Water Pollution: Definition, Sources, And Effect

What is Water Pollution?

Water pollution is the contamination of water sources by substances that make the water unusable for drinking, cooking, cleaning, swimming, and other activities. Pollutants include chemicals, trash, bacteria, and parasites.

All forms of pollution eventually make their way to the water. Air pollution settles onto lakes and oceans. Land pollution can seep into an underground stream, then to a river, and finally to the ocean. Thus, waste dumped in a vacant lot can eventually pollute a water supply.

Water pollution reduces the ability of the body of water to provide the ecosystem services that it would otherwise provide. Water bodies include for example lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers, reservoirs, and groundwater.

Water pollution results when contaminants are introduced into these water bodies. For example, releasing inadequately treated wastewater into natural waters can lead to the degradation of these aquatic ecosystems.

All plants and organisms living in or being exposed to polluted water bodies can be impacted. The effects can damage individual species and impact the natural biological communities they are part of.

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Water pollution can also lead to water-borne diseases for people using polluted water for drinking, bathing, washing, or irrigation.

Water pollution can be classified as surface water pollution (for example lakes, streams, estuaries, and parts of the ocean in marine pollution) or groundwater pollution. Sources of water pollution are either point sources or nonpoint sources.

Point sources have one identifiable cause, such as a storm drain or a wastewater treatment plant. Nonpoint sources are more diffuse, such as agricultural runoff. Pollution is the result of the cumulative effect over time.

Supplying clean drinking water is an important ecosystem service provided by some freshwater systems, but roughly one billion people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water because of pollution.

Definition of Water Pollution

“Water pollution can be defined as the harmful substances often chemicals or microorganisms contaminate a stream, river, lake, ocean, aquifer, or other body of water, degrading water quality and rendering it toxic to humans or the environment.”

Water Pollution

Sources of Water Pollution

This section gives information about the most significant sources of water pollution.

  • Sewage: Used water is wastewater. It comes from our sinks, showers, and toilets and from commercial, industrial, and agricultural activities like think metals, solvents, and toxic sludge.
  • Agricultural Pollution: Agricultural processes such as uncontrolled spreading of slurries and manure, disposal of sheep dip, tillage, ploughing of the land, use of pesticides and fertilizers can cause water pollution. Accidental spills from milk dairies can also affect the quality of water.
  • Oil Pollution: Big spills may dominate headlines, but consumers account for the vast majority of oil pollution in our seas, including oil and gasoline that drips from millions of cars and trucks every day. Moreover, nearly half of the estimated 1 million tons of oil that makes its way into marine environments each year comes not from tanker spills but from land-based sources such as factories, farms, and cities.
  • Radioactive Substances: Radioactive waste is any pollution that emits radiation beyond what is naturally released by the environment. It’s generated by uranium mining, nuclear power plants, and the production and testing of military weapons, as well as by universities and hospitals that use radioactive materials for research and medicine.
  • River dumping: Lots of people dump supermarket trolleys, bicycles, garden cuttings and electronic waste into rivers or river banks. This is illegal and offenders may be charged for fly-tipping if caught. River dumping not only causes water pollution; it also harms wildlife and increases the risk of flooding.
  • Marine Dumping: The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) estimates that a staggering amount of waste enters into the sea every year. Part of this is due to deliberate dumping of waste into coastal waters. Other sources of waste at sea include plastics and other materials blown or washed from land. Marine dumping is illegal under international and UK legislation.

Types of water pollution

Following are the various categories of water pollution:

1. Groundwater

When rain falls and penetrates deep into the earth, filling the cracks, crevices, and porous spaces of an aquifer (basically an underground reservoir of water), it becomes groundwater, one of our least visible but most important natural resources.

Almost 40 percent of Americans depend on groundwater for drinking water, which is pumped to the surface. For some people in rural areas, it is the only source of fresh water.

Groundwater becomes polluted when contaminants from pesticides and fertilizers to waste leaching from landfills and sewage treatment plants enter an aquifer, rendering it unsafe for human consumption.

Removing pollutants from the groundwater can be difficult, if not impossible, and also costly. Once polluted, an aquifer can be unusable for decades or even thousands of years.

Groundwater can also spread contamination far from its original source of pollution when it enters streams, lakes, and oceans.

2. Surface water

Surface water covers roughly 70 percent of the earth and fills our oceans, lakes, rivers, and all the other blue parts on the world map. It from freshwater sources (that is, from sources other than the ocean) makes up more than 60 percent of the water supplied to American households. But a significant pool of that water is in danger.

