Causes of Water Pollution
Water is one of the primary needs for survival and having access to pure water is vital to lead a healthy life. On a daily basis, millions of people struggle to find water. Water pollution happens when a river, stream, lake or ocean is contaminated. It could be organic or inorganic pollution. Organic pollution occurs due to the microbes like bacteria and viruses in water caused by the generation of excrement, animal and vegetable wastes. Inorganic pollution is caused by the generation of harmful chemicals like nitrates, phosphates released from pesticides, human and animal medical products, and heavy metals and acids used in industries. Due to various destructive human activities, water bodies are being polluted. Large quantities of chemical and solid waste are dumped into water bodies. As a result, human beings and other organisms are in great peril.
There are several causes of pollution. Some industries do not have a proper waste management system. Directing industrial wastes towards the waterways is one of the primary reasons for water pollution. These wastes contain toxic chemicals that completely pollute the freshwater system and the environment around. Industrial agricultural production is also one of the causes of water pollution. When insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers manufactured using toxins are sprayed during mass production slowly seep into the ground or end up in the nearby waterway. Also, high amounts of nutrient content in industrial fertilizers lead to excessive aquatic plant growth, resulting in “hypoxia”, where the oxygen level of water reduces. Minings activities also cause water pollution. Toxic chemicals like arsenic, copper, cadmium and lead found in the rocks excavated are washed away into the waterways leaving the water completely contaminated. This can even cause soil erosion which will, in turn, lead to large amounts of sediment deposition in the water body. Oil leakages, global warming and radioactive wastes are also among the common causes of water pollution.
We must be aware of the causes and effects of water pollution in order for us to take steps to minimize them. Water pollution causes adverse effects on human beings, animals and plants. People who depend on nearby waterways for consumption are at a higher risk to develop waterborne diseases like diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and polio. Consuming contaminated water will destroy the animals, the aquatic plants and other plants around the water body. Hence it is understandable that water pollution disturbs the whole biodiversity. It is high time to take action against water pollution and make clean water available for all organisms.
Health Effects of Consuming Polluted Water
If drinking water contains unsafe levels of contaminants, it can cause health effects, such as gastrointestinal illnesses, nervous system or reproductive effects, and chronic diseases such as cancer. Factors that can influence whether a contaminant will lead to health effects include the type of contaminant, its concentration in the water, individual susceptibility, the amount of water consumed, and the duration of exposure.