Essay on Water Pollution! Read this essay to learn about:- long essay on water pollution, essay on water pollution for class 5, essay on water pollution and its prevention,water pollution essay for students, water pollution college essay,causes of water pollution essay!
1. Essay on Water Pollution (For Students):
Water is undoubtedly the most precious natural resource and comprises over 70 percent of the earth’s surface of our planet. Without water life can’t be imagined on earth. Even well aware about this fact, we disregard it by polluting our rivers, lakes, and oceans.
Subsequently, we are slowly but surely harming our planet to the dangerous point where organisms are finding difficult to survive and are dying and a large number of species are on the verge of extinction. It is now urgently needed to understand the extent of the problem and to find out the causes in order to combat water pollution.
Global estimates suggest that nearly 1.5 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water and that at least 5 million deaths per year can be attributed to waterborne diseases. Water bodies of oceans covering over 70 percent of the planet have been thought by man to serve as a limitless dumping ground for wastes.
Raw sewage, garbage, and oil spills have begun to overwhelm the diluting capabilities of the oceans, and most coastal waters are now polluted. Beaches around the world are polluted from sewage disposal, and marine wildlife is in danger because of high amounts of bacteria.
In 1972, United Nations (UN) sponsored the first international conference on environmental issues which was held at Stockholm, Sweden. The most important outcome of the conference was the creation of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).
It became the first UN agency to be headquartered in a developing country, with offices in Nairobi, Kenya. In addition to attempting to achieve scientific consensus about major environmental issues, a major focus for UNEP has been the study of ways to encourage sustainable development increasing standards of living without destroying the environment. Beginning with only 11 member countries of UNEP in 1972, the number had grown to 106 within ten years including 70 developing countries.
When water is unfit for its intended use, it is considered polluted. Water pollution is defined as the addition of any substance or material to a body of water making it foul or unclean and dirty and unfit for health of man and animals. Consumption of such water for drinking or its entry into body after its use in any other form for short or long duration adversely affects the health of organisms.
2. Essay on Water Pollution (For High-School Students):
The limited availability of fresh water and its unequal distribution make water pollution a matter of great concern. Water pollution is generally localized and confined, making it more severe. In underdeveloped countries, sewage is a major source of water pollution. Human excreta contain 400 different species of bacteria and viruses.
Even well-treated sewage contains pathogenic bacteria and virus, unless properly chlorinated before being discharged into any water course. Sewage is a major contributor to water-borne diseases and affects the health of people and other organisms in the environment in many ways.
Industrial effluents from sugar factories, distilleries, tanneries and paper industries are accompanied by very high organic loads by products of paper and pulp industry cause depletion of fish upto as far as 40 km downstream. The wastes from oil refineries and steel industries contain phenol which imparts a strong odour, apart from poisoning the water body.
Fertilizer industry wastes contain ammonia, urea, phosphate and sulphate which, in water, cause algal blood and are toxic to aquatic fauna and flora. Alkaline industry wastes contain mercury which can kill human beings who consume mercurised fishes. Lead generated from battery, printing, petrol and paste-processing industries, trace and toxic elements such as zinc, copper etc., and effluents from mining industries are injurious to aquatic organisms.
Water in which maximum permissible concentration of any single or more constituents is in excess is unfit for drinking and human health.
There are definite tolerance levels for water used for different activities such as drinking, bathing, irrigation and industrial purposes. Depending on its use, there are different physio-chemical and bacteriological standards for water.
3. Essay on Water Pollution (For Teachers):
There are two ways in which the water in rivers, lakes or even in oceans can be polluted. Contamination of water by faecal matter is an age-old problem. Contamination by chemicals is another way of polluting water. The practice of discharging human waste in water has been prevalent from historical times and it is unfortunate that in many third world countries it is still the greater source of water contamination. The quality of water is greatly diminished and its consumption may cause several diseases.
