Water pollution: causes, consequences, and solutions


One of the biggest problems in the world today is the lack of access to fresh and potable water for sanitation. If, in addition, we add the problem of water pollution, the picture worsens. Pollution is produce by discharging waste, fertilizers, pesticides, or chemicals that end up in fresh water and that end up contaminating saltwater as well. On this problem, the  NGO InpirAction  says: “More than 1,000 million people will suffer from water shortages in the future due to pollution, overpopulation, and climate change, which affect the sources of this essential resource.”

In turn, according to the  2016  Unite Nations report on the development of water resources in the world, almost 80% of the jobs that make up the global workforce depend on access to an adequate supply of water and services. relate to water, including sanitation.

Causes and consequences of water pollution

Water is essential for growing and processing food, and it also provides energy for the industry to supply a growing population. Poor management of municipal, industrial and agricultural wastewater has led to dangerous contamination or chemical pollution of the water that hundreds of millions of people drink. Water pollution has also led to the loss of parts of aquatic ecosystems as invasive algae spread rapidly, feeding on all the nutrients that come with the waste.

An important aspect is the division of the water according to its degree of contamination. The first is polysaccharide: water that is heavily pollute with organic carbon, characterize by a population of specific organisms and usually with a very low concentration and even total absence of oxygen. The second is mesosaprobiana: organisms that live in environments with a moderate amount of organic matter and a variable amount of dissolved oxygen, such as some chlorophyte algae. Finally, there is the oligosaprobiana: wastewater discharge areas into a river, where the waters have reached the appearance and characteristics of their natural state.

Polluted water

How does water Pollution Generate?

Water pollution is generate by different types of discharges: process water, sewage, and white water. The first is a discharge from the production process, so its pollutant load will depend on industrial activity. The second is generate in the toilets and assimilable to domestic wastewater. And the last one is usually call “raw waters” due to their pre-purification nature. Their importance is that they are the basis for the production of water for massive human consumption.

Insufficient or improperly manage water and sanitation services expose the population to preventable risks to their health: diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and polio. This is especially true in the case of hospitals where both patients and professionals are expose to greater risks of infection and disease when there are no water, sanitation, and hygiene services.

According to an article in Social Health Responsibility in October 2016, an estimate 842,000 people die each year from diarrhea as a result of water contamination, insufficient sanitation, or poor hand hygiene. This infection is highly preventable but is still responsible for the deaths of 361,000 children under the age of five, deaths that could be prevent if these risk factors were address.

In places where water is not easily accessible, people may consider hand washing, not a priority, increasing the likelihood of the spread of diarrhea and other illnesses. Diarrhea is the best-known disease relate to food consumption or water contamination. However, there are also other dangers: Almost 240 million people are affect by schistosomiasis, a serious and chronic disease cause by parasitic worms contract by exposure to infest water.

Some Other cuases of water Pollution

Furthermore, in many parts of the world, insects that live or breed in water are carriers and transmitters of diseases such as dengue. Some of these insects, call vectors, grow in clean water, and household drinking water containers can serve as breeding grounds. Just by covering these containers, it is possible to reduce the breeding of vectors and also reduce the fecal contamination of water in the domestic environment.

Another cause of water pollution is deforestation in coastal areas and the growing demand for the construction of gigantic buildings. This makes the soils in those areas vulnerable. In turn, if we add that the paving does not allow the infiltration of river water when it rains, the ecosystem is serious damage. This favors that the salty waters seep underneath contaminating the fresh waters.

Solutions to water pollution

Here are some possible solutions to the problem of water pollution:

1) Plant trees on the banks of rivers or lakes.


As a general rule, a river must have a considerable strip of native forest on both sides to avoid erosion and thus preserve its natural depth. Likewise, on the banks of rivers, trees fulfill the important mission of conserving water, flora and fauna that make up natural ecosystems.

2) Proper use of products by industries


Pollution prevention includes practices that reduce the use of hazardous materials in order to protect natural resources. In turn, another preventive measure would be the change of the product including modifications in the composition to reduce the volume and toxicity of the waste during its life cycle. In this way we take care of and protect ecosystems and the environment in general.

3) Use the bicycle


The best way to reduce water pollution is by reducing the use of fossil fuels and the best way is to do it by bicycle. In turn, it is a measure that benefits our economy because we reduce costs associate with fuel, parking and moving by bicycle is between 50 to 100 times cheaper than moving in a car.

4) Reduction of the use of chemical products in plantations


To replace the use of products that are harmful to the environment, there are various products of biological origin that contribute to the control of pests in an effective and healthy way, such as biostimulants, biopesticides, and elicitors.

The former are substances of biological origin that promote the development of plants and improve their metabolism. The latter makes the plants more resistant to adverse conditions, such as droughts or pests. The latter is use mainly for pest control in agriculture. The biopesticide bacteria cause disease in insects and stand out for having little effect on other organisms and for being respectful with the environment. The latter stimulates the secondary metabolism of plants and is closely relate to crop protection and productivity.

5) Control discharges


In order for water pollution to reduce, there must clear and concise professional training for the operators in charge of the production lines of the industries. A first step would establish and publicize written procedures that describe, depending on the product spill, the actions to carry out, the order in which they have to carry out, and the materials to be use. In addition to having in the storage areas a wastewater collection system independent from the general system, and installing water consumption meters.

A second step would be to recirculate the water from the cooling circuits, after cooling, in cooling towers or heat exchangers. In turn, separate wastewater containing toxic and/or organic pollutants from uncontaminate waters.

A third step would be to carry out inspections of the hydraulic network and collectors and establish maintenance and disinfection plans for the facilities and equipment. Likewise, establish a leachate collection system that prevents their uncontroll discharge onto unprotect soils.

The last step would be to introduce trays, gutters for the collection of spills and drips in the mouths of the transfer tanks and the packaging line. In addition, collect chain lubricant drips and store spent earth separately from the rest of organic waste generate during the harvest.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we must consider which planet we want to live on: paying attention to species that are in danger of extinction and using technology to do good and save the environment. Let’s give importance to these types of activities that benefit all the beings that inhabit this beautiful planet. By contributing our share of solidarity with the ecosystem, we can be part of the solution and thus we can see the long-term results.

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