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Kushagr Nagpal

on 27 October 2017

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● Every day, 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are discharged into the world’s
water , the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population of 6.8 billion people.
● The UN estimates that the amount of wastewater produced annually is about 1,500 km3 , six times more
water than exists in all the rivers of the world.
● Lack of adequate sanitation contaminates water courses worldwide and is one of the most significant
forms of water pollution. Worldwide, 2.5 billion people live without improved sanitation
1. Industrial waste: Industries produce huge amount of waste which contains toxic chemicals and pollutants such as lead, mercury, sulphur, asbestos, nitrates and many other harmful chemicals. Many industries do not have proper waste management system and drain the waste in the fresh water which eventually go into the sea. These toxic chemicals have the capability to change the color of water, increase the amount of minerals, also known as Eutrophication, change the temperature of water and pose serious hazard to water organisms.
2. Sewage and waste water: Sewage, garbage and liquid waste of households, agricultural lands and factories are discharged into lakes and rivers. These wastes contain harmful chemicals which make the water poisonous for aquatic animals and plants.
3. Mining activities: Elements when extracted in the raw form contain harmful chemicals and can increase the amount of toxic elements when mixed up with water which may result in health problems. Mining also emits several metal waste and sulphides from the rocks which is harmful for the water.

We know that water pollution is very harmful to humans, animals and water life. The effects can be catastrophic, depending on the kind of chemicals, concentrations of the pollutants and where there are polluted. Below, we shall see a summary of the effects of water pollution.
The effects of water pollution are varied and depend on what chemicals are dumped and in which 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.

● 18% of the world’s population, or 1.2 billion people (1 out of 3 in rural areas), defecate in the open. Open
defecation significantly compromises quality in nearby water bodies and poses an extreme human health
● Unsafe water causes 4 billion cases of diarrhea each year, and results in 2.2 million deaths, mostly of
children under five. This means that 15% of child deaths each year are attributable to diarrhea – a child
dying every 15 seconds. In India alone, the single largest cause of ill health and death among children is
diarrhea, which kills nearly half a million children each year.
● There has been widespread decline in biological health in inland (non-coastal) waters. Globally,
24 percent of mammals and 12 percent of birds connected to inland waters are considered threatened.
● Even drinking water quality in developed countries is not assured. In France, drinking water testing
uncovered that 3 million people were drinking water whose quality did not meet WHO standards, and 97%
of groundwater samples did not meet standards for nitrate in the same study.
4. Marine dumping: The garbage produce by each household in the form of paper, aluminum, rubber, glass, plastic, food is collected and deposited into the sea in some countries. These items take from 2 weeks to 200 years to decompose. When such items enter the sea, they not only cause water pollution but also harm animals in the sea.
5. Accidental Oil leakage: Sea water gets polluted due to oil spilled from ships and tankers while traveling. The spilled oil does not dissolve in water and forms a thick sludge polluting the water.
6. Burning of fossil fuels: Fossil fuels like coal and oil when burnt produce substantial amount of ash in the atmosphere. These particles when mixed with water vapor result in acid rain.
7. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides: Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used by farmers to protect crops from insects and bacteria. However, when it rains, the chemicals mix up with rainwater and flow down into rivers and canals which pose serious damages for aquatic animals.

8. Leakage from sewer lines: A small leakage from the sewer lines can contaminate the underground water and make it unfit for the people to drink. Also, when not repaired on time, the leaking water can eventually become a breeding ground for insects and mosquitoes.
9. Global warming: Due to global warming, there is an increase in water temperature. This increase in temperature results in death of aquatic plants and animals. This also results in bleaching of coral reefs in water.
10. Radioactive waste: Nuclear waste that is produced by radioactive material needs to be disposed off to prevent any nuclear accident as it can have serious environmental hazards if not disposed off properly.
11. Leakage from the landfills: When it rains, the landfills may leak and the leaking of landfills can pollute the underground water with large variety of contaminants.
12. Animal waste: The waste produced by animals is washed away into the rivers when it rains. It gets mixed up with other harmful chemicals and causes various water borne diseases like cholera, diarrhea, jaundice, dysentery and typhoid.

-Death of aquatic (water) animals
The main problem caused by water pollution is that it kills organisms that depend 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).
-Disruption of food-chains
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 many poor nations, there is always outbreak of cholera and diseases as a result of poor drinking water treatment from contaminationed waters.
-Destruction of ecosystems
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.

