The Major Contributors to Water Pollution

Subject: Environment
Pages: 14
Words: 3831
Reading time:
14 min
Study level: College


Water pollution is a severe issue in the world because of the severe implications that it cause to living organisms and their impact on the ecosystem. Pollutants are substances that are in a place where they should not be, and they usually contribute to problems when consumed by living organisms. Water pollution has been on the increase despite the knowledge among people of the many serious issues that it causes, especially health problems. All living things need access to clean water if they are to be able to survive and lead to a healthy life. Water pollution involves the presence of physical, biological, and chemical elements that should not be present in the water (Water treatment Solutions par. 3).

An example of water pollution is the discharge of untreated sewage or contaminated water from factories into lakes, oceans, seas, and other water bodies. These are places where people access to water and consume or use it for other household activities. Water pollution involves the change in the color of the water due to the presence of chemical elements such as soil or the addition of chemical compounds that might lead to a change of color in the water. Some industrial companies might also dispose of wastes that can lead to the occurrence of biological elements, which, if they find their way into the metabolic systems of living things, would cause diseases (Water & Climate Change par. 6).

Water consumption is a necessity for all living things. Human beings are made up of 70% water. Individuals can be able to survive for long without food, but they cannot be able to go on for long without water. One of the factors that have been contributed to the high number of deaths witnessed in the world is the lack of access to clean water. About 15,000 people die every day all over the world due to the lack of clean water. Most of the experts and professionals that are involved in the formulation of policies are concerned with the availability of clean water; however, they feel that the available policies should be implemented and new ones made to ensure that people all over the world have access to clean water (Water treatment Solutions par. 4).

Those people with access to clean water should utilize it properly, and those who pollute water should be punished and strict measures taken against them. The available water policies should be revised not just at the international level but also at the grassroots level, national and regional level. Governments of third world countries should be advised on the importance of putting sustainable measures in place to ensure that their water resources are used correctly and efficiently and that those who pollute water should be disciplined appropriately.

Current situation

In the United States alone, findings from research studies indicate that 47% 0f lakes, 45% of streamlines, and 32% of bay estuarine have been polluted, and the major culprits of water pollution are human beings. About 500 million Chinese nationals do not have access to clean water, partly because of the lack of guiding policies and measures that have not been implemented concerning proper water usage. In China, approximately 90%of the country’s water resources available to the public are polluted. Individuals and companies are the major contributors to water pollution and need to be subjected to disciplinary measures like being fined or being taken to court.

Similarly, in developed and highly populated nations like India, the level of water pollution is high, and it has contributed to the increase in the number of individuals that die due to avoidable causes. Children are some of the most vulnerable groups as far as access to clean drinking water. The Granges River in India is an example of a water resource that is highly polluted in the world, and it has contributed to the deaths and occurrence of diseases such as diarrhea, as reported in many individuals. Diarrhea is caused by pathogens that are found in water, mostly water that has come into contact with untreated sewage. When individuals consume such polluted water, they get dehydrated as a result of diarrhea. Children’s metabolic systems might not be able to cope, and as a result, most of them die.

The water pollution situation is observed to be high, especially in areas that are highly populated. India is one of the countries with the largest populations in the world. Most of the individuals are from low socio-economic classes, and they live in slums. The slums do not have proper toilets, and most of the raw sewage finds its way to the water resources that the individuals use for drinking.

Developing countries seem to be at the highest risk, a factor which is positively contributed to the significant population increase in these countries. The actual and projected increase in the population of individuals has led to the rise in the number of commercial fertilizers that are used by farmers to produce large amounts of food to feed the people. The commercial fertilizers used by farmers are some of the most significant contributors to water pollution in the world.

The fertilizers are washed into water sources leading to a change in the chemical composition of the water. The aspect of the population in water pollutions means that there is population growth, which does not match with the development of the amenities and facilities that are available to be used.

The result is that individuals in developing countries have to use rivers and dams as their sewage. Unfortunately, this same water resource used as sewage is the same water resource used as a source of drinking water. It is estimated that about two.2 million tonnes of untreated sewage find their way into water bodies daily. Some individuals use water to irrigate plants. Such plants usually grow with high concentrations of chemicals in their systems. The population of people in the world is expected to increase, further to stretch the available resources and to increase the number of wastes that will find its way into the water sources.

