Water is an essential natural resource for the ecosystem. There are several pollutants that have adverse effects on water resources. The forms of pollutants rise due to the development of new compounds. Water pollutants belong to several categories according to their state of occurrences and their respective sources. Physical pollutants affect the temperature, turbidity, color and suspended matter in water resources. Chemical pollutants constitute both organic and inorganic pollutants. Examples of organic wastes are detergents, plastics and pesticides while inorganic effluents are salts, nitrites and fluorides. Biological pollutants are for instant algae, worms, slime and bacteria. These categories of pollutants determine the types of pollution in the tropical water resources. The menace can be physical, biological or chemical in nature. This research paper shall describe the water quality parameters which determine the extent of pollution is set. The also paper intends to discuss the various types and sources of water resource pollution. This paper further describes the effects and possible prevention mechanisms of water pollution.
Water quality depends on several factors. The water quality parameters determine the suitability of water resources for certain purposes. Some of the water parameters include temperature, pH, turbidity, salinity, nitrates, and phosphates. The temperature of water is an essential parameter since it in turn influences some other parameters. The amount of dissolved oxygen in water depends on the temperature and its solubility decreases with increase in the temperature. This parameter is also a determinant of the rate of photosynthesis of aquatic plants, metabolism of animals and migration of the animals.
Salinity is an additional element of water quality. This parameter is subject to the number of dissolved salts. Salinity increases as the water levels drop. Total Dissolved Substances, TDS and Electrical Conductivity, EC are both measures of salinity. TDS is a measure of dissolved substances while EC is the ability of the water to act as a medium for electricity (Rahman, Islam, Hossain, & Ahsan, 2012). Urban and surface runoff contains salts, fertilizers, and organic materials which contribute to the salinity of the water. Although salts are essential to aquatic life, their concentration above the normal level can lead to loss of life. High levels of TDS render water unsuitable for drinking and irrigation purposes.
Acidity, pH varies depending on the components of water resources. PH is the level of acidity or alkalinity of water. Soils from catchment determine the pH of the water body within the catchment. Acidic soils from the catchments increase the acidity of the water. Extreme pH levels affect aquatic life in various ways, for instance skin problems to fish. Turbidity is a measure of light penetration through the water. The amounts of dissolved, colored and suspended substances determine the turbidity of water. Algae and plankton in water also affect turbidity. High turbidity prevents penetration of light and as such, reduces photosynthetic processes of aquatic plants. Turbid water is also unsuitable for drinking. Oxygen levels are an essential factor for aquatic life. Low levels of pollution make the oxygen levels to increase hence healthy water. Oxygen in water originates from diffusion and photosynthetic activities of plants. Fecal coliforms include bacteria that exist in intestines of animals and human beings. High sewage disposal increases the faecal coliforms in water. This polluting substance results from sewer and septic tanks storm water and dairy run off.
The changes in the water quality parameters determine the type of pollution. There are several types of pollution, which depends on the polluting substances. Physical pollution involves the deteriorations of the physical water quality parameters. The quality factors that undergo negative change include temperature, turbidity, suspended matter, and the color of water. The temperatures of water bodies may increase due to the discharge of industrial effluents which are at high temperatures. The rise in the temperature of the water reduces oxygen solubility and as such, affects the well-being of aquatic life fish and planktons.
The disposal of industrial solid material from the increasing industrial activities in the tropical cities reduces the transparency of the water. This reduces the amount of sunlight that aquatic organisms receive for photosynthetic process. These are classes of pollutants such as soil and mineral deposits. The deposits originate from land through flooding. The deposits form sediments influence the river bed and seabed affecting both plants and fauna. The suspended matter may also reduce the penetration of sunlight thus limiting photosynthesis. There are several natural or artificial factors that may affect the color of water resources. Rotting plants and their erosion into the water bodies may cause color changes. Textile industries also dispose of iron compounds used in tanning processes into water ways. These effluents lead to color changes of the water.
Pollution of water can also be due to the effect of chemicals, organic or inorganic substances. Pollution of water resources due to organic matter occurs in several ways. Natural organic chemicals involve products from aquatic microorganisms such as geosmin which contaminates water resources such as rivers, lakes and water reservoirs. Industries also dispose chemicals into water bodies and as such, contaminate the water. The industrial organic compounds found in water bodies are poly-nuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from industrial combustion. Blue green algae produce volatile metabolites that may lead to unpleasant drinking water.