- Human Health
We all drink water that comes from a source: this may be a lake or local river. In countries that have poor screening and purification practices, people often get water-borne disease outbreaks such as cholera and tuberculosis. Every year, there are an estimated 3–5 million cholera cases and 100,000–120,000 deaths due to cholera. (WHO estimates that only 5–10% of cases are officially reported.)

Nutrient pollution from upstream (creeks and streams) often flow downhill and even travel miles into other larger water bodies. The effect is that, it breeds algae growth and causes the growth of many more water organism. This algae attack affects fish and other aquatic animals by absorbing and reducing their oxygen supply. Algae growth also clogs fish gills. Naturally, the order of ecosystems in that water are affected negatively, as the destruction or introduction of any foreign organism alter the entire food chain in there.

- Death of animals
Animals, including water animals die when water is poisoned for various reasons. Other animals are stressed and their populations are endangered. In a classic case of marine pollution in recent time, 16000 miles of a US coastline was affected by an oil spill. That water pollution caused a lot of damage and deaths of many animals.
- Economic cost
From the above it is evident that there is some real financial implications that will result from water pollution. It can cost a lot more to purify drinking water that takes its source from nutrient polluted water bodies. Fishing stock is affected negatively when there is a depletion of oxygen. Consumers are also weary of fish from these sources and tend to stay away from them, costing fisheries to lose revenue
The Ganga action plan was, launched by Shri Rajeev Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India on 14 Jan. 1986 with the main objective of pollution abatement, to improve the water quality by Interception, Diversion and treatment of domestic sewage and present toxic and industrial chemical wastes from identified grossly polluting units entering in to the river. The other objectives of the Ganga Action Plan are as under.
• Control of non-point pollution from agricultural run off, human defecation, cattle wallowing and throwing of unburnt and half burnt bodies into the river.
• Research and Development to conserve the biotic, diversity of the river to augment its productivity.
• Resource recovery options like production of methane for energy generation and use of aquaculture for revenue generation have been demonstrated.
• To act as trend setter for taking up similar action plans in other grossly polluted stretches in other rivers.

The deterioration in the water quality impacts the people immediately. Ganga, in some stretches, particularly during lean seasons has become unfit even for bathing. The threat of global climate change, the effect of glacial melt on Ganga flow and the impacts of infrastructural projects in the upper reaches of the river, raise issues that need a comprehensive response.
In the Ganga basin approximately 12,000 million litres per day (mld) sewage is generated, for which presently there is a treatment capacity of only around 4,000 mld. Approximately 3000 mld of sewage is discharged into the main stem of the river Ganga from the Class I & II towns located along the banks, against which treatment capacity of about 1000 mld has been created till date. The contribution of industrial pollution, volume-wise, is about 20 per cent but due to its toxic and non- biodegradable nature, this has much greater significance. The industrial pockets in the catchments of Ramganga and Kali rivers and in Kanpur city are significant sources of industrial pollution. The major contributors are tanneries in Kanpur, distilleries, paper mills and sugar mills in the Kosi, Ramganga and Kali river catchments.

) ‘Namami Gange Programme’, is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014 with budget outlay of Rs.20,000 Crore to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.

• .Creating Sewerage Treatment Capacity:- 63 sewerage management projects under implementation in the States of Uttarakhand,Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
• Creating River-Front Development:-28 River-Front Development projects and 33 Entry level Projects for construction have been initiated
• River Surface Cleaning:-River Surface cleaning for collection of floating solid waste from the surface of the Ghats and River and its disposal are afoot and pushed into service at 11 locations.
• Bio-Diversity Conservation:- Several Bio-Diversity conservation projects are namely: Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation, Fish and Fishery Conservation in Ganga River, Ganges River Dolphin Conservation Education Programme has been initiated. 5 Bio-Diversity center’s at Dehradun, Narora, Allahabad, Varanasi and Barrackpore has been developed for restoration of identified priority species.
• Afforestation:-Forestry interventions for Ganga through Wildlife Institute of India; Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute and Centre for Environment Education has been initiated.Forestry interventions for Ganga has been executed as per the Detailed Project Report prepared by Forest Research Institute, Dehradun for a period of 5 years (2016-2021) at project cost of Rs.2300 Crores. Work has been commenced in 7 districts of Uttarakahnd for medicinal plants.
• .Public Awareness:- A series of activities such as events, workshops, seminars and conferences and numerous IEC activities were organized to make a strong pitch for public outreach and community participation in the programme.

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