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Water Pollution: Causes and Prevention

What is water pollution?

Today, water pollution is the biggest threat to mankind. What is meant by water pollution and what are its causes and prevention methods. Pollution is the undesirable change in the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of land, air, or water. Pollution may be natural or man-made. The substances or agents that cause such changes are called pollutants. A pollutant is a substance that is released into the environment in a harmful amount, usually as a result of human activity. The atmosphere, sea, and waterways are all at risk from pollution.

The pollution of water

Every human being has the right to water. Clean, freshwater is present in sufficient amounts around the world for everyone’s personal and domestic needs. But throughout the world, the water clock has been ticking alarmingly. The problem of accessing quality water in sufficient quantity risks associated with growing water shortages, and degradation of water resources are becoming more complex. Water pollution is the release of substances into bodies of water that make the water unsafe to drink and disrupt aquatic ecosystems. It is unfortunate that rivers and lakes have been used as dumping grounds for human sewage and industrial wastes for centuries. The term water pollution refers to any kind of contamination of water that makes its use hazardous for living organisms. Water supplies throughout the world are being contaminated by agricultural and industrial pollution. Agricultural, industrial, or household wastewater is a growing source of contamination of groundwater. Life is not possible without water, just as it is impossible without air. Additionally, water is “one of the world’s great business opportunities”.

Water Pollution: Causes and Prevention
Photo by Yogendra Singh via Pexels

What are the sources of water pollution?

Water pollution by natural means

Natural disasters such as landslides and floods degrade the quality of water.

Water pollution by human activities

It is not surprising that human activities are primarily responsible for water pollution.

Causes of water pollution or water pollution sources

contaminating water sources are categorized broadly according to their sources.

  • Infectious agents
  • Nutrients for plants
  • The use of chemicals, such as insecticides, herbicides, and detergents.
  • Minerals and chemicals of other types
  • Erosion-related sediments
  • Oil Spills.
  • Chemical Waste Dumping.
  • Radiation-producing substances
  • The heat generated by power plants and industrial plants.
Some other causes are

Rapid urbanization and deforestation

Even though they do not directly affect water quality, urbanization and deforestation have a lot of indirect effects. When trees are cut down or large areas are concretized, the flow of water accelerates which makes it difficult for the ground to infiltrate and absorb the water.

Sewage and wastewater

Wastes from domestic and commercial sewage, as well as oxygen-demanding wastes, are a major source of water pollution. The inefficient collection and treatment of sewage lead to water pollution. According to the United Nations, more than 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is returned to the environment without being treated or recycled.


A major cause of water pollution is agriculture since fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, herbicides, and insecticides, as well as manure, livestock excrement, and methane are used in agriculture.

What Are the Effects of Water Pollution?

Different types of water pollution affect the biological and abiotic factors of various aquatic ecosystems at different levels, and their ultimate effects on humans remain quite drastic in the medical, aesthetic, and economical senses.

Some of the impacts of water pollution are


This natural process literally means nourished or enriched. Many lakes and ponds with a large supply of nutrients also have a natural state which occurs as nutrient accumulation as lakes age. Excessive eutrophication occurs when sewage, fertilizers, and animal waste enter streams and lakes, causing excessive growth and blooms of microorganisms and aquatic vegetation. Overgrowth of aquatic weeds can impede fishing, bathing, fish spawning, shellfish production, and even navigation. Many aquatic animals are affected by organic pollutants in water, such as stoneflies and many flies disappear from waters with high organic pollution levels.

Contamination by bacteria and viruses

There is a possibility that human health could be negatively impacted by sewage waste. A sewage-contaminated water supply poses health hazards due to diseases such as typhoid, bacillary dysentery, amoebic dysentery, and hepatitis.

Pollution caused by industry

Industrial wastes and effluents seriously pollute the rivers and streams. Effluents are waste products in liquid form that result from industrial and domestic processes. They are released by different industries. Almost all the chemicals found in industrial waste are toxic to animals and may kill or damage their liver, kidneys, reproductive systems, lungs, and nervous systems.

On Human health

Water pollution is responsible for many waterborne contagious diseases. Water pollution can result in different illnesses, such as cancer, diarrheal disease, respiratory disease, neurological disorder, and cardiovascular disease. Further, chemical pollutants in contaminated water enter our bodies through swimming in it or by washing our clothes, and they can irritate our skin.

