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Water Pollution: From Our Oceans to Tap Water
Water pollution occurs when chemicals, untreated sewerage, solid and liquid wastes and agriculture runoff are poured into the water bodies such as lakes, rivers and oceans. The injection of these pollutants into water bodies disturbs their delicate balance and poses a threat to human health and the environment. Below, we have given the causes and effects of water pollution that will help you know the importance of addressing this issue.
Causes of water pollution
Water has a unique property; it can dissolve more substances than any other liquid substance. Because of this, toxic substances from factories and farms easily dissolve in the water, causing pollution. Below are the causes of water pollution.
1. Industrial wastewater
Industries use water for various tasks, such as cooling and cleaning. During these processes, water comes in contact with various chemicals which may be harmful. If this water is discharged into a river or lake without treatment, it can get polluted, seriously affecting human health and other living organisms such as fish and plants. Most countries treat industrial and sewerage wastewater together, but industries that produce toxic wastewater treat it with their own dedicated treatment systems to protect the public sewage system from harmful contaminants.
Sewerage is the water that comes from our sinks, toilets, and showers. When it is discharged into the water bodies without proper treatment, it adds a variety of pollutants to the water. These pollutants include bacteria, viruses, and pathogens. People also use chemicals for cleaning and doing several activities in their house, which dissolve chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorus into the water. Cholera, dysentery, and gastrointestinal diseases are caused by consuming water contaminated with sewerage wastewater. Sewerage waste also affects marine life by reducing the oxygen level in the water.
3. Air pollution
Air pollution contributes to water pollution when pollutants in the air get collected in the water bodies. Human activities and industrial processes emit sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxides and others into the air. These pollutants get settled on the earth's surface and carried into the surrounding lakes, rivers and ponds during rain, adversely affecting the life of humans, aquatic organisms and the environment as a whole.
Modern farming practices involve using pesticides to kill pests and fertilizers to improve soil fertility. Pesticides contain chemicals which get attached to the soil, and when water is provided to them, it seeps into the ground and mixes with the local stream, contaminating groundwater and surrounding water bodies. Also, the manure pits created for storing the waste of animals cause agriculture pollution when it gets leaked or overflowed.
5. Oil pollution
Oil pollution occurs when a large amount of oil is leaked from a tanker or a large ship that is carrying oil. An oil spill has immediate impacts on the health of aquatic organisms and wildlife species living in the area. It also economically impacts the human communities that live in that area.
6. Radioactive pollution
Human activities, natural processes, and accidents involving radioactive materials like uranium also contribute to radioactive water pollution. The usage of water in nuclear power facilities for several purposes, such as cooling, leads to its contamination. If that water is dumped into the ocean or any water source without treatment, serious health problems can be caused for humans and aquatic life. Also, leakage from nuclear power plants contributes to radioactive water pollution.
Effects of water pollution
In India, water pollution causes many diseases, such as cholera, polio, jaundice, fever, etc. Also, if drinking water contains lead, it leads to health issues such as joint pain and kidney disease. Along with this, contaminated water leads to skin problems. Moreover, when contaminated water stagnates, it becomes the breeding heaven of mosquitos and parasites, which leads to several other diseases.
Industries and municipal wastewater directly impact aquatic life, reducing their lifespan and ability to reproduce, thus negatively affecting the whole species. Water pollution is also acidifying the seas, making it challenging for shellfish and coral to survive.
Youth-led initiatives to combat water pollution
Youth can play a crucial role in combating water pollution by taking initiatives such as reducing plastic waste, taking care of the surrounding water bodies and many more. The best CBSE schools in Nalagarh can play a vital role in shaping children that are environment conscious. They can educate them on the causes and consequences of water pollution, encourage them to take on projects on cleaning local water bodies and partner with local NGOs.
Water pollution is not confined to India; it is a global issue that needs to be addressed. By helping children understand this vital issue, we can assist them in making informed decisions and adopting sustainable practices which will help preserve the most essential resource- water.