Around the world 2 million tonnes of excrement is produced and only 2% is cleaned up. Rest of it floats in rivers, oceans, lakes and ponds. In our four major metropolises one out of every four slum dwellers defecate in the open since there are no latrines available for them. Thus six million people defecate along the Railway lines, near ponds or the rivers-all polluting the water system. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of sewage system, water treatment and unavailability of centralized supply of drinking water even for those who have permanent households.
The water borne diseases spread like epidemic and kill tens of thousands of the people. Such effects are more pronounced in heavily populated cities of developing countries where large proportion of population dwells in slums. 1.5% children in developing countries are killed by diarrheal diseases due to poor sanitation.
For decades the governments, especially the city governments, have assumed the responsibility of supplying water to its residents. The water so supplied is meant to serve the drinking needs and other sanitation needs like bathing, washing and cooking. In our part of the world we do not even think of using water for amenities though watering the gardens in cities is not uncommon.
The water for drinking is first and foremost need and every individual must drink at least 2 liters of water every day. For keeping people healthy, and happy provision of sewage is also very important. The developed countries estimate that the needs of an individual will be satisfied if 150 times the drinking need is supplied through taps.
In USA about 500 liters of water per person is consumed every day. In Chennai which has lowest per capita supply of water among all the metropolises, 70 liters per capita per day is supplied to 58% of population in the city and 29% of population in the rest of the metropolis.
18% households have no water connection on the premises. 29% of the population draws drinking water and water for other needs from shallow water sources. Only 31% population is connected to sewage system. In such a situation we can expect the raw sewage to mix with watercourses.
Meena Planappan of Pacific Institute wonders that both London and Chennai were disgusting places, full of excrement and diseases in 1800s but London has almost revitalized the Thames, while Chennai Rivers are still sewers. The colonial government did not make identical plans for the two cities. There are several other examples of cities to show that the basic needs of water are not fulfilled.
In other developing countries the situation may be even worse. 2.5 million Slum dwellers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, have inadequate water availability and only 30% of the population has sewage connection. Half of population of Karachi, Pakistan, lives in informal residential area, called kutchi abadi. This presents a unique example of cooperative efforts of people in providing water and sewage connections. Half of the 71% of the informal residences are provided water connection through self-help.
84% of informal residences have sewage connection out of which 62% come from cooperative efforts. All those households, which do not have water supply, buy water for their needs. The piped water supply to large number of villages of India is not available but cities mostly have water supply through local administration. Large natural or man-made water bodies serve as reservoirs and water from the reservoirs is often mixed with ground water to make supply at a comfortable level.
However, in most places water treatment is not sufficient to remove all effluents and it causes health problems. For example nitrates pass through the taps of Bhopal city and arsenic is reported to be found in ground water in the State of West Bengal. The sewages from cities often end up in the rivers and lakes and water is assumed to be having natural capacity to cleanse itself. Water does have this capacity but only to the limited extent.
Domestic sewage and untreated human and animal wastes bring with them bacteria, viruses, protozoa and parasitic worms. All these pathogens may cause diseases in humans. These pathogens may increase their population if warmth and moisture is present in the air and then drinking water may cause several gastrointestinal diseases. Several bacteria decompose the organic waste in the water and during this process of decomposition they consume oxygen, which is dissolved in water.
This dissolved oxygen supports the aquatic life that may die if aerobic bacteria while decomposing organic waste consume too much of oxygen. The loss of oxygen is measured in terms of biological oxygen demand (BOD) and increased value of BOD indicates presence of large number of bacteria.
The organic matter is also decomposed by anaerobic bacteria, which do not require oxygen and such decomposition results in bad taste and odour in water that may also cause diseases. The inorganic nitrates and phosphates, mainly from farm runoffs, often find their way into water source.
These inorganic substances promote the growth of algae and aquatic plants, a process called eutrophication. The growth of algae and plants consumes oxygen and blocks sunlight from reaching the depth and therefore, kills aquatic life. The algae growth may also interfere with the intake of water supply from the reservoirs. The taste of water may also spoil due to due to odour. More dangerously the pollution of water comes from the industrial wastes and from chemicals.
