The essay about water pollution reminds us more and more frequently that without water there is no life, for example through increasingly extreme droughts that jeopardize access to drinking water in different parts of the world. The different types of water contamination imply a worsening of the quality of this valuable resource and, therefore, a threat to the health of the planet.
Whether from rivers, seas, oceans, lakes or reservoirs. If we cannot stop this evil, the survival of our species and all living beings on the planet is seriously compromised. By way of summary, the polluting agents or sources of aquatic pollution are:
- Pathogenic microorganisms.
- Heavy metals.
- Emerging pollutants.
As we already know, some have their origin or source in the natural environment and others at the hands of humans. We will discuss water pollution around the world, going into detail about the cause, effects and consequences and solutions of water pollution in this blog “Essay about water pollution”.
Essay about water pollution and health
As we are already moving forward, water contamination can end up on our plates. When eating fish and shellfish from contaminated water, there is a bioaccumulative effect of mercury and other heavy metals and also of small plastic particles, known as microplastics. However, this also occurs in the intake of non-potable water.
Arsenic pollution of water in India and other parts of the world, for example, causes serious health problems. Likewise, bathing in the Ganges River is dangerous to health, because, in addition to being able to swallow polluted water, which contains harmful substances in itself.
Access only to polluted water also implies a lower quality of health. Not having access to drinking water and having to walk several hours every day to fetch water, even if it is not clean, does not allow families or societies in general to progress. This is something that happens, mainly, in many places in Africa and Asia.
Crops irrigated with contaminated water, on the other hand, can also pose a health risk. Watering with polluted water means contaminating food. Among these cases, the presence of arsenic in rice from India is known and more common than we think.
In the same fish farms, on the other hand, unsanitary conditions can occur that affect the product. Without being able to guarantee, far from it, that wild fish is healthy since we have pointed out that the sea can also be contaminated, fish farms are not in a better situation in many cases.
They must control the type of water and maintenance very well. Otherwise, doubtfully the production will meet a series of minimum health requirements. In this way, whether we buy food from the open sea or fish farms, we may end up eating contamination. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure as much as possible that the regulations are complied with in these places.
WHAT ARE WATER POLLUTION FACTS
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines contaminated water as that which changes its composition until it becomes unusable. In other words, it is toxic water that cannot be drunk or used for essential activities such as agriculture, as well as a source of unsanitary conditions that causes more than 500,000 deaths annually worldwide due to diarrhoea and transmits diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever and polio.
The main contaminants in water include bacteria, viruses, parasites, fertilizers, pesticides, drugs, nitrates, phosphates, plastics, faecal waste, and even radioactive substances. For this reason, chemical analysis of small samples and aquatic organisms is often used to determine the state of water quality.
What is water pollution and how does it occur
Water contamination occurs when its composition is modified in such a way that it no longer meets the appropriate conditions for it to be consumed as we would if it were in its natural state. It is very important to take care of this valuable resource because it is the most important for human and animal life, as well as plants.
There are more than 70,000 substances known as pollutants whose discharge into seas and oceans is one of the main causes of water pollution. This means endangering a very valuable resource for life on the planet, not only for people but also for thousands of species that live on it.
One of the main causes of water pollution is due to the presence of chemical (or other) substances in amounts greater than normal that degrade the water. Others are:
- Industrial waste: it is one of the main polluting sources. It happens when companies throw their polluting garbage into rivers and water canals. This not only contaminates the water where they are found, but many of them end up in the sea, contaminating much more.
- Discharge of pollutants in the water: these can come from industrial production or even from the garbage waste that we generate in our day to day. One of the challenges we are currently facing is contamination by microplastics.
- Rising temperatures: It doesn’t seem like it, but rising temperatures (due to global warming) also cause water pollution. This is because, with the increase in water temperature, the present ecosystems suffer alterations, such as a reduction in oxygen, which ends up altering their composition. Global warming alters the balance of the oceans. One of the effects of this is the loss of oxygen in the water, which endangers the existence of biodiversity.
- Pesticides used in agriculture: fertilizers and chemical products are used in almost all processes that take place in agriculture. When they come into contact with the earth, they seep into the subsoil and end up in the water, which we end up consuming.
- Deforestation: Deforestation is another of the main causes of water pollution. The massive felling of trees causes rivers, lakes and other sources of water to dry up. When the trees are cut down, the roots of the trees near the rivers are uprooted and sediments and bacteria appear, which also contaminate the water.
- Oil spill: This is a very widespread practice that harms us enormously. The spill of crude oil and its derivatives occurs when the oil is not properly transported, gasoline leaks or tanks leak. Fuel spills are also one of the most common causes of water pollution.
