Water pollution

Water pollution and the significantly adverse effect it has on health

health impact of water pollutionIt is present in seventy percent of the human body, two-thirds of the Earth surface and is the thing we can live without for no more than a couple of days. However, millions of people around the world do not have access to fresh potable sources. Unfortunately, even those of us who have a need to be careful since it is often with bad quality. The main causes of concern are connected to the agricultural, household and industrial waste which all contribute to the bad condition. The well-developed countries are claimed to experience difficulties in tackling the chemical discharge and the developing ones are believed to suffer from the agricultural waste. The good thing is that although the potable water is full of disease-causing substances, the problem can be solved by taking the appropriate measures.

Groundwater contamination

Persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals which can be found in it at certain spots also severely damage the health. Serious diseases can be prevented by simply ensuring access to clean fresh one everywhere on earth. However, this turns out to be quite an onerous task. The large cities face fewer problems of this kind when compared to the villages. Those who pay more enjoy safe potable aqua while those who do not are forced to rely on hand pumps or wells and similar primitive and not so reliable resources. Citizens, however, cannot always be sure in the quality they use as it may be contaminated by sewage leakages which contain various harmful substances and bacteria.

A couple of contaminants.

  1. Pesticides. Agricultural activities, as well as landfill leakages, do a lot of damages. They impact the ecosystems in adverse ways. Furthermore, the pesticides are not easily washed away from both the soil and the water which means that they remain there for a long period which is detrimental for the wildlife too.
  2. Sewage. The developing countries do not have an adequate sewage management systems which are extremely problematic when it comes to the health of the people living there. Numerous organic materials which the sewage discharges need enormous amounts of oxygen so as to degrade and this definitely disturbs the aquatic life. In the sewage, we can find different pathogens which carry diseases.
  3. Nutrients. Household, industrial and agricultural waste contain chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorus as well as livestock manure, detergents or fertilizers which can result in eutrophication. The surge in the use of fertilizers contaminates it and this increases the levels of nitrates in the potable water. However, the safety levels can be ensured provided good practices are adopted by the agricultural producers.
  4. Synthetic organics. The worst thing about the presence of the thousands of the synthetic compounds is that most of them are found in the water and build up in the food chain. The toxic chemicals and the pesticides from the industrial and agricultural waste are deleterious for our health. They accumulate in fish for example and when it is consumed by the people, it can lead to the deterioration of our health condition. On top of that, the overuse of certain pesticides contaminates the potable water and further damages our health.
  5. Acidification.ThisĀ  problem affecting mainly reservoirs and lakes are a product of the increased use of means of transportation which emit noxious gases into the ambient air. The power plants which emit sulphur dioxide are also contributors especially in the US and Europe.
  6. Chemicals present. They can appear there naturally, but more often than not their presence is caused by the human activities and can also have a negative effect on our health.
  7. Fluoride. Its presence is considered even salubrious because it ensures dental and bones protection, but increased levels can be dangerous.
  8. Arsenic. Generally the arsenic presents in the water but its quantities are immensely increased by phosphorus contained in different fertilizers. A clear instance of its negative effect on us are the arsenic skin lesions from which most of the people living in West Bengal were suffering from a couple of years ago. It was proved that this condition was caused by the high concentration of arsenic. Although it was proved that the arsenic was naturally present there, analogous problems may be seen in areas where its content is not monitored and controlled.

Its sources are a lot. The pipes and the fittings of some plumbing systems used in the household are the major culprits.

Recreational use.

Recreational use of polluted waterNot only is used for drinking but also for recreational activities such as swimming or sailing. The industrial, agricultural and household waste leads to pollution which makes the use for recreational purposes quite inappropriate and health-threatening.

  • Petrochemicals. They are present in the petroleum storage tanks and damage the groundwater too.
  • Different heavy metals. They are the product of mining, tailing or dumps of hazardous waste and landfills.
  • Chlorinated solvents. Factories throw away metals and plastic and other contaminants which adversely affect the quality of the groundwater. The water-borne diseases are caused by bad quality. The faecal waste leads to enteric infections which are caused by bacteria or protozoa and other agents. The encouraging news is that provided there are appropriate sanitary conditions, these problems can be eliminated. If there are not this means that many of us will suffer since these diseases are extremely infectious. Cholera as well as dysentery, hepatitis and typhoid are other water-borne health problems which do exist mainly in the tropical regions but also plague other areas. The chemicals naturally existing in the water as well as those presenting in it due to the human activities dissolve in it and cause the above mentioned and other diseases.
  • Pesticides. The substances which can be found in the pesticides not only affect the nervous system but can also lead to malignancies. Multiple pesticides are found to contain carcinogens in quantities far above the safe ones. The chlorides which can also are a pesticide ingredient can damage the endocrine and the reproductive systems. The lead endangers the central nervous system when it amasses in the human body. The representatives of the riskiest group are the children and the pregnant women.
  • Fluoride. Although it is considered as even salubrious, the fluoride in big quantities can be dangerous for our health.
  • Nitrates. Their presence in the water can be detrimental for babies drinking formula milk due to the fact that the oxygen reaching the brain is limited and this may result in the ‘blue baby’ syndrome. The nitrates are also found to be responsible for causing digestive tract cancer. They also cause algae blooming which causes eutrophication in the surface.
  • Petrochemicals. Petrochemicals such as the benzene and others lead to cancer.
  • Chlorinated solvents. Chlorinated solvents are associated with some cancers as well as reproduction problems.
  • Arsenic. It’s excessive presence in the water can lead to vascular and liver and nervous system problems as well as various malignancies.
  • Other heavy metals. Similarly to the arsenic mentioned above, they affect negatively the nervous system or the kidney and disrupt the metabolism.
  • Salts. They make the water non-potable and unfit for irrigation.

Polluted water exposure can lead to problems to different chemicals and bacteria. Some stagnant basins become a breeding area for the mosquitoes and habitat of various insects and parasites which carry and cause different diseases, especially in the tropical locations.

Preventive measures

If the water resources are appropriately managed few of the above-mentioned health problems will bother us nowadays. Adequate preventive activities have to be planned and undertaken. The safeguarding steps which are necessary are neither difficult nor that expensive when taking into account that our health and the ecosystems stability are at stake. The supply of it in the cities needs to be duly monitored and disinfection needs to be carried out whenever necessary. The household members, on the other hand, need to filter or otherwise treat the water so as to be sure that it is not infected. Another important measure which has to be taken is the pipes to be frequently checked for cracks or leaks.

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