It is known that our planet’s surface is mostly covered with water. But as the population of the planet is continuously increasing, the water resources are facing ever-increasing pressure. The rivers, inland water sources, and oceans have been and continue to be over-utilized by us. Not only water resources are getting dried up but their quality is degrading rapidly. Although it is known that water pollution happens to be caused due to human activities that were never in existence before the industrial revolution in the 19th-century. Previously people were more harmonious with the environment, but with above 7 billion individuals on the globe water bodies are being affected severely.
Related Article: Types of Water Pollution, How to reduce & prevent water pollution?
Major contributors to water pollution
As stated by WWF: Contamination from toxic elements threatens survival on this planetoid. Every ocean and every mainland, from the once-pristine polar regions to tropical regions, is infected. Mostly 80% of pollutants enter from the shore to the oceans. For instance, the fertilizers being utilized on the fields get washed up either by the adjacent surface waters or rainwater. Or the poisonous gases that are released from the chimneys of industrial sectors enter rivers, oceans or seas as rainwater. Thus, resulting in water pollution. There are innumerable causes of water pollution which makes the eradication of such pollution difficult. Let us discuss in brief below.
How does increased temperature aid in water contamination?
The increased temperature of water resources may result in the passing of the innumerable kinds of aquatic life while disrupting the marine habitat. For instance, the raised temperature of water bleaches the coral reefs. These are repeatedly an essential source of nourishment for other aquatic life. Hence, the total aquatic habitat gets damaged.
What are the pollutants?
Unfortunately, seas get polluted daily by oil leakages or spills. Research portrays that above 12 percent of oil enters water resources while being shipped or via dumping or drains. Oil spilling denotes not a local predicament as numerous marine and wildlife get affected severely. As oil never dissolves into water, it suffocates marine life including the aquatic plants that fail to find light for its photosynthesis.
These deadly pollutants are produced from scientific, medical, and industrial sectors that utilize radioactive products. According to studies its shown that northern Europe emits maximum nuclear waste in the water resources. Refining and mining of thorium and uranium also pollute water resources.
Dumping of innumerable kinds of litters including newspapers, cardboards, foam, Styrofoam, photodegradable packaging, plastic packaging, glass, and aluminium which takes above 6 weeks, 2 weeks, 50 years, 80 years, 6 weeks, 400 years, 200 years to degenerate respectively.
How manufacturing contaminates aid in water contamination?
There are countless kinds of manufacturing pollutants that contaminate oceans and lakes. For instance, lead denoting a non-biodegradable and toxic material disrupts the bodily enzymes of the aquatic life. Asbestos leads to carcinogenic and severe health hazards. Nitrates and phosphates block the oxygen penetration of water resources. Petrochemical and mercury are also toxic and harmful to aquatic life.
- A piping or tank network offers 10% of pollution in the water resources. The steel utilized as underground pipes may erode with time and results in leakages, hence affecting groundwater and surrounding soil.
- Sewage appears to be released in the environment in huge amounts that nature cannot cope up with. Fertilizers along with sewage cause a huge increase in the production of plankton and algae which covers rivers, lakes, and oceans. Marine or ocean pollution results in a decrease in oxygen from water resources that kills marine life. The Gulf of Mexico happens to be one of the most mesmerizing ‘dead zones’ of the planet. According to NOAA, this area is increasing above 6000 square miles.
- According to WHO, above 2.1 billion of person has zero availability of secure drinking water and above 2.3 individuals have zero access to apt sanitation. The disposed sewage water offers water-related diseases like diarrhoea. This untreated sewage waters enter various water resources. According to the UK’s DEFRA department, Britain’s sewers assembled above 11 billion litters of sewage water per year. Unfortunately, still dumping the sewage water into the water resources continues. Although sewage is a natural substance that is mostly water still harms aquatic life with its incorporation of chemicals, plastic, and papers. Many viruses get transmitted through the sewage water into the water resources and ultimately to other species.
- Or invasive species like plants or animals that have been incorporated into a distinct ecosystem where these organisms do not originate. Thus being outside of their respective habitat, they thrive excessively and crowds the water resources. For instance the invasion of alien algae in the Mediterranean sea, a jellyfish in the black sea that had decreased the fish growth by 90 %.
The contribution of plastic in water contamination?
Plastic is one of the most commonly utilized materials and it floats effortlessly makes it the most found pollutant that pollutes oceans and other distinct water resources. Plastics being non-biodegradable material, can survive above 600 years. Despite being nontoxic material compared to other poisonous chemicals but they choke or strangle aquatic life along with the sea birds. According to a study in North America, above 80 % of sea birds in their stomachs had plastic residues.
Thermal or heat pollution from power plants and factories causes water pollution in rivers. Also, the disrupted flow of sediments due to water reservoirs and dams decreases the formation of seashores while increasing the coastal erosion. Hence, the flow of important nutrients gets reduced while suffocating aquatic life.
With proper laws, education, and apt financial charges against polluters will help humans to tackle this serious issue of water pollution which if not cared even now then water pollution will surely destroy not only mankind but the entire planet. It’s not proper to live with dead rivers, sewage-strewn beaches, and poisonous fishes. If all individuals endeavour to keep our environment pollution free so that humans, plants, and animals can live healthily, we can reduce and cease water pollution. If we cease utilizing toxic detergents, pesticides, plastics, and other non-biodegradable materials, then not only us but our future generations will live in a pollution-free world.