Remember we had talked about persistent organic pollutants that find their way into water and air. They are dangerous to the human health and we will not talk about them anymore, yet it is mentioned that despite the ban on DDT as farm pesticide, it is still being used because of being cheap.
However, the use of pesticide in our country is on the increase and most of the pesticides are based upon these organic substances. Industrial emissions often add inorganic chemicals, which are water soluble. These chemicals may be salts of such heavy metals as mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic. These salts are poison and may cause diseases in human population even if consumed in very minute amount, over a long period of time.
There are several industries that allow their effluents to mix with the flow of rivers. Ganga has suffered from such chemicals for a long time but concrete results from intensive studies are not yet available. It is estimated that 114 towns and cities on the banks of Ganga dump their human waste, untreated sewage and industrial effluents directly in the river. The Ganga Action Plan, a $300 million project initiated in 1985, had envisaged cleaning of Ganga and treating its water at several stations.
The industries were directed to clean their discharges before entering the river. The success has not been achieved to the level required and desired. The people living directly on the banks of Ganga felt that their participation in the project was not envisaged.
The World Commission on Environment and Development in its report Our Common Future in 1987 drew a bleak picture of River Ganga. According to the report, out of 3119 towns and cities only 209 had had partial and 8 had full sewage treatment facilities.
On the river Ganga, 114 cities each with 50,000 or more inhabitants dump their waste into the river every day. DDT factories, tanneries, paper and pulp mills, rubber factories, oil refineries and host of others use the river to get rid of their wastes.
The Hooghly estuary is choked with untreated industrial wastes from more than 150 factories around Kolkata. Sixty percent of Kolkata’s population suffers from pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases related to air pollution.
The conditions of other rivers in the country are equally bad and they need a great deal of action. The Dal Lake of Srinagar in Kashmir, which was a beautiful resort has been polluted to the maximum extent through commercial use. 50% of the vegetables sold in Srinagar are supplied from natural and artificial islands in the lake. The floating shikaras occupy much of the surface, thus blocking sunlight to the aquatic life. The city’s sewage flows into the lake. The Central Government has prepared a plan to clean the Dal Lake.
Relocation of about 50,000 people living on the islands and a new sewage system for the city are the first steps in the plan. The Powai Lake, which was dug to the aquifer in 1891 for supplying water to the city of Mumbai, was completely polluted by industries and was not usable for any purpose since 1970s. This lake has been recently restored to its original glory through the US-Asian Environmental Partnership.
The lake bottom organic material, algae, foul odour, bacterial infections and mosquito infestations have been removed. The US-AEP has also helped Jal Bhagirathi Foundation in Marwar Region of Rajasthan in uniting communities to learn water conservation and rainwater harvesting. 17000 villagers in 230 villages of Marwar, Rajasthan have been helped in recharging their aquifer by creating small earthen-check dams. The gain has been 300% in economic production.
It is important to note that the water pollution in third world countries is the main cause of high death rates due to such diseases as cholera, typhoid, dysentery and diarrhea from both viral and bacteriological sources, while in the industrialized developed countries the chemical pollution is the cause of great worry. More than 1.7 billion people in developing countries do not have safe drinking water.
More than 3 billion people do not have facilities related to sanitation and thus are at risk of having their water contaminated. According to a study of United Nations Environment Programme, four out of five diseases in the third world are caused either by polluted water or lack of sanitation.
Water borne diseases cause an average of 25000 deaths in these countries. The developed countries have strict rules for cleaning and treating water, yet the sources of pollution are so many that pollution is not completely removed. They have, of course, proper sanitation for almost all population.
The long Mississippi River in USA has been the source of drinking water as well as industrial use all along its length and the cities in the downstream side receive drinking water which has passed through cleaning plants several times and only a few of them realize that their drinking water has passed through human bodies of upstream region.
