How humans activities are altering biogeochemistry and cycling in the water cycles

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 24 September 2016

How humans activities are altering biogeochemistry and cycling in the water cycles

Men have been involved into different activities that are aimed at the production of important goods and other products for his survival. Through the employment the diverse action towards production of goods and services, there are usually those by-products which perhaps are released as waste to our environment in which we live. Generally, any change in the earth’s chemical composition would have a potential changes in the biota and even the climatic conditions.

It is believed that the composition of these wastes that are released to the various environments has fundamental impacts of altering the natural earth chemistry. The alteration of earth’s chemistry affects the cycles of nature like the water cycles which is by itself an integral part of the biogeochemistry. Due to the high impacts which may result from the chemical transition of the earth, it is paramount that the human activities are observed to known the methods in which mankind may contribute to these biogeochemistry changes. . (Hallock and Schlager, 1986) Agricultural sewage

Man has always relied on agriculture for his satisfaction of food requirement. The increase in population has led to the intensification and extensive use of land. Due to the overpopulation, invasion of barren lands has been attempted to increase the physical land available for agricultural activities. The practice of the food and animal products in most of these areas call the application of either irrigation techniques or use of soil enriching nutrients. Most of these substances which are used in the soil enrich are fertilizers which are produced from agricultural industries.

(Hallock and Schlager, 1986) The agricultural wastes are thus expected to contain traces of worn out particles and ions of iron from the plant manufacture. In addition to the presences of iron, other chemical materials required for the production of chemical fertilizers to some extent finds their way in the sewage wastes. This may includes certain chemical such as magnesium. Iron and magnesium in the earth’s soil may be influenced by the presence of other ions within the water and soils systems.

The introduction of these impurities of iron and magnesium to the lakes greatly affects the composition of the chemical ions in the lake water systems. These ions of iron and magnesium react with other abundant ions within the water systems such as sulfate and nitrate forming new compounds altering the chemical compositions (Back, 1979) In the terrestrial land especially in those areas water catchments, sulfates and nitrate ions plays a very important role. They are believed to take part in the control of the level of these iron and magnesium.

The excessive released of these iron and magnesium ions from agricultural wastes would usually alter the ability of control of such ions making them to accumulate to higher level where they can be termed as pollutants. The effect of iron and magnesium ions however various as their control level by the nitrate and sulfates ions of and also depend on the level of depth. This means that excessive release of these ions would also affect the nitrates and sulfate ions in the waters systems and soil. (Vollenweider, 1968) Addition of chemical fertilizers

Man’s activity of soil enrichment to improve its fertility level is another ways in which the chemical compositions of the earth have been changed. Most of the farming lands have for long time been under cultivation leading to depletion and decrease of plant nutrients. The use chemical fertilizers have always been of prime use to the mitigation of soil fertility for high land productivity. Through the use of these chemical, some have been excessively used such that plant do not utilize them wholly. In most case they remain in the soils were they bind with water available for it to be dissolved.

The kind of fertilizers which highly in used is the potassium and sodium nitrates and sulfates which can easily be dissolved. During high rainfalls that lead to flooding or the used of flood irrigation method, these chemical fertilizers are leaked to the water systems at the surrounding places hence there both a changes of the chemical composition in the terrestrial land and in the aquatic systems. (Hallock and Schlager, 1986) The release of these chemical ions to the water sources like lakes is of paramount importance of the aquatics lives.

For instances, the enrichment of the water environment with nitrate ions leads to rapid sprouting and development of plant species. This quick growth of the plant displaces the water volume by reaching the maturity and decomposing to contribute to water particulate matter. Through the process of eutrophication, there is increased plant decay thus releasing enormous quantities of carbon dioxide to the atmospheres. (Bormann. and Likens, 1970) Sewage sludge Sewage has several material compositions other than the dissolved chemical substances.

Most of the physical materials are eliminated through the sewage treatment processes. However, the separation of the organic and inorganic materials helps men to make manure or fertilizer from the organic portions. Though the materials are treated for safe handling by the human being as fertilizer materials, these manure leads to accumulation of the sewage sludge. The accumulation of the sludge in particular dumping site changes the soils chemical composition. These being mostly organic materials, it means that there high formation of carbon compounds which will be developed in such cite.

However, there are other chemical compound which are produced by the natural decomposition especial nitrates and therefore highly in the soil chemical composition. There decomposition of the materials in the sludge releases other chemical such as calcium ions which are convertible to the various carbonates compounds. While the nitrates would enable rapids growth in plants, the presences of calcium ions in the soils accelerates the dissolving of the soil rock. (Bormann. and Likens, 1970) The increase in soil dissolution causes the rates of soils erosions to high.

As soils erosion rates increases, there is relative increase in the silting process of the water sources such as rivers and lakes. This decrease the water source depth and therefore reduction of water volumes. The long term effects of the silting process in that elimination of the waters bodies is likely to take place. (Back, 1979) Conclusion Through the use of sewage loading to the lake has high impact to the water source. This is because there is a mass transfer of chemical substances directly and indirectly to the system.

The practices of the sewage loading to the lakes has got the potentials of disturbing the water ecosystem through the formation of toxic blooms and the silting of the lake by erosions and decay process of the huge plants materials formed from heavy and rapid supply of necessary products. This shows that environment of the lake is likely to change and be comprising of plants as the major vegetation and living thing. The increase in CO2 gas due to plant decay processes would cause a major change in the environmental temperatures as this is a major green gas pollutant.

In addition to increased CO2 gas release; there would be great reduction of the oxygen supply in the lakes due to plant cover over the water surface leading low support of aquatic organisms and animal (Vollenweider, 1968) Reference: Back, W. (1979), Geochemical significance of groundwater discharge and carbonate dissolution to the formation of Caleta Xel Ha, Mexico, Quintana Roo Bormann, F. and Likens, G. (1970), Nutrient Cycling Hallock, P. , and Schlager, W. (1986), Nutrient excess and the demise of coral reefs and


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 24 September 2016

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