9 Things That Causes Water Pollution And Its Possible Solution

9 Things That Causes Water Pollution And Its Possible Solution

Water is one of the basic needs of a human being. We use it to quench our thirst, give energy to our body, and wash our clothes, dishes, and other parts of our home. Without water, we will die.

As years passed, the population began to grow, and bodies of water become polluted. Water pollution occurs when vast bodies of water like groundwater, oceans, rivers, and lakes are contaminated with harmful chemicals and bacteria. This is due to the waste product directly thrown into the water.

Indeed, water pollution is one of the major crises that the world faces today, and it affects millions of people who don’t have access to clean drinking water. The government spends time and effort to focus on water pollution and its effects to protect the people.

We need water to survive and do that, and we have to take several measures to save some of the resources that we have today.

Thus, in this article, we will discuss the causes and effects of water pollution and some of the doable solutions we can start immediately.

Causes of Water Pollution

9 Things That Causes Water Pollution And Its Possible Solution

Rapid Urban Development

    Through the years, we have witnessed the exodus of people in towns and cities. People began to build houses, roads, and big industries. After that, there is a physical disturbance of the land, and factories began to dump their chemical wastes in the bodies of water.

    Big factories flush down waste products in the water, which is one of the major causes of ocean pollution.

    On the other hand, ordinary people also cause water pollution and not just big factories. Everyone is guilty of pouring chemicals or detergents into their drains or toilets. This toxic pollution can enter the wastewater from highway runoff.

    The highway runoff is usually covered with toxic chemicals such as spilled fuel, chemical additives, brake fluids, and exhaust emissions. When the rain pours, these chemicals are washed into the drains and the rivers.

    With this, the school of fishes can get killed overnight. According to studies, the highway runoff in one year is equivalent to an oil tanker spill. Some highway runoffs come into the drains, and they can pollute the groundwater or accumulate in the land near the road. Thus, it becomes increasingly toxic year by year.

    Improper Sewage Disposal

    Nowadays, sewage waste disposal is becoming a major issue due to the growing population of the world. Its improper disposal can lead to several water-related diseases that can kill adults and children.

    The sewage disposal problem does not end easily. As soon as you flush the toilet, the waste has to go somewhere, and even if it leaves the sewage treatment, there is still waste needed to dispose of. Thus, sewage waste is dumped into the oceans.

    In theory, sewage contains a natural substance that can be broken down by the environment easily. 90% of sewage contains water. However, in practice, sewage contains all other chemicals such as paper, plastic, and pharmaceutical products that they flush in the toilet.

    Also, when people are sick, they carry viruses with them. Thus, the sewage they produce carries those viruses and spreads in the ocean. Nowadays, it is possible to catch typhoid, hepatitis, and cholera from the ocean and river.

    Use of Toxic Chemicals for the Plants

    Also, farmers have used harmful fertilizers to produce more and cope with the growing population's demands. This results in an algal bloom in the water. When the oxygen level of the water increases, it can also cause the extinction of underwater plants and fish.

    Dumping of Chemical Wastes by Big Factories

    Detergents are chemicals dumped in the ocean. On the other hand, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are highly toxic substances, and their traces are found to be discharged into the environment today.

    Other toxic pollution found in the water is caused by chemicals such as mercury, cadmium, and lead.

    Lead is used in gasoline or petrol, but it has been restricted in some counties. Meanwhile, cadmium and mercury are still used in batteries. Recently, a chemical named Tributyltin (TBT) was also found in the affected bodies of water.

    In 1938, a Japanese factory discharged a huge amount of mercury metal in Minamata Bay. This heavy metal water pollution contaminated the fish stocks, and it took almost ten years for the problem to come to the attention of the authorities.

    By that time, locals have already consumed the fish, and about 2,000 residents were poisoned. More than 100 people became disabled and got killed.

    Discharge of Radioactive Wastes

    High concentrations of radioactive waste can cause great alarm to the public. It can cause illnesses such as cancer which can ultimately cause the death of a person.

