Types of water pollution
Types of water pollution refer to the contamination of water bodies which happens because of pollutants that get into it before their harmful compounds have been removed. This is a major problem that affects both animals and people, and it should be taken seriously because the damage it can cause could be irreversible. The worst of all effects water pollution has on life on Earth is death and it is proven by the vast number of people that die every year because of the toxic agents. So far the number is 14,000 and it keeps growing. The most common sickness and is known to be deadly is stomach sickness.
Unfortunately, even countries that have strict policies and are provided with facilities where it can be filtered, still find it extremely difficult to deal with such a big issue. It is hard to keep track of everyone who pollutes because very often it happens silently and in remote areas. What is more, it can sometimes happen accidentally, which does not change the fact that it takes place every day.
It can get contaminated in a variety of ways. One of them is associated with animal waste. What happens is that heavy rain or a flood will lead the waste into ponds or streams, and from there it will reach other bodies. Also, the harmful compounds that cause the contamination circulate in the air and when a rain storm occurs, they get mixed with rain and that is how they end up in the bodies. A very common situation and therefore affects the ecosystems greatly is when oil is spilled. Usually, oil platforms and tankers hit or are hit by something, which results in enormous oil spills the damage from which is permanent.
Two main types
The first one is called point source and it is used to describe pollution that comes from one single source the location of which can be identified. The other type is called non-point source and it comes from more than one combined sources. In the majority of cases this type is caused by rainfall or snow meltdown. It collects chemicals and animal excrement when it moves through or over the ground, and all these pollutants later reach various bodies this way.
As for the point source, it is usually caused by factories which discharge toxic components that enter the ecosystem. It differs from the non-source because of the fact that the non-source can come from multiple sources. All types are limited to a certain area, although in some cases it reaches places thousands of miles away from the original source. This is known as transboundary one. There are many sources that these different types of contamination come from, and these sources are the following: nutrient, surface, oxygen depleting, ground, microbiological, chemical, and suspended matter.
- Nutrient – when too many nutrients are releases, they start acting as fertilizers, so all the vegetation, for example algae, starts growing too fast and in too big quantities. This means that the plants will need more oxygen than usual and once they use it all up, there will not be enough left for the other living organisms.
- Surface – this is the type that can be seen because it refers to all the rubbish that floats on the surface. Tons of plastic, cans and other man-made products are used every single day and unfortunately are thrown away in the most inappropriate of places – streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. It also refers to the huge oil spills that are lethal to a great number of marine creatures.
- Oxygen depleting – it is similar to the Nutrient Water Pollution and refers to the reduced amount of oxygen by biodegradable materials. When too much of these substances enter, they provide more food for the microorganisms that live in it. This leads to increasing the numbers of these microorganisms which also means that more oxygen will be required for them to live. This depletes the level of oxygen and allows anaerobic organisms to grow. The problem with the increased number of anaerobic organisms is that produce extremely dangerous toxins, for example ammonia and sulfide.
- Ground – this is the type that everyone should worry about. It is caused by the pesticides and chemicals that people use in agriculture. These toxic substances reach the underground wells and aquifers that are the main sources of drinking for the population of the planet.
- Microbiological – this type refers to drinking directly from the source without any treatment beforehand. The microorganisms that are naturally contained in the it are not necessarily harmful, but there are bacteria and viruses that can affect both all life and humans by causing serious deceases.
- Chemical – this type can be considered the most wide-spread of all due to the excessive industrial and agriculture work nowadays. Tons of chemicals are used on a daily basis which are later disposed into bodies or are taken there by rainwater. The poisonous substances contaminate and put all life in danger. The harmful toxins and pesticides kill the fish and can poison anyone else who drinks from it. Moreover, if people, birds, or other animals happen to eat the poisoned fish, they will also suffer adverse consequences.
Although big industries are usually blamed for it, there are many other less popular sources the impact of which should not be underestimated. When it comes from agriculture and from domestic sources also causes serious harm to the environment. There are ways to reduce humans contribution to water pollution.