Water Pollution – Essay

Air and water are two most essential ingredients necessary for the existence of life. Air is unlimited. But there is limitation of fresh water, required for the human beings’ consumption. So, there is need to conserve water, by its judicious use and by protecting it from the pollutants. Our water resources are depleting very fast. We need to take action. It has been predicted that the future wars would be fought due to water problem.

All around the world, countries are fighting to keep their water clean. Whether it streams, rivers, lakes or the ocean, countries have taken great measures to maintain a high quality of water for both human consumption and as a key component to the environment. It is the contamination of water by foreign matter such as micro-organisms, chemicals, and industrial or other wastes, or sewage. Such matter deteriorates the quality of the water and renders it unfit for its intended uses. We deal with the pollution problems and then decide on ways to clean it up. This valuable resource is the key to survival. Both plants and animals depend on water for their growth, so the water must be kept clean. The major contributors to water pollution can be classified in three categories, industrial, agricultural and municipal.

Examples of industrial wastes that can contaminant bodies of water are oil spills, acid rain, and waste runoff from industrial buildings and factories. Oil spills, eve though they do not happen that often, can spill millions of gallons of its crude oil cargo into the ocean causing long-term damage. The oil spreads out over the surface of the water, creating a deadly coating. It kills fish and animals and washes on shores polluting the beaches, shutting them down to the public. Once the oil has contaminated the water, immediate action must be taken to clean it out of the water. The most common procedure is to contain the oil with oil absorbent plastic booms and then skim the oil off the top of the water.

Waste or industrial runoff from factories can pollute streams that are near the place of discharge. Oils, inorganic minerals, and chemical compounds are the primary types of waste runoff. In the case of industrial runoff, there are three ways the water can be treated to solve the pollution problem before it ever reaches the water source. First, control over the discharge can take place at the point of generation within the plant itself. Second, the polluted water can be sent to water treatment plants before it’s is released into the surrounding water sources. Third, the waste water can be treated within the plant and recycled again, or treated in the plant and released.

Another form of industrial waste that contributes to water pollution is acid rain. Acid rain is a product of industries burning coal. The burning of coal produces sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide, and when theses chemicals combine with the earth’s atmosphere it forms acid rain The Northeastern part of the United States has the worst acid rain levels in the world. More specific the states with the highest concentration are Ohic, Indiana, Illinois, and some boarding parts of Canada and New England area. The failing acid rain can destroy plants and animals in several different ways. The acidification of a lake, river, or stream because of the high acidic levels in the water kills algae. Since algae are the main source of food, for many species of fish, they will also suffer from the high acid levels.

Acid rain also soaks into ground and dissolves nutrients from the soil. When the plants call upon these nutrients to grow, the absences kills the vegetation. Over a short period of time plants begin to die, harming surrounding animal life. The second main category is agricultural pollution. This type of pollution occurs when erosion of crop land dispenses sediments into nearby streams, affecting the clarity of the water and killing the food source of the fish. Another form of agricultural pollution is field run-off. It is caused when a farmer spreads animal wastes and fertilizers onto fields to replenish the lost nutrients; the waste contains high levels of nitrogen. This nitrogen, an oxygen-robbing agent, will deprive the water of its oxygen, causing harm to the plants living in and near the water. The third major source of contamination is municipal wastes. These wastes include household wastes that run into the water treatments plants. A three-step process is implemented to clean the waste water. The first step is to remove all the solids and then screen out any smaller particles. The second step is the oxidation of organic matter that is then filtered off. The third step uses nitrogen removal and other methods like granular filtration and carbon absorption.

The oil spills in the Persian Gulf in 1983, during the Iran-Iraq conflict, and in 1991, during the Gulf War, when up to 8 million barrels were released, resulted in enormous damage to the entire area, especially to the marine life.