Clean water is extremely essential for a healthy living. It is life’s most important basic necessity while dirty water is one of the deadliest killers. UN has estimated that 10 people die every minute from contaminated water. The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of all sickness and disease in developing countries is due to unsafe water. As water pollution is one of the most widespread problems and it has deadly effects, I chose this topic. Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies (e.g. lakes, rivers, oceans and groundwater). Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds. The project includes the Global perspective, National perspective, possible scenarios and my personal views about this issue.
Water pollution today happens all over the world. Many major cities and countries form a part of it. The top five polluting countries are China, USA, Russia, India and Japan. The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns. Some 6,000 children die every day from disease associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene – equivalent to 20 aircrafts crashing every day.
According to UN statistics every day 2 million tons of human wastes are disposed of in water bodies. In developing countries, 70% of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply.
The sources of water pollution throughout the world are,
· Fertilizers: Synthetic fertilizers can easily leech into lakes or rivers with the help of rainwater or excessive watering leading to water pollution. Fertilizers being drained into the rivers or lakes cause enrichment in nutrients and give rise to growth of algae. Projected increases in fertilizer use for food production and inn waste water effluents over the next 30 years suggest there will be 15% global increase in nitrogen flow into rivers.
· Chemical industries: They release harmful chemicals into river and water bodies. Today these wastes need to be treated before releasing but not much attention is paid to this and so, waste is released into water without treating. Sewage contains a high amount of pathogens and when it reacts with water causing oxygen to be removed. So removal of oxygen from water life becomes impossible in water.
· Oil Spills: Africa has highest amount of polluted water, South Africa to be specific is most polluted country. The government has taken control over the pollution by putting measures and treating wastes before disposals. Africa being a developing continent, cannot afford the cost of treating all the waste and in some industries they dispose the waste directly in water bodies. People there don’t focus on harvesting the rainwater like in China or India.
In Europe, the most polluted coasts are of Lithuania and Estonia, 70% of all surface water is polluted due to industrial activities. Poland has high rate of water pollution which causes shortage of water for industrial use. Baltic Sea is considered to be most polluted in the world.
In Asia most polluted waters are to be found in China. 70% of China’s water is heavily polluted. This is due to untreated sewages and industrial influence. About two million people suffer from serious disease caused by unsafe water.
It is well known fact that US tap water is safest in the world, generally safe from microbes and chemicals. However, this is true for some states only, while some states are still getting contaminated water. Many Americans still drink tap water without even knowing it. Congress in America passed The Water Act in 1974 that could set national limits on certain contaminants in tap water. In 2009 the EPA warned that threats to drinking water have increased.
Australia has a low rate of water pollution which is declining in near future. Many water projects are going in Australia and people are enthusiastically helping to solve the problem of unsafe drinking water. Main source of pollution at Sydney’s beach is affluent discharge from north head, Bodi and Malabar waste water treatment plants. Natural small creeks and drainage lines have been replaced with networks of canals and pipes. Waste water treatment plants collect waste water and remove solids and then treat waste water before realizing it into the environment.
Starting the treatment of water today can help us save large numbers of lives. Thus, it forms a major crisis in the world. Time has come to solve it.
I am an Indian, to be more specific from the state of Gujarat and a city named Rajkot. I’m very privileged to live in a country which is water adequate. It is adequate which means it is enough for need, but unfortunately not enough for greed. Its a fact the water will be the world’s most serious issue in the coming years. Someone rightly said that the third world war will be over water, considering India Fights have already started on small scale over water. At present the following states of India are involved in legal battles over the following rivers. For example the states Kerala, Tamil nadu, Pondicherry and Karnataka are fighting over the river Kaveri and Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are fighting over river Krishna.
India is amongst the top water polluters in the world. Since several decades, industrial wastes like chemicals, oils and other poisonous things are discharged into the rivers in large quantities. In India, rivers have a great religious importance and they are considered holy. People travel miles to bathe in these rivers. Due to these pollutions, the water which was considered ‘Amrita’ (Immortal Drink) has now certainly become poison. Till some extent bathing in the river does cause water pollution but there are other several religious rituals like ‘Visarjan’ and flowing of Asthiya. Not just the religious customs but even the sewage is drained into these rivers. People even wash their clothes in the river. It has been found that expired medicines and used injections are thrown into the rivers. Out of the 1400 km of the river Yamuna, 600 km from Panipat to Etawa has been officially declared to be dead (this means this stretch of the river has 0% dissolved oxygen meaning that neither can water support any type of life nor is it suitable for any kind of use).
