Unsafe water kills more people each year than war and all other forms of violence. Water pollution has become a very big issue in countries all over the globe. Water is definitely the most valuable resource, but when it becomes contaminated, it is not only useless, but dangerous as well. Water pollution is defined as the addition of harmful chemicals to natural water. According to the World Health Organization, millions of people die each year due to the consumption of contaminated water (Denchak, 2). Although the Earth is made up of about 70 percent water, only about three percent is freshwater and is drinkable. This is already a very small amount and is continuing to fall. Water pollution is very harmful and must come to a stop because it is detrimental to aquatic ecosystems, leads to poor water quality, and causes diseases.
Animals that many people adore such as dolphins, whales, and sea otters are falling rapidly due to the poor quality of the water they live in. Dangerous chemicals such as copper, lead, and arsenic from factories seep into rivers, lakes, oceans, and even our tap water (Denchak, 3). Over a 100,000 sea mammals are killed each year due to the poor quality of their ecosystems. This number continues to increase at an exponential rate each year. According to the EPA, approximately 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is dumped back into the environment. When this happens, the chemicals seep into the water and are consumed by small fish. These fish are then eaten by larger fish, and the chain goes on until even the whales are affected. This ultimately leads to the death of all these poor animals that are affected by humans. This cycle will continue to happen and lead to more death until proper action is taken to protect the aquatic ecosystems.
Another reason why water pollution must stop is because it leads to poor water quality. An excess of sewage is one of the major problems. With billions of people on this planet, most of the sewage just gets disposed back into the lakes, rivers, and oceans untreated, as many treatment facilities are not able to keep up. Another cause is chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorus that are released from factories. These chemicals end up in the groundwater and spread the pollution to other bodies of water. Because of these reasons, over half a billion people do not have access to clean drinking water (World Health Organization). Studies performed by the World Health Organization displayed that this number is on the rise as the population continues to increase and very few solutions have rose to tackle this issue. One might object that the exposure of nitrogen and phosphorus is good for the water as it promotes the growth of algae. Algae is an important resource for many ecosystems as it is usually the main food source for many sea mammals. It is said to produce an estimated 70 to 80 percent of the oxygen humans breathe (Spalding, 6). However, when these chemicals are exposed, it results in an algal bloom, which makes the amount of algae grow exponentially and blocks out sunlight from entering the water. The blocked out sunlight causes the oxygen level within the water to decrease and makes the ph level rise. This makes the environment very dangerous for the animals that live there and deteriorates the water quality.
The final reason is that water pollution leads to life threatening diseases to humans. Diseases such as lead poisoning, typhoid, dysentery, and hepatitis. Waterborne diseases cause close to 3.5 million deaths every year, and the majority of these are children (CDC). Drinking contaminated water is not the only way these diseases are contracted. They can occur through the consumption of seafood that may have been in contaminated water previously. Chemicals such as lead and arsenic are present in most contaminated waters and can lead to many permanent problems if consumed. These diseases could very well be considered man made as factories continue to disregard the damage that is being caused and do not act towards the issue. While many are privileged enough to have access to clean water whenever, there are people who not as lucky. They continue to die due to issues that have can be resolved if action were taken. Similarly, in the book Night by Elie Wiesel, it talks about the poor sanitation in the camps. There was not much access to water and when there was, it would be avoided because it was very dirty and could do more harm (Wiesel). The factories in the camps all had harmful chemicals that the Jewish people were exposed to and the waste just flowed out into the bay, polluting the water and affected the life in it (Hoyt, 4). This was over 70 years ago, yet water pollution continues to be a problem even today.
To reiterate, water pollution must be come to an end as it is harmful to aquatic ecosystems, causes bad water quality, and threatening diseases. It is a major problem that has been around for decades and causes harm to humans as well as animals. Too many people have struggled and lost their lives because of this. I strongly urge you all to take all of this into account and think hard about what you can do to fight against water pollution and make this Earth a better place.
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