Water Pollution Has Consequences
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Every year hundreds of sea turtles and dolphins suffocate and die due to water pollution. Killing marine life, harming humans, and accelrating global warming–water pollution has many malignant impacts on our world. Many factors contribute to water pollution which leads to severe and long-lasting effects. Water pollution’s horrible effects impact our beautiful oceans, lakes, and rivers that were once clean; however, with the the right steps, Earth’s bodies of water, crucial to the world’s ecosystem, can become uncontaminated. Levels of water pollution first skyrocketed during the Industrial Revolution as toxic waste was poured into the oceans from manufacturing with noxious chemicals and horrific ocean oil spills from transporting hydrocarbons across the globe.
Sadly, nothing substantial has ever been done stauch or mitigate the harms of water pollution. Finding solutions to this problem should be a the center of public awareness and political discourse because it is a problem that affects every living thing! International media should take a lead role in publicizing clean water initiatives and campaigns to boost social participation and legislative support to restore our waters to their previously pristine states! Luckily, research is rapidly progressing and many solutions have already been discovered to save our waterways if people are willing to implement them! Water pollution is not something new; it has been around for a long time and has been getting increasingly worse. During the later half of 18th century, air and water pollution increased exponentially as the Industrial Revolution spread across the world (“History” 1).
However, since water pollution was not a concern of the general public at that time, nothing was done to prevent pollution. Eventually, water pollution had such drastic effects on public health that the Pollution Control Act of 1948 was passed to manage water pollution (“Act” 1). Although the US federal government took action with the Pollution Control Act of 1948, and subsequent Clean Water Act, pollution still reeked major havoc on the environment. Unhappy with the state of the environment and the federal government’s slow response to the issue, several states took their own steps to improve the environment.
For example, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, took aim at several areas with horrendous pollution. Among his targets was the New River which was so full of pollution from Mexican manufacturing that one could not go into the river without getting acid burns. To tackle this environmental disaster, he worked to fund and direct the New River Improvement Project (James 4). Water pollution is ubiquitous and there are an abundant amount of factors to polluted waters. Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is water and “human activity is primarily responsible for water pollution” (“Improve” 2). The top causes of water pollution are sewage and wastewater from urbanization, deforestation, agriculture, manufacturing, marine dumping, and radioactive waste.
Sewage and wastewater often flow directly into rivers, lakes, and oceans untreated. Specifically, 80% of the wastewater flows back to bodies of water without being filtered, causing high levels of bacteria and an increase in heavy metal concentrations (James 3). It is easy to see how the problem is so extensive–contaminated water is dumped into the sea from the ocean drains that are on almost every street in areas adjacent to coastline! Ocean drains not only carry dirty rain water to the oceans, but they carry toxic waste that includes pieces of plastic directly to marine life. Marine life often eats or gets stuck in this litter and is maimed or dies. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is result of sewage constantly being drained into our waterways. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a clump of trash, including plastic, that is spread out in the Pacific Ocean.
It consists over 9 million tons of trash and is “twice the size of Texas” (Alexis 1). Toxic plastics and dyes further taint the planet’s bodies of water everyday. One specific plastic that renders devastation on our ecosystems are microbeads. Microbeads are omnipresent because they are a frequently used an abrasive in daily toiletry item such as toothpaste and face cleansers. Microbeads have such dreadful effect that many groups want the state and federal governments to declare microbeads “to be a toxic substance and prohibit the manufacture, import and sale.” Fortunately, 8 American states have passed microbead bans (“Evil” 1). Dye is a common pollutant from clothing manufacturing! Dye is disposed in large amounts during the process of making accouterment. In fact, after agriculture, the textile industry in the largest source of pollution (Matthews 2).
Local bodies of water near textiles industries become saturated with the toxins that hurt animals by burning their flesh, scrambling their endocrine systems, and causing birth defects in their offspring. The biggests source of water pollution, industries, have a huge effect on water becoming incredibly dangerous and harmful! Often, in large industries, industry waste becomes drained in freshwater which eventually leads toxicated waters to be spread to other bodies of water such as the ocean, canals, and rivers. “Industrial wastewater contributes to the pollution in the river, and heavy metals in industrial effluent pose threats to the ecosystem” (James 3). Industries do not just have an effect on our oceans but a horrible effect on freshwater too which is often used for drinking!
This is really bad for human health because “industries produce a lot of water containing toxic chemical and pollutants” (“Improve” 3) that is released into systems used for drinking water. Due to the progress of globalization and capitalism, heavy industry is universal. This means that there are chemicals and raw sewage constantly flowing into rivers and oceans across the planet which are causing spikes in bacteria levels. Along with industrial waste being dumped into oceans, toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and byproducts of banned pesticides flow right into oceans (James 1). Animal manure is another major factor in polluting waters. Animals, usually cows, urinate and defecate in rivers which cause waters to become contaminated with bacteria from dung and acids from urine. When “ nasty bacteria such as E. coli” reaches too high levels, other animals in the surrounding environment start to die off (“Cows” 1).
In addition the E. coli, cow urine produces nitrogen which leads to toxic algae growing soon after urine hits the water. It is not just animal urine and feces that directly affect the water, but the chemicals used to raise them–such as pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and insecticides–which can contaminate waters for a longtime (“Improve” 3). Of all these toxic byproducts, campylobacter is probably the worst because it is a hazard to human health that has induced many deaths (“Cows” 1). Not only has toxicated waters caused many to become ill, but also has ended lives. The combined impact of sewage, wastewater, farm animal urine and feces, industries, and radioactive waste is devastating to humans. In addition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, many other smaller garbage patches dominate and devastate many surfaces of bodies of water (Alexis 1).
