What is Water Pollution?- Types, Sources, And Effect

What is Water Pollution?

Water pollution is the contamination of water sources with substances that make water unusable for drinking, cooking, cleaning, swimming and other activities. Contaminants include chemicals, waste, bacteria and parasites. All types of pollution end up in water.

Air pollution settles in lakes and oceans. Soil pollution penetrates into underground waterways, then into rivers and finally into oceans. Garbage dumped in vacant lots can eventually contaminate water.

Water pollution is the release of substances into groundwater or lakes, streams, rivers, estuaries and oceans to such an extent that the substances interfere with the beneficial use of water and the natural functioning of ecosystems.

Water pollution can include the release of substances such as chemicals, waste, and microorganisms, as well as the release of energy in water bodies in the form of radioactivity and heat.

In addition to harming many species, water pollution can also cause waterborne diseases in people. Water pollution can also be classified as surface water pollution or groundwater pollution. Sources of water pollution can be point or non-point sources.

  • A point source has an identifiable source, such as a storm drain or sewage treatment plant.
  • Non-point sources, such as agricultural runoff, are more diffuse. Pollution is the result of cumulative effects over time.

define What is 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

Types And Sources of Water Pollutants

Water bodies can be contaminated by a variety of substances, including pathogenic microorganisms, decaying organic waste, fertilizers and plant nutrients, toxic chemicals, sediments, heat, oil (petroleum), and radioactive materials.

Below we examine several types of water pollutants. Water pollutants come from point or diffuse sources. Point sources are pipes and channels used for drainage from industrial facilities and municipal sewage systems. Diffuse (or astigmatic) sources are very large unbounded areas where various pollutants enter a water body, such as runoff from agricultural areas.

Point sources of water pollution are easier to control than distributed sources because the contaminated water is collected and transported to a point where it can be treated. Pollution from non-point sources is difficult to control, and despite significant progress in the construction of modern wastewater treatment plants, non-point sources continue to cause the majority of water pollution problems.

Domestic sewage

Domestic sewage is a major source of pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) and decaying organic matter. Since pathogens are excreted through feces, all sewage in cities and towns is likely to contain some form of pathogen and can pose a direct threat to public health.

Biodegradable organic matter is another threat to water quality. Organic matter is naturally decomposed in wastewater by bacteria and other microorganisms, thereby reducing the dissolved oxygen content of the water.

This compromises the quality of lakes and rivers, which require high levels of oxygen for fish and other aquatic life to survive. Wastewater treatment processes reduce the levels of pathogens and organics in wastewater, but do not eliminate them completely.

Domestic sewage is also a major source of plant nutrients, primarily nitrates and phosphates. Excess nitrates and phosphates in the water can increase the growth of algae, causing abnormally dense and rapid growth known as algal blooms.

When the algae die, dissolved oxygen in the water decreases because the microorganisms use the oxygen to digest the algae in the decomposition process. Anaerobes (organisms that do not need oxygen to live) metabolize organic waste and release gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide that are toxic to aerobic (oxygen-requiring) organisms.

Lakes change from clean and clear with relatively low concentrations of dissolved nutrients and balanced aquatic communities to nutrient-rich conditions filled with algae, from where they are depleted of oxygen and waste materials. The process of becoming saturated is called eutrophication.

Eutrophication is a slow and inevitable process that occurs naturally. However, when accelerated by human activities and water pollution (a phenomenon called cultural eutrophication), it can lead to the premature aging and death of water bodies.

Solid Waste

Improper disposal of solid waste is the main cause of water pollution. Solid waste includes kitchen waste, garbage, e-waste, garbage, construction waste and demolition waste. All these are created by personal, residential, commercial, institutional and industrial activities.

This problem is common in developing countries, which may lack the infrastructure to properly dispose of solid waste or lack the resources and regulations to limit their improper disposal. In some places, solid waste is deliberately dumped into the waters.

Land pollution can also become water pollution when litter and other debris are carried into water by animals, wind, or rain. Significant amounts of solid waste pollution in inland waters can also end up in the oceans.

