Essay on Water Pollution – Facts, Causes, Effects, Solutions
Free 750 words essay on Water Pollution – Facts, Causes, Effects, Solutions for school and college students.
The abundance of water on planet earth doesn’t make it unlimited and inexhaustible. Quantitatively freshwater constitutes only 1% of the entire water resource present, and most of that too is locked in the ice-caps and glaciers. The reckless and profligate usage of this valuable natural resource is making it scarce and endangered. Industrialization, urbanization, and careful anthropogenic factors have led to the increasing problem of water pollution. It is mainly caused by toxic chemicals and biological agents which change the chemical composition of water significantly making it unfit for human consumption and usage. It poses harm to both human health and environment. This pollution is primarily because of air transportation of pollutant particles or transfer into precipitation water.
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- According to an estimate, 40% of lakes in the United States are too polluted for fishing, aquatic life, and swimming.
- Rivers, lakes and coastal areas get horribly polluted with 80% of untreated sewage discharged into it.
- The Chinese government report itself says that 70% of lakes and rivers in China are polluted, and almost half of them are unfit for human contact.
- The most common contaminant that is released from agricultural farms that pollutes the world’s groundwater aquifers is nitrate.
- The number of people dying from unsafe water consumption is more than the number dying from war.
- Millions of people in Bangladesh are exposed to poisonous level of arsenic which is present in groundwater.
- A United Nations report claims that every year 2 million tons of sewage and industrial waste are discharged untreated into the world’s water.
- Federal authorities in the United States claim that the headwaters of 40% of Western rivers are tainted with toxic discharge that comes from mineral mines that have been abandoned.
- After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, 11 million liters of radioactive water was dumped in the Pacific Ocean by the Japanese government.
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Causes of water pollution
- Sewage: Disposing of sewage waste by billions of people is a big problem. Already 40% of world’s population don’t have proper sanitation. Sewage disposal generates diarrhea which kills millions of children every year. Sewers in both urban and rural areas dump filthy water into water bodies. It contains all kinds of harmful chemical contaminants full of viruses dangerous in case of human contact.
- Nutrients: Plants need nitrogen and phosphorous to grow, and that comes from fertilizers used in fields for agricultural purposes. The amount released from soil after application of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers often exceeds the quantity natural environment can take. This overwhelmingly flows into water bodies and leads to development of harmful algal blooms, by a process known as eutrophication.
- Waste water: Chemicals that get washed from factories and discharges from drains cause half of the world’s ocean pollution. All kinds of chemicals, right from detergents used at home to substances used in pharmaceutical industries cause irreversible damage to water bodies. In addition to that, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are another form of toxic chemicals that are discharged into the environment.
- Radioactive waste: The nuclear facilities that reprocess radioactive substances are the biggest source of radioactive pollutants. That is discharged into seas further carried away by ocean currents jeopardizing the health of entire world.
- Oil spills: Every year multiple oil spill incidents destroy the ocean ecosystem to a great extent killing thousands of aquatic lives and causing spectacular damage.
- Plastics: One of the most ubiquitously used substance in the world is plastics. Excessive use of this non-biodegradable product has caused immense damage to the water ecosystem. Plastics has traveled across continents and reached Pacific and Atlantic Ocean forming gyres which alter the ocean currents significantly.
- Other forms of water pollution are by alien invasive species, thermal pollution, disruption of sediments that flows from rivers to seas, etc.
The effects are devastating and irreversible. Ecosystems get devastated, marine life comes to the brink of annihilation, causes a huge economic cost, human health gets severely vulnerable to water-borne diseases, and the complete human life faces problems.
- Spread of awareness about the mandatory prevention and protection against water pollution by means of education, campaign, public participation, and community involvement is necessary. Water pollution effects each human similarly and hence collective efforts to solve the problem needs to be taken.
- Water pollution problem is of transboundary nature, and hence the entire global community needs to get united. This demands tougher and stringent legislations by each nation-state to up the ante against water pollution. Standard environmental regulations need to be enforced with strict compliance requirements.
- Economically this problem can be solved by the theory of “Polluter Pays Principle”. Effective mechanism needs to employed for sewage treatment and recycling or purification of waste water. Capable and rich countries must help the less developed ones through financial assistance or technology transfer.