Water contamination has reached worrisome levels today. It has emerged as one of India’s most critical environmental challenges.
Domestic and industrial factors are also contributing to this problem.
Excessive use of soap, soda, bleaching powder, detergent, or acids at home, as well as chemicals in the workplace, are the primary causes of water pollution.
Without treatment, urban sewage and industrial waste enter water sources. Despite all of the government’s efforts in cities and towns, only 10% of total wastewater is treated, and the remainder of the toxic material goes directly into ponds, rivers, and the ocean.
This article was crafted to explain in detail the effects of water pollution on animals and plants.
What Constitutes Water Pollution?
Water pollution occurs when dangerous substances—typically chemicals or microorganisms—contaminate a stream, river, lake, ocean, aquifer, or other body of water, decreasing its quality and making it poisonous to humans or the environment.
What Factors Cause Water Pollution?
Water is particularly susceptible to contamination. Water, known as the “universal solvent,” can dissolve more chemicals than any other liquid on the planet.
It is the reason we have Kool-Aid and waterfalls with stunning blue hues. Also, this is why water is so easily contaminated.
Toxic compounds from farms, cities, and factories rapidly dissolve and combine with water, resulting in water contamination.
Types of Water Pollution
When rain falls and percolates deeply into the earth, filling the fissures, crevices, and porous spaces of an aquifer (essentially an underground reservoir of water), it creates groundwater, one of our least visible but most vital natural resources.
Nearly 40 percent of Americans obtain their drinking water from groundwater pumped to the earth’s surface.
For some rural residents, this is their only supply of potable water. Groundwater becomes contaminated when chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers, and garbage leached from landfills and septic systems enter an aquifer, rendering it unfit for human consumption.
Contaminant removal from groundwater can be difficult to impossible and expensive.
Once contaminated, an aquifer may be unusable for decades or even millennia.
As it seeps into streams, lakes, and oceans, groundwater can potentially spread contaminants far from the source of pollution.
#2. Surface liquid
About 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by surface water, which includes oceans, lakes, rivers, and all the other blue areas on the world map.
Moreover, sixty percent of the water distributed to American houses comes from surface water derived from freshwater sources (i.e., sources other than the ocean). However, a large portion of this water is threatened.
Recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency examinations of national water quality indicate that nearly half of our rivers and streams and more than a third of our lakes are filthy and unsafe for swimming, fishing, and drinking.
In these freshwater sources, nutrient pollution, which includes nitrates and phosphates, is the most prevalent kind of contamination.
Despite the fact that plants and animals require these nutrients for growth, they have become a significant contaminant due to farm waste and fertilizer runoff.
Municipal and industrial waste discharges also contribute a portion of the pollutants. In addition, there is all the random garbage that businesses and individuals dump directly into rivers.
#3. Ocean Liquid
Eighty percent of ocean pollution (also known as marine pollution) originates on land, either along the coast or in the interior.
Streams and rivers transport contaminants such as pesticides, fertilizers, and heavy metals from farms, industry, and towns to our bays and estuaries; from there, they move out to sea.
Meanwhile, marine waste, especially plastic, enters the ocean by wind or storm drains and sewers.
Our oceans are also occasionally contaminated by large and tiny oil spills and leaks, and they continuously absorb carbon pollution from the atmosphere. As much as a quarter of human-made carbon emissions are absorbed by the ocean.
#4. Point Source
Point source pollution refers to contamination that emanates from a single source. Examples include wastewater discharged legally or illegally by a manufacturer, oil refinery, or wastewater treatment plant, as well as contamination from leaking septic systems, chemical and oil spills, and unlawful dumping.
The EPA regulates point source pollution by defining restrictions on what can be immediately released into a body of water from a facility.
While point source pollution emanates from a specific location, it can impact vast stretches of streams and the ocean.
#5. Nonpoint Source
Nonpoint source pollution is contamination coming from diffuse sources. These may consist of agricultural or rainfall runoff or detritus blown from land into waterways.
Nonpoint source contamination is the most significant cause of water pollution in U.S. waters, yet it is challenging to manage because there is no single, identifiable source.
