What Does Pollution Mean?
Pollution is the entrance of contaminants or pollutants into the natural environment that may change its entire composition.Pollutants can enter the environment either by anthropogenic or natural means. In both cases, the natural conditions of the environment disturb severely, which ultimately disturbs other environments, as all the natural environments are systematically associated with each other.There are many kinds of pollution, such as air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, and land pollution. Water pollution is directly linked to the health of humans, and the ecosystem; hence, it is a trending subject of conversation among all administrative and research experts.
What is Water Pollution?
Water pollution occurs when harmful pollutants and contaminants enter water bodies (rivers, streams, lakes, groundwater, seas, and oceans). The main reason for these pollutants might be the illegal dumping of industrial wastes and sewage discharge in water, which contains harmful chemicals, metals, and other biological contaminants.
Earth is the only planet to have liquid water on its surface. About 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water, of which oceans hold about 96% of total water – which is salty and cannot be used, whereas only 2.5% of water (freshwater) can be used for our desired purpose (according to WHO). Water is considered the most important natural resource for the survival of life on the planet. Keeping an eye on this fact, we should eagerly focus on this hot issue of usage versus sustainability.
What Causes pollution in Water?
Pollution in water may be caused by many factors – some of which directly affect water bodies, and some indirectly. Unfortunately, many factories and industries are dumping their wastewater, chemicals, and heavy metals majorly in water bodies like seas, oceans, and rivers (Direct Effect).
Another major reason for water pollution is modern farming techniques. Farmers apply nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium, in the form of chemical fertilizers, manures, and sludge. It causes farms to discharge large quantities of agrochemicals, organic matter, and saline drainage into water bodies(Indirect Effect).
As water is an important resource to sustain human life, unwanted changes in water’s natural composition may directly affect the human body. Drinking contaminated and polluted water may adversely affect human health and cause severe diseases such as typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, diarrhea, skin cancer, etc.
Types of Pollutants
Physical contaminants primarily impact the physical appearance or other physical properties of water. Examples of physical contaminants are sediments from soil erosion suspended or organic matter that ends in rivers, and streams.Chemical contaminants are elements or compounds. These contaminants may be naturally occurring or man-made. Examples of chemical contaminants include nitrogen, bleach, salts, pesticides, metals, toxins produced by bacteria, and human or animal drugs.Biological contaminants are organisms in the water. They are also referred to as microbes or microbiological contaminants. Examples of biological or microbial contaminants include bacteria, viruses, protozoan, and parasites.
Key Facts about Water Usage
In 2017, 71% of the global population (5.3 billion people) used a safely managed drinking water service – that is, one located on premises available when needed, and free from contamination.
90% of the global population (6.8 billion people) used at least a basic service. Basic service is an improved drinking water source within a round trip of 30 minutes to collect water.
785 million people lack even a basic drinking water service, including 144 million people who are dependent on surface water.
Globally, at least two billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with feces.
Contaminated water can transmit diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio. Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 485,000 diarrheal deaths globally each year.
By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.
In the least developed countries, 22% of health care facilities have no water service, 21% no sanitation service, and 22% no waste management service.
Common Ways of Mitigating Water Pollution
Educational and awareness programs should be organized to control water pollution.
It is recommended that there be a proper waste disposal system so that water bodies can be protected against discarded solid waste. These programs increase variability in the availability and distributions of freshwater resource demands.
Majorly groundwater is a major resource for the freshwater supplement, particularly as drinking water.However, in many cases, these aquifers are being taped at an unsustainable rate or affected by pollution. More attention should be paid to sustainable management of non-renewable groundwater.