Water has been around on earth for more than 3.5 billion years. Furthermore, it is the only known planet in the solar system where water is present as a liquid on the planet’s surface. In fact, probably would not have evolved if the earth did not have water. Consequently, one of the most important criteria for finding extraterrestrial life on distant planets outside our solar system is water. Hence, water is the earth’s most precious resource for sustaining life. Moreover, nearly 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. However, less than a fraction of this percentage is easily accessible freshwater, and this brings us to our first fact:
0.5% of the Earth’s Water is Freshwater
Technically, 3% of the total water on earth is freshwater. However, more than 2.5% of the same is locked up glaciers, soil, atmosphere and the polar ice caps. That leaves just 0.5% as easily accessible freshwater. A significant amount of freshwater is also found deep underground, but it may not be economically feasible for extraction. Unfortunately, anthropogenic activities also have started polluting bodies of freshwater, thereby rendering them unfit for human consumption. Hence, the actual available amount of freshwater is minuscule.
Plastics in the Ocean
We currently have to deal with millions of tons of wastes – and out of these, plastics are the most detrimental to our environment. The issue with plastics is that it is not biodegradable. This means things made from plastics take a very long time to decompose. Every year, an estimated 8 million tons of plastics end up in our oceans. And when these plastics break down, they form minuscule particles called microplastics. These pieces of plastics, which are usually less than 5 millimetres in length, are small enough for plankton and other microscopic organisms to ingest them. As a result, plastics particles enter the food chain, where larger organisms consume plankton, which is in turn consumed by even larger organisms. Eventually, these microplastics make their way into humans, where they can bring out dire repercussions.
Water in Space
Earth might be the only known planet with water in our liquid solar system, however, it is not the only one in the universe. 12 billion light-years away lies a blackhole with a gargantuan cloud of water vapour – and the amount of water present in that cloud is unimaginably large. NASA officially describes the amount as “140 trillion times all the water in the world’s oceans.” Granted, when we look at the scale of things back on earth, that is an incomprehensibly large number. Furthermore, scientists have stated that these gargantuan water-clouds are ancient, dating back to 12 billion years. For reference, the current consensus on the age of the universe is 13.7 billion years. This means water was formed just 1.6 billion years after the start of the universe.
- Water – An Overview of Water, its Sources, and the Importance of Water
- Water Pollution & its Control – Causes, Effects & Control Measures
Frequently Asked Questions on Facts About Water
What is an interesting fact about water?
12 billion light-years away lies a blackhole with a gargantuan cloud of water vapour – and the amount of water present in that cloud is 140 trillion times all the water in the world’s ocean.
List some facts about water.
Less than 0.5% of the Earth’s water is readily available freshwater.
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