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Water Pollution

Water covers 70% of the earth’s surface and is a very important resource for all living beings and the environment. Water pollution affects drinking water, lakes, rivers and oceans all over the world. This affects the human health and our environment.

Types of water pollution

Water Pollution happens because of various reasons. If the water gets polluted from a single source, it is termed as “point-source pollution”. If the water gets polluted through more than one source, it is termed as “non-point source pollution”. When pollution affects the environment hundreds of miles away from the source, like nuclear waste, it is called transboundary pollution.

1. Chemical Water Pollution

Many industries use a lot of chemicals which run into the water and pollute it. Metals and solvents affect the rivers and lakes. This is extremely unhealthy for aquatic life. This is equivalent to poison and slows their growth and can also lead to death.

Pesticides are used for agriculture and weeds to prevent insects from eating the plants and this affects aquatic life as well. It can also affect the birds, animals and humans who eat these fish. Petroleum is a chemical too; when there is an oil spill in the ocean it affects marine life – the fish will die, some fly birds lose the ability to fly because the oil sticks to their feathers.

2. Suspended Matter

Some pollutants that enter the water and do not get dissolved since their molecules are big, also cause water pollution and affect aquatic life.

3. Microbiological Pollution

This a natural form of pollution caused by micro organisms. The following types of organisms present in the water affect fish, humans and land animals:

• Bacteria
• Viruses
• Protozoa

Diseases like Cholera affect our health and poorer countries are unable to treat water so they end up using polluted water.

4. Groundwater Pollution

The earth has a lot of water underground in the soil or under rock structures called aquifers. We as humans use aquifers to obtain drinking water, but when this water is polluted, it is called “groundwater pollution”. This is a huge problem and we need to address it.

5. Oxygen Depleting Water Pollution

Micro organisms in water feed on the biodegradable substances. When there is too much material in the water, the number of microorganisms increase and use all the oxygen. This is called Oxygen Depletion.

6. Surface Water Pollution

Surface waters are the natural water resources of the earth. They are found on the exteriors of the earth’s crust. Oceans, rivers and lakes are part of these, and these water bodies tend to get highly polluted.

7. Marine Dumping Pollution

A lot of litter is dumped into the sea and causes huge problems. It causes death to the animals. Most items take a long time to degrade:

• Cardboard – 2 weeks to degrade
• Newspaper – 6 weeks to degrade
• Foam – 50 years to degrade
• Aluminium –200 years to degrade
• Plastic – 400 years to degrade
• Glass – No exact time period known, takes too long to degrade

8. Sewage and Waste Water Pollution

Domestic, industrial and agricultural practices produce waste water that cause pollution in lakes and rivers. Sewage waste water contains faeces, urine and laundry waste. There are billions of people on earth so treating waste water is a priority.

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