Many people are not aware of how water pollution can affect them and the environment. Our planet’s surface is covered in 70% water, and human beings are composed of over 60% water. We need clean water every day to maintain optimal health, and any changes to our water quality effects other animals and our marine ecosystem. Understanding the effects of water pollution on our environment helps us to recognize the need for change. A great deal of change is required at the national level, but even smaller changes made in your own home and neighborhood can make a real difference.
No-one wants to talk about sewage problems, but they are a significant cause of water pollution. Sewage from domestic, industrial, and commercial sources, is pumped into the sea, and this pollutes our oceans. This problem is made worse when people flush away chemicals and waste pharmaceuticals that can have a devastating effect on water quality. Sewage, agricultural runoff, and fertilizers often contain organic material that can cause a depletion in the oxygen levels of water and promote the growth of harmful algae. Over time, the aquatic flora and fauna in our waterways will die, and this will later the ecological balance.
The dumping of solid material waste into our waterways is another major cause for concern. This waste can be dumped by factories, businesses, and individuals in a number of different ways. There are people that throw solid waste, such as plastic bottles, cardboard food containers, plastic six pack rings, aluminum cans, and plastic wrappers in our streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Some of these materials offer a direct physical threat to aquatic life, plastic bags and rings can wrap around them, causing them to become trapped, and then they suffocate.
At the other end of the scale, some factories use water to carry their solid waste away from their manufacturing plants and out into our waterways. This waste can include solid materials, such as asbestos, waste oil, petrochemical byproducts, mercury, and even lead. All of these materials are pollutants that present a serious threat to human and animal life.
The Health Implications
Many people don’t know that water is an extremely effective solvent, it can dissolve many materials given enough time, and this includes pollutants. We rely on our municipal water treatment systems to remove these dangerous pollutants, but this is not 100% effective, and the water delivery system can be compromised. This has been demonstrated in the media in the past few years with water pollution scandals in many parts of our nation. Lead in water is a particular problem that can result in health issues, such as anemia, loss of memory, seizures, and developmental problems in babies and young children.
What Can You Do?
The most important thing is to secure a source of clean and safe water for you and your family. Installing your own water treatment system will help you to deal with the water pollution problems in your area. Next, dispose of out of date pharmaceutical products and chemicals in a safe manner and avoid flushing them away. Finally, always dispose of your solid material waste in a recycling area and cut up any plastic to avoid snagging aquatic creatures.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.