- Faecal waters: The United Nations Organization warned that more than 80% of wastewater reaches seas and oceans without purification.
What are water pollution and its effects?
And it is that every year, 8 million plastics end up in the sea altering the life of the ecosystems that live in them, according to UN data. Contamination of the food chain that supposes the toxic transmission to food and the scarcity of drinking water.
Precisely, this international organization defines water pollution as that which changes its composition until it becomes useless. Contaminated water implies the impossibility of human use of this valuable resource. This deterioration poses a danger to the planet and only exacerbates poverty among the most vulnerable.
Water pollution has devastating effects on the protection of the environment and the health of the planet. Some of the most important consequences of the different types of contamination in water are the destruction of biodiversity, the underground water reserves supply 80% of the world’s population. 4% of those reserves are already contaminated.
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Of all the types of water pollution, the main ones are associated with industrial activity after World War II to the present day. For example, each year more than 450 cubic kilometres of sewage are dumped into the sea. An additional 6,000 cubic kilometres of fresh water is used to dilute this pollution.
Deteriorating water quality has negative effects on the environment, health, and the global economy. Next, we review the consequences:
- Contamination of the food chain: Fishing in polluted waters, as well as the use of wastewater in livestock and agriculture, can transmit toxins to food that harm our health through its ingestion.
- Shortage of drinking water: According to the UN that there are still billions of people in the world without access to drinking water.
- The WHO estimates that some 2,000 million people drink drinking water contaminated by excrement, exposing themselves to contracting diseases such as cholera, hepatitis A and dysentery.
- Child mortality: According to the UN, diarrheal diseases linked to poor hygiene cause the death of around a thousand children every day around the world.
- Malnutrition: An insufficient diet together with infectious diseases and a lack of hygiene with clean water, causes diseases, including malnutrition. One thing is linked to the other. That is why good body hygiene is important, but also as properly cleaning food before consuming it.
- Affects ecosystems: Contaminated freshwater alters the natural habitat of ecosystems. Consequently, aquatic biodiversity is lost, harmful algae appear, and other problems.
SOLUTIONS FOR WATER POLLUTION
Half of the planet’s inhabitants will live in areas with water scarcity in 2025, so every contaminated drop today represents an irreparable loss for tomorrow. We can all help prevent water pollution. We can put some easy tips into practice.
For this reason, we must avoid water contamination with measures such as those presented below:
- Consume responsibly, and buy products without toxic or harmful chemical substances for the environment. For that, read the labels carefully.
- Reduce CO2 emissions to prevent global warming and ocean acidification.
- Reduce the use of chemical pesticides and nutrients in crops.
- Reduce and purify wastewater safely so that, in addition to not contaminating, it can be reused for irrigation and energy production.
- Limit the use of single-use plastics that end up floating in rivers, lakes and oceans, many in the form of microplastics.
- Promote sustainable fishing to guarantee the survival of species and avoid the impoverishment of the seas.
- Recycle properly. If we do not deposit the waste in the proper container, it will end up in the sea and pollute.
- Make sure that the clothes you wear have not been manufactured using practices that pollute. Today many manufacturers take care of the environment in each manufacturing process of their fabrics.
There are liquids that, in low concentrations, can contaminate vast expanses of water. For example, only four litres of gasoline can contaminate up to 2.8 million litres of water.
However, currently, scientists and experts worldwide are warning us that if we do not change our habits and stop the emission of this type of polluting gases, life in the oceans will be impossible due to the increase in temperature and this will be one more factor to take into account what we will have to face.
On the other hand, water scarcity and water stress are other problems that we must face. And it is that according to estimates by the United Nations Program for the Environment, half of the inhabitants of the planet will live with a shortage of this valuable resource in 2025. If we do not take care of our planet and take measures to end water pollution, every drop of contaminated water today means the loss of tomorrow’s water.
In this sense, it is important to carry out actions that improve the situation to minimize its environmental impact, as well as the threat it represents to public health, even if they cannot offer suitable results.
In many cases, for example, purification or other purifying treatments do not carry out total decontamination, but it is also true that their need will depend on the use that is going to be given to the water. But, above all, prevention is essential, both from a legal and awareness point of view and through technologies that allow truly effective actions to be carried out.
- Stop the abusive use of plastics and educate on its correct management.
- Treat wastewater as much as possible.
- Stop uncontrolled deforestation.
- Use sustainable or eco-friendly transport.
- Help improve the laws in this regard.
- Assist in the education and awareness of the population about this global environmental problem.
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