Water pollution is one of the top concerns related to our nature because it affects the ecosystem in a very dangerous way. We experience an unfortunate silence over this issue which makes the problem more serious. This article will discuss water pollution thoroughly. Let’s start the discussion with the definition and types of water pollution. Water pollution means the addition of contaminants in the water.
There are mainly two types of water pollution on the basis of sources of water, one is the surface water pollution and the other one is groundwater pollution.
The pollution-related to rivers, oceans, and the surface water bodies like ponds, miners etc are the examples of surface water pollution while when harmful particles like radioactive elements or other similar particles mix with groundwater then this type of pollution is called groundwater pollution.
A report related to drinking Water Quality says that Nearly 70 million people living in Bangladesh are exposed to groundwater contaminated with arsenic beyond WHO recommended limits of 10 ug/L. (UN WWAP 2009) .The naturally occurring arsenic pollution in groundwater now affects nearly 140 million people in 70 countries on all continents. (UN WWAP 2009) .Even drinking water quality in developed countries is not assured. In France, drinking water testing uncovered that 3 million people were drinking water whose quality did not meet WHO standards, and 97% of groundwater samples did not meet standards for nitrate in the same study. (UN WWAP 2009)
This data confirms the seriousness of this problem.
How does it affect us:
Effects of water pollution are easily visible everywhere. To understand the effects of water pollution let’s classify it into two parts based on the type of water pollution.
- Effects of surface water pollution :-
It mainly affects the ecosystem of surface water bodies. It’s very harmful to the biodiversity of ocean and rivers because, Freshwater ecosystems sustain a disproportionately large number of identified species, including a quarter of known vertebrates.
Besides this, it is also harmful to wildlife and the other animals and sometimes it causes their death because they directly use these water bodies for drinking purpose.
- Effects of groundwater pollution :-
As above mentioned that this problem is related to groundwater pollution so it directly creates an impact on human health. In developing countries like India, this problem has become cancer. There is a quote that doesn’t drink in developing countries and doesn’t breathe in a developed one. According to WHO, Worldwide, infectious diseases such as waterborne diseases are the number one killer of children under five years old and more people die from consuming unsafe water annually than from any sort of violence, including war.
Causes and their prevention:
We can classify the causes in two types: natural causes and human activities. The natural reasons mainly have a geography related reason and play a very limited role in water pollution and mainly related to groundwater pollution.
The human activities are dominantly responsible for various reasons that spread the pollution both in groundwater and surface water.
Some reason are discussed below along with their standard solutions:
1. Geographical location and welfare schemes :–
It’s a natural reason for water pollution. It is responsible for water pollution in the areas having rich natural resources. Because of the resources, some harmful particles are presented in the water which makes it harmful and causes several serious diseases and sometimes physical disabilities also for eg in the Indian state of Jharkhand the water is polluted because of the minerals of the mines rich areas.
We can tackle this problem by providing better health infrastructure and free quality drinking water supply to the sufferers of affected areas.
2. Industrial waste and water treatment plants :–
Improper treatment of industrial wastage is the main reason for surface water pollution. It directly affects our rivers and also shows its impacts on sea water. According to a data, 70% of industrial wastes in developing countries are disposed of untreated into waters where they contaminate existing water supplies. (UN-Water 2009).
To tackle this problem we have to adopt modern technology to treat the water before it could reach our rivers. We also need to impose strict laws against industries like leather and chemical products.
3. Infrastructure and admissible exploitation of water bodies :-
Development of infrastructures like Dams and Hydro power projects etc restricted the natural flow of rivers and badly affected the river’s process of self cleaning.
To tackle this problem we need to maintain the natural flow of rivers and for this we need to fix a minimum water level for the rivers according to their need.
4. Agricultural activities and organic farming :-
Agriculture is a leading source of pollution as today we tend to use chemicals in agriculture which may contain particles like nitrate and phosphorus and various other harmful elements and causes groundwater pollution. According to various surveys in India and Africa, 20-50% of wells contain nitrate levels greater than 50 mg/1 and in some cases as high as several hundred milligrams per litre.
The way forward goes through awareness in rural areas about the impact of chemicals on groundwater quality, we can also encourage them to move towards organic farming in order to reduce the role of agriculture in water pollution.
The world has only a little fraction of total water on earth as drinking water. Today a considerable number of people don’t have pure drinking water, as the latest study of United Nations about drinking water quality says that preliminary assessment of the water quality situation in rivers in Latin America, Africa and Asia, A Snapshot of the World’s Water Quality, estimates that severe pathogenic pollution affects around one-third of all rivers, severe organic pollution around one-seventh of all rivers, and severe and moderate salinity pollution around one-tenth of all rivers in these regions.
Today the problem of water pollution has crossed the level and we are likely to reach the extremity, therefore we need to work for our upcoming generations so they could have pure water. It is not easy to fight alone but we need to take the problem of water pollution as a prime concern. We can start from ourselves taking an oath to keep our local water bodies clean and free from pollution and with the power of electorate we can also make it a prime concern of top leaderships, in India, the projects like Namami Gange mission and the revival of river Thames shows that we can win the fight against water pollution.