Any contamination of water with chemicals or other foreign substances that are detrimental to the human, plant, or animal health is called water pollution. This can include pollution to rivers, lakes, streams, creeks, and even oceans. Water pollution can occur in several ways, but there are usually two main categories: direct and indirect contaminants. These contaminants which come from many different sources can be subcategories as organics, inorganic, radioactive, and acid/bases.
Direct contaminants are usually describing pollution caused by factories, waste treatment plants, refineries, and other urban industries. This type of pollution occurs because these industries directly pour their waste into streams and rivers, which lead out into our water bodies. These wastes include very harmful substances as radioactive waste. In addition, the hot water discharged from these plants increases the temperature of the water, which also changes the water chemistry; resulting in a process known as “thermal pollution”.
Indirect causes include contaminants that enter water supplies from soils and groundwater. Soils contain residues from human agricultural actions such as fertilizers, pesticides, and other forms of improperly disposed of waste. Atmospheric conditions such as rain, or snow showers, pick up dirt, and silt and transfer them into larger bodies of water. Gaseous emissions from automobiles, factories, industries, and even bakeries, also play a part in the atmospheric cycle, which re-introduces the gases to the earth in the forms of various showers.
The effects of water pollution on any body of water can be devastating to the environment, the people, and the animals that depend on that source of water.
The effects of water pollution vary greatly depending on what type of pollutant is involved and how large the body of water is. Major metropolises tend to notice more severe effects of water pollution, this is due to garbage, and chemical dumping that occurs either legally or illegally, resulting in a mess of water with foul odors, as well as toxicity. Fertilizers and oils also cause trouble by choking out vegetation, which is vital to healthy water systems. This results in the water system emerging into green, slimy swamps, full of dead fish and unpleasant smells.
One of the most seriously troubling effects of water pollution is the death of marine life that makes its home in the aquatic ecosystem. Many types of marine life including Fish, birds, whales, and dolphins have perished on beaches, becoming noticeable casualties of water pollution. This type of pollution affects the food chain from the microorganisms to human beings, who encounter infectious diseases such as hepatitis because of eating contaminated seafood. Pollution can also affect the quality of life of humans, by taking away jobs from crabbers, fishermen, while placing stiff limitations on recreational pastimes such as sport fishing, and swimming.
The effects of water pollution are not always immediate or immediately noticed at the point of contamination. The parties responsible for the pollution sometimes never think of them. Clearly, the problems associated with water pollution have the capability to disrupt life on Earth enormously. In the United States, Congress has passed laws to try to combat water pollution, acknowledging that water pollution is, indeed, very serious in how it severely affects the human race. If there are no measures taken and water pollution continues, life on earth will suffer severely. However, with knowledge, consideration, and preparation, water pollution could decrease.