Flora and fauna are adversely affected

Numerous living organisms rely on dissolved oxygen and nutrients in water bodies, including plants, fish, turtles, and mammals. Polluted water is the greatest threat to animals and plants who depend on it for survival.

Disturbances in the food chain

   Natural food chains are essential for the survival of many animal species, including humans. Pollutants in the water disrupt the interconnected relationships within the food chain, according to this view. Pollutants such as mercury or lead are consumed by small animals. In time, the small animals would be eaten by fish, and the food chain would reach higher levels of consumption.

Defenses against pollution.

 The fight against pollution has been ongoing since time immemorial.  The world of today cannot be reverted back to a simpler natural state. The world has reached a point where we can’t turn back the clock nor resign ourselves to the state of primitive nature. It is unrealistic to believe that water pollution can be eliminated overnight. We’ve greatly corrupted it through our actions. And what we can do is, if we make a genuine effort to change our lifestyle, we may be able to reduce water pollution to a certain extent.

Water Pollution: Causes and Prevention
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Reducing Water Pollution: 10 Simple Steps

1 Reduce the use of plastic as much as possible

There is an enormous amount of plastic that escapes from land every year and enters water bodies. With its toxic compounds, plastic degrades water quality, resulting in harm to human and animal health.

2 When cleaning, use fewer chemicals

The cleaning agents we use to wash dishes and clothes are also harming our water. Most cleaners contain chemicals that affect the quality of drinking water and are toxic to animals.

3 Take proper care when disposing of medications

Medicines should never be thrown into the water supply. Medicines contain compounds that harm fish and other aquatic life and contaminate drinking water. Drug takeback programs provide the best way to dispose of expired, unwanted, or unused medicines.

4 Eliminate pesticides and herbicides

The use of pesticides and herbicides in agriculture has a large impact on water quality and adversely impacts the environment. Pesticides can also have a negative impact on human health.

5 The use of detergents should be limited

The use of detergent should be limited as much as possible. Use detergent that is phosphate-free. When the water becomes phosphorus-rich, algae blooms occur and oxygen levels are reduced, resulting in fish and other aquatic animals dying. Get eco-friendly detergents and soaps. Sometimes it costs more. However, know that what you are doing is good.

6 Vehicles should be maintained regularly

Whenever vehicles leak oil or other liquids, they end up in the water. Maintaining the vehicle on a regular basis can prevent this problem.

7 Water-polluting recreational activities should be avoided

Whether it’s swimming, surfing, water skiing, windsurfing, diving, bathing, tubing, or children playing in the water, these all rely on water. Through these activities, water is very likely to be contaminated.

8 Practice water conservation

Don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth or shaving. Installing a water-efficient toilet is a great idea to conserve water. Make sure you only run your dishwasher or washing machine when it is almost full. If you wash dishes by hand, do not leave the water running while you rinse. Water from the kitchen can be used in gardens and vegetable gardens. You can use water that you use to wash rice or vegetables for this task.

9 Do not throw garbage here and there

There are a lot of problems caused by dumping garbage here and there. Not treating the waste in an environmentally friendly manner is also a problem. All of this waste washes into water sources when it rains.

10 Join water conservation groups

Getting involved with any water conservation organization is a good idea. Understanding a lot of things and working for the betterment of your community is possible through it. You can consider donating to an organization in your area if you’re pressed for time. If you are unable to donate, you can lend a hand in cleaning up local rivers and wells. Volunteers are often needed by environmental groups. Consider getting involved with them.

If you pay a little attention

Water pollution can be reduced automatically if you take a little extra care regarding these suggestions. Long-term rewards come from simple and high-level thinking. Good behavior can lessen the severity of our misfortunes. There is no escape from nature. Our actions and thoughts are witnessed by all of their elements. Therefore, the most important thing is to create conditions that allow man and nature to coexist harmoniously.

Environmental awareness

With the concept of environment and development in mind, we can proceed to approach pollution prevention.  Water is one of the most threatened areas of the biosphere. In addition, the various aspects of pollution are interrelated, so addressing one will result in a better condition for the others. There is still a lack of understanding about environmental protection. Environmental protection goes far beyond protecting a few species of animals or plants, planting trees, caring about polluting industries, or simply cleaning up the environment. Environmental knowledge and pollution of the environment cannot be the exclusive domain of environmentalists. Environmental studies need to be incorporated into school curricula. At least one of the school projects students create should deal with the evils of pollution. General awareness of the need to preserve nature will result from this, which must touch every person’s heart. Our greatest defense against pollution will be this awareness.

Reference Wikipedia

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