Causes and Effects of Water Pollution Public Service Announcement for Pollution What are the causes of water pollution? This question has no simple answer. Water pollution can be defined as anything humans do to cause harmful effects to our bodies of water. This can include pollution of rivers, lakes, oceans, and ground water pollution. The causes of pollution in the water are virtually endless. Manufacturing plants are major causes of water pollution, using bodies of fresh water to carry away waste that can contain phosphates, nitrates, lead, mercury and other harmful and toxic substances.
Even the hot water that factories often discharge can raise the temperature and change the chemistry of bodies of water, causing what’s called “thermal pollution. ” Construction byproducts are another one of the major causes of water pollution: cement, metals, plastics and lubricants are the usual culprits. In addition to large industry, individual consumers round up the list of causes of water pollution. We pour our waste chemicals and detergents into our rivers. Small boats and large ships alike are responsible for spilling oil into our seas and oceans, and dropping untreated sewage into the water.
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These pollutants are carried by waves to even the most remote parts of our oceans. It’s not just large bodies of water that we need to worry about. The entire world, particularly places close to big cities, faces the problem of ground water pollution. Ground water pollution occurs when harmful elements, such as oil, debris, chemicals and other contaminants get washed up by rainwater and then seep back into underground water supplies called ground water. Ground water is often harvested through the use of wells and aquifers and makes its way back into our drinking supply.
We now know some of the common causes of water pollution. But what are the effects of water pollution? The effects of pollution in the water are myriad. In rivers, oceans and seas, the water pollution can be lethal, killing the fish and plant life. This in turn can kill the birds and other animals that eat this contaminated food supply. The effects of water pollution have also been considered the leading cause of human deaths worldwide. Almost every type of contamination found in water has a detrimental effect on humans.
Blood diseases, heart disease and nervous system disorders are commonly linked to the effects of water pollution. Many of the toxins found in polluted water are carcinogenic, which means they can cause cancer. Some substances can even effect generations to come by changing the body’s chromosomal makeup. Less severe effects of water pollution can include diarrhea, skin lesions, and vomiting. Finding ways to implement water pollution solutions are the only hope to stem the effects of water pollution on our natural resources, and the people and animals that need these resources to survive.
In the United States, most water pollution control comes from the governmental level. The growing need to come up with real water pollution solutions lead to the enactment of the Clean Water Act in 1972, which has been modified several times to reflect the ever changing nature of water pollution and its effects on our environment. The Clean Water Act puts limitations on the types and amounts of material that can be discharged into our bodies of water, and also sets quotas on the amounts of pollutants that can be in water before it becomes unsafe for use by humans and wildlife.
On a smaller scale, the general public can aid in water pollution control by simply getting educated on ways to avoid polluting. This can include the proper disposal of household chemicals so they don’t make their way untreated into bodies of water or water supplies. It can even be as simple as making sure your car isn’t leaking fluids that can get mixed in with runoff when it rains and cause ground water pollution.