Water pollution mainly occurs when several harmful chemical substances or microorganisms contaminate a river, stream, ocean, lake, or any water body. Water pollution degrades the quarter of the water and returns it toxic to the environment and mankind.
Water is vulnerable to being polluted. Water is also known as the universal solvent that can dissolve any substance on the earth. That is the main reason also why water is easily polluted compared to the other elements of the environment. Hazardous materials from the towns, farms, and factories dissolve into water and cause water pollution and marine pollution. There are different types of water pollution in the environment and they are:
- Surface Water Pollution: The natural sources of surface water are those that are found on the surface of the earth like lakes, rivers, seas, lagoons, etc. Toxic materials enter the surface water, mix or dissolve physically into the stream and cause surface water pollution.
- Groundwater Pollution: Most of the time humans apply toxic chemicals and pesticides to the soil for agriculture. Those substances are washed away deep into the ground by the rainwater. These elements cause groundwater pollution. Hence whenever we dig boreholes or wells to reach the groundwater supply; it requires to be checked regularly for the pollution.
- Suspended matter water pollution: Some pollutants like particles, substances, and chemicals do not liquefy in water. These types of materials are known as particulate matter. But over years these suspended particulate matter dissolves in the water body. This can kill the aquatic animals and create an imbalance in the ecological system of the earth.
- Water Pollution due to Oil Spillage: Oil spills generally have a local effect on the aquatic organisms and thus cause water pollution. But the pollution can spread for many miles in the ocean. Water pollution due to oil spillage can cause the death of the fish and other animals. Seabirds will also be affected as the oil will get stuck to their feathers making them unable to fly.
- Nutrients Water Pollution: Most of the sewage, fertilizers, and wastewater contains a high amount of nutrients. If they enter the water bodies, they enhance the weed and algae growth in the surrounding. This will pollute the water, make it undrinkable and will even clog the filters. Too much presence of algae will consume all the oxygen in the water. This will result in the death of other organisms as they will not be able to use oxygen and will die of suffocation.
- Oxygen Depleting Water Pollution: Water bodies contain microorganisms like anaerobic and aerobic organisms. When too much biodegradable substances accumulate in the water, it encourages more growth of the algae. These algae use up the entire supply of oxygen in the water. Many aerobic animals die due to the depletion of oxygen in the water. This results in the development of more anaerobic organisms to generate more toxic chemicals like sulphides and ammonia.
- Microbiological water pollution: Many people all around the world still drink untreated water directly from the stream, lakes or rivers. Water pollution is also caused due to microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. This natural pollution may cause the death of water life and fish. The aquatic animals at the bottom of the ocean can also be affected due to this type of pollution.
- Chemical Water Pollution: Most of the chemicals that enter the water are due to agriculture or industries. This type of contamination is also known as point source pollution. The chemicals included are used for the growth control of the weeds, pests, and insects. Solvents and metals discharged from the industries are also responsible for polluting the water bodies. Aquatic life may become infertile, show slow development or can even be dead due to these poisonous chemicals.
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The widespread contamination of the water is jeopardizing the health of thousands of human beings and aquatic animals. Unsafe water is killing more people in the world than war. Without proper measures, water pollution will cause demand for freshwater one third higher than it is now. Thus if the water sources are carefully treated, then this pollution can definitely be stopped.