Water is a very important resource and covers 71% of the Earth. Unfortunately, over 99% of this water is polluted with contaminants. A good portion of the remaining water is groundwater which has many barriers to access. For a lot of community’s groundwater is not accessible due to high costs. Every single year millions of people die from drinking contaminated water or not having access to water at all.
What is water pollution?
Water pollution is defined as the result of having harmful contaminants within water. These contaminants typically include: salt, biological pollutants, oil, sediment, and waste. The two main problems with water pollution are the effects they have on human health and the effects they have on the environment. Many countries such as the United States have taken action and created legislation to help prevent water pollution.
Causes of Water Pollution
The main cause of water pollution are humans. Typically, water pollution is an effect of a process and not done intentionally. Unfortunately, these actions are having a serious impact on the planet and health of the general population. While there are many types of pollution the following represent the most damaging.
Oceans contain some of the largest and most diverse ecosystems on planet Earth. With the annual addition of millions of pounds of contaminants entering the ocean every year there have been many direct and indirect consequences. Many ecosystems have been gravely damaged including the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. This specific incident was caused by an Algae bloom from thermal pollution. Other forms of damaging pollution include plastic pollution and point source pollution which include oil spills.
Plastic pollution has become increasingly common with the World’s continuous usage of plastic products. With the increased use there has been a massive increase of plastics entering the oceans. Plastics have damaged the oceans from killing off marine life and releasing harmful chemicals into the water.
Thermal pollution is a serious cause of concern specifically in the ocean. The continuous discharge of large volumes of high temperature water has had damaging impacts on underwater ecosystems. The famed alge blooms throughout the coasts have been directly linked to the increased water temperature which has created an environment that they thrive in. These algae blooms destroy entire ecosystems by drastically increasing the amount of bacteria in the water which kill off many inhabitants of underwater ecosystems.
Non point source pollution
A non point source pollution is any form of pollution that isn’t occurring at any one specific location. Some types of non point source pollution is caused by sediment, chemicals, trash, and biological waste. An example of this is a rainstorm washing trash around a lake into the water. Because this isn’t occurring in a specific spot at the lake but rather around it; It is considered non point source pollution.
Point source pollution
Point source pollution is caused by pollution at a singular point. This could involve a pipe discharging contaminants into the body of water or even a river dumping contaminated water into the ocean.
Agricultural pollution is one of the most dangerous forms of pollution as damage done over 50 years ago is just now having an impact on water quality in certain areas. Certain pesticides that do not degrade over time have been increasingly showing up in groundwater from many years back. This has caused many Countries to ban certain components of agricultural products.
Industrial pollution is a very common form of pollution that is detrimental to water quality and the environment. Many byproducts of factory production end up in the environment through illegal dumping, incidents, human use, and through the air.
Water pollution is an issue that is becoming more and more damaging by the year.