To determine what kind of water pollution might be impacting you, you will need to understand what water contamination is in the first place.
Water pollution takes place when large bodies of water such as rive
rs, lakes, groundwater, and oceans, are polluted with bacteria or toxic substances. This occurs when contaminants are thrown into the water, usually by the hands of any person. This is a crisis that's the world is currently facing today, particularly without access to clean drinking water.
The reason we would like to spend our time focusing on its consequences and water pollution is that we want to protect some of the bodies of freshwater. We need water to survive and take drastic measures to save it.
The kind of water pollution which we will be talking about is also the most common--surface water contamination.
What is surface water pollution? It is a body of water's contamination that's above the ground. This is a river, a lake, or a stream. This is a place that plenty of pollution winds upward in freshwater locations.
For the most part, these bodies of water over ground become polluted once the water from runoff after a rainstorm carries a lot of bacteria and pollutants in that body of water. The contaminants can range from salts used on roads during winters, solutions used for cleaning purposes, to fertilizers used in agricultural farms. All these things, while advantageous to us, can be damaging to a body of freshwater.
Each time a fertilizer or a nutrient pollutes the surface water, scientists mark this as a "nutrient contamination issue."
What are the consequences of this problem? It creates aquatic plants to start growing in the water. If there are too many algae and plants, this may cause problems for the whole water source because they begin to cover the surface of the body of water and block the sun from reaching the plants on the ground. Without enough sun, there'll be less oxygen generated, which can damage any fish or creature in the water which requires oxygen to survive.
For instance: Fish, the number one organism in the water need this oxygen to live. Are you beginning to see that something as little as putting salt can have repercussions on wildlife in the water? We'll be touching on this topic in a little bit, but keep this in mind.
Waterborne Pathogens and diseases can also cause water contamination. This happens if there's a leak in the sewage system or from runoff created by industries that process animal waste. There are deadly viruses, which may get in the water and can result in fatal health problems for us. This may result in typhoid, hepatitis, and giardia, to mention a few.
For checking out that your water doesn't have pollutants from a sewage pipe or creature factory, we suggest that you see if it's any fecal coliform bacteria. This is the kind of bacteria that typically comes from the feces of humans and animals. If your water has this kind of bacteria, then you're at risk that there might be other kinds of bacteria in there also.
Surprisingly fecal coliform bacteria can't hurt a human, but it's an indication that there might be even more germs playing there, as they generally develop due to the similar issues.
Another way that surface water contamination happens is because of toxic substances. This generally comes in the form of pesticides.
Mercury may also be a big problem and even lead, and arsenic is found in water too. They come from drainage from rain because of a nearby mining site. Not only the toxic chemicals dangerous for the environment, but they're also fatal to the organisms in the water and the surrounding region.
As you can see we have covered surface water contamination So far, and there's so much left to explore. What are the kinds of Water Pollution? How to stop it?
In any body of water, you will find micro-organisms. While we can’t see them with the naked eye, they're there and have an immediate influence on the water life in the entire body of water.
There are two primary forms of micro-organisms: aerobic and anaerobic.
If there's too much matter in the water that's biodegradable, meaning it can easily rust, this makes germs grow more efficiently; they adore biodegradable stuff, and they would like to consume as much as they could out of it.
However, the more bacteria, the more oxygen they require. If they absorb all of the oxygen from the water, the aerobic organisms will perish. This may also result in life in the water, such as many kinds of fish, dying too.
However, the anaerobic microorganisms don't expire, but if they run out of oxygen, they produce sulfides and ammonia within the water which is quite toxic and harmful. That is why we can't be throwing any waste that's biodegradable into our water sources.
This kind of pollution isn't as well known to many. There are so many areas around the world where people drink water that's been untreated, like directly from a river or a lake. Occasionally these bodies of water may be polluted naturally without people causing the contamination.
This can usually happen due to microorganisms within the water which could be various kinds of bacteria and protozoa. Due to this organic pollution at a microbiological level, a lot of the water life can finally die. This can also lead to severe and even fatal illnesses to people, that is why it's suggested to drink from a treated source of water.
Another form of contamination is one that can’t dissolve quickly in water; these are kind of substances and chemicals which don't dissolve in the water but settle at the bottom.
They lie there, hidden to us, and kill aquatic plants. This may lead to a period when fish starts dying as their food source is destroyed.
We have all heard of "oil spills," but until you see a terrible sea monster covered in oil, you don't see the dreaded consequences. This is purely brought on by human beings because of the accidental dumping of oil in water.
There have been oil spills with tens of thousands of animals -- mammals, turtles, birds, and fish, all dying due to this.
This pollution causes incredible stress to wildlife and sometimes may lead to death. Oil can spread for many miles leading to a disastrous effect on the wildlife. It’s sad, but it is true, something needs to be done to prevent oil spills.
This is another type of pollution caused by humans due to our influence on the water. It produces a change in the water's properties.
Due to humans, this leads to a change in the water's temperature. Imagine now, wherever you live, the temperature got 5° colder every year. You would need to change your way of life. This is what happens to the wildlife in these waters affected by thermal pollution.
There are many types of water pollution, and we have described many of them, but we wish to reiterate the harmful effects that could happen.
First of all, water pollution can lead to the death of animals inside the water. It kills a whole lot of these organisms like fish, birds, seagulls and they can be found washed up dead in the beach. That creature will die if you kill an animal's food supply. This is about a cycle which starts with contamination caused by humans.
Water pollution causes disruption within the seafood chain. Imagine the fish in the water that needs to consume small organic particles. Then these fish can't eat if these particles die and they die. Subsequently, the medium-sized fish that would feed the small fishes starves and dies. Then the bigger fish, including a shark goes hungry as well. It has an immediate effect on the cycle even if you're killing at the smallest level.
Now people will not be affected by passing of the wildlife, but they'll feel the consequences if the water affects them and that's what can happen.
Diseases like hepatitis can grow by eating seafood taken from polluted water. There may be disease outbreaks like cholera due to water that has killed lots of people. And this isn't just in foreign countries. It's happening right in America in our drinking water source.
At the day's end, water pollution is ruining the whole ecosystem. An ecosystem can only work if all parts of the system are generally interacting and healthy.
It's our fault that a number of these bodies of water are polluted, and this leads to vegetation being destroyed. This will affect our lives, and something has to be done.
What's the solution for water contamination? The main obstacle is that the majority of people aren't sure how to reduce water pollution when it is simple to make a difference to impact your surroundings’.
The simplest thing an average person can do is stop throwing garbage outside or litter outdoors. Throw it in the proper bin. Use your water adequately and don't just keep it running all through the day. Do not put oils or chemicals as this can end up right in the groundwater.
To use cleaning fluids, ensure they are environment-friendly and safe. Never overuse fertilizers and pesticides. Get in contact with your local municipality and let them know that these concerns mean something to you. Be the change.
Earth is our house, and we have so many systems that keep us alive. But these critical components that keep us alive well, we are destroying them continuously. We have to help where we can. If these solutions seem small, they make a big difference.
Ed is a water specialist in Tampa, FL. He built CleanerSofterWater.com to help his friends and family learn about DIY solutions to common water quality issues in the home.
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