Various environmentalists argue that Zimbabwe has poor management of sewage and other water resources in the country. Records from hospitals in the country can show that there are a high number of cases of people with water-borne related illnesses such as typhoid, cholera, and amoebic dysentery, which can sometimes prove fatal. If such health cases are to be compared to the developed nations such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, cases of people who have fallen ill of water-borne diseases are isolated, if any.

Control of water pollution

Where oil pollution has occurred, a thorough cleanup process should be carried out, and at the expense of the companies that have contributed to the pollution. Even oil companies that have been in the business for a long have been responsible for oil spillages. This serves to show that experience is not sufficient for the avoidance of oil spillage, and companies should be extra careful when they are involved in the drilling of oil to avoid interfering with the environment and living organisms in it.

Responsibility and accountability in Europe have contributed to the ethical practices by manufacturers whereby manufacturers of consumer goods are more responsible in their packaging of products to consumers. More manufacturers are more involved in research of methods that can be used in the reduction of water pollution that occurs in the areas where their factories are located and beyond. Manufacturers are aware of the fact that responsibility and accountability as far as the environment is concerned is one of the ways that they can attract and retain their customers, and more and more manufacturers are getting on board with this initiative.

Water pollution is not only harmful to human beings that consume water but also to other living things in the world. Plants and animals that inhabit water resources have also been found to be the culprits of water pollution. Even if the flora and fauna that inhabit the water could be able to eliminate the harmful substances from their bodies into the water, the implications would still be in where they settle. Water pollution can be detrimental to living organisms in many ways. Some of the pollutants that find themselves in the water change the biological and chemical composition of the water, making it an unsuitable living environment for flora and fauna in the water (UNEP par. 3).

Water pollution to the living habit of flora and fauna in the water can be polluted after the occurrence of a natural disaster. Natural disasters can cause the deposition of a lot of soil through erosion of bare surfaces. The ground that is eroded and deposited into the water can cause a lot of turbidities, which would block the proper entry of sunlight into the water. The presence of the sun is necessary for the adequate functioning of living organisms. Plants that live in water need sunlight so that they can photosynthesize and make their own food. Animals that live in water also need the plants for food so that they can survive. The pollution of water through soil erosion is a major contributory factor to the blocking of penetration of sunlight into the water.

Physical objects might also find their way into the water when things such as trees, boulders, and metal objects might be washed into the water resources by natural catastrophes such as typhoons, earthquakes, and many other types of natural disasters. Oil is also one of the pollutants that can lead to a lot of damage to flora and fauna living in the water because it blocks the entry of air into the living organisms in the water. The oil also pollutes the water in terms of constituents, color, and smell, making it unsuitable for use by humans for drinking and for other household activities (Water treatment Solutions par. 4).

Eutrophication is the primary type of water pollution that results from the presence of excess nutrients in the soil, which can be as a result of fertilizers that have been washed off from farms and drained into the water resource points. The eutrophication has been known to cause a lot of growth of plants such as algae, which grows too fast and for expansive regions. Such algae lead to cutting off the supply of sunlight into the water. Sunlight is necessary for the proper growth of plants in the water and for the provision of the right temperatures for the animals in the water, thus contributing to an environment that promotes growth for flora and fauna (UN climate changes par. 2).

If any of the flora and/ or fauna in the living environment is depleted, it would lead to a loss of balance in the organisms and therefore interfere with the ecosystem. The setting is designed in such a way that the organisms that have the most dependents are the most abundant in the environment in comparison with their dependents. Human beings would also be affected because there are many humans that depend on fishing as an economic activity.

Other forms of pollution might be in the form of industrial companies that use water bodies as coolants for their exothermic processes. The generation of heat by the factories into the water can lead to the activation of predators that can contribute to the depletion of animals and plants living in the water. An increase In the water temperatures can also be contributed by chemicals that are released into the water leading to chemical changes in the water.

Such chemical actions might result in the reduction of the ability of the water to absorb carbon dioxide. The absorption of carbon dioxide by water is a significant contributor to the decrease in the effects of global warming. Global warming is primarily caused by the presence of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The reduction of the ability of the many water bodies in the world to contribute to the large extent of global warming in the world would be a negative aspect of water pollution.