Water pollution cannot be controlled by a line on a map, which goes without saying.
Transboundary pollution occurs when polluted water from one country enters the waters of another.
A tragedy, such as an oil spill or the slow, downstream migration of industrial, agricultural, and municipal discharges, can cause contamination.
Effects of Water Pollution on Animals and Plants
A rise in the number of harmful compounds. The river Ganga, which is revered by Indians as a holy river in which they bathe to purify themselves, has become increasingly polluted due to water pollution.
The same holds true for the rivers Yamuna, Gomati, Chambal, and Jhelum. The river Hooghly’s current status as one of the most polluted in the world is solely attributable to water pollution.
At one point in the past, the water in the Gomati River in Lucknow had become so polluted and toxic that dead fish floated throughout the river. The following are the effects of water pollution on plants and animals.
#1. Impaired Growth of Aquatic Vegetation
The effects of water pollution on aquatic animals and plants’ vegetation are severe.
Due to the abundance of moss in the contaminated river water, sunlight cannot reach the depths of the river, preventing photosynthesis and stunting the growth of aquatic vegetation.
In dirty river water, aquatic weeds such as aquatic ferns and water hyacinths begin to proliferate.
In a similar manner, the mixing of sewage water with river water accelerates the growth of fungi, algae, bacteria, and other organisms.
#2. Drowning Aquatic Animals
Increasing marine and oceanic pollution have become a hazard. Polluted water makes aquatic organisms’ lives miserable.
Water pollution affects the oxygen content of water. According to a survey, the amount of oxygen per liter of water in the majority of rivers has plummeted to barely 0.1 cubic centimeters, whereas the average in 1940 was approximately 2.5 cubic centimeters.
Different species of fish are the most negatively affected by water pollution.
A lack of oxygen in the contaminated water causes fish and other aquatic animals to begin dying.
Oil’s hydrocarbons spread across the ocean’s surface, depriving marine and aquatic animals of oxygen and causing their demise.
Many aquatic species are on the verge of extinction as the situation has become so grave.
Additionally, polluted water hinders the reproductive capacity of aquatic species. It impairs the ability of fish and plants to renew and reproduce.
In addition, ingesting contaminated water exposes animals to a number of ailments.
#3. Spoiling Natural Attractiveness
Not only is contaminated water unfit for human consumption, but it is also unfit for agricultural use. It is also responsible for the destruction of the lakes and rivers’ beauty.
#4. Disposing of Solid Waste
The disposal of solid waste, such as plastic, scrap metal, garbage, etc., may obstruct aquatic channels and trap small creatures in the debris.
When trapped and unable to swim, most water-dwelling creatures typically suffocate or drown.
#5. Atmospheric Toxins
Airborne contaminants may combine with clouds and return to Earth as acid rain. This toxic shower is strong enough to inflict any organism that comes into contact with it.
#6. Oil Spills
Oil spills that introduce harmful levels of oil into the marine environment cause marine animals to become ill and die in an unnatural manner.
#7. Chemical Contaminant
These are caused by industrial pollution, which kills a large number of aquatic species, such as frogs, fish, and tadpoles, among others.
This results in a loss of food sources for larger aquatic organisms, causing them to either swallow poisoned, dead fish and perish or abandon their natural home in search of food elsewhere.
As a result of their failure to adapt to altered water temperatures, unfavorable tides, and exposure to new predators, these animals frequently become ill and die.
#8. Nitrogen and Phosphorus Atoms
An excess of nutrients in the water, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, promotes the growth of toxic algae and aquatic plants, which poison and kill fish and other creatures that consume them
Effects of Water Pollution on Human Health
Water pollution has the worst effect on human health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 50 million people die annually as a result of polluted water.
About 360 people per one million die in India, and over fifty percent of hospital admissions are due to water-borne infections.
Over 80% of patients in developing nations suffer from water-borne infections.
#1. Transmitting Numerous Diseases
Numerous ailments are caused by microorganisms, poisons, and water with excessive levels of salt. More than eighty percent of diseases worldwide are caused directly or indirectly by dirty water.
