Threats to Biodiversity!

Water Pollution!

What is pollution?

Pollution is presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance or thing that has harmful or poisonous effects. All pollution is really dangerous and hazardous for the environment.

Types of Pollution

There are various types of pollution:

  • Air Pollution
  • Thermal Pollution
  • Water Pollution
  • Land Pollution

Note: No pollution is better then another

Water Pollution!

What is it?

Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies (e.g. lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers and groundwater), very often by human activities. It occurs all over the world. Water pollution is harmful to sea life and also humans.

Where is it happening?

Unfortanetly, water pollution occurs all over the world. From the richest most developed countries to the least, it occurs everywhere. Water pollution has been occurring on and off in Lake Ontario for a very long time!
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What is the threat and why should I care?

Water pollution leads to nothing positive. Only 2.5% of water on our planet is fresh and it’s being ruined by pollution. This pollution leads to illnesses and death for aquatic life. Aquatic life gets really sick from the dirty water and can eventually die. There are threats for humans as well. Human who consume sea food can get really ill if they consumed sick/infected food. According to statistics by Ontario government, pregnant women and kids under age of 15 are highly encouraged not to eat the fish caught at Lake Ontario. This shows how unhealthy our lakes have become. Citizens should care about water pollution not only because of their own health but also aquatic life.

What is the cause of the threat? Industrial Causes!

There are several industrial and human causes which lead to water pollution.

Industrial Causes:

  • Nitrates and Phosphates: found in fertilizers and often washed from soils to nearby water bodies. They cause eutrophication (problematic to marine environments)
  • Lead and Mercury: metallic elements that cause health and environmental problems for humans and animals. It’s also very poisonous and hard to clean up
  • Oils: form thick layer on water surface because they don’t dissolve. Oils are very harmful for creatures and aquatic plants because it prevents sunlight passing for photosynthesis

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Other Causes!

If you thought industrial causes were bad, wait till you hear about these other causes.

  • Waste Water: Everyday humans use water for drinking, showering, laundry, toilet, etc. All this water is treated/cleaned and dumped into lakes
  • Plastics: Plastic is most common substance that washes up with waves. Reason being is that it's used in nearly everything from fishing rods to bottle caps. Sea life can swallow and die from swallowing plastic.

Threat to different organisms?

Due to water pollution in Lake Ontario, there are many organisms from all kingdoms drastically effected.

Animalia- Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

  • When water is polluted many Chinook Salmon swallow hazardous material which leads to date

Plantae- Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria)

  • Main food source for many small fish such as Native Waterflea

Protista- Quartan Malaria (Plasmodium Malariae)

  • Also a food source

Bacteria- Ecoli ( Escherichia coli)

  • E. coli in water is a strong indication of recent sewage or animal waste contamination. This waste contamination is deadly for organisms.

Fungi- Blastocladia (Blastocladia pringsheimi)

  • This is nature cleaning crew. If fungi is gone from an environment everything will be dirtier then before, which is really bad.

When organisms from different kingdoms die, every organism is affected. It affects populations, reproduction, and the food chain. Every organism has a special function in it's habitat!

What can humans do to help?

Humans can do many things to help decrease water pollution specifically in Lake Ontario.

  • DO NOT flush medications down the toilet
  • DO NOT throw junk into the toilet. Use the garbage and recycling!
  • Run dishwasher and laundry when you have a full load- saves electricity and water
  • Minimize the use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers. DO NOT dispose of these chemicals, motor oil, or other automotive fluids into the sanitary sewer or storm sewer systems
  • DO NOT liter anywhere. Be educated about waste disposal
  • Use water efficiently for personal things. Take quick showers and turn of the tap when brushing your teeth. This prevents amount of dirty water that needs treatment
  • Buy more environmentally safe products for your house
  • Never dump anything in storm drains- runs directly to lake

All in all, citizens should be aware of how serious and dangerous water pollution is. Everyone should do as much as possible to prevent this from happening.

Horrific Facts

Here are some unfortunate facts about water pollution:

  • Fresh water is only 2.5% of water on this planet
  • over 320 million people in China don't have accesses to clean water
  • 14 billion pounds of plastic is dumped into lakes and oceans each year
  • The waste produced in the river contains bacteria, parasites and viruses. these cause life- threatening diseases like diarrhea, cholera and typhoid
  • Two million tons of human waste is disposed in water everyday