Factors leading to water pollution, causes, effects and prevention


In recent times with the gross rate of water pollution over our water bodies there is a need to address this global challenge. As Earth's population continues to grow, individuals are putting ever-increasing pressure on the planet's water resources. In a sense, our oceans, rivers, and different inland waters are being "squeezed" by human activities; not so that they take up less space, however, so their quality is reduced. Poor water quality is termed water pollution.

Pollution is a human problem because it's a relatively recent development in the planet's history: before the nineteenth-century technological revolution, people lived more in harmony with their immediate environment. As industrialization has spread around the globe, so the problem of pollution has spread with it. it's amazing we thought that earth's population was much smaller, no one believed pollution would ever present a serious problem. It was once popularly believed that the oceans were way too huge to contaminate. Today, with around seven billion individuals on the earth, it has become apparent that there are limits. Pollution is one amongst the signs that humans have exceeded those limits. "water pollution"


What is water pollution

Water pollution involves the contamination of water bodies like oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and groundwater, this is usually caused due to human activities. Water pollution is the change in the physical, chemical and biological properties of water that will have a detrimental consequence on any living organism

Thus, pollution is all concerning quantities: what quantity of a polluting substance is discharged and the way huge a volume of water it's released into. A small amount of a toxic chemical might have very little impact if it's spilled into the ocean from a ship. But the same quantity of an equivalent chemical will have a far larger impact pumped into a lake or river, wherever there's less clean water to disperse it. "water pollution"

 Difference between water contamination and water pollution?

These two words might sound like they mean a similar thing, however, there’s a small distinction. Water contamination refers to any scenario in which water contains something other than water. Only pure water will be thought-about freed from any contaminants. if the water contains trace amounts of salt and minerals, it is virtually contaminated. As you can see, contamination isn’t continually a nasty thing, although the connotation of the term implies that it is. Contamination may be something as simple as hard water in your tap or as important as E. coli outbreaks.


How much water contamination does it take for pollution to occur?

Basically, there's a cutoff point at which water contamination becomes pollution. It all has to do with the quantity and severity of the contaminant present in the water. For example, trace amounts of copper are actually useful in water, and lots of treatment facilities can add this to fresh water to provide some much-needed nutrients to the people who drink it. if copper is present at higher concentrations, it can seriously poison anyone who comes into contact with this water. Only when copper is present in an exceedingly high enough quantity will it become a pollutant rather than a contaminant.

How do we know when water is polluted?

Some forms of water pollution are evidently obvious in our societies: most of us have seen TV news with footage of oil spillages evidently shown as forms of pollution..

There are two basic ways of measuring the quality of water; they include.

  • To take samples of the water and measure the concentrations of various chemicals that it contains. when the chemicals are dangerous or the concentrations are too great, we can regard the water as polluted. Measurements like this are referred to as chemical indicators of water quality.
  • Another way to measure water quality involves examining the fish, insects, and different invertebrates that the water can support. If many various kinds of creatures can live in a river, the quality is probably going to be very good; if the river supports no fish life at all, the quality is obviously much poorer.
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Areas at greatest risk for water contamination

Although we all face water contamination often, there are some places where it’s more of a priority than others. For example, anyplace unsanitary conditions are present, the water is much more likely to be contaminated with bacteria, parasites, viruses, and more. People who live downstream from factories are more seemingly to experience contamination from chemicals and waste, while anyone living in a rural community near a lot of farms may be at bigger risk for contamination from chemical pesticides." water pollution"


Causes of water pollution

Most pollution does not begin in the water itself. For instance, take the oceans; around 80 % of ocean pollution enters our seas from the land. Virtually any human action will have an impact on the quality of our water environment. In agriculture when farmers fertilize their crops, the chemicals they use are gradually washed by rain into the groundwater or surface waters nearby. Sometimes the causes of water pollution are quite stunning. Chemicals discharged by smokestacks (chimneys) can enter the atmosphere then fall back to earth as rain, entering seas, rivers, and lakes and causing water pollution. That's called atmospheric deposition. Water pollution has many various causes and this can be one amongst the reasons why it's such a tough problem to solve



sewage is a completely natural substance that ought to be broken down harmlessly in the environment.

With billions of individuals on the world, disposing of sewage waste could be a major problem. Sewage disposal affects people's immediate environments and results in water-related sicknesses like diarrhea that kills 525,000 kids under 5 every year

Proper handling and management of waste matter are of great concern, sometimes sewage waste is pumped untreated into the sea. Unfortunately, even in rich countries, the practice of dumping sewage into the sea continues.

The trouble is, sewage is usually discharged in abundant larger quantities than the natural environment can deal with. Relating sewage to agriculture- Chemical fertilizers utilized by farmers also add nutrients to the soil, which drain into rivers and seas and augment the fertilizing impact of the sewage. Together, sewage and fertilizers can cause a massive|an enormous|a vast|a colossal} increase within the growth of algae or plankton that overwhelms huge areas of oceans, lakes, or rivers. This is referred to as a harmful algal bloom (also referred to as a HAB or red tide, because it can turn the water red). It is harmful because it removes oxygen from the water that kills different sorts of life, resulting in what's referred to as a dead zone. "water pollution"


chemicals washed down drains and discharged from factories will cause water pollution. About half of ocean pollution is caused by sewage and wastewater. Each year, the world generates maybe 5–10 billion tons of industrial waste, much of that is pumped untreated into rivers, oceans, and other waterways. Factories are point sources of water pollution, however, quite a ton of water is polluted by ordinary people from nonpoint sources; this is, however, ordinary water becomes wastewater in the first place. Virtually everybody pours chemicals of one kind or another down their drains or toilets.