It, of course, presents no medical problem because all biological contamination can be successfully removed by the cleaning methods and equipment marshaled by the municipalities. But the same systems can hardly cope with the industrial pollution. By the time the River Mississippi reaches its delta it is already loaded with PCBs and heavy metals. The entire 240 km stretch of the river in the State of Louisiana is dotted with 130 oil refineries and chemical factories, which use water of Mississippi and throw their wastes in the same.
The waste may comprise such toxic products as vinyl chloride and benzene. The largest number of deaths due to cancer of lung, gallbladder and stomach occur in this part of USA. The good proportion of population does not drink water from municipality supply, and prefer bottled water over it. The Great Lakes of USA and Canada, the largest fresh water lakes on earth, are polluted heavily due to industrial dumping.
Lake Michigan is so much polluted that the pregnant women in that region are advised not to eat fish from the lake more than once a weak. The shorefront industries were earlier the source of all chemical pollution that entered the lakes, but due to strict implementation of law these industries are now bound to clean their emissions before discharging them in the lakes. Yet these lakes still absorb a great deal of air borne pollutants although the law has saved them from direct industrial discharges.
Half of PCBs in Lake Michigan and 90% in Lake Superior are blown from industries that are hundreds or even thousands of km away. The cleaning of the Great Lakes is estimated to cost $100 billion. Even if such a cleaning feat is achieved there still remains a fear that some accidental oil spill may despoil the water of Lake Michigan as millions of liters of oil are brought in oil tankers to several ports. A number of cities including Chicago draw their drinking water from the Great Lakes and they will have to get their drinking water from other sources if oil spill occurs in the Lake Michigan.
The oil spill is a great polluter of water, which brings death to aquatic life on large scale. The big oil spills often come to our notice and there have been few like the one that occurred in Alaskan seashore or the one caused by Saddam Hussain in 90’s Iraq war. We were well informed of these oil spills but there are several oil spills that regularly occur in the rivers and ocean and are so small that they draw no attention. Unfortunately the effect of oil spills is cumulative.
The expert ocean explorer, Cousteau, believes that the ultra-thin layer on ocean’s surface, called the neuston, has been damaged due to cumulative effect of the oil spills. This thin membrane plays a crucial role in capturing and stabilizing the food supply for the tiniest sea organisms, phytoplankton. Thus these phytoplankton which are already under attack by global warming are further being weakened by oil spills, which accumulate over time.
The river and lake water pollution is not uncommon in Europe where Rivers Danube and Rhine are heavily polluted with chemicals despite several cleaning actions. Danube was once known for its beauty and its blue appearance used to be the delight of tourists but is no more so. Countless factories have poisoned its water and it further receives untreated sewage from the city of Budapest, Hungary. The River Danube simply stinks along its considerable length.
The River Elbe in Germany is poisoned with mercury and it is estimated to carry ten times as much mercury as River Rhine does. One classic example of large water bodies being polluted by ravages of industrialization, overpopulation and tourism is seen in that famous pearl of the Adriatic, the city of Venice.
At any given time of the year half of the population of Venice is made up of tourists. The city has no sewer system and the toilets flush directly into the canals. The canals, in addition, receive wastes from refineries, power plants, homes and filth of all kinds that the city may generate.
The water supply for the city comes from an underground aquifer and the increased tourism has resulted in over pumping from the aquifer, resulting in more than 100 mm settlement of the city, since World War II. Then there is some rise in the sea level due to the greenhouse effect.
The result is that the lowest region, the Piazza, is flooded about forty times in a year. All rivers and water bodies in Eastern Europe are badly polluted. In Czechoslovakia where until 1990s 70% rivers were being polluted and 40% of sewage was being discharged in the river systems, several actions are now afoot for cleaning the rivers.
The River Vistula in Poland carries so many poisonous and corrosive pollutants in its water that it cannot be used to cool factory machinery. In erstwhile USSR, the two large lakes, Aral and Baikal have been polluted to a great extent. A chemical plant producing rayon was situated on the shores of Baikal because of its clean water and the plant would discharge the used water into the lake.
