Free Essay: Effects and Control of Water Pollution

Published: 2022-12-13
Free Essay: Effects and Control of Water Pollution
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories: Ecology Water Pollution
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1618 words
14 min read

Water pollution does not begin in the water itself. Organic wastes such as farm wastes and sewage, industrial discharge and silt-bearing runoffs have all been documented as the leading contributors to water pollution. Even though natural phenomena like sea storms, volcanoes, earthquakes often contribute to major changes in the ecological status and quality of water, they are not considered as pollutants. Indeed, water pollution only occurs when one or more substances have built up in water bodies to the extent that they pose a threat to human beings and the ecosystem. Water pollution has been documented to be a major contributor to a wide range of human health problems and disorders. It also impacts negatively on the environment and has been shown to drastically affect both wild and domestic animals. Ideally, water pollution is an eminent issue that should be dealt with starting now, because water quality means the health of the public, the health of the ecosystems and will only lead to more economic losses. Therefore, exploitation and abuse of water by individuals and groups should be capped, and effective controls on agriculture, industries, and communities need to be taken to ensure the long term sustainability of future generations.

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There is a great association between water pollution and health problem. According to research, more than two-thirds of the Earth's surface is covered by water bodies, therefore, as a human population continues to multiply, they put an ever-increasing pressure on water resources which reduces their quality and eventually leads to water pollution (Schwarzenbach et al. 123). Easily accessible and safe potable water is crucial for good health, but in contrast, using unsafe water either for drinking, cooking or bathing can pose serious threats to human health. according to Duruibe et al. (114), water pollution often poses health problems to human beings either directly or indirectly. For instance, disease-causing microorganisms found in water can be spread to human beings through contaminated drinking water. When one drinks contaminated water, there is a high risk of contracting waterborne infectious diseases such as cholera, hepatitis, typhoid, salmonellosis, and even bacillary dysentery. Schwarzenbach et al. (130) state that the majority of deaths among women and children in most developing countries can be attributed to unsafe water drinking, poor hygiene, and inadequate sanitation. This happens when those individuals drink water fouled by animal wastes in untreated waterways. Similarly, the adverse effect of water pollution on human health can be caused by high mercury level in water bodies. One of the major disturbing issues affecting water bodies today is the high level of mercury in the oceans which human beings consume by eating sea products. According to Duruibe et al. (117), high level of mercury in sea products such as fish can be dangerous for children and women who are either pregnant or nursing as it interferes with the development of the central nervous system in young adults and fetuses which can lead to permanent damage to the brain.

Pollution in a freshwater ecosystem as a result of pathogens, organic matter, chemical pollution, plastics, and salinity can cause negative effects within the aquatic environment; to the animals and their habitat. In particular, the entrance of these pollutants into waterways can result in a wide range of negative impacts on animals using or living in these environments. For instance, nutrient runoff from upstream usually flow downhill into large water bodies causing toxic pollutions in such environments. According to Savci, nutrients from farms breed algae growth and speeds the growth of other water organisms. The effect is that this increase in the growth of algae and other water organisms affects fish and other aquatic animals as they absorb and significantly reduce their oxygen supply. Toxic water pollution such as oil spill can also cause the deaths of aquatic life and even animals on land who uses the water for drinking. Research done on marine pollution in the United States' coastline indicate that more than sixteen thousand miles of US coastline were affected by an oil spill (Mance). This has caused a lot of damages and deaths of many animals living in the coastal region. Accidental oil spills from large ships are the leading cause of fish deaths at sea as it clogs their gills, therefore, damages their breathing system. Additionally, a high level of organic chemicals in water bodies as well as thermal pollution significantly affect the aquatic life as high-temperature stops or changes the breeding cycle of aquatic life.

