals directly eliminate sensitive aquatic organisms.
- Hot waters discharged from industries, when added to water bodies, lowers its DO content
Effects of Water Pollution on Human Health
The polluted water usually contains pathogens like virus, bacteria, parasitic protozoa and worms; therefore, it is a source of water borne diseases like jaundice, cholera, typhoid, arnoebiasis etc.
Mercury compounds in waste water are converted by bacterial action into extremely toxic methyl mercury, which can cause numbness of limbs, lips and tongue, deafness, blurring of vision and mental derangement.
The compounds of lead cause anaemia, headache, loss of muscle power and bluish line around the gum.
How to prevent water pollution
There are many approaches that could be adopted in water pollution control and management. It could be through prevention, practice efforts or join a project/program; Regulation and monitoring or engaging in control measures by reducing or minimizing waste.
Control of Water Pollution
- Treatment of sewage water and the industrial effluents should be done before releasing it water bodies.
- Hot water should be cooled before release from the power plants
- Domestic cleaning in tanks, streams and rivers, which supply drinking water, should be prohibited.
- inspects your septic system every 3 – 5 years
- Excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides should be avoided.
- Organic farming and efficient use of animal residues as fertilizers.
- Water hyacinth (an aquatic weed) can purify water by taking some toxic materials and a number of heavy metals from water.
- Wash your car far away from any storm water drains.
- use non-toxic cleaning materials
Environmental legislation relating to water pollution in India
The water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 was one of the first environment legislations in India. The purpose of this act is “to provide for the prevention and control of water pollution.
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, amended 1988
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977, amended 1992 and 2003. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1975.
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Rules, 1978
- Standards to prevent & control water pollution for Small-scale Industries located in
- the Union Territories.
Conclusion of water pollution
Water pollution is an environmental problem that is of major concern to world at large. Human contribution to water pollution is enormous by way of defecating; dumping of refuse, industrial wastes and washing of clothes etc. apparently, environmental education is of immense importance to use particularly in schools and should have a place in the school curriculum. In this way they will be less inclined to pollute waters.