These cases of unpleasant waters are common in Australia, South Africa, and Japan. In Japan, over 40% of water resources are contaminated with these algae annually. The contaminated water has an earthy-muddy odor. Some algae produce toxic bloom in lakes and ponds. Studies suggest that bloom can cause death to some animals such as horse, sheep, and pigs. Raw materials of plastics such as additives, plasticizers, and hardeners find the way and contaminate water quality. In Japan, In Japan, for instance, biphenyl was found in almost 100% of the wastewater and 60% of other water resources such as rivers, lakes, and ponds. Industrial effluents may be composed of acids such as sulphuric and hydrochloric acid. Other pollutants can contain salts such as copper, zinc, mercury, and iron.
Most organic pollutants that contaminate water resources include heavy metals, inorganic anions, and radioactive materials. The pollutants include the compound of fluoride, arsenic and boron mercury, cadmium, and cyanide. By-products from agriculture such as nitrogen compounds and copper iron and lead also contaminate water. The natural inorganic compounds contaminate groundwater while the industrial and agricultural compounds contaminate surface water resources. The main cause of this form of pollution is the human sewage such as feces, soap, grease, and urine. The substances include carbohydrates, fats, and proteins present in industrial effluents. Biological pollution
Human activities are the main causes of water pollution and degradation. These human factors include agriculture, industrial development and domestic waste disposal. Industrialization has increased the number of effluents that are disposed of in the water bodies. Industries dump byproducts such as used fuels, acids and salts in the water bodies, as such, affecting the water quality in the region. Industrial waste constitutes any substances discharged from industrial processes (Ebenstein, 2012). Most industries in the tropical cities are situated along water bodies such as rivers and lakes. These industrial discharges contain metals such as mercury, lead, and copper which are toxic to aquatic life. The growth of cities near water bodies such as lakes and rivers have increased the rate of pollution of water resources. The development of cities is accompanied with an increase in the development of new and big industries. All the sectors including the industries utilize water for waste disposal. Thus cities form one of the main zones with cases of high pollution.
Over 70 percent of wastes that pollute water resources are domestic in nature from homesteads and farms. The garbage may block the flow of water. The sewage includes human excretion, animal waste and other compounds such as nitrates and phosphates of detergents. These components affect the water bodies thereby making it unsuitable for human consumption. The disposals of sewage may also cause disease outbreaks of typhoid cholera and dysentery.
Farming utilizes chemical farm inputs such as pesticides and insecticides to maintain high production. Compounds from these chemicals find their way into water resources through erosion by rainwater or irrigation thus contaminating the water. Due to large-scale farming and mechanized farming in the tropical countries, most farmers employ the heavy use of chemicals. The application of new technological processes in most farming activities highly affects the state of the environment. Modern agriculture heavily uses fertilizers which contain phosphates and nitrates that are later drained to water bodies. The minerals may also be transported to lower ground levels through leaching processes. Components of pesticides also find their way into water resources thus affecting the chemical composition of the water
Agricultural activities influence the water quality in several ways; directly or indirectly. Direct effects include soil, nutrients and pesticides transfer from farming grounds into watercourses. Nutrients from farms enrich the water resources hence influencing the water quality. Nutrients such as phosphates and nitrogen lead to eutrophication that associates with algal bloom and toxic algae. In Brazil, for instance, a survey shows that 60% of nitrates and 25% of phosphorus in water bodies is from farming (REEVES, 2017). Soil particles and silt originate from loose farmland affect fish and the quantity of light penetration. Silt can also lead to flood risks due to loss of flow capacity of the water bodies. Agriculture and rural land use is, therefore, the main contributing factor to deteriorating water resources quality. Mineral fertilizers are heavily applied in many tropical countries to supplement natural nutrients to increase production due to the high food demand by large populations. Studies state that the use of fertilizers has increased more than ten times than the use of the 1960s (REEVES, 2017). This intensive use of fertilizers promotes environmental degradation including water pollution.
Organic compounds from agriculture also promote pollution in several ways. These agricultural chemical compounds include pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Pesticides pose several risks to the health of people in the tropical regions applying the chemicals. Some health hazards associated with exposure to these chemicals are diseases such as cancer, neurological disruption, and reproductive complications. The extent of the effects of pesticide-related health hazards depends on the duration of exposure and the type of chemicals.
Aquaculture production is currently increasing due to high demand for fish and shellfish. Aquatic farming is currently the leading in some tropical regions like Asia, producing over half of the total; fish in the market. Asia produces over 90% of world production in the world (Bao, Maruya, Snyder, & Zeng, 2012). Fed species in aquaculture needs externally manufactured food. These requirements may promote the export of feces and drugs...
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