This used water polluted the lake so much that the water was no more fit to be used in the rayon plant and hence equipments for cleaning the water intake had to be installed. Indeed there are several plants on the shores of Lake Baikal, which pollute its water. In 1989 a farm worker inadvertently threw the cigarette in the River Noren in Ukraine and to his great surprise found that the river caught fire and continued burning for five hours. About 40 years ago River Cuyahoga in Cleveland, USA, was so much polluted that it caught fire several times.
It may be important to note, that polluted surface water, both from lakes and rivers, percolates into aquifers and pollutes underground water also. The risk of underground water being polluted has been realized only during the 1980s. Ground water is also polluted by the landfills over the ground. The toxic materials leached from waste dump find easy access to aquifer, in which water may be either almost stationary or may move with a small speed of a few meters a day.
The concentration of pollutant in ground water may be much higher than found on surface. It is worthwhile to note that the toxic chemicals, which can be rendered harmless by some treatment in surface water, can remain poisonous for years in aquifer.
Whale oil that was soaked in the ground about 100 years ago on a British coast was recently found in the ground water. This place was a whaling centre in mid-19th century. Ground water lying underneath the agricultural fields has risk of pollution due to fertilizers and pesticides. The oil from underground storage tanks may leak into aquifer and form a slick on the top of water.
Similarly the chemicals are stored in underground containers in many industries and they are source of pollution due to leakage. Among the methods of disposing industrial waste, injection of waste in bored wells in the ground has become quite common. The care is taken that these wastes are injected at levels several hundred meter below the known aquifer but either accidentally or by mistake they have been found to filter in the aquifer and pollute the water.
Several states in USA have banned this practice of injecting the waste in underground wells. The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) in its report, in 2000, mentioned that Delhi ground water contained high pesticide residues like Lindane, Aldrin, Endosulfan, Dieldrin and DDT. In a recent study of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) it has been brought out that since bottling and soft drinks companies draw their water from underground source, the bottled drinks are likely to contain same residues.
A joint study by CGWB and CPCB in 1999 had found both Aldrin and Dieldrin in ground water of NCT, Delhi exceeding the safe limits prescribed by WHO. Arsenic has been found in the aquifer of Dhaka, Bangladesh that is likely to have entered from mine ore washeries and irrigation run offs from farms in the north.
Thus we see that there are number of ways in which the water can be polluted and the sources of pollution are also numerous. Interestingly, the problem faced by developing countries emanates from lack of technology and infrastructure, which do not permit these countries to supply cleaned and treated water and provide sanitation facilities. The consequences are loss of life due to diseases.
On the other hand the developed countries, which have access to technology of cleaning and treating water and sound sanitation systems, still suffer from water pollution but of a different nature. Yet the results are same, unnatural death of people.
Once again we emphasize the fact that the developing countries are in a better position, that they know in advance what effects will be caused by the industrial growth. They can design and site their industries to minimize the effect of industrial emissions on water and environment in general.
In a country like ours, it will be too much to ask a normal citizen if he knows everything about the water supply system from which he receives his drinking water. There are not many centres, which will be able to provide information regarding the quality of water. Government can take action by making University Departments to make tests on water from time to time and submit report to designated agency.
The questions that one must ask about his drinking water may seek the following information:
1. What is the source of water-surface water or ground water?
2. How is water treated?
3. If supply is wholly or partially from ground water source, then what is the nature of aquifer from which water is drawn?
4. Where are the recharge areas of the aquifer?
5. Are there any injection wells in the area and if there are, what do they inject?
6. Are there any suspected sources of pollution?
7. Are insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers used largely in the area of aquifer?
8. What is the exact analysis of ground water?
There are certified laboratories, which can perform tests on water samples and provide results. Those who make their own arrangement of water supply from underground source must get the water tested and find if there is need to purify water. In big cities the trend is setting that big conglomerates of households are making their own arrangement to obtain water from aquifer. In that case it may not be more difficult to obtain answers to above questions.