Furthermore, the excess temperatures might be harmful to flora and fauna in the water as it might lead to an extreme change in water temperatures contributing to denaturing of protein components of the animals and the difference in the structures of the plants whose living habitat is the water (UN climate changes par. 8).

The compounds that are dumped into the water systems also have the possibility of causing systemic and local diseases to humans if they consume the water or use it for purposes such as cleaning their household items. Water pollution is also likely to occur when industries dump their biological wastes, such as sewage companies that refuse to treat their sewages and leave them into the water resources. When such raw sewage is released into the water resources, it is likely to lead to the occurrence of pathogens in the water.

The pathogens that are likely to be found in the water include; salmonella, protozoa, bacterial and viral agents, and norovirus agents. Potential diseases that can occur in humans include cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and amoebic dysentery. Infectious cases of hepatitis and poliomyelitis have also been linked to water that has been polluted or contaminated with polluting agents.

Industries that release radioactive agents into the water lead to pollution of water in water resources all over the world. Radioactive compounds have been termed as carcinogenic agents, and although not many research inquiries have been put forward in the area of the carcinogenic effects of radioactive compounds that are found in water, it is highly probable that their products are harmful.

There are other industries that dump their chemical wastes into the water, which changes the chemical composition of water, making it unsuitable for living things consumption. The chemical substances usually find their way into the metabolic systems of living organisms, but the microorganisms cannot be able to breakdown the implications. The chemical substances can be tricky, making permanent changes to the genotype of the living organisms, causing a difference in the structure of the alleles of the microorganisms. Most of the time, the genetic constitution that is changed is usually negative and has detrimental effects. For example, the change in gene structure that might occur might lead to the improper functioning of an important gene that leads to proper locomotion or other essential functions in living organisms.

A lot of water pollution is also contributed by farmers and the chemicals that they use to kill pests on their farms. Some of the pesticides consist of compounds that are carcinogenic even though they are seen as being highly effective in their killing of pesticides. When it rains, some of the compounds that are in the pesticides find their way into the water bodies leading to the presence of harmful compounds in the water; the contaminants can lead to dangerous health effects such as a change in the structure of essential genes such as those that are related to the formation of limbs, reproductive organs or other necessary features in humans.

The chemicals might also interfere with the proper functioning of the nervous, metabolic, or endocrine systems in the body. The contamination of water through the deposition of heavy metals negatively impacts living organisms because it interferes with the nervous and metabolic procedures in the body. The metabolic systems in living organisms are not sufficiently equipped to handle the excretion of complex metals, which leads to the settling of such compounds in body organs where they should not be (UN climate changes par. 4)

Water pollution might also occur in the form of excess elements, both macro, and micro. For example, the addition of excess fluoride has been associated with a phenomenon that leads to the yellowing of teeth. A condition termed fluorosis. When excess fluoride accumulates in the body, it is highly likely to lead to deposit in the spinal cord, which can lead to the spinal cord being rigid and eventually leading to death in affected individuals. This form of water pollution might result due to the excess addition of fluoride in water by unqualified water treatment technicians. Elements such as Arsenic are a source of water pollution and can contribute to the damage of the liver or the skin leading to cancer (Environmental works par. 2).

Unfortunately, most of the water pollution that has been observed on earth is contributed by humans and the activities that they engage in. The man seems ignorant of the adverse effects of the activities that he participates in. Man fails or ignores to acknowledge that the survival of the actual occurrence of a future generation depends on the activities that they engage in today.

Water pollution is supposed to be made the responsibility of everyone in the world and not just the role of the government. This is because all the factors that contribute to water pollution lead to harmful effects that are felt by everyone without discriminating which individual contributed to the most breakdown of the water systems.

Farmers should be encouraged to use natural means of controlling pests and parasites that they encounter in their farming activities. The chemical compounds that are found in the pesticides are harmful, and they cause the presence of contaminants that are harmful to all living organisms (Environmental works par. 20).

The government, together with non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations, should develop initiatives that promote the proper use and conservation of available water resources. The fact that the survival of future generations depends on the actions of the current generations should be emphasized to individuals so that they can understand the importance of being responsible when they get rid of their wastes that might contribute to the pollution of available water resources.