Apart from human health problems and damages to the ecosystem, water pollution can lead to some real financial implications especially on human activities that depend on clean water. According to Petraru and Gavrilescu (599), it is often expensive purifying nitrates and blooms in drinking water that takes its source from nutrient-polluted water bodies. It also costs governments a lot of money not only in cleaning polluted water bodies but also the treatment of their infected population. Again, a lot of money is lost on crucial ventures such as tourism through losses in fishing and boating activities that attracts tourists as a result of water bodies already affected by harmful algal blooms and nutrient runoffs. The United States, for example, loses over 1 billion dollars annually, mostly from loses in recreational activities in contaminated water bodies (Villamagna and Murphy). In addition, fishing and shellfish industries are often affected significantly due to the diminishing number of fishes in water bodies and contaminated shells as a result of harmful algal blooms that kill fish. These industries lose millions of dollars annually because of constant nutrient pollution in their waterways. Moreover, there can be a huge loss in revenue especially in real estate where the prices of properties highly depend on nearby clean water. These waterfront properties can seriously decline in value due to unpleasant sight and odor caused by the dumping of plastic and wastes in water bodies.

From the above, it is evident that dealing with water pollution requires inputs and interventions from both governments and local communities to effectively control water pollution arising from industries, agriculture, and communities. As Fan and Hong state, industrial pollution is the leading cause of both air and water pollutions, therefore, industries should modify their production and disposal processes, implement techniques for water conservation, adopt the use of non-toxic raw materials and embrace the technology of re-using rather than disposing wastes into water bodies. Having realized the true costs of wastes on water bodies, governments should encourage industries to rethink every element of their industrial processes. The intervention should include pollution reduction and waste minimization opportunities for these institutions that can significantly reduce their disposals. Similarly, farming operations that often lead to nutrient pollution can be prevented if properly managed. According to Sun et al. (376), a collaboration between people, organizations and even governments around watersheds is always important in cubing nutrient pollution. Indeed, a successful discussion among the parties involved across an entire watershed on important ways of reducing agricultural pollution is vital in the reduction. These discussions can include nutrient management where farmers are instructed to apply the right amount of fertilizers and at the right time of the year. Farmers can also be instructed to plant certain types of grasses and clovers that can minimize runoffs and can help in recycling excess nitrogen. In some cases, farmers can be advised to properly manage their livestock waste by keeping them away from water bodies. At the community level, the health link between clean water, nutrition, and livelihood needs to be understood well by community members. Governments should put clear measures and policies to ensure that community members are educated starting from a young age on the causes and effects of water pollution as a way of developing awareness of the interaction between the environment and health.

In conclusion, water pollution is an eminent issue that should be dealt with starting now, as it involves the health of the public, the ecosystem as well as the economy. Particularly, effective controls on agriculture, industries, and communities need to be taken to ensure the long term sustainability of future generations. As evidence suggests, water pollution is the leading cause of human diseases including typhoid and cholera when one gets in contact with contaminated water either directly or indirectly by consuming affected seafood. Researches also show the effect of water pollution on the ecosystem, especially aquatic life. Oil spillage and algae not only diminish the oxygen supply in water bodies but also clog fish gills, hence killing them. Water pollution also negatively affects economies particularly in the fishing and tourism industries. With serious control on agriculture, industries, and communities, water pollutions such as disposal of industrial wastes, farm nutrients, and organic wastes can be greatly reduced.

Work Cited

Duruibe, J. Ogwuegbu, M. O. C. Ogwuegbu, and J. N. Egwurugwu. "Heavy metal pollution and human biotoxic effects." International Journal of physical sciences 2.5 (2007): 112-118.

Fan, X. S., and Hong Luo. "Spatial and industrial distribution pattern of heavy metals emission in industrial wastewater." China Environ. Sci 33.4 (2013): 655-662.

Mance, Geoffrey. Pollution threat of heavy metals in aquatic environments. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012.

Petraru, Madalina, and Maria Gavrilescu. "Pollution prevention, a key to economic and environmental sustainability." Environmental Engineering and Management Journal 9.4 (2010): 597-614.

Savci, Serpil. "An agricultural pollutant: chemical fertilizer." International Journal of Environmental Science and Development 3.1 (2012): 73.

Schwarzenbach, Rene P., et al. "Global water pollution and human health." Annual Review of Environment and Resources 35 (2010): 109-136.

Sun, Bo, et al. "Agricultural non-point source pollution in China: causes and mitigation measures." Ambio 41.4 (2012): 370-379.

Villamagna, A. M., and B. R. Murphy. "Ecological and socioeconomic impacts of invasive water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes): a review." Freshwater Biology 55.2 (2010): 282-298.

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