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Water pollution, like other types of pollution result when an overwhelming amount of waste comes from different sources of pollutant which harmfully disrupts the balance of the ecosystem; consequently, the waste cannot be destroyed or cleaned up as quickly as produced which results in many disadvantageous to humans and animals, as well as other living organisms. Therefore individuals have to realize that water pollutants can lead to long term effects and sometimes death due to the water pollution. The source of the pollutant can end but the long term effects for animal, humans and plant life can last years and even centuries, sometime totally destroying a species. All humans and animals as well as some organisms depend on water to survive. Each person must do everything possible to keep our water clean and available. In most cases the water becomes unusable because of oil, chemical waste, sewage, waste water and plastics.
Oil and chemical waste are two major sources of pollution and hazards waste. Petroleum products are one of the most toxic substances to the ecosystem. Oil and chemical waste comes to the water usually by accidental spills from ships, tankers, pipelines, and leaking underground storage tanks. There is no doubt that oil and chemical products are poisonous to the inhabitants of the seas, lakes, oceans, or water storage sites. The worst disaster which the American people and all the other countries can have witness to is happening at this very time. It has been declared the worse disaster to hit the world and is the leaking of more than “176 million gallons of oil in the gulf of Mexico.” (Brian Smith) This is not also the worst case disaster but also the most expensive one which will go on for years and continue to cost billions of dollars.
This accidental disaster has killed hundreds of animals and birds as well as plant life. Millions of dollars in lost income to the business along the coast. Millions of Americans are breathing contaminated air resulting from the evaporation of oil. Moreover, the spilled oil can damage a birds feathers and the fur of animals and in most cases will result in death unless cleans and bathed with detergent right away. Milton Marie explains “the oil attract to fish because it look like floating food; this is dangerous for the sea birds which are attracted to schools of fish and may dive through oil slicks to get to the fish.”. Similarly, in articles “Oil Spills,” Cooper Mary states that “the first obvious victims are birds and other aquatic wildlife that live along the shoreline. Birds cannot distinguish between clean water and an oil slick.”
The water is also being polluted by plastics and other plastic like substances, such as nylon, plastic bags and plastic bottles. According to Food and Water Watch, “bottle water produce up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year and that plastic requires up to 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce.” Moreover the problem, Baskind Chris reports, is that “this oil [used is] enough to keep a million cars going for a month.” It is well known that the plastic bag can be recycled, but only two of every ten goes to the recycle center and the other go directly to the trash. Beside that, plastic bags are difficult and costly to recycle and need hundred years to photo degrade. Hence, they breakdown into tiny toxic particles and contaminate the soil and water, and then enter the food chain. This can be seen in, a broken plastic bottle or bag can be eaten by animals and may even result in loss of their life since the plastic is non biodegradable and will not break down in the environment. Also nylon or floating plastic bags can attach to fish and other marine animals, for example the Royal terns, a species of sea birds; dive from the air into the water to catch fish with their sharp beaks can be entangled in the plastic. (Baskind Chris)
Pesticides and herbicides used in the killing of unwanted animals and plants have toxins such as lead, mercury and nitrate, etc; these chemicals may enter the lakes and rivers through the sewage system or through the dumping of toxics by the large factories or can be collected by rain and will eventually drain into the rivers, lakes and oceans. When animals drink water or eat plants which have been sprayed with toxin chemicals they can lose their lives. Much research has been done and was concluded that more than ten million people in the united states alone drink water which contains pesticide and causes death in children as well as adults when drinking water which contains nitrates. “Many diseases caused by water contamination go un-noticed because the effect takes months or even years to materialize,” Elizabeth Humphreys observes. (Humphreys Elizabeth)
Sewage and waste water are some of the other problems which lead to water pollution or contamination. The population is growing around the world at an alarming rate. There are many people in a small area which only leads to the increase of waste including sewage, garbage, spilling of fuels and oils into the ground and then into the water supply. In the developing countries or modern countries, sewage water is drained off into the rivers without proper treatment or if treated done in a very poor manners. This slows down the process of diluting the waste water and therefore it flows directly to the rivers, lakes and oceans; then it stagnate the water. In addition many people in the cities do not want to take the time or purchase proper items for disposing of waste material and they just dump it wherever they can. Much research has been done and they have found out that sewage contains many kinds of chemicals, from medicine or prescription drugs to paper and plastic; and when someone is sick the sewage carries these viruses into the environment and water systems, such as cholera and typhoid. Worsnop Richard reports that” the worst outbreak of waterborne [when] six people deaths and nearly 400,000 cases of gastrointestinal illness [after] they use contamination of Milwaukee’s water,” which note that the water systems contain toxic substance [from the sewage and waste water].” Household products such as shampoo, laundry detergent and many other personal care products contribute to water pollution. The sewage plants and the environment cannot take care of all the waste; so, the excess waste acts as a food source for algae, which develops uncontrollable. Algae will take the oxygen out of the water. When it happens; the plants, fishes and other living organisms cannot survive. This also creates the outlet of the toxin to enter the food chain and harm the individuals who consume them.
Agricultural waste is another great source of water pollution. “Besides depleting the soil, irrigation and other modern agricultural techniques pose additional environmental hazards,” Cooper says. (Cooper, Population and the Environment) Agricultural pollution is both a direct and indirect cause of health related issues to humans as well as animals. Agricultural chemicals are used heavily for food productions; excess nitrate in drinking water can reduce the level of oxygen in the blood. This condition is a very real treat to infants and can cause “blue baby disease.” In addition, animals’ wastes often reach water via the land surface or through surface soil layers. Like other wastes, agricultural runoff, and animal waste can flow through the water and end of in the lakes, rivers and oceans without being treated. This runoff can also affect wildlife and fish, which are a major source of food for humans
Recently, many studies have agreed that “the oceans are in trouble,” says Clemmitt Marcia. The oceans can be compared to the humans’ lung, when it is sick, it does not only harm the fauna but it also destroys the flora. In addition, the environment is everything that surrounds individuals and gives them their lives and good health. Destroying the water reduces the quality of human life, therefore “protecting drinking water from contamination is considered all that more urgent in light of its relative scarcity and worlds spiraling population,” says Worsnop. How people can stop water pollution? In the article “Bush and the Environment,” Cooper says that “[the] environmental laws [should] set goals, such as keeping rivers, lakes and ocean water safe for fishing and swimming.” It is not too late to set goals for reducing and preventing water pollution from everyday household activities such as using non-toxic household products, recycle and dispose of all trash and be green when using water. People should not drain toxic products in the sewage system thus keeping all pollutants out of the rivers or lakes. Disposing toxic products like chemicals, garbage plastic and other hazardous items done properly will lead to a greener world.
In conclusion, it is clear to everyone the problems associated with water pollution. It not only has an effect on flora, fauna and other living things in the short term but has long lasting effects that can take years or centuries to clean up. Many countries have laws to protect the environment and limit water pollution, but that is not enough to solve the many problems. People living on this planet have to be responsible and get involved in keeping our water supply fresh and clean. They must be familiar with water sources and learn how to keep them clean. Deposing of industrial waste and household waste, should be done in the proper manner to assure no harm to environment is done. In agricultural and garden have to know the right time to add nutrients or fertilizers; thus avoiding over feeding and this would help keep the chemicals from our water source. Choosing to use non disposal bags instead of plastic is another way to keep plastic out of our water and disposal sites. Everyone needs to be more concerned with our water supply and products that can threaten it. They all must realize water is their source of life and it needs to be conserved and protected.
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