Most of our earth is covered with seas and oceans that contain 97.5% of all the water present on earth, which makes roughly 1230 million cubic km. It appeared to an observer who might have flown over the immense body of water that human being can do nothing, which would damage this water, but situation is not exactly like this. Blobs of degenerated oil and bits of human wastes have been found floating in empty South Atlantic.
Much damage to the seawater has come from the humans living on the coasts. The continental shelf water is a small fraction of total water of ocean, but it is the living part that is most important to the global environment. Unfortunately, it is the region where we dump our sewage, drill our offshore oil wells and cause most of the oil spills. Our rivers dump their burden of all the sewages, chemicals from factories, fertilizers and pesticides that they collect from farms.
We also cut back the supply of water to the oceans by damming them. All that water which we store behind dams is used for irrigation on the land itself and that much water is not available to dilute the impurities in the seas. About two third of all the water, flow from the rivers is used for irrigation and does not reach the ocean. All these contaminants reaching the coastal waters have eventually caused the extinction of several species of fish and catches of fish have reduced drastically in last quarter century so much so that many restaurants in England specializing in seafood have changed to serving pizzas.
Catches for California fisheries has dropped by 90% in 1989. The SCUBA divers off the Eastern Coast of USA found shreds of toilet paper at the bottom of the sea. In 1987 dolphins began dying along the New Jersey coast of USA in the Atlantic Ocean. When the bodies of dead dolphins were examined, they were found to contain PCBs. One dolphin was found to contain as high as 6800 ppm of PCB. The limit of PCB in edible fish is 2 ppm.
The hospital wastes consisting of hypodermics, soiled bandages, specimens of diseased blood and wastes of operation theatres have been found in seawaters near the beaches. The story of polluted seas continues in almost every part of the world, especially so in the developed countries. The Baltic Sea is filthy and Mediterranean is seething with chemicals.
Several beaches in Sydney, Australia, are unsafe for swimming due to raw sewage consisting of chemicals from industries to the extent of 40%. In 1988 Norwegian coast was inundated with yellow, brown algae and Norwegian Navy had to be called in to tow away the salmon, farming pens to safe water. Even The Hague, the prestige of the Netherlands, flushes its toilets directly in the sea to appear as chocolate, coloured mix at the beach resort of Scheveningen.
Reefs in the oceans provide a range of ecological services and goods. They shelter coastlines from storm damages, erosion and flooding, serving as a protection to estimated half billion people and they provide habitat to as many as one million different species. They also provide breeding grounds for commercial fisheries producing tenth of global fish catch.
The damage to the reefs has increased from 10% in 1992 to 27% in 2000. Though much of damage is attributed to the global warming, part of it is due to silt flowing from land. Around Caribbean Islands much of the reef has been damaged due to silt from deforestation flowing down into the sea.
Still greater risk to the seawater emanates from hazardous wastes dumped in the deep waters. The salt water of New York Harbours has been found to contain dioxin, which is a lethal poison. Toxic pesticide, lindane, is banned in seventy countries but manufactured in two countries, France and Spain. According to Paul Johnson of Greenpeace, 5 tonne of this chemical contained in a container lies at the bottom of English Channel.
If the lindane from the container leaks, it could kill all marine life in a strip of sea about 700 km long. Its effect would last for 20 years. The American and French nuclear tests created fallouts in the Pacific Ocean. The nuclear wastes from different sources have been dumped in the Atlantic Ocean because the countries generating them could not find any better alternative.
Fifty nuclear warheads and nine nuclear reactors from sunken ships and submarines lie on the sea bottom all over the world. What will happen if the casings corrode and they release the nuclear material? Can we imagine the consequences if any of these plants get activated in the sea? The accidents in nuclear submarines are likely to occur, and they did occur in 1961 in a Russian submarine, which resulted in explosion and death of eight of the crew.
