Are you worried about water pollution?
Do you find yourself wishing you knew more about how to get involved fighting it?
Are you looking for simple but very effective ways you can work to prevent water pollution in and around your home and community?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re in the right place.
In this article, you’ll be introduced to the topic of water pollution with a crash course in its definition and sources. You’ll learn what to look out for in your area, and you’ll be better equipped to notice problem areas that might be affecting your water as soon as they happen, rather than when it’s too late.
What is Water Pollution?
When learning how to prevent water pollution in rivers and other sources of drinking water, it’s a good idea to first learn what water pollution is and what it isn’t. You might think the term “water pollution” just refers to any type of dirty water, and this is partially true. However, there’s a lot more to it than that, and understanding the differences between water pollution and water contamination is a good place to get started.
- Water pollution is the term used to describe an event in which water becomes too dangerous for human consumption.When water is polluted, this means that it has a very high potential to cause damage to human beings if it’s ingested, used for washing, used in cooking, or all three. Depending on the severity of water pollution, you might still be able to use polluted water for washing clothes. However, in most situations, water that has been seriously polluted is not safe to use for anything without being treated, boiled, or a combination of the two first.
- Water contamination refers to water that has been exposed to a substance other than the water itself.This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it often does lead to water pollution anyway. Water can be contaminated with natural elements, for example, that don’t necessarily mean it’s polluted. When freshwater sources are contaminated with high levels of sodium, they aren’t usually referred to as polluted water. However, the end result is more or less the same: these water sources cannot be used for human drinking water without first being filtered or boiled for safety purposes. Basically, not all contaminated water is polluted, but all polluted water is contaminated with something.
- Water pollution is a problem namely because of the amount of damage it can potentially cause to humans as well as to the environment surrounding it.At a minimum, polluted water usually chokes out fish and insect life in that particular source of water, which in turn leads to dwindling numbers of birds and animals in the area that feed on those fish and insects. Water pollution also often causes plant life to suffer and die without adequate nutrients. At its worst, however, polluted water can cause serious health concerns in humans and animals both who are exposed to it. It may cause allergic reactions, digestive upset, poisoning, serious disease and illness, and even death depending on the severity of the pollution. Water that has been polluted with disease bacteria, for example, can quickly spread terrible illnesses that may become epidemics in some communities.
Common Sources of Water Pollution
Water pollution has many sources, and each one is more common than the last. It’s unfortunate that there is so much water pollution in the world, but it’s a sad truth that many people aren’t entirely aware of. You may have heard throughout your life that water sources are getting more and more polluted, but you might not think this is something that can happen in your area. However, the chances are pretty good that the water in your area is already polluted, and you just don’t realize it because you have treated water from the county or city. Check out this list of the most common sources of water pollution, and see for yourself if you think any of them apply to the place where you live.
- Dumping –When people dump waste and garbage in and around water sources, whether on purpose or accidentally, this illegal dumping paves the way for serious water pollution down the line. Garbage that decays or otherwise seeps into the water can pollute it with bacteria, chemicals, and more that spread to humans who drink from that source.
- Sewers and septic systems –When improperly installed or not maintained or cleaned correctly, sewers and septic systems can cause human waste to leach into groundwater sources and sometimes directly into surface water as well. This can spread serious illness and cause widespread disease when it isn’t caught early.
- Factories –Factories cause runoff that pollutes groundwater, but they also often dump wastewater directly into surface water sources. They also contribute to air pollution, which in turn further pollutes water sources and sometimes causes acid rain.
- Mining –In areas where mining takes place, sediments and minerals normally found within the earth’s surface are exposed to water sources, leading to an overabundance of nutrients in some instances and poisoning from materials like arsenic and lead in others. Mining also causes a lot of toxic runoff not unlike factory operation does.
- Agriculture –Agriculture is another source of runoff problems, but it also contributes to water pollution through pesticide use. Pesticides seep into groundwater or are carried to surface water by runoff and can cause poisoning and illness in humans and animals who drink them. In some agricultural areas, animals with diseases may die or defecate in water sources and spread illness in this way.
- Home chemical use –Using pesticides on your lawn or in your home garden can contribute to water pollution, and so can using harsh cleaners to wash the outside of your home. Using chemicals inside your home and not disposing of them properly is another common source of water pollution in residential areas.
- Power plants –Power plants are a major source of water pollution that causes a lot of problems. In areas where nuclear power plants are present, water becomes polluted with radiation very easily due to runoff and dumping. Fish and animals in this water become unsafe for human consumption, and drinking water in these areas has been known to cause cancer in the surrounding communities.
- Oil spills and leaks –Of course, oil spills and leaks are some of the most well-known sources of water pollution, and they always pose a potential threat. Even when a spill isn’t a huge one, it can still cause a lot of damage and take years to completely remove from water sources.
On the next edition , we will enlighten you more on Ways To Prevent Water Pollution