Water is one of the most important natural resources. Even though more than two-thirds of the earth is covered with water, less than 3% is available to all living organisms for their use. This includes us humans, animals, plants and every other organism. But as per the current scenario, humans have exploited this resource to such an extent that reversing the effects of water pollution has become almost impossible.
What is water pollution?
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies (e.g. lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers, and groundwater). Water pollution occurs when pollutants are directly or indirectly discharged into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds and this affects plants and organisms living in these bodies of water. The cumulative effect of which has an adverse impact on the natural biological communities and the individual species and populations surviving in it.
Did you know that around 6 billion kgs of garbage are dumped into oceans every year? Apart from this, there is also untreated sewage, industrial effluents, oil spills, nuclear waste, and other such pollutants. The rivers and lakes are polluted and even groundwater in many areas is unfit for use. The river Ganges is reported to be one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Water pollution is the cause of many diseases like cholera and typhoid. According to a survey, around 4 billion people will face a shortage of water by the year 2026 (the current population is around 7 billion). Currently, around 700 million people in the world consume contaminated water owing to the non-availability of water. It is estimated that around 1000 children in India die every day due to water pollution.
Humans aren’t the only ones facing issues related to water pollution. There are many terrestrial animals that have faced extinction due to water shortage and contamination and the extinction rate of aquatic animals is five times worse than those of land animals.
The major causes of water pollution in India:
- Religious and Social Practices
- Withdrawal of water and drying up of water bodies
How to Control Water Pollution:
To a large extent, water pollution can be controlled by diluting its effects. Instead of disposing of sewage waste into water bodies, it is better to treat them before discharge. By doing this, the toxic waste content is reduced and the remaining work is done through natural treatment by the water body itself. If the secondary treatment of water is done, then this can be reused in agricultural fields and sanitary systems.
Water Hyacinth is a very special plant which can absorb dissolved toxic waste like cadmium and other such elements. Planting these in areas prone to such kinds of pollutants will reduce the harmful effects to a large extent.
There are certain chemical methods which help in the control of water pollution:
- Ion exchange process
- Reverse Osmosis
On the individual scale, adopting the methods of reducing, reusing and recycling wherever possible will go a long way in reducing the effects of water pollution and also controlling it.
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