What is Water Pollution - Types, Causes and Effects
Someone said rightly, "Water is life". Because all known life need water for the basic work of their life. For instances let's talk about humans, Human civilization has historically flourished around rivers and major waterways as humans can easily get plenty of water for their consumption or for farming purposes.
Water fit for human consumption is called drinking water or potable water. Water that is not potable may be made potable by filtration or distillation, or by a range of other methods. Water that is not fit for drinking but is not harmful to humans when used for swimming or bathing is called by various names other than potable or drinking water, and is sometimes called safe water, or "safe for bathing", and this "safe water" is limited for us and eventually will get used up in upcoming future.
But increased population and human activities has started to pollute the safe water. Thus, today we are going to talk about What is Water Pollution? What are its types, causes and effects. So let's get started by the definition.
The contamination of water bodies by the mean of human activities is called water pollution. These water bodies may include rivers, lakes, ponds or sea. Releasing untreated water, plastics and other chemicals in water bodies are the main human activities that contaminates water.
What are the different types of water pollution?
- Surface Water Pollution: Contamination of surface water which includes rivers, lakes and oceans is called surface water pollution. Surface water gets polluted by human activities like releasing fragments of plastic and rubbers which are not easily dissolved in water.
- Groundwater Pollution: When pollutants are released to the ground, these pollutants make their way to ground water and contaminates it this is called groundwater pollution. Farming activities like use of fertilizers and pesticides is the main reason of groundwater pollution.
- Chemical Water Pollution: Industrial and agricultural work involves the use of many different chemicals. The chemical used by these industries are released into water bodies without treating them which contaminates the surface water as well as ground water. This is the most common type of water pollution.
- Microbiological Water pollution: Microbiological water pollution is a natural form of water pollution caused by microorganisms. Many microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and protozoa live in water bodies and causes serious diseases like cholera.
Different causes of water pollution
- Underground Storage Leakage: Nowadays underground storage tanks are used to transport petroleum and cooking gas through pipelines, sometimes these pipelines and storage tanks get leaked and contaminates the surrounding including water recourses.
- Water Pollution by Oil: Oceans get polluted on regular basis by oil spills. Ships and machine carrying oil for transportation get leaked and spills oil in huge amount. As oil is lighter than water and cannot dissolve in it, this it forms a layer on water which causes many problems for organisms living in water. This layer also block sunlight eventually stopping the process of photosynthesis for plants.
- Water pollution by Industries: Industry is a huge source of water pollution, it produces pollutants that are extremely harmful to people and the environment. Many industrial facilities use freshwater to carry away waste from the plant and into rivers, lakes and oceans. These chemical and other waste released by factories and industries are harmful for aquatic animals and plants.
- Water Pollution by Nuclear Testing: Nuclear testing done by different countries to enhance their military strength also causes water pollution. As nuclear waste leaves harmful effect on the plants and other living organisms in water.
- Sewage and Wastewater: Domestic households, industrial and agricultural practices produce wastewater that can cause pollution of many lakes and rivers. Sewage disposal is a major problem in developing countries as many people in these areas don’t have access to sanitary conditions and clean water. Untreated sewage water in such areas can contaminate the environment and cause diseases such as diarrhea.
Effects of water pollution
- Health Issues: All types of water pollution ultimately affect the health of humans and animals. Drinking or using polluted water for a long time can cause various diseases in humans and animals such as typhoid and cholera. When toxic substance are mixed in water, it reduces the amount of oxygen in water which creates problem to aquatic animals while doing respiration under water.
- Harms Environment: Due to water pollution, the environment around us is also affected, the surrounding atmosphere get filled with dirty smell which also contaminates the surrounding air.
- Harmful effects on flora and fauna: There are countless species of plants and animals which depend upon water for their survival, making them the most susceptible to water pollution. Sometimes these aquatic animals swallow plastics and rubber which results in their organ failure. Pollution by oil forms a layer on the water which block sunlight for them and causes different problems for their survival.
- Decreases amount of safe water: As I said earlier, the amount of safe water is very less and due to water pollution this quantity is becoming more less due to which many water related problems are occurring, people in dry areas are unable to get water even for drinking and cooking purposes.
- Effect on food chain: Tiny micro plastics, chemicals, heavy metals and other contaminants can be ingested by microorganisms and interfere with their inner organs. These are then consumed by larger animals and so pollution gradually works its way up the food chain. At some point, it’s feasible for the contaminants to wipe out a link altogether, or else reach the very top of the pyramid by compromising human health.
We all know that water is one of the most important natural resources for human beings for their life, but due to carelessness of humans, water pollution is increasing and will eventually lead up to scarcity of water. And survival for humans will be tough. So from next before polluting or wasting any water think about your future generation.