In the Earth, water covered about two-thirds and seventy-six perfect of our body is made up of water. Water is the most significant resource on the planet and human cannot live without it. It is the essence of all life on earth. As we can see, if there is a river or lake around our surrounding, the problem of water pollution would be come out. In Malaysia, water pollution becomes a serious problem and impacts negatively on the sustainability of water resources.
What is the meaning of water pollution? Water pollution is defined as the presence in groundwater of toxic chemicals and biological agents that exceed what is naturally found in the water and may pose a threat to human health and the environment. Additionally, water pollution may consist of chemicals introduced into the water bodies as a result of various human activities. Any amount of those chemicals pollutes the water, regardless of the harm they may pose to human health and the environment.
Water pollution always caused by human activities. There are two sorts of sources, which is point and nonpoint sources add to the pollution of water. Point sources such as factories, sewage treatment plants, underground mines and agriculture discharge the pollutants at specific locations through pipelines or sewers into the surface water. Nonpoint sources like means sources that cannot be traced to a single site of discharge. Examples of nonpoint resources are acid deposition from the air, pollutants that are spread through rivers and traffic. Nonpoint pollution is difficult to control because the perpetrators cannot be traced.
Extraction of Raw Materials
In recent years, many of new homes and infrastructure began to develop, it means that large quantities of mineral resources must be extracted and transported, often over long distances. Many trees need to be cut down for development. So, water pollution will caused by urbanization and deforestation. Although it does not have a direct impact on water quality, urbanization and deforestation have a lot of indirect effects. For instance, cutting down trees and concreting over large areas generates an acceleration of flows which does not give enough time for water to infiltrate and be purified by the ground. Inefficient waste disposal systems and lack of proper sanitation facilities lead to waste and sewage ending up in rivers.
Mining pollutes of water of surrounding communities through cyanide contaminated waste ore and other abandoned mine waste including toxic metals and acid, which often get released into lakes, streams and the ocean. When these substances get into waterways, they poison water life and killing fish. Pollutants on construction sites can also soak into the groundwater, a source of human drinking water. Groundwater is much more difficult to treat than surface water when contaminated.
Manufacture of Building Materials and Components
Sewage also cause water pollution because many people direct throw the rubbish in the river. Disposing sewage in water is one of the major reasons of water pollution. This is because many people take it easy and throw their rubbish in the river. Sewage disposed into the sea from households as well as factories can cause water pollution. Sewage disposal lead to a number of water-related illnesses such as diarrhea which is a leading cause of death among children.
Sewage-contaminated water causes eutrophication, which is the increase in concentration of chemical elements required for life. The nitrates, phosphates, and organic matter found in human waste serve as a food for algae and bacteria. This causes these organisms to overpopulate to the point where they use up most of the dissolved oxygen that is naturally found in water, making it difficult for other organisms in this aquatic environment to live. The bacteria are basically strangling the other organisms. Some of the organisms that do overpopulate from this can also be disease-causing microorganisms. Phosphates are also found in soaps and detergents, but there are other household products that we use every day that can be toxic to many animals and humans if they are dumped directly into a water body.
Construction of Building
Construction and clearing land often put sediment in rivers and bodies of water. Filling in wetlands takes away natural water filters that can break down many pollutants before they reach other water bodies. Oil, debris, paint and other harmful chemicals also can runoff with water and sediment from construction sites.
The additional sediment can block the gills of several fishes and suffocate them. In addition to the impact of marine life, human health will also be affected accordingly. Common waterborne diseases, largely from parasites and bacteria include legionnaire’s disease, severe acute respiratory syndrome, cholera and Hepatitis A, blood flukes, and E.coli. These diseases can happen by drinking polluted water or eating seafood that has accumulated these harmful substances in its tissues.
Operation and Maintenance of Building
Nowadays, there are many factories are built in surrounding area. Water pollution becomes more serious in today because of dumping of chemical wastes by big factories. Factories will dump a type of detergents which are one of the chemicals in the ocean. On the other hand, the Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are highly toxic substances, and its traces are found to be discharged into the environment today. Other toxic pollution that is 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 as 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 fishes, and about 2,000 residents were poisoned. More than 100 of people became disabled and got killed.
Aquatic and marine life is very sensitive to the condition and temperature of water bodies. Thermal pollution can happen when harmful chemicals are deposited at the bottom of a water body. Over time, this can cause a serious health issues for people living nearby, animals and marine life.
Review on Current Initiatives Done to Improve Water Pollution
The problem will not vanish by itself; to continue to ignore it will make a future solution more difficult to achieve. Thus, there are a few of solutions can be carry out to overcome water pollution in our surrounding areas.
Firstly, education can help to tackle the problem of water pollution. In the early 1990s, when surfers in Britain grew tired of catching illnesses from water polluted with sewage, they formed a group called Surfers against Sewage to force governments and water companies to clean up their act. People who’ve grown tired of walking the world’s polluted beaches often band together to organize community beach-cleaning sessions. Anglers who no longer catch so many fish have campaigned for tougher penalties against factories that pour pollution into our rivers. Greater public awareness can make a positive difference.
Moreover, laws and regulations can also help to prevent and reduce water pollution, if the laws and regulations are effectively designed and carried out. Local, state and associate laws, as well as international efforts must limit people’s ongoing destruction of water resources and give penalty for those who might otherwise dump contaminants into the river.
For these regulations to work well, the government should be based on science and designed in a way that prevents flaw and makes them easy to understand. They also need to be enforced honestly without improper exceptions. If they do not enforced laws and regulations and just let those who make water pollution in anywhere, this will let the problem of water pollution more serious.
Besides that, reduce pollution from oil and petroleum liquids can reduce the problem of water pollution. The first level solution to this type of water pollution is to stop letting so much oil and oil by products get into the water in the first place. So, we must reduce the occurrences of oil spills. But now more importantly, we must reduce the amount of petroleum pollution getting into waterways from non-spill sources, which contribute far more to the problem than spills.
Personal Remark On Water Pollution
In my opinion, water pollution already becomes one of the major issues of the 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 used up. Every year, the government needs to spend lots of money to rehabilitate bodies of water and save human 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 cause the destruction of the bodies of water, from disposing plastics in the sea, flushing of drugs in the toilet, or using pesticides for the plants in our garden. Save the water is not only the responsibility of the government, but other people also needed to give a helping hand to save water. However, we still have time to prove our worth in this planet and save mother earth from destruction. We must change our lifestyle and live simple. So, let us start to go green and save the water.