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Transcript of Water Pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies. It occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds.
Water pollution affects plants and organisms living in these bodies of water. In almost all cases the effect is damaging not only to individual species and populations, but also to the natural biological communities.
By: Bermas, Joseph M.
Almario, Anabelle "Ann" E.
Catabay, Sean Ivan A.
Non point Sources
Water pollution is usually caused by human activities. Different human sources add to the pollution of water. There are two sorts of sources,
Non point sources
Where does water pollution come from?
Point sources discharge pollutants at specific locations through pipelines or sewers into the surface water.
Non point Sources
Nonpoint sources are sources that cannot be traced to a single site of discharge.
The industries are mostly situated along the riverbanks for easy availability of water and also disposal of the wastes. But these wastes include various acids, alkalis, dyes and other chemicals. They change the pH of water. There are also detergents that create a mass of white foam in the river waters. All these chemicals are quite harmful or even fatally toxic to fish and other aquatic populations.
The industrial wastes include toxic metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, etc, and other chemicals like the fluorides, ammonia, etc.
Certain industries such as power plants, refineries, nuclear reactors release a lot of hot water from their cooling plants. This hot water is let into the water bodies without the temperature being reduced. This results in heating up of the water and thereby killing the aquatic life. The oxygen content of water also becomes less due to increase in the temperature. This is called thermal pollution
Modern methods of agriculture have resulted in use of fertilizers and pesticides to increase the yield of the crops. Most of them are synthetic and chemicals-based. They are collectively called agro-chemicals. These chemicals enter into the water bodies with the rain water flow and the ground water by seepage. The chemicals remain in the environment for a long time and can enter the food chain.
Oil spill is a major problem in the oceans and seas. The oil tankers and offshore petroleum refineries cause oil leakage into the waters. This pollutes the waters. Oil floats on the water surface and prevents the atmospheric oxygen from mixing in the water. The oil enters the body of the organisms. It also coats the body of the aquatic animals and birds which may also kill them.
Radioactive waste is another source of water pollution. Radioactive substances are used in nuclear power plants, industrial, medical and other scientific processes. They can be found in watches, luminous clocks, television sets and x-ray machinery. There are also naturally occurring radioisotopes from organisms and within the environment. If not properly disposed of, radioactive waste can result in serious water pollution incidents.
Many towns and cities which came up on the banks of rivers have not given a proper thought to the problems of wastewater, sewerage etc. In urban areas, the wastewater is let out untreated and causes large scale water pollution.
Effects of Water Pollution
The effects of water pollution are varied and depend on what chemicals are dumped and in what locations.
Many water bodies near urban areas (cities and towns) are highly polluted. This is the result of both garbage dumped by individuals and dangerous chemicals legally or illegally dumped by manufacturing industries, health centers, schools and market places
The main problem caused by water pollution is that it kills life that depends on these water bodies. Dead fish, crabs, birds and sea gulls, dolphins, and many other animals often wind up on beaches, killed by pollutants in their habitat (living environment).
Pollution disrupts the natural food chain as well. Pollutants such as lead and cadmium are eaten by tiny animals. Later, these animals are consumed by fish and shellfish, and the food chain continues to be disrupted at all higher levels.
Eventually, humans are affected by this process as well. People can get diseases such as hepatitis by eating seafood that has been poisoned. In any poor nations, there is always outbreak of cholera and diseases as a result of poor drinking water treatment from contaminated waters.
Ecosystems (the interaction of living things in a place, depending on each other for life) can be severely changed or destroyed by water pollution. Many areas are now being affected by careless human pollution, and this pollution is coming back to hurt humans in many ways.
Effects on Human Health:
Increased incidence of skin disorders due to contact with pollutants.
Reduced activity of immune system.
Water borne diseases like jaundice, hepatitis, gasteroenteritis will be more prevalent due to water pollution
Reduced bone development and muscular development.
Increased incidence of constipation, diarrhea and infections to intestine.
Loss of memory power and reduced mental sharpness.
Effects on Animal Health:
Large scale death of aquatic and terrestrial animals
Reduced reproduction rate
Increased incidence of diseases
Imbalances created in secondary food chains
Accumulation of bioaccumulative and non-biodegradable pollutants in animal bodies.
Effects on Ecosystem:
Shifts in biodiversity of animals and plants in polluted ecosystem.
Imbalance in host - parasite relations in the ecosystem and changes in food - webs and food chains.
Imbalances in microbial population and effects due to such imbalances.
Depositions of deleterious chemicals in soil leading to loss of soil fertility.
Water Pollution Solutions
The best solution for water pollution is prevention. While pollution that has already occurred is a current threat to all life on Earth, attempts to clean it up may cause even more harm.
Chemicals used to treat or clean up oil spills may further contaminate water supplies. Adjustments in temperature to counteract heat or cooling pollution may not achieve proper balance, leading to more loss of aquatic life.
Preventing water pollution does more for the environment by halting the level of pollutants where they are. This gives the environment needed time to begin to correct itself, and time for scientists to determine the best way to combat existing problems.
Water Pollution Preventions
There are several steps that can be taken
to help prevent water pollution from getting worse.
Dispose of Toxic Chemicals Properly
It’s always a good idea to use lower VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) products in your home whenever possible. If you do use toxic chemicals, such as paints, stains or cleaning supplies, dispose of them properly. Paints can be recycled and oils can be reused after treatment. Proper disposal keeps these substances out of storm drains, water ways and septic tanks.
Avoid Plastics When Possible
Plastic bags in the ocean is a well documented water pollutant. Keep this problem from getting worse by changing to reusable grocery bags whenever possible.
Keep Machinery in Good Working Order
Oil is one of the largest polluters of water in the world. It’s estimated that just the transportation of oil is responsible for .0001 percent of oil contamination in water. Take steps to ensure you aren’t adding to this problem by repairing oil leaks in cars and machinery as soon as they are spotted. Clean up the residue and dispose of the used oils properly.
Clean Up Beaches and Waterways
Just picking up waste and litter wherever it is spotted can go a long way to keeping debris and pollutants out of the water. Do your part by taking your own trash, other wastes and any you see to a nearby disposal facility.
Many laws have been created to restrict industries from dumping materials into the water. However, many laws remain weak, and many countries do not restrict water pollution.
In the United States, the Clean Water Act was written to completely put an end to all dumping of pollutants into water. The law has not been that effective in many areas, but in other locations, it has achieved its goals.
Here in the Philippines, Clean Water Act of 2004 (Republic Act No. 9275) aims to protect the country’s water bodies from pollution from land-based sources (industries and commercial establishments, agriculture and community/household activities). It provides for a comprehensive and integrated strategy to prevent and minimize pollution through a multi-sectoral and participatory approach involving all the stakeholders.