Water is an important resource for the survival of both humans and animals. However this resource faces threats of contamination that are manmade and are likely to cause serious problems if not mitigated. The key to solving these problems is first being able to understand them. This is the reason behind this article.
We are going to briefly look into the 5 causes of water pollution with the goal of improving our knowledge on this subject.
Pollution of surface water
As the name suggests, surface water is the water found on the earth’s surface in places like lakes, rivers, streams, among others. Surface water gets polluted mostly by hazardous material like chemicals from factories or fertilizers from farms that gets into contact and dissolves into the water.
Depletion of oxygen
Most of the earth’s water bodies contain micro-organisms that could either be aerobic or anaerobic so as to maintain a natural balance. When so much biodegradable material are introduced into the water bodies, it will create a conducive environment for the rapid growth of these micro-organism which will result in oxygen depletion thereby causing the death of the aerobic organisms. This disturbs the natural balance because the anaerobic organisms will increase in number thereby filling the water with harmful toxins like sulfides and ammonia.
Pollution of ground water
The use of chemical based material such as pesticides and fertilizers in the soil ends up being absorbed underground whenever it rains and these chemicals end up in underground water sources thereby contaminating them. This is the reason why it’s important to test water from wells and boreholes before it can be consumed.
Presence of particulate matter
Most of the chemical based substances that we use in factories or farms are known not to dissolve in water. These are what are referred to as particulate matter. When these substances make their way to a body of water, they will cause pollution and harm or even kill the aquatic micro-organisms and other organisms living in the water.
Pollution through oil spillage
This is a form of pollution most of us must be aware of following high profile cases that have been experienced such as the BP spill a few years back. Oil spills on water bodies will often result in the deaths of fish and other living organisms as a result of this form of pollution because it depletes oxygen from the water.
Most of these are man-made effects which if they go unabated, are likely to cause major global problems. It’s therefore important for us to make a conscious decision to change the way we handle chemical waste material if we are to protect our water sources.
In our next article, we will look at ways of preventing water pollution.