However, before a major explosion could occur the survivors were able to bring the submarine to surface. The oil spills are caused by leakages from tankers, pipelines and offshore wells. The oil tankers have run aground, collided, caught fire or broke up in storms in past and in all cases the oil has spilt.
The oil spill chokes fish, kills bottom organisms, fouls beaches and kills sea birds and seals. They produce nasty lumps of oil residues that float on the surface. Important to note is the fact that all the oil spills do not come from the accidents as mentioned above but a great deal comes from rinsing of the oil tankers at distances from the coasts.
The whole sea is at risk in one or the other way. It must sound strange that all the dangerous and poisonous substances we have been generating and not stopping their generation would not find anywhere to go, except the sea. If we become too concerned about the sea the only thing we can do is to stop producing these substances.
4. Essay on Water Pollution (For Lecturers):
India is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of the cumulatively available water resources in the country’s terrain. The water resource of the country is seasonally replenished year after year in most of the area through the southwest monsoon, and minor areas in the southeastern part of the country through northeast monsoon.
A network of rivers, streams and tributaries in the Indian terrain facilitated the tapping of the surface water resource an easy exercise till recent past. From the point of view of the annual occurrence of monsoon and the architecture of the terrain, India is one of the few countries in the world to have bountiful water resource that flows in the river system.
The water resource is unevenly distributed in different segments of India. Yet, the occupants of the Indian biosphere like the human population, flora and fauna have adjusted to live even under adverse circumstances of extremely water-scarce ecosystem or dry subtropical biomes such as desert, chaparral and savanna biomes. The living things not only existed in those adverse ecosystems, but also flourished, procreated and propagated.
The immediate fallout of the excessive use of water by the living things in such dry biomes is that the water bodies of all types get fouled and polluted, besides altering the environment in those biomes. Further, dense population and the resultant alteration of the landuse pattern to excessively-populated habitats to accommodate the overpopulation have led to fouling and pollution of water bodies due to a variety of reasons. Concurrent with the spurt in population and growth of habitats, the revolution of ‘Water Supply’ has also taken place in the 20th Century.
Before a detailed discussion on the water pollution, it will be advantageous if we know some important basics of the fresh water resources.
The fresh water resources are divisible into two major categories namely:
(i) The Surface Water Resource.
(ii) The Groundwater Resource.
In turn, the surface water resource can be sub-divided into:
(i) The Rainwater Resource, and
(ii) The Snowmelt Resource.
Though the groundwater is a significant water resource, large amounts of human efforts and peripheral facilities (such as mechanical and/or electric powers) are required to tap this resource. The readily available source of water comes as the surface water resource, and this is mostly confined in the river system of a place. Logically, thus, rainfall becomes the one and only contributor to replenish and augment both the surface water and the groundwater resources of a terrain.
The growing population world over, extreme dry weather patterns for longer durations, freakily less rainfall on the continents and the resulting paucity of the water have cumulatively affected more than half of the world population one way or other, by way of the availability of clean water for oral consumption and hygienic food preparation. This population devotes considerable time and efforts daily to carry water drawn from open, unprotected and unhygienic water bodies located at long distances, to their homes.
As if it is not enough, the water that they bring home after so much of labour often inflicts a host of diseases such as diarrhea, gastroenteritis, worm infestation and fluorosis to them and their offspring, because they collect this water from a source that is neither tested for quality nor treated. Sometimes that water gets infected during storage.
There is no precise current estimate on how many people world over are affected due to the non-availability of clean water, and the water-linked infections. In a Press Release dated 22 March 2013 on the occasion of World Water Day, the unicef(dot)org website has reported that globally, an estimated 2,000 children under the age of five die every day from diarrheal diseases and of these, some 1,800 deaths are linked to water, sanitation and hygiene. Incidentally, this rate of mortality is growing with each passing year, and reports of water-related mortality are coming in from those countries where they were not reported earlier.
