In developing countries, 70% of industrial wastes are thrown into the water, making it so that it is unsafe for life or drinking. My question is what is the relationship between water pollution and different sources of water? According to Britannica, water pollution is the release of substances into subsurface groundwater or into [different bodies of water] to the point where the substances interfere with the beneficial use of the water or with the natural functioning of ecosystems. Sewage, garbage, stormwater, fertilizer, and other chemicals are just some of the main pollutants of water. My experiment will help figure out what types of water are polluted and will help people become more aware of this problem. They will become more conscious of their daily routines and how it impacts the water around them. Some useful background knowledge on this topic is, the history of polluted water, sources of polluted water and how to prevent it, and the impacts of it on life.
The first topic is history. The history of polluted water goes back centuries. In the 1300s, the Black Death started to spread through Europe. This disease was not caused by the unsanitary conditions, but these conditions provided the perfect environment for this disease to thrive. Most pollution back then was because of people dumping their excrements and trash into rivers. Fast forward to the 1800s and people began to understand how harmful pollution was and tried to set up laws against it. These laws did little or no good. Later, around mid-1850, Chicago set up one of the first sewer systems and other cities followed their example. During the industrial revolution, water became more polluted than ever because of factories starting to dump their waste products it.
In 1969 the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio started on fire. Sparks from a train by the oily river ignited it and caused $50,00 worth of damage. The fire reached a height of around five stories and lasted for around 20 – 30 minutes. This had happened many times before since the river was so polluted. This specific fire is important because it contributed to the growing idea that water pollution is a major problem. Congress passed the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) in 1970. This act established the Environmental Protection Agency, which manages environmental risks and regulates sanitary-specific policies. The Clean Water Act in 1972 made it so that all rivers had to be safe enough to allow people to swim and fish in the water by 1983. But even today, the Environmental News Service (ENS) stated that 40% of rivers are still not safe for these activities. Even though the water pollution problem has gotten better over time, it’s still a big problem today. [transition]
There are two main types of water pollution sources, point source pollution, and nonpoint source pollution. Point source pollution is a single, identifiable source of pollution, like discharges from a wastewater treatment plant. Chemical and oil spills are also an example of point source pollution. Nonpoint source pollution doesn’t come from a specific source. For example, anything that humans dispose of improperly, like a plastic bottle in the garbage. Stormwater, that runs over land picking up trash, dirt, fertilizer, or any other harmful substance on the ground, is another example of nonpoint source pollution. While there are many sources of pollution, there are also ways to try to prevent it. Such as avoiding the use of fertilizers. Fertilizers are one of the main sources of pollution, especially from farms. While fertilizers can be good, they are also very harmful to the environment if they get into the water. Another way to prevent pollution is to be sure not to flush any products down the toilet besides toilet paper. This waste will not break down like toilet paper does and will get into the environment. Make sure that you put trash and excess chemicals where they need to go and don’t dump them down the drain. An extra method is to just be conscious of water pollution. This simple habit can make a big difference.
Polluted water can be very harmful to human health, especially in undeveloped countries. Some diseases that are caused by polluted water are diarrheal disease, respiratory disease, cancer, neurological disorder, and cardiovascular disease. A study was done by Mehtab Haseena, Muhammad Faheem Malik, Asma Javed, Sidra Arshad, Nayab Asif, Sharon Zulfiqar, and Jaweria Hanif in Pakistan during 2016-2017 found by researching different reliable sources many things about how polluted water affects people’s health. They found that people who live in rural areas are more likely to get sick [with the previously mentioned diseases] because their water isn`t usually as clean. This group also found that poorer people are at a greater risk for these diseases because they are more likely to have not-up-to-standards sanitation, hygiene, and water supply.
All this information could help people become more aware of where they’re getting their water from and how clean or dirty it is. Water pollution is can also be harmful to other living things. In another study by Melissa Denchak in 2018, who’s located in Brooklyn, New York, found out by researching different reputable references, different reasons why pollutants are harmful to living things. By researching, she found out that when chemicals are dumped into the water, it can cause the perfect environment for algae to grow in. This can lead to the suffocation of various plants and animals that rely on the oxygen underwater because the algae are taking it all up. This is known as eutrophication and creates dead zones. This could also produce neurotoxins, which impact other wildlife too. Some chemicals or heavy metals can also get into marine animals’ systems if dumped into the water.
This causes them to be unable to reproduce and/or have shorter lifespans. If predators eat animals impacted by these chemicals, they, too, will get these unhealthy materials into their systems and it will have the same effects. Garbage that gets into the water can also be dangerous to aquatic life. Some can strangle or starve animals. Melissa Denchak additionally found that discarded fishing gear harms more than 200 species of marine life per year. Ocean acidification is another big problem. Shellfish and coral especially, have a tough time surviving in these conditions. Shellfish have a harder time building shells. This acid also affects the nervous system of sharks, clownfish, and other water animals. All of this information is significant because it helps get people to realize that pollution is a big problem and needs to be fixed.
To summarize, water pollution has been around throughout history and is still a big problem today. The Industrial Revolution brought around more pollution in the water and has greatly affected life on Earth and how people view pollution. There are many sources of pollution, like fertilizers and sewage that are detrimental to ecosystems and the environment around them. While there are many sources of water pollution, there are also a lot of ways to prevent this pollution from happening. Such as, not littering, not dumping chemicals into the water, and to be conscious of your daily routine. If you don’t do anything to prevent water pollution some of the major impacts that it will have on the environment are as follows. The water will become unsafe for drinking, and the aquatic life living in the water could get sick and die or become unable to reproduce. By drinking unsanitary water, even humans could become ill. This is especially present in developing countries because they usually don’t have great water treatment or a good sewage system. If people would just become more aware of what they’re doing and how it affects the environment, then maybe, water pollution could become a problem of the past.
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