As an example of rivers across the world, the Noyyal River was once clean and clear but due to the toxic runoff of industries, the water quickly started “to become foamy and green” (Matthews 1). Many people love swimming and fishing, however, due to pollution, “over 40 percent of American waterways were unsafe for swimming and fishing” in 2018 (“Vital” 1). In fact, water conditions are so poor that drinking or being in contaminated bodies of water has resulted in many people becoming seriously ill. A lot of diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, dysentery, or skin infections have been reported all because of contaminated waters that were caused by humans in the first place (“Improve” 4). Because of how polluted our waters are, it has become hazardous for people enjoy the outdoors.
The previously mentioned New River was found to have such extremely high bacteria levels that it was considered unsafe for human contact! The New River was a “murky green water that reeks of sewage and carries soapsuds” (“Toxic” 1-3). The effects of water pollution impacts the public health crucially (“Improve” 4). Polluted waters in many areas has become so bad that three locals have been reported dead due to a toxic substance in the water, campylobacter (“Cows” 1). Many other locals living by contaminated bodies of water were said to get itchy rashes or sores and others who got even the smallest of water into their body or even came into contact with it, became eminently ill. Locals had spoken out about suffering from severe headaches, allergies, watery eyes and infections all because of a river in their backyard that has become increasingly toxic and dangerous (“Toxic” 1). In other areas, doctors had found that 30% of the locals suffered from other symptoms such as joint pain, gastritis, problems breathing and ulcers which was found to be connected to waterborne diseases (Matthews 2).
Because of polluted waters, many suffer serious consequences that affect the daily life of people. Locals living nearby contaminated bodies of water are threatened by water pollution, yet humans who do not even live near water are also greatly impacted. Marine animals are affected by water pollution the worst. With plastic and toxic substances and chemicals widespread in numerous bodies of waters, many marine life may become seriously ill and even endangered! Already native flora and fauna have been becoming damaged which can led to “almost three-quarters of native species of freshwater fish are under threat” (“Cows” 1). Fishes’ lives become increasingly endangered when their habitat becomes contaminated, especially because of contamination of plastic. Many marine life often confuse plastic for food which leads to malnutrition (Alexis 1). Plastic can also lead to fish becoming poisoned horribly.
In New York, 19 tons of microbeads are reported to be drained every year and because of microbeads, fish end up developing diseases. Fish becoming ill is incredibly harmful to humans because humans may eat the ill fish which can lead to humans becoming poisoned. Many dentists reported to even finding tiny plastic orbs in their patients’ gums (“Evil” 2)! Imagine what plastic orbs in humans’ bodies have on their health! Not only can plastic cause malnutrition in fish and danger in humans but can also result in death for many fishes. In the Orathupalayam Dam reservoir, after it had been finally flushed, 400 tons of dead fish were found at bottom of the reservoir all because plastics found in their bodies (Matthews 2).
Land mammals, including dogs, have also known to also become ill all because of harmful substances in bodies of water, specifically from cow waste. Cow feces cause poisonous algae blooms which can have killed dogs because dogs have mistaken them for treats (“Cow” 1). Thus, cow urine and feces have been a huge factor of water pollution that has ended lives. Over a long period of time waters have become exceedingly contaminated by chemical waste, industrial waste, and litter from ubiquitous ocean drains. All these factors cause the deterioration of water health resulting in horrible consequences for both human and marine life; however, nothing is impossible and there are and their are many effective solutions! In 2019, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had signed a bill to launch the New River Improvement Project and its purpose was to treat the entire New River at the border by building a disinfection facility.
But, officials had decided to eliminate the disinfection plant and instead place an underground pipe to reroute the river away from the Calexico neighborhood where locals were becoming ill due to toxic waters (“Toxic” 4). Early 2017, the government make set the target of making 90% of US rivers toxin free by 2040; nonetheless, many disliked the idea of taxing irrigators and for the cash to clean up rivers so the decision was dropped (“Cows” 2). Many solutions become proposed to clean this river and all waters. Currently, none have actually had an effect on decontaminating Earth’s precious waters. Solutions consist of the most simple things such as wastewater treatment, green agriculture, stormwater management, and plastic waste reduction (“Improve” 5). But, there must be more public support and money to make these brilliant ideas into realities that actually make our planet better.
Personal Analysis With enough time, the right leadership, and support from the public, water pollution can cease from having such harmful effects to our community. My own personal proposition is to focus on managing plastic waste and dirty sewage water. I propose that with enough support from the public and with a sufficient amount of money, a ocean drain pollution resistor can be a solution! What the ocean drain pollution resistor does is filters the water! The ocean drain pollution resistor prevents bacteria, chemicals, plastic, and any other harmful substances from becoming released into the oceans. This can really assist in preventing toxic and dangerous substances being released into the oceans, lakes, and rivers really helping our waters to heal! Along with the ocean drain pollution resistors spread across the globe, another invention should be invented like a pollution vacuum. This invention would directly be placed in all bodies of water such as the ocean, lakes and rivers and would be incredibly intelligent.
The pollution vacuum would clear the water of items such as plastic and at the same time purify the water by destroying the toxic chemicals poisoning humans and marine life. Because big inventions to start cleansing large bodies of water will be expensive, pollution vacuums should be placed in the most crucial and toxic bodies of water. We should pass laws and getting funding to make these amazing ideas into realities as soon as possible. Our planet deserves to be protected! The pollution of Earth’s precious waters has serious effects. Dirty sewage water, plastics, cows, and industrial dumping have horrendous consequences. All these factors of water pollution can cause humans to becoming seriously injured and may even lead to potential death! Contaminated waters also have a huge, devastating effect on marine life! Water pollution does have gravely effects, but there are always solutions that can help stop the pollution of water as well as start detoxifying! Water pollution is something that should be more spoken out about the public because without enough attention, nothing major can happen to stop pollution!