The dawn and progress of the industrial age was the dawn of yet another unnoticed revolution known in current times as the organized ‘Water Supply’. This was a revolution because the organized provision of water to major sections of the population by transporting it from the water bodies through pipes had begun and progressed in phased manner. Until then, the responsibility of fetching water from water bodies for use of the family entirely lay on individuals or family-heads, especially the womenfolk of the family.
The concept of water supply synchronized with the development and proliferation of the urban sprawls, which have become the hubs of bureaucratic, political, educational, and cultural and a host of other human activities. The town planning departments, municipal corporations and municipalities were created as measures of ‘governance’ by the States, with specific purposes of regulating planned development and providing civic amenities in the urban centres.
Consequently, the concerned governments assigned the responsibility of water supply to the subordinate bodies on which the government exercised direct control. Further, the responsibility of an organized water supply was undertaken by the local governments since the Government of India had not only assumed the responsibility of providing ‘protected water supply’ to its citizens through these local bodies, but also had been allocating funds in each Five Year Plan towards accomplishing that objective.
As an offshoot to the responsibility of providing the civic facility of water supply undertaken by the governments and their affiliated civic bodies such as municipal corporations and municipalities, the humanity had witnessed an innovative technique known as ‘Piped Water Supply’.
This technique points to the process that begins from treatment and transportation of water from a reservoir through huge pipes or conduits, to supplying the treated water to the individual residences through taps connected to metal or plastic pipes of smaller diameter, which in turn, are linked to the main water supply pipes.
In spite of supply of water through pipes and ‘protection’ of the water before distribution, it is reported time and again that the drinking water gets polluted due to a variety of reasons, and as a result many people fall sick due to a variety of infectious diseases caused by the polluted water from the source itself. Many times, the drinking water gets polluted due to getting in contact with hazardous materials like sewage lines, chemicals and contaminated soil layers.
5. Essay on Water Pollution (For College Students):
Water pollution is a phenomenon that is characterized by the deterioration of the quality of land water (rivers, lakes, marshes and ground water) or sea water as a result of various human activities. Water pollution is any physical or chemical change in water that can adversely affect organisms. It is a global problem, affecting both the industrialized and the developing nations. The water pollution problems in the rich and the poor nations, however, are quite different in many respects. Heat, toxic metals, acids, sediment, animal and human wastes, and synthetic organic compounds foul the waterways of developed nations.
Human and animal wastes, sediment, and pathogenic organisms head the list in the non-industrialized nations. In these countries, unsanitary water and malnutrition account for most of the illness and death.
Water has many different uses, each requiring different levels of priority. Four example, water from the Ohio River may be clean enough to wash steel but may be toxic to fish and wildlife; water suitable for boating or fishing may be unsuitable for swimming; water safe to swim in may be too polluted to drink.
Like air pollutants, water pollutants come from numerous natural and anthropogenic sources. Likewise, water pollutants produced in one nation may flow into others, creating complex international control problems that may take decades to solve.
The term ‘water pollution’ is referred to the addition to water of an excess of material (or heat) that is harmful to humans, animals, to desire able aquatic life or otherwise causes significant departures from the normal activities of various living communities in or near bodies of water.
The National Water Commission stated (1973) that “water gets polluted if it has been not of sufficiently high quality to be suitable for the highest uses people wish to make of it at present on in the future.”
In reality, the term water pollution refers to any type of aquatic contamination between two extremes:
i. A highly enriched, over productive biotic community, such as a river or lake with nutrients from sewage or fertilizer (cultural eutrophication), or
ii. A body of water poisoned by toxic chemicals which eliminate living organism or even exclude all forms of life.
The expression “water pollution” seems to be clear to all. Nevertheless, it is worth determining its real meaning as this has changed in the course of time. Felfoldy’s (1982) precise definition is the following – “Water pollution is every impact which changes the quality of our surface and subsoil waters to such a degree that its suitability either for human consumption or for the support of man’s natural life processes with decrease or cease.”