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Oil pollution

water pollution
water pollution

Even considering oil by itself, tanker spills aren't as significant as they may seem: only twelve percent of the oil that enters the oceans comes from tanker accidents; over 70 percent of oil pollution at sea comes from routine shipping and from the oil people toss off drains on land. However, what makes tanker spills thus harmful is the sheer amount of oil they release at once; in other words, the concentration of oil they produce in one very localized part of the marine environment contaminate the complete environment and surrounding water body.



Plastic is the commonest substance that washes up with the waves. There are three reasons for this:

  • plastic is one of the foremost common materials, used for creating nearly all types of manufactured object from clothing to automobile parts;
  • plastic is lightweight and floats easily, therefore, it will travel enormous distances across the oceans;
  • most plastics aren't biodegradable (they don't break down naturally in the environment)

which means that things like plastic bottle tops will survive within the marine environment for an extended time. (A plastic bottle will survive an estimated 450 years in the ocean and plastic fishing line will last up to 600 years.)

While plastics aren't toxic in quite the same way as poisonous chemicals, they, however, present a serious hazard to seabirds, fish, and alternative marine creatures. "water pollution"


Chemical waste

Another kind of toxic pollution comes from heavy metals, like lead, cadmium, and mercury. lead was once usually employed in gasoline (petrol), although its use is currently restricted in some countries. Mercury and cadmium are still utilized in batteries (though some brands now use different metals instead). Until recently, an extremely toxic chemical known as tributyltin (TBT) was utilized in paints to shield boats from the ravaging effects of the oceans. Ironically, however, TBT was gradually recognized as a pollutant: boats painted with it were doing as much injury to the oceans as the oceans were doing to the boats.


Radioactive waste

People see and consider radioactive waste with great alarm and cautiousness—and for good reason. At high enough concentrations it will kill; in lower concentrations, it will cause cancers and different sicknesses.


Effects of  Water Pollution

Diseases: In humans, drinking or consuming contaminated water in any way has several unfortunate effects on our health. It causes typhoid fever, cholera, hepatitis, and varied different diseases.

Other Effects:

  1. Eutrophication: it's been observed that Chemicals in a water body, encourage the growth of algae. These algae kinda layer on high of the pool or lake. Bacteria feed on this algae and this decreases the quantity of oxygen in the water body, severely affecting the aquatic life there.


  1. Destruction of Ecosystems: Ecosystems are very dynamic and respond to even little changes in the environment. Water pollution will cause a whole ecosystem to collapse if left unchecked.


  1. Tourism – Places that rely on their natural or manmade water sources to attract tourists have a lot to lose when that water gets contaminated. No one desires to go to a lake that’s well-known to contain high levels of lead, for instance, so the economy within the city surrounding it suffers. Even water parks can be doomed by pollution.


  1. Fishing – The fishing business has already taken an enormous hit from pollution and contamination both, which doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. People who fish for a living have found the amount of potential fish for them to catch dwindling more and more over the past many years due to contamination in fresh bodies of water. This shift in the economy affects people that buy fish for restaurants, people that eat at those restaurants, the communities surrounding them, and so on.
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  1. Bacteria – The bacteria that may be present in contaminated water vary from beneficial to deadly, and the severity of every bacterial contamination situation differs from one to the next. Serious bacteria present in the water will cause sicknesses like typhoid, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, coli contamination, and far more. This is common in places where conditions are very unsanitary/unhygienic and water isn’t sent to a treatment facility before it’s used in taps, such as in developing countries.


  1. Parasites – Parasites can easily be found in virtually any source of freshwater. They tend to live in water, where they will be simply eaten by humans and animals like. From there, they set up in several parts of the body—usually in the digestive system, but not always—and lay their eggs, leading to an infestation of the body in question. Sometimes parasites will exist in human bodies while not the slightest indication, but in most situations, they lead to digestive upset, fatigue, fevers, headaches, and sometimes much more serious health effects. Some parasitic contamination will cause death, especially in young children and in the elderly.


  1. Affects the food chain: Disruption in food chains happens once toxins and pollutants within the water are consumed by aquatic animals (fish, shellfish etc) which are then consumed by humans.


Prevention of Water Pollution

  • The best way to stop large-scale water pollution is to undertake and reduce its harmful effects. There are numerous little changes we can create to shield ourselves from a scary future where water is scarce.


  • Save Water: Water wastage is a major problem globally and we are only now awakening to the problem. Simply little changes you can create domestically can create an enormous difference.


  • Better treatment of sewage: thus treating waste product before disposing of it in a water body helps to scale back pollution on a large scale. Agriculture or alternative industries can reuse this wastewater by reducing its toxic contents.


  • Use environmentally friendly products: By using soluble products that don't continue to become pollutants, we will cut back the quantity of pollution caused by a household.


  • We can take community action too, by helping out on beach cleans or litter picks to keep our rivers and seas that small bit cleaner. And we can take action as countries and continents to pass laws which will make pollution harder and the world less polluted. Working together, we can make pollution less of a problem—and the world a much better place.



The effects of water contamination and pollution are felt around the world. When you pitch in to assist prevent and clean up these issues, you’re doing something to assist everyone—not just yourself.

You can suggest other efficient ways of combating global water pollution using the comment box.










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