According to the latest US Environmental Protection Agency surveys of national water quality, nearly half of our rivers and streams and more than a third of our lakes are polluted and unsuitable for swimming, fishing, or drinking.

Nutrient pollution, which includes nitrates and phosphates, is the most common type of contamination in these freshwater sources.

While plants and animals need these nutrients to grow, they have become a major pollutant due to agricultural waste and manure runoff. Municipal and industrial waste also contribute their fair share of toxins. There is also all of the random garbage that industries and individuals dump directly into waterways.

3. Ocean water

Eighty percent of marine pollution (also known as marine pollution) occurs on land along the coast or far inland. Contaminants such as chemicals, nutrients, and heavy metals are transported from farms, factories, and cities through streams and rivers to our bays and estuaries.

From there they go out to sea. In the meantime, sea debris, especially plastic, is blown in by the wind or washed in via storm sewers and sewers. Our seas are also sometimes tainted by oil spills and spills, large and small, and are constantly sucking up carbon pollution from the air. The ocean absorbs up to a quarter of man-made carbon emissions.

4. Point source

When the contamination comes from a single source, it is called point-source pollution. Examples of this are wastewater (also known as wastewater) that is discharged legally or illegally by a manufacturer, an oil refinery, or a sewage treatment plant, as well as contamination from leaking sewage systems, chemical and oil pollution, and illegal landfilling.

The EPA regulates pollution from point sources by setting limit values for the discharge of a system directly into a body of water. While point source pollution emanates from a specific location, it can affect miles of waterways and oceans.

5. Nonpoint source

Pollution from non-point sources is contamination from diffuse sources. These can be agricultural runoffs or rainwater runoffs or debris blown into waterways from the land. Pollution from nonpoint sources is the leading cause of water pollution in US seas, but it is difficult to regulate because there is no single identifiable culprit.

6. Transboundary

It goes without saying that water pollution cannot be limited by a line on a map. Transboundary pollution is the result of contaminated water from one country spilling into another country’s waters.

Contamination can be caused by a disaster such as an oil spill or the slow, downstream crawl of industrial, agricultural, or municipal runoffs.

Types of Water Pollution

Effects of water pollution

  • Diseases: In humans, drinking or consuming polluted water in any way has many disastrous effects on our health. It causes typhoid, cholera, hepatitis and various other diseases.
  • Destruction of Ecosystems: Ecosystems are extremely dynamic and respond to even small changes in the environment. Water pollution can cause an entire ecosystem to collapse if left unchecked.
  • Eutrophication: Chemicals in a water body, encourage the growth of algae. These algae form a layer on top of the pond or lake. Bacteria feed on these algae and this decreases the amount of oxygen in the water body, severely affecting the aquatic life there.
  • Effects the food chain: Disruption in food chains happens when toxins and pollutants in the water are consumed by aquatic animals (fish, shellfish etc.) which are then consumed by humans.
  • Environmental Impact: Water pollution actually damages biodiversity and aquatic ecosystems. Toxic chemicals can change the color of the water and also increase the number of minerals also known as eutrophication that have a bad effect on life in water.
  • Human health: Water pollution has a very negative effect on public health. Many diseases occur due to drinking or exposure to contaminated water, such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, dysentery, or skin infections. In areas where drinking water is not available, the main risk is dehydration.
  • First and foremost, ecosystem damage and ecological balance. Because all systems are interdependent, all forms of life are not affected by water.
  • Heavy metal pollutants that enter the food chain cause birth defects, growth defects, reproductive problems, and early death.
  • There are no obvious causes in different types of cancer-affected communities.
  • The bacterial infection leads to dysentery, food poisoning, cholera, and typhoid.

Solution of Water Pollution

In order to effectively tackle water pollution, it’s important to understand what causes this pollution to occur in the first place. The many causes of water pollution include everything from incorrect sewage disposal to fast urban development.

While it will take a substantial amount of effort to lessen water pollution, there are many effective solutions that can help with the reduction of pollution in all bodies of water.

