Groundwater (water found in underground formations called aquifers) is the source of drinking water for many people. For example, about half of the population of the United States depends on groundwater for their water supply.
Groundwater may appear clear (because it is naturally filtered and flows slowly through soil layers), but it can be contaminated with dissolved chemicals, bacteria, and viruses.
Sources of chemical pollutants include poorly designed or poorly maintained groundwater treatment systems (such as septic tanks), industrial wastes in landfills or inadequate or uncovered wetlands, unlined municipal waste leachates, mining and oil production, and underground seepage. Storage tank under gas station
In coastal areas, increased groundwater abstraction (due to urbanization and industrialization) can lead to saltwater intrusion. When the water level drops, the sea water is drawn into the well.
Effects Of Water Pollution
Water pollution affects both humans and aquatic animals. Most of the water sources near cities and urban centers are polluted by dumping garbage and chemicals, both legal and illegal. Below are some of the common complications and adverse effects of water pollution.
What are the effects of water pollution on environment?
1. Destruction of biodiversity.
Water pollution depletes aquatic ecosystems and triggers unbridled proliferation of phytoplankton in lakes eutrophication. Water pollution makes river biodiversity more vulnerable to climate warming. Polluted rivers with low oxygen levels are vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change, according to new research by Mars scientist Professor Steve Ormerod.
Water pollution has a serious effect on the ecosystem. For example, nutrients moving downstream can cause the growth of algae and other aquatic organisms. This almost always causes a struggle for resources and plant growth.
This algae attack affects fish and other aquatic animals by absorbing and reducing oxygen supply. Algal growth also clogs the fish’s gills. Naturally, the order of its underwater ecosystem is adversely affected. This is because the destruction or introduction of alien species changes the entire food chain there.
2. Eutrophication and Algal Blooms
Eutrophication is the excessive concentration of chemical nutrients in the environment to the extent that it causes dense growth of plants and algae. Based on the degree of eutrophication, its impact is oxygen depletion and significant deterioration of water quality.
As a result, it affects the survival of fish and other aquatic life. Eutrophication is associated with an increased incidence of fatal paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans.
In recent years, the emergence of blue-green algae is increasing due to water pollution. The presence of toxic blue-green algae in water bodies endangers fishing and access to safe drinking water.
This is due to the continuous use of fertilizers and the discharge of sewage into rivers, seas and lakes. Toxic algal blooms have also crippled many water systems around the world.
3. Lack of potable water
Contaminated water and poor sanitation are associated with the transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. Non-existent, inadequate or poorly managed water and sanitation services expose people to preventable health risks.
Water pollutants include a wide variety of toxic chemicals and pathogens. Whenever they are present in water, they are consumed by aquatic animals and then by humans. Ingestion can cause life-threatening illnesses.
For example, eating seafood poisoned with compounds such as lead and mercury can lead to diseases such as hepatitis and cancer.
Waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid continue to be the leading causes of human mortality worldwide. Waterborne diseases are caused by drinking or coming in contact with contaminated water. This contamination can be caused by pollutants such as pesticides or contaminated human or animal feces.
Waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and E. coli infections are major public health problems, killing 3.4 million people annually.
4. Ecological Dead Zones and Extinction
Another marine pollution problem is the formation of seasonal “dead zones” (ie, hypoxic zones where dissolved oxygen levels are so low that most aquatic life above die) in some coastal areas.
Its cause is enrichment of nutrients by scattered agricultural runoff and algal blooms. Dead zones occur all over the world. One of the largest (sometimes as large as 22,730 square kilometers (8,776 sq mi)) originates in the Mississippi River Delta and forms annually in the Gulf of Mexico.
5. Contamination Of The Food Chain
Fishing in polluted waters and using sewage for animal husbandry and agriculture can introduce toxins into food that are harmful to health if consumed.
Pollution disrupts the food chain by transferring toxins from one level of the food chain to a higher level. In some cases, contamination can destroy entire food chains. If a predator dies or dies (killing its prey) it affects other organisms by causing overgrowth.
What Are the Effects of Water Pollution on human health?
The following are some negatives ways that water pollution can directly affect human health.
We can ingest microplastics by drinking water and eating contaminated seafood. In Tokyo Bay in 2016, scientists studied the microplastic intake of 64 anchovies – 77 percent had microplastics in their digestive systems.
People have also found them in salt, beer, and other foods.
Studies show that microplastics can cause oxidative stress, inflammatory responses and metabolic disorders in humans. However, more studies are needed to confirm these effects.
Consuming water contaminated by sewage
The WHO notes that approximately 2 billion people worldwide use drinking water sources containing faecal contaminants. Contaminated water can contain bacteria that cause diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, hepatitis A, polio, and more.
According to the United Nations, about 297,000 children under the age of five die each year from diseases related to poor hygiene, sanitation or unsafe drinking water.
Drinking water containing chemical waste
Chemical pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers and heavy metals can cause serious health problems if consumed.
In 2014, residents of Flint, Michigan experienced water contamination after poor water supply inspection and treatment. Contaminated water causes boils, hair loss and itchy skin. The amount of lead in the bloodstream of children who drank water doubled.
A person who ingests chemical toxins in their water can be at risk of:
- Hormone disruption
- Altered brain function
- Damagetrusted source to immune and reproductive systems
- Cardiovascular and kidney problems
Swimming in contaminated water can also trigger:
- Pink eye
- Respiratory infections
Economic Effects of Water pollution
Managing and rehabilitating polluted water is expensive. For example, Japan announced in 2019 that it had run out of space to contain contaminated water after the Fukushima disaster. Currently, more than 1 million tons of contaminated water is stored in reservoirs. Studies show that it will cost at least 660 billion dollars to eliminate the effects of natural disasters.
Under normal conditions, drinking water treatment costs more, not to mention the health costs of treating diseases caused by contaminated water.
How does water pollution affect aquatic life?
Sewage can promote algae growth, which can eventually lead to eutrophic “dead zones” where aquatic life cannot survive due to lack of oxygen. Microplastics are common in marine life. They can be concentrated due to bioaccumulation in humans who consume seafood. Oil spills, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, have stranded and killed a wide variety of marine life.