Water is vital in every living being. It’s even more vital than food. Without food, the human body can survive for up to three weeks. Without water, the body can only survive for three to four days.
The problem is, our waters are getting polluted, even the ones that we drink. The environment isn’t happy. The animals, no less.
It’s a problem of our own making and we ought to do something about it. But before addressing it as a problem that needs a solution, we first need to discuss what it is, what causes it, and what its effects are to better understand what it’s really all about and how big of a concern water pollution is.
What is water pollution?
Water pollution is the event when bodies of water like rivers, lakes, streams, oceans, and even aquifers (groundwater reservoirs) become polluted or contaminated by chemicals, wastes, nutrients, microorganisms, toxins, oil, radioactive materials, plastics, and other wastes.
What causes water pollution?
There’s no one cause of water pollution.
Untreated Sewage Water
If your sewage system is treated, luck you. Not many people have treated sewage systems, especially in third world countries. This water can infiltrate groundwater which is the main source of drinking water in other countries.
It is estimated that about 250 million people get infected by diseases brought about by contaminated water and 15 million children aged five and below die annually because of these diseases.
Agriculture, particularly farming, contributes a lot to water pollution. Through vegetation and growing of crops, it uses fertilizers and pesticides. Through raising animals, it uses water which can be polluted with their waste, animal food, and the fertilizers and pesticides used on crops.
Runoffs will happen and directly pollute the water when it reaches other bodies of water, or, these runoffs will pave the way for algal blooms.
Low Ocean pH
Water pollution can lower the acidity of the water which shellfish and coral reefs are most vulnerable to. According to studies, 25% of carbon emissions goes to the ocean. This carbon turns into carbon dioxide and is what lowers the pH level of the ocean water thereby making it acidic.
This acidification greatly harms the coral reefs and shellfish and other smaller marine life in the ocean.
As the population grows, so does the need of supply for food, water, clothes, hygienic and sanitary products, and other basic necessities. Aside from the fact that these things need water in order to be produced, they also create waste while being made and when you decide to discard them.
Ah. The effect of our own ways.
Greenhouse gases produced by chemicals and other toxic substances, when reaches the waters, will warm them up to a few degrees, making the water no longer fit for living for many marine and aquatic life.
Global warming also disrupts the natural processes of the world, changing processes, destroying habitats, changing weather patterns, etc. In other words, we are all affected.
What are the solutions to water pollution?
Ozone Water Treatment
This treatment uses a generator to turn oxygen into ozone. It uses either UV radiation or electric flow to do so. The ozone then becomes reactive and when added to water, it becomes a biocide weapon that kills bacteria, viruses, mold, and other microorganisms by oxidizing them.
Waste and Sewage Water Treatment
Industrial wastewater and sewage can be treated to make so won’t be able to contaminate or pollute the ocean, lakes, rivers, or other bodies of water. Wastewater treatment plants have several chambers where wastewater undergoes chemical treatments.
This way, wastewater can be contained. And if it were to be released, it would no longer be polluting other bodies of water.
Almost all septic tanks also have chambers. These chambers separate the solid and liquid components of sewage. Unlike industrial waste treatment plants, septic tanks are dependent on biological processes instead of chemicals.
The liquid part flows to the drainage system while the solids get degraded.
Denitrification is an environmental process of converting nitrates into nitrogen gas. Bacterias are mostly responsible for this.
Fertilizers are rich in nitrates. When runoffs happen and these nitrates reach bigger bodies of water, eutrophication can happen. Eutrophication means the proliferation of algae which is a form of water pollutant.
Last but not least. No matter how much we point and blame industries and big companies, we are just as responsible as they are in water pollution. We sometimes leave our trash somewhere or dispose of our garbage improperly.
We are just as accountable as the government or any industry or factory.
A Few Facts About Water Pollution
- About 2 million tons of waste materials (human) are exposed to bigger bodies of water.
- Most rivers and lakes have become unfit for fishing and swimming because of algal bloom, toxic materials, too many chemicals, or radioactive waste present.
- On a global scale, 3000 children die daily because of drinking contaminated water.
- Industrial waste accounts for 70% of the total wastewater dumped to the ocean, rivers, lakes, and even soil.
- The ocean acquires 14 billion pounds of plastic each year
Think water pollution is not real? Think again. The numbers are staggering and these facts are horrifying.
If you’re imagining beds full of tires and plastic, coral reefs decorated with plastic, and the water looking sparkly because of microparticles of plastic, you’re right.
The ocean is the home of about 230,000 known species of marine life and about 2 million that are unknown. If the ocean continues to be destroyed, there’ll be no chance of seeing even just 1/8th of that number.
What can we do then? Well, truth be told, it started with us, it will also end with us. We can help the environment and all the living beings in it including ourselves live and grow in a safe and habitat.
We can lessen our use of plastic and chemicals, be responsible for our trash, and share our goals with others so we can make the earth a safe and beautiful place like it always has been.