    In Europe, the biggest source of radioactive pollution is Sellafield and Cap La Hague. These companies discharge radioactive waste into the ocean, which the currents carry around the world.

    Norway has been receiving significant doses of radioactive pollution from Sellafield, and the government has repeatedly been complaining about the company. Both the Norwegian and the Irish governments have been continuously pushing for the plant's closure for years.

    Oil Spills

    According to studies, 12% of the oil that enters the ocean is due to tanker accidents, while 70% of it comes from people pouring down oil on the land and standard shipping.

    However, tanker oil spills are destructive since it releases large amounts of oil at once. In the United States, one of the biggest oil spills is in 1989 when the tanker Exxon Valdez broke up in Prince William Sound in Alaska.

    During this incident, around 12 million gallons of oil were dumped in the ocean. With this, about 1000 to 2,000 sea otters and 250,000 seabirds were affected. Also, billions of salmons and herring eggs are destroyed due to the oil spill.

    Throwing of Plastics in the Ocean

    Plastics are one of the most common materials that can easily get washed away by the waves.

    Today, plastic is used in almost any manufactured object, from the clothes we wear, home items, and automobile parts. It is lightweight, and it floats easily. However, plastics are non-biodegradable, and they can affect the survival of marine life for a very long time.

    Some people may say that plastics are not as poisonous as other chemicals, but they also present danger to the fishes, seabirds, and other marine animals.

    For example, plastic fishing lines and other waste materials can choke and strangle a fish. Also, about half of the population of the world’s seabirds have eaten plastic, and experts have found residues on their stomachs.

    Introduction of Alien Species in the Marine Environment

    Water pollution can be caused by alien or invasive species introduced into a new system to which they do not belong. When they are outside of their normal environment, they don’t have natural predators. They can run rapidly in the wild and crowd the usual plants or animals that live in the place.

    For example, the zebra mussels in the Great Lakes of the United States are carried by the wastewater flushed from the ships in Europe. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean Sea has been attacked by alien algae, while the Black Sea is an alien jellyfish.

    Other Forms of Pollution

    Some forms of pollution include thermal pollution coming from the power plants or factories, which causes issues in the rivers. The rising temperature in the water can reduce the amount of oxygen present in the water and decrease the aquatic life that the river can support.

    Also, the disruption of sediments or the fine-grained powders that moves from the rivers into the sea must be considered. The water dams built as water reservoirs or to produce hydroelectric power can reduce the sediment flow. With this, the formation of beaches and flow of nutrients is reduced while the coastal erosion is increased.

    Meanwhile, increased sediments can be a problem too. During construction work, rock, soil, and fine powders can enter rivers in large quantities and make them turbid, silted, or muddy. The additional sediment can block the gills of several fishes and suffocate them. Thus, construction firms nowadays are spending their efforts to prevent this thing from happening.

    The Effects of Water Pollution

    9 Things That Causes Water Pollution And Its Possible Solution

    On the Environment

    Disrupted Web Chain

    A healthy ecosystem is dependent on the complex web of organisms such as plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria, that interact with each other. This kind of interaction can be direct or indirect, but it creates a chain effect once one group is harmed. Such is the case in aquatic environments.

    Water pollution can cause the death of the animals found in the water. It can kill various types of animals such as whales, dolphins, fishes, and even birds. If an animal gets killed, all other animals will be affected, and the system will be disrupted.

    Heavy Metal Ingestion

    Chemicals and heavy metals from municipal wastewater and industrial wastes contaminate waterways, too. Once they reach aquatic life, it reduces the organism’s life span and ability to reproduce. As a response, organisms make their way up the food chain as predator eats prey. One example of this is that of tuna and other large fishes. They accumulated high amounts of toxins such as mercury.

    Marine Animal Strangulation

    Marine debris can strangle, starve and suffocate animals. Much of this solid debris are plastic bags, soda cans, metals, and other manufactured materials that get swept into sewers and storm drain then into the sea. This made the ocean a big dumpsite and formed floating garbage patches. Discarded fishing gear and other types of debris are responsible for harming more than 200 different species of marine life.

