Freshwater is a basic resource for life, probably the main natural resource. Water pollution and its scarcity have a lot to do. Likewise, if we take into account the extreme events that climate change brings. We will find another reason why the world suffers and will suffer from a significant lack of water.
In this case, it will be as well because of the droughts that are approaching us as because of the desertification processes that the advance of global warming entails, with is either due to its contamination, use, and abuse, or because it is a scarce good, water candy is a priority resource.
On the other hand, the pollution of seas and oceans constitutes another of the great concerns of the 21st century. Both are due to the health problems caused by the imbalance of the marine ecosystem. A source of food, and due to the environmental impact caused by said pollution, the seas are getting worse and worse. Keep reading Green Ecology to know in detail the causes and consequences of water pollution.
What Is Water Pollution
To begin with, we want to clarify that the definition of water contamination can be summarized as any physical, biological, or chemical change in the water that causes its quality to decrease and is harmful to any living being that consumes it.
Thus, this natural resource was once damaged by pollutants. Ceases to be useful for living beings, including human beings. And for countless activities (from living or swimming in it and drinking it, to using it to water vegetation or wash food).
Indeed, to better understand the problems related to water pollution. It is essential to address its main causes, the various types of pollution. As well as point out some measures to reduce this tremendous problem. Not in vain, without quality water, it is impossible to guarantee the environmental balance of the human species, animals, and plants.
Types Of Water Pollution
We can mention two types of water or aquatic pollution :
- Organic contamination: due to pathogenic microorganisms in the water that arrives through greywater, industrial or agricultural waste.
- Contamination with artificial chemicals: this is generated from the aforementioned pesticides to human and animal medicines or even any type of domestic and industrial waste.
Causes Of Water Pollution: Contaminants And Sources
Here we talk about the main causes of water pollution. Both are natural and derived from human activity. As well as the main pollutants, agents, or sources of pollution.
Natural causes of water pollution
With regard to natural causes, we can mention the increase in temperatures. Being able to consider as such only the part that belongs to the natural process of the planet. And not the accelerated global warming, as is well known, it has an anthropogenic origin, that is, derived from human actions.
Pollution related to its natural cycle may be due to contact with certain contaminants that may be from mineral or organic substances that exist in nature, for example in the earth’s crust, the atmosphere, or the water itself. Sometimes it is introduced by rare natural phenomena. Such as floods or landslides, and it is when doing so that contamination occurs.
Causes of water pollution caused by humans
The most important and harmful pollution is that produced by human beings for different reasons. Including the discharge of toxic substances thrown into the waters on a regular or occasional basis, as is the case of industrial discharges into the water. This is how water becomes cumulatively polluted.
Pesticides, chemical fertilizers, hydrocarbons, wastewater, detergents, plastics, and other solid waste end up in rivers and seas, where in addition to their environmental impact, after being ingested by small marine organisms they end up entering the food chain.
Without forgetting, also, the contamination of rivers also increases marine pollution, in addition to underground seepage contaminated by toxic discharges of any kind.
Sources and agents of water contamination
In summary, the polluting agents or sources of water pollution are:
- Pathogenic microorganisms.
- Heavy metals.
- Emerging pollutants.
As we have already clarified, some have their origin or source in the natural environment and others from the hand of humans.
We recommend you expand this information with this other EcologíaVerde article on What are the contaminating agents of water.
Effects And Consequences Of Water Pollution On Health
We continue talking about water pollution around the world. Going into detail about the effects and consequences of water pollution on health:
- As we already advanced, water contamination can end up on our plates. When eating fish and shellfish from contaminated water, there is a bioaccumulative effect of mercury and other heavy metals and also of small plastic particles, known as microplastics. However, this also occurs in the intake of non-drinking water. Here you can read about What are microplastics: definition and types.
- Arsenic pollution of water in India and other parts of the world, for example, causes serious health problems. Likewise, bathing in the Ganges River is dangerous for health, because, in addition to being able to swallow polluted water, which contains substances that are harmful in themselves, this is a vector of diseases, from simple gastric problems to much more serious conditions, whether caused by viruses or bacteria.
- Not having access to drinking water and having to walk several hours each day to fetch water, even if it is not really clean, does not allow families or societies in general to progress. This is something that happens, mainly, in many places in Africa and Asia.
- Crops irrigated with contaminated water, on the other hand, can also pose a health risk. In fact, irrigating with polluted water means contaminating food.
Effects And Consequences Of Water Pollution For The Environment
Water is an essential element not only for human life but for life in general. Being as it is an essential element for it, its pollution is a serious blow to living beings. These are the effects and consequences of water pollution on the environment or, what is the same, its environmental impact:
- From the possible health consequences of contaminated water. It is easier to understand how much it can unbalance ecosystems. including the specific problems, it poses for fauna and flora.
- Not only fish and other creatures that live in the water suffer these devastating effects, but also seabirds suffer from this contamination of the waters, decimating their food or being poisoned or trapped to death.
- Preserving fish or corals, for example, means stopping the acidification of the sea as a result of climate change. This is not a discharge, but the same role as a carbon sink that the ocean performs, with this dramatic result.
- Lastly, noise pollution is another major problem, the environmental consequences of which can be dramatic for many species.
Water Pollution Solutions
If the contamination is not important, the ecosystems have the capacity to clean themselves. And recover their balance, the problem escapes the control of nature when a point of no return is reached.
Collapse occurs when pollutants unbalance the system without the possibility of it absorbing said pollution. In these cases, it is necessary to act, although in many cases they are problems of such magnitude that solving them is simply a utopia.
In this sense, it is important to carry out actions that improve the situation to minimize its environmental impact. As well as the threat it represents to public health, even if they cannot offer suitable results.
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