Solid waste pollution is unsightly, damages the health of aquatic ecosystems, and can directly harm wildlife. Many solid wastes, such as plastic and electronic waste, break down harmful chemicals and leach into water, making them sources of toxic or hazardous waste.

Toxic waste

Toxic, radioactive, explosive, carcinogenic (causes cancer), mutagenic (causes chromosomal damage), teratogenic (causes birth defects), or bio accumulative (e.g., increases in concentration upstream in the food chain), toxic wastes in are considered

Sources of toxic chemicals include improperly disposed wastewater (lead, mercury, chromium) from industrial plants and chemical process facilities and pesticides (chlordane, dieldrin, heptachlor) used in agricultural areas and rural lawns, including Surface effluents.


Sediments (such as silt) resulting from soil erosion and construction activities can be carried into the water by surface runoff. Floating sediments prevent the penetration of sunlight and disrupt the ecological balance of water.

It can also disrupt the reproductive cycles of fish and other organisms, and settling of floating debris can suffocate bottom-dwelling organisms.

Thermal pollution

Heat is considered a water pollutant because it reduces the water’s ability to hold dissolved oxygen and increases the fish’s metabolic rate. Valuable game fish species (such as trout) cannot survive in water with very low dissolved oxygen levels.

The main source of heat is the discharge of cooling water from the power plant to the river. Drained water can be 15°C (27°F) warmer than natural water. An increase in water temperature due to global warming can also be considered a type of thermal pollution.

Oil pollution (petroleum).

Oil (petroleum) pollution occurs when oil is carried from roads and parking lots into water bodies by surface leaks. A sudden oil spill is also a source of oil pollution.

Such as the Exxon Valdez tanker (which released more than 260,000 barrels in 1989 in Prince William Sound, Alaska) and the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil rig spill (which released more than 4 million barrels). barrels of oil to the Gulf of Mexico in 2010). The stain eventually migrates to the coast, harming aquatic life and recreational areas.

Effects Of Water Pollution

Deteriorating water quality is damaging the environment, health conditions, and the global economy. The president of the World Bank, David Malpass, warns of the economic impact: “Deteriorating water quality is stalling economic growth and exacerbating poverty in many countries”.

The explanation is that, when biological oxygen demands the indicator that measures the organic pollution found in water, exceeds a certain threshold, the growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the regions within the associated water basins falls by a third. In addition, here are some of the other consequences:

  • Destruction of biodiversity. Water pollution depletes aquatic ecosystems and triggers unbridled proliferation of phytoplankton in lakes, eutrophication.
  • Contamination of the food chain. Fishing in polluted waters and the use of waste water for livestock farming and agriculture can introduce toxins into foods which are harmful to our health when eaten.
  • Lack of potable water. The UN says that billions of people around the world have no access to clean water to drink or sanitation, particularly in rural areas.
  • Disease. The WHO estimates that about 2 billion people have no option but to drink water contaminated by excrement, exposing them to diseases such as cholera, hepatitis A and dysentery.
  • Infant mortality. According to the UN, diarrhoeal diseases linked to lack of hygiene cause the death of about 1,000 children a day worldwide.

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 destroys important food sources and contaminates drinking water with chemicals that can cause immediate and long-term damage to human health. Water pollution is also often severe for aquatic ecosystems and causes serious damage. Rivers, lakes and seas are used as sewage for industrial and domestic waste.

Water pollution has various sources and causes, only a few of which are mentioned here. Rivers and streams have shown some ability to recover from the effects of certain pollutants, but lakes, bays, ponds, slow rivers, and oceans are largely immune to the effects of water pollution.

We have a long history of introducing pollutants into the aquatic environment, with partial success in repairing previous damage and curbing activities that lead to environmental degradation.

Nonpoint pollution remains a serious threat to incoming water, as does the continued release of sewage and industrial wastewater worldwide. As we have seen with mercury contamination in fish, environmental contamination can have far-reaching and lasting consequences.

Any type of pollution has a negative impact on the environment. It affects human and animal life. Taking various measures to protect nature is our responsibility. To take a step towards a better tomorrow, we must fight pollution. If we don’t stop now, our future generations are at great risk.

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