    Algal Blooms

    Another case is an algal bloom in a lake or marine environment. This is when an excessive growth of algae covers an entire surface of a body of water. The organism living underneath would lack essential nutrients to live, such as oxygen and sunlight. This lack of oxygen is called ‘eutrophication’ which suffocates the plants and animals. It will create a ‘dead zone’ where the marine environment is devoid of life. In some cases, these harmful algal blooms could produce neurotoxins that trouble the wildlife, from sea turtles to whales.

    Ocean Acidification

    This happens when the pH level of the ocean decreases and thus increases carbon dioxide in the ocean, posing a great risk to the animals. This includes shelled animals and corals. Though the ocean is a great carbon sink, it absorbs carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, burning fossil fuels makes oceans more acidic. Aside from shellfishes and corals, it also impacts the nervous system of sharks, clownfish, and other marine life.

    On Human Health

    Unsafe Water

    Water pollution kills. It can affect humans by acquiring various diseases. People can get hepatitis from eating seafood that has been affected by polluted water. 

    Every year, unsafe water makes 1 billion people ill. In 2015, it killed 1.8 million people, according to The Lancet. Low-income communities are disproportionately at risk because their homes are often closest to the most polluting industries. 

     Water-borne Pathogens

    They are in the form of disease-causing such as bacteria and viruses from human and animal waste. They cause major causes of illness from contaminated drinking water. Cholera is a common issue due to contaminated water, and it has killed many people in all parts of the world. Other diseases such as typhoid and giardia are spread through unsafe water.

    Even in wealthy nations, illegal or accidental releases from sewage treatment facilities, including runoffs from urban areas and farms, contribute to the harmful pathogens to waterways.

    Serious Health Risk

    Every year in the US, 8,000 to 18,000 people are admitted to the hospital for Legionnaire’s disease - a respiratory infection resulting from exposure to contaminated water aerosols from engineered water systems. The actual number may be likely higher because many infections are not diagnosed or reported. Its cases are cropping up from California’s Disneyland to Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

    Heavy Metal Contamination

    Cost-cutting measures and aging water infrastructure in Flint, Michigan, created a plight in its residents due to the recent lead contamination crisis. It offered a stark look at how dangerous chemical and other industrial pollutants in the water can be.

    The problem goes far beyond Flint. It involves much more than lead because of a wide range of chemical pollutants-from heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury to pesticides and nitrate fertilizers. These heavy metal chemicals are getting into the water supplies. Once ingested, these toxins can cause many other health issues, from hormone disruption to cancer to altered brain function. Children and pregnant women are, particularly at risk.


    Even swimming has a risk. Every year, 3.5 million Americans contract health issues such as pink eye, skin rashes, respiratory infections, and hepatitis from sewage-laden coastal waters, as EPA estimates.

    Indeed, water pollution is gradually destroying the balance of the ecosystem. This is the people's fault because the majority of the bodies of water are now polluted, and its rehabilitation can take many years.

    Prevention and Solutions to Water Pollution

    One can easily do his part in preventing water pollution today. One of the main things to do is never to throw garbage in the sea. You can do this by minimizing your waste material and by recycling things that you can still put to good use.

    Here are some ways that you can do to prevent water pollution:

    With Your Environment

    • Plant trees or any plants near bodies of water so that when it rains, the topsoil with personal chemicals will not get washed away. Big trees will help prevent soil erosion. When the soil is eroded, the pesticides and chemicals on the land will be washed away and carried on the sea. But if there are big trees to stop the eroding of the soil, the oceans will be protected.
    • In maintaining your lawn, do not use pesticides or any fertilizers. You can prevent highway runoff by simply avoiding pesticides.
    • If you wish to use cleaning liquids, be sure that these are environmentally safe.
    • Do your part by picking up some litter that you see in the environment. Pick up those candy wrapper, plastic, and others. With this, you can also lead as a good example and encourage others to do their part.
    • Avoid using plastics if possible, especially when dining. Say no to straws, plastic cups, and plastic utensils when you dine and get out on the beach.

