Water is a very important substance that makes up the larger constituents of an organism’s body. Water is a clear liquid at a standard ambient temperature and pressure, but it also exist on Earth in solid form as ice and gaseous state as steam and also exist in the form of snow, fog, dew and cloud found in streams, lakes oceans and rain. Water makes up 71% of the Earth with 96.5% of that found in seas and oceans, 1.7% ground water, and 1.7% ice caps and greenlands.
It is important to know that the chemical compound of water consist of three atoms, one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms, these are bonded together like magnets by a covalent bond. Now covalent bonds is strictly a chemical link between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms that electrons are shared between in order of creating a water molecule H2O.
Now, most of humans demand for water is fulfilled by rain water which gets deposited in surface and ground water resources. The quantity we are able to utilize is very limited on earth. Hence the emergence of water pollution as one of the most significant environmental problem even though it is continuously purified by evaporation and precipitation. This concern is rapidly expanding mainly because of the increased rate of deterioration in quantity and quality of supply. The cause of these pollutants vary but the main culprit is pollution derived from urbanization, industrialization, agriculture and increase of human population.
We know what is water, where its found and what makes so now let’s discuss how it becomes polluted. Water is very unique, because it can naturally renew and cleanse itself, by allowing pollutants to settle or break down by diluting the pollutants to a point where they are not in the power to harm. This natural process will take a significant amount of time from one pollutant to another, the harmfulness and effects of water pollution are different and depend on the chemicals dumped at that location as well as the bio-accumulation, bio-concentration and bio-magnification that may increase in concentration in the tissue or internal organs of living things and how thry move up the food chain.
At this point it is worth defining a pollutant as a substance or energy entered into the environment having an undesired effects that has undesired effects, or adversely affects the usefulness of a resource. A pollutant may cause long or short term damages by changing the growth rate of plant or animal species, or by interfering with human comfort, health, or property. Some pollutants are biodegradable and will not persist in the environment in the long term.
The coast of the Philippines depicts water pollution.
There are many sources and signs are visible around us, since we as humans dump contaminants into the water bodies that should be available for drinking. Now water is polluted when energy or materials are released into the water body degrading the quality for users, this is an acute problem in developing and developed countries alike and includes all of the waste materials that cannot be naturally broken down by water. Basically it means anything whether gas, solid or liquid added to the water in which the water is incapable of breaking down would be considered pollution. Now nature can cause a pollution, for example water flows through soils with high acid, but overall humans actions are mostly human actions are responsible for the pollutants that enter the water.
We should ask our-self where is all of this pollution coming from? There are two main sources of water pollution; point sources and non-point sources. Point sources include factories, waste-water treatment facilities, septic systems, and other sources that are clearly discharging pollutants into water sources and can be identified from a specific location. While, non-point sources cannot be traced to a single site of discharge, these includes runoff including sediment, fertilizer, chemicals and animal wastes from farms, fields, construction sites and mines, landfills are also considered non-point sources, since substances can leach into underground water from landfills.
Pollutants are classified into either functional or descriptive. Functional has two parts, essential substances which are very dangerous since a small amount can pose severe harm and non essential which only have one zone of resistance. Descriptive on the other hand can be disease causing, oxygen demanding, water soluble, inorganic pollutant, nutrients, organic compound, suspended sediments and water soluble radioactive component.
Now the reasons why water pollution is a grand issue is simply because of how it adverse effects on ecosystem, humans and animals.
Humans – disease such as hepatitis from consuming seafood, cause an outbreak of cholera and typhoid infection from drinking polluted water, mercury poisoning that interferes with the nervous system development and pesticide contamination in ground water affects reproductive system and cause endocrine.
Animals – killing fish, poison fish and marine organism from industrial and agricultural pesticides, kill aquatic life due to suffocation from littering, reduce reproductive rate and increase incidents of disease.
Fish kill due to water pollution
Ecosystem – ecosystems can be severely affected or damaged by water pollution, damages reproductive system in wildlife, growth of algae can cause oxygen depletion, extinction of indigenous organism due to low or no oxygen, increase temperature can destroy coral reefs due to bleaching from warmer temperatures and soil infertility due to hazardous chemical.
Water pollution is a serious matter that can make life on planet earth very difficult for all of us, the time to start making better choices are right here and right now. I for one have stop littering, and now wait until i get at home to remove all waste from my handbag. I would like to know what have you done lately to curb water pollution.
Tutor Vista, 2015. Causes of Water Pollution. Source: http://biology.tutorvista.com/environmental-pollution/causes-of-water-pollution.html accessed on 20/04/2015.
Safe Drinking Water Foundation, 2015. Water Pollution. Sources: http://www.safewater.org/PDFS/resourcesknowthefacts/WaterPollution.pdf accessed on 20/04/2015