Water Contamination

By: Harshiya Thevarajan

What is pollution?

Take a moment and look around you. Do you see any trees? Small streams? Or do you do paved roads or smoking factories? You most like will see the infrastructure all around you. Well, how does this all relate to water pollution, you may ask? Water pollution is the contaminants in the water caused by surface run off, leaching, etc. Below is an in depth explanation of the causes, impacts and ways to prevent or reduce water pollution.

Why do we need this resource?

Water covers 70% of the earth's surface and it is the most essential and crucial resource to all life on earth. Polluted water affects drinking water, lakes, rivers, and oceans all around the world. This can harm human health such as, diseases like Cholera and negatively impact food chains and aquatic life.

What are the causes?

There are contributions that cause water pollution:

Toxic chemicals:

Chemicals that are released by polluted factories are absorbed into the earth's atmosphere. Later when condensation occurs, these pollutants cause acid rain which then falls in ocean, lakes and rivers. This water eventually travels at great distances which eventually accumulate into the bodies of animals and aquatic life and damaging plantation.

Oil Pollution:

Oil dumping happens almost on a daily basis. Since oil does not dissolve or mix well with water, it stays on top of the water's surface. This causes suffocation for the fish because the oil prevents oxygen from entering through the oil blanket. This is also harmful for sea birds because the oil clings on to their feathers making them too heavy for flight.

Sewage and Waste Water:

All water that we use and consume are dumped into the ocean. In most developed countries, this water and sewage are then treated and dumped into the sea. Although this water is treated, it is not the same as fresh water and will harm the aquatic life.

Shuk-Wah Chung

Major Factories Cause China's Water Pollution to Worsen by Shuk-Wah Chung

What are the impacts?

The impacts of water pollution are many, the most prominent and serious ones being the danger to aquatic life.

Death of aquatic animals:

The most important issue that we face today because of water pollution is that the animals that depend on these bodies of water are often fatally impacted. Often, dead fish, crabs and other sea life are found washed up on beaches because of the pollutants in the water.

Disruption of food chains:

The food chain can also be impacted and this also affects humans. An example of a disruption can be illustrated by the following: small fishes eat pollutants floating in the water, these fishes are then eaten by bigger fish. Humans then catch these big fish and cook and eat them. Therefore, these pollutants then enter the human system spreading diseases.


As states above, diseases are also an issue that we must acknowledge. From eating poisoned fish, humans may get diseases such as hepatitis. Also many under developed countries often have outbreaks of cholera, which is passed to humans by the drinking of contaminated water.

India Water Crisis - Environmental Action Project

What are we doing to make this resource sustainable in the future?

There are some ways that we can help stop the pollution of water:

Water usage:

Using your water wisely can have a great impact on the pollution of water. By doing this, it is possible to stop water shortages and to also limit the amount of water that needs to be cleaned and treated.

Limit usage of pesticides:

If we limit the amount of pesticides we use on our lawns and gardens, we can reduce the runoff of pesticides that will seep into nearby bodies of water or sewage systems. Using compost or organic materials are much better for your lawns and our earth.

The Government:

The government has in place many laws that attempt to minimize the usage of water. These laws are most often aimed at industries, hospitals and schools which help them dispose of water efficiently. Many organizations also go around and educate people on the dangers of water pollution and how to prevent it.