    With Your Actions

    • Be responsible for the amount of water that you use every day. If you watch how much water you use, you will be surprised to save a huge amount of money on your bill. For example, when you brush your teeth, use a cup instead of allowing it to flow endlessly.
    • When cooking your food, do not throw excess fat or oil down in the drain. Drain your dirty dishes in the container and discard them as a solid waste once they are full and dries.
    • Do not make your toilet your wastebasket. Do not flush unnecessary things in the toilet because this will only clog up your drains. It is unsustainable, and it will only lead to massive pollution in the end.
    • Switch to the use of a water-efficient toilet in your home. If you think this is costly, you can use a brick or a ½ gallon container to reduce the amount of water released in each flush and reduce the space. With this, you can save water that is being unnecessarily flushed down the toilet.
    • It is not also advised to put oil or any chemicals in the toilet or sink since this may end up in the groundwater.
    • Some people flush down the unused pharmaceutical drugs down the drains until it accumulates into massive amounts. You can prevent this incident from happening by dropping off the unused medicines at a drug drop-off which is usually organized by the government and other organizations.
    • Reduce your plastic consumption and reuse or recycle plastic whenever you can'.
    • Throw your chemical cleaners, oil, and non-biodegradable items in proper places that they won't end up down the drain.
    • Always keep your vehicles in good condition so they won't leak oil, coolant, or antifreeze. This is to avoid oil spills in the water.
    • If you have a yard, consider landscaping that avoids or reduces the runoff. Also, avoid applying pesticides and herbicides.
    • If you have a dog, make sure to pick up its poop.

    With Your Job

    • Food waste in your workplace can be a good source of going to landfills. It is better to recycle your food waste.
    • Use signs for your recycling systems in workplaces.
    • If you are a farmer, allow your animals to graze only when it is a well-vegetated pasture to prevent soil erosion. If you have a garden at home, avoid the use of pesticides to make your plants grow.

    With Your Industry

    • Please measure your waste to share your results and challenge in your business to reduce the amount of waste they produce. You can take measures to reduce that particular type of waste from that specific area of your business if you notice you are generating a lot of different types of waste from a specific area of your business.
    • If you are in the manufacturing industry, review your processes, then try and discover a way to use your raw materials more efficiently. For example, check if these materials can be recycled within your business's manufacturing process.
    • One business's waste can be another's a resource. If you want to reduce your business's industrial waste, look at the waste that can be utilized as a resource in another business's manufacturing process. This manner of exchange can help prevent waste from becoming waste, which is a first step in the waste.
    • Reduce your amount of packaging. This can be done in two ways. First, reduce the amount of packaging on the products, and second, compare the packaging of any products your purchase. For example, many products reduce their packaging when bought in bulk. This is a remarkable way of reducing the waste you produce.
    • You can also hire a professional waste management business that can provide various waste management services designed to manage your wastes. This service will be effective and in a responsible manner that causes minimal disruption to your business.

    With Your Voice

    • One of the most effective ways to stand up for our waters is to speak out in support of the Clean Water Rule, which is in the scope of the Clean Water Act that protects the drinking water of one in three Americans.
    • Tell the federal government, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and your local elected officials that you support the Clean Water Act. You may also learn how you and those around you can get involved in the policy-making process. Public waterways serve every American. We should all have a say in how they're protected.


    9 Things That Causes Water Pollution And Its Possible Solution

    In sum, water pollution has been one of the major issues of countries around the world. Water is essential in our lives, and we cannot just ignore the fact that the world’s source of clean water is depleting.

    The government spends billions to rehabilitate bodies of water and save their people from disasters.

    Water pollution is caused by all citizens, whether those are small-scale unto huge oil spills and waste disposals by big factories. Everything that we do will ultimately destroy the bodies of water, from disposing of plastics in the sea, flushing drugs in the toilet, or using pesticides for the plants in our garden.

    However, we still have time to prove our worth on this planet and save mother earth from destruction. We must change our lifestyle and live. Go green and save the water.

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