According to estimates, approximately 2.5 million people in over 34,000 villages in India are suffering from cholera.
Millions of tribal peasants in Rajasthan are afflicted with numerous ailments as a result of drinking pond water that is contaminated.
A range of disease-causing microorganisms is present in contaminated water, resulting in numerous sorts of illnesses.
Waterborne infections are contagious and mostly spread through dirty water. Hepatitis, cholera, dysentery, and typhoid are the most prevalent waterborne infections in tropical regions.
In addition to diarrhea and respiratory issues, drinking contaminated water causes skin ailments.
If dirty water stagnates, it becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes and several other parasites that are prevalent in tropical regions.
If children drink dirty water, they frequently become ill and sometimes die owing to the severity of the diseases.
Large quantities of chloride in drinking water distort the body by causing the spine to become snaky, the teeth to turn yellow and fall out, and the hands and feet to lose bone flexibility.
It also increases the likelihood of developing kidney disease.
A high concentration of sulfide in polluted water is the cause of a variety of respiratory ailments, whereas urea contamination in drinking water exacerbates intestinal disorders.
The contamination of groundwater is caused by the nitrate composition of fertilizer and chemicals used on agricultural lands, garbage dumps, and pit latrines.
This contaminated drinking water is the cause of Blue Baby Disease, which causes children’s skin to change color.
In this disease, nitrate poisoning in groundwater decreases the oxygen-carrying capacity of hemoglobin in infants, ultimately resulting in their demise.
#2. Rendering Drinking Water is Dangerous.
Due to water contamination, drinking water becomes foul-smelling and unpalatable.
The presence of microorganisms in water gives it an unpleasant taste.
When organic molecules in polluted water begin to decompose, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia gas are produced, giving the water a foul odor.
Three influencing industrial units
Water contamination also diminishes the capacity of industries as a result of its impact on the operation of industrial units. For instance, the use of dirty Ganga water has negatively harmed Kanpur’s leather factories.
#4 Pollution of Water Sources
All bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, seas, and groundwater, become contaminated as a result of water pollution, which is caused by human activity.
Prioritizing his own self-interest, a man breaks numerous established laws and regulations by dumping dangerous compounds from factories straight into water supplies.
Various chemicals, grease, oil, paint, iron, cadmium, lead, arsenic, and zinc are among the toxic substances present in industrial waste.
Some industrial associations have also been detected releasing radioactive compounds into water sources, which kill organisms and plants quickly and are exceedingly hazardous.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has identified the sectors that pollute the waterways the most. These include the sugar industry, petrochemical industry, skin purifier industry, paper industry, fertilizer industry, and pharmaceutical business.
#5. Effects on Daily Life
Due to the acidic nature of polluted water, the structure of the container in which it is stored is compromised, resulting in storage interruptions.
Alkaline compounds found in dirty water collect around faucets, weakening them.
What Can You Do to Prevent Water Pollution?
Individually, we can do a number of things to help prevent water pollution.
We are all partially responsible for the current water contamination crisis.
Fortunately, there are some simple measures to prevent or at least limit your contribution to water contamination:
- Learn about the particular characteristics of the water in your area. Begin by constructing a picture of the situation in order to determine where your activities will have the greatest influence and if your neighbors are interested in joining you.
- Reduce your plastic consumption and, whenever possible, reuse or recycle plastic.
- To prevent them from going down the drain, dispose of chemical cleansers, oils, and nonbiodegradable substances properly.
- Maintain your vehicle to prevent oil, antifreeze, and coolant leaks.
- If you have a yard, you should landscape it to decrease runoff and refrain from using pesticides and herbicides.
- Don’t flush your old meds down the toilet! They should be discarded in the garbage to prevent their entry into local waterways.
- Be wary of whatever you pour into storm drains, as this garbage is frequently not treated before being discharged into local waterways.
- If you see a storm sewer clogged with rubbish, clear it out to prevent the trash from entering the water. (You will also aid in preventing unpleasant street flooding during severe storms.)
- If you have a dog, you must pick up its feces.
If you have suggestions about the effects of water pollution on animals and plants, do well to drop them in the comment section.