Experts have found out through surveys that the level of coliform (harmful bacteria) in water to be a dangerous 50 in 100ml in drinking water. For bathing water, it is an approximate of 500 per 100ml. More than 500 means that the water is not even fit for bathing and it has been found that Delhi’s level of coliform is between 9,000,000 and 10,000,000. This is the condition of the capital city; it can be assumed that in other parts of the country the conditions are worse. Even though the Indian government has introduced many acts outlawing water pollution it is unable to enforce it strongly and people are still dumping wastes into water. Industrial wastes are also dumped into the ground by injecting them deep inside, this pollutes the underground freshwater.
In India water pollution in itself is a major issue, but it is also impacting on the health of the people. The industrially polluted water is treated by ordinary techniques, which still are not able to filter out the heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. This water is used in agricultural practices, and the produced crops for example the fruits and vegetables contain these poisonous substances in small quantities which can cause health problems like:
Lead: affects the IQ level of kids.
Mercury: affects people’s brains. It also affects pregnant women and maybe passed on to their children through blood and breast feeding. This may also lead to mutation.
I all personally face a lot many problems due to water pollution. As I live in Rajkot, a city which lies within the watershed expansion of Aji riverbasin and it is a network of 19 natural drainage courses, loally known as ‘Voklas’. Unfortunately these voklas are being used for sewage disposals resulting in pollution of Aji –river in downsream of Aji dam, which collects the water from Aji and Nyari river, therefore both the dams are fully polluted. An analysis of different water bodies in downstream of Aji dam indicates the most of water bodies within city limit are contaminated. Pollution of underground water due to electro-plating industries and sari-printing industries is also observed.
POSSIBLE SCENARIOS :
Today, water has become a major world issue. It affects the world, it means it affects each of us human beings. The concentration of water pollution is expected to increase in future, as with the growing trend today, water has become a major world issue. It affects the world; it means it affects each of us human beings. The concentration of water pollution is expected to increase in future, as there is going to advancement in industries, agriculture and may other contributing factors of water pollution. The problems are going to multiply in the future. Starting from the effects on the mankind, 75% of the world’s human population will have fresh water shortages, some of a very serious nature.. This will include Western developed countries. (Already in 2008, 1/3rd of humanity was struggling daily for fresh water for drinking, cooking and washing).
Presently the health is already affected badly, if all the water gets polluted the scenario will worsen. Water is a major issue but it can be even more problematic in the future as the quality of the water is deteriorating. Of fresh water that is available for use, a high degree of pollution of all types is likely (organic, chemical and energetic).
If this continues to happen than many problems can occur like diseases spread due to bad quality of water will increase and medical facility will need to be provided. If bad water reaches farms than whole of the produce will be ruined and people will fall sick and economic problems will be faced by the farmers and the vegetable market will have chances of collapsing. Clean water will not be available for drinking, the level of pollution will have risen so much that it would be very expensive to get and only a few people will be able to afford it. Again due to this the people falling ill will increase.
And filtering water may become expensive as the water would be more polluted than before and so coast of processing and filtering of water will increase by a large number. Salination of the coastal regions form rising seas, with salt seeping into ground waters, again it will add to government’s costs and so people will have to pay more for drinking water than today.
Collapse of artesian supplies from overuse and insufficient run back underground, the ground water is therefore depleting. If states today are fighting for water today people might fight for water and small issue about water may start a fight that might be difficult to stop. If not acted now the future of water is going to be very bad. [Word count- 1856]
http://www.nationmaster.com/red/graph/env_wat_fre_pol-environment-water-freshwater-pollution&b_printable=1&v=1022 http://www.grinningplanet.com/2005/07-26/water-pollution-facts-article.htm – USA http://home.deds.nl/~jamedia/The_last_drop/Water_Pollution.html- WATER POLLUTION (overall) http://www.grinningplanet.com/2005/07-26/water-pollution-facts-article.htm -science – WATER POLLUTION http://www.unwater.org/statistics_pollu.html – UNITED NATIONS (statistics) http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases/en/- HEALTH AND WATER POLLUTON http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/en/-HEALTH AND WATER POLLUTION http://www.satyamevjayate.in/issue12/indiasays/- NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE (INDIA) http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/keyword/water-pollution- INDIA water issues http://www.livestrong.com/article/268337-future-effects-of-pollution/#ixzzz24e64z8mw- Future scenario
Courtney from Study Moose