Solution of Water pollution

This article will take a look at some of the more notable solutions, which include:

  1. Wastewater Treatment: Likely the most effective way to reduce water pollution is by treating some of the water before it’s reintroduced into the waterways. This is a highly effective solution because wastewater treatment facilities are able to remove nearly all pollutants in wastewater via a chemical, physical, or biological process.
  2. Plastic Waste Reduction: Plastics are commonly washed into the ocean and other bodies of water, which only serves to degrade the quality of the water. It’s believed that around 9-12 million tons of plastic reach the ocean every year, which is a number that needs to be reduced substantially to make sure that the quality of ocean water doesn’t worsen even more.To help reduce the amount of plastic waste that gets cycled into the environment, it’s recommended that you avoid using plastics whenever possible. Seek alternatives for plastic bottles, plastic utensils, and straws. Whenever you use plastic, make sure that you recycle.
  3. Water Conservation: If you want to do your part to keep water clean and pure in a manner that will protect the environment, it’s important that you focus on water conservation when possible. There are many ways that you can conserve water on a daily basis. Whenever you’re shaving or brushing your teeth, it’s recommended that you keep the water turned off.
  4. Install a water-efficient toilet in your home: Consider installing an efficient toilet in your bathroom that won’t use as much water when you flush it. This method of reducing water pollution relates to the previous point in that it will help you conserve water. If you want to do your part to help the environment, ultra-efficient toilets are available that only use 0.8-1.1 gallons of water per flush. Along with saving you money, a water-efficient toilet will also help you avoid wasting water.
  5. Septic tanks: Septic tanks are useful pieces of equipment that are able to treat sewage by efficiently separating the liquids from the solids. These tanks will use various biological processes to properly degrade the solid substances before the liquids flow directly into a land drainage system. Septic tanks limit water pollution by effectively getting rid of the pollution that is already in the water.
  6. Avoid using the toilet as a wastebasket: If you want to avoid adding to water pollution, it’s recommended that you avoid using your toilet as a wastebasket. Dust cloths, wrappers, and the majority of the tissues that you use should be placed directly into a wastebasket as opposed to a toilet.
  7. Stormwater management: It’s important to manage stormwater and the pollution within it because this water will eventually reach rivers, streams, and oceans, which can worsen the pollution in these bodies of water. Managing stormwater should help to lessen this issue and reduce the amount of pollution that reaches the ocean.
  8. Green agriculture: Unfortunately, agriculture is the primary cause of water pollution. Whenever it rains, the pesticides and fertilizers wash away with the stormwater, which takes viruses and bacteria into the waterways. It’s possible, however, for agriculture to be more friendly to the environment. To foster the use of green agriculture, consider planting trees and other plants nearby bodies of water, which will keep chemicals from being washed away when it rains.
  9. Denitrification: Denitrification is a simple ecological process that’s designed to convert nitrates directly into nitrogen gas, which helps to prevent nitrate from being taken into the soil and contaminating the groundwater. When too much nitrate reaches groundwater, the nitrogen content of the water is far too high, which causes algae and phytoplankton to grow at an accelerated rate.

Conclusion of Water pollution

Water pollution is a global problem and the world community is facing the worst results from polluted water. The main sources of water pollution are household and agricultural waste discharges, population growth, overuse of pesticides and fertilizers, and urbanization.

Bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases spread through polluted water and affect human health. It is recommended that there is a proper waste disposal system in place and that the waste is treated prior to entering the river. Awareness and awareness programs should be organized to control pollution.


What is Water pollution?

Water pollution is the contamination of water sources by substances that make the water unusable for drinking, cooking, cleaning, swimming, and other activities. Pollutants include chemicals, trash, bacteria, and parasites. Land pollution can seep into an underground stream, then to a river, and finally to the ocean.

What are water pollution effects?

Diseases: In humans, drinking or consuming polluted water in any way has many disastrous effects on our health. It causes typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, and various other diseases. Destruction of Ecosystems: Ecosystems are extremely dynamic and respond to even small changes in the environment.

What are the five sources of water pollution?

Sources of Water Pollution:
1. Sewage water
2. Agricultural Pollution
3. Oil Pollution
4. Radioactive Substances
5. River dumping
6. Marine Dumping

How can we avoid water pollution?

1. Pick up litter and throw it away in a garbage can.
2. Blow or sweep fertilizer back onto the grass if it gets onto paved areas.
3. Mulch or compost grass or yard waste.
4. Wash your car or outdoor equipment where it can flow to gravel or grassed area instead of a street.
5. Don’t pour your motor oil down the storm drain.

Who is responsible for water pollution?

Humans are the main cause of water pollution, which is triggered in many ways: by the dumping of industrial waste; due to temperature rise, which cause the alteration of water by reducing the oxygen in its composition; Or due to deforestation, which causes sediments and bacteria to appear under the soil and therefore

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