Individuals and industrial companies that engage in water pollution should be dealt with by the full force of the law. The punishment that is accorded to such individuals should be very severe so that it can deter such individuals or companies and others who might be thinking of engaging in activities that are related to water pollution. The government should also ensure that such cases are highly publicized so that everyone is aware of the effects that they might have to encounter if they were to engage in water polluting activities that lead to adverse impacts to a high population (Environmental works par. 20).

Individuals should also be encouraged to grow plants, especially in areas that are near water sources, so as to reduce the amount of soil that is eroded into the water bodies. Regions that are bare, especially on top of hills, should also be vegetated so that when it rains, the amount of runoff is reduced. This is because of the adverse effects that have been associated with soil erosion in relation to water resources.

Physical obstructers that lead to pollution of water should be reduced through the collaboration of manufacturing companies, consumers, and the government.

Manufacturers should be encouraged to use packaging products that are biodegradable and would not, in any way, contribute to water pollution. Consumers should also try to purchase products that contain containers that are biodegradable so as to reduce the number of physical obstructers that might find their way into water resources and contribute to pollution (UN-Water changes par 3).

Individuals, especially those in third world countries, should be educated on the importance of maintaining a low population because of the adverse effects that a high population contributes to water resources. The increased number of people force farmers to use commercial methods of farming due to the quantity vs. quality benefits that they offer. Waste management systems in developing countries should be upgraded so that they are able to handle the large amounts of sewage that come their way every day. International standards that have been set on sewage treatment should be used as the guidelines for the treatment of sewage all over the world.

Clean and safe water that is available in water resources should be used properly so that it is sufficient for use to everyone that needs the water. The alarming water statistics about water use and the rate at which it is replaced should be supplied to the public so that they can begin to take the necessary measures to ensure that they do not misuse water (Environmental works, 20).

Conclusion & recommendations

The paper has clearly looked at the major contributors to water pollution. Chemicals from farmers are some of the significant contributors to pollution. The pesticides and fertilizers that are used by farmers find their way into water systems, which changes the chemical and biological composition of water.

The result is that chemicals find their way into the design of cells in plants and animals. Most living organisms have metabolic systems that are not equipped to handle the excretion of complex chemicals, and sometimes their cells might collapse and stop functioning. The oil that is spilled into water blocks the entry of sunlight into the water, which contributes to lower rates and periods for photosynthesis to take place. The result is that there is the creation of an imbalance in the ecosystem (UNEP par. 2).

Chemical wastes that are dumped into water resources by factories contribute to changes in temperatures in the water bodies, which results in the denaturing of the components of the cells of living organisms in the water. This factor also contributes to a state of imbalance in the ecosystem. Releasing untreated sewage into water systems is one of the significant causes of water pollution in the world, especially in developing countries.

Untreated wastewater contributes to the presence of disease-causing micro-organisms leading to high cases of water-borne diseases. An example is the Granges River in India. Natural calamities have also been major contributory factors increasing water pollution in water bodies. Natural disasters lead to an increase in the presence of physical objects, which block sunlight from penetrating the water and causing the death of living organisms in the water. The end of the living microorganisms causes an imbalance in the ecosystem and also contributes to the pollution of water by increasing the amount and number of decaying objects in the water.

Runoff that usually results from natural calamities also causes water pollution in the form of change in the color of the water. More research should be carried out into the adverse effects that are associated with the carcinogenic compounds that sometimes find their way into the water. More funds should be invested in initiatives that educate people on means of avoiding water pollution in water bodies that are available for them to use.

People in developing nations should be educated on the importance of minimizing water pollution. Damage control should be applied to already existing cases of polluted water. Latrines should be dug up so that the people do not have to use the water bodies as their sewerage since they need the water for their consumption and household activities.

Works Cited

Environmental works. Types of sewage. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 2009. Web.

UN-Water changes. UN Statistics on expected changes in water use 22 November. 2011. Web.

UN climate changes. UN Statistics on expected changes on climate 21 November. 2010. Web.

UNEP.Vital Water Graphics on 22 November. 2008. Web.

Water Treatment Solutions. 2009. Web.

Water & Climate Change. United Nations Statistics on changes in water use. 2011. Web.