Causes of Water Pollution and Who Do We Blame?

There are many causes of water pollution. Water pollution is a serious problem that affects everyone. Over 40% of the rivers and 46% of the lakes in America are too polluted to fish in, swim in, or maintain marine life.

Causes of Water PollutionIt is true that our Earth is covered with a large percentage of water, but the fact is that most of it has been contaminated with some form of water pollution. It is an unavoidable need to stop this path of destruction, to maintain life, as we know it on our planet. The causes are many, but they can be brought under control.

Water pollution come from two different types of sources. A point source is a result of pollutants being emitted directly into a water body, such as a pipe from an industrial facility leaking toxics directly into the water.

There is also a non-point source type of polluting that is a result of pollutants being indirectly transported to the water such as run off from fertilizers flowing in to a larger body of water by rain.

One of the most common causes of water pollution is from pesticides. Pesticides run off from farms and individual home owners into streams and rivers and are also absorbed into the ground water polluting the water that people drink and causing trouble with the fish in the rivers where the pesticides run off.

Another large water pollution causes are fertilizers and nutrient pollution. Nitrates and phosphates that are prevalent in the manure, sewage and chemical fertilizers that run into the streams and rivers causes excessive growth in aquatic plants and algae leading to clogged waterways and dead zones.

Oil, gasoline and additives spills such as what happens when a major oil tanker has a leak is one of the causes that gets a lot of coverage and press due to its effects o marine animals, local fisherman and coastal businesses. Oils can also seep into the waterways through the groundwater as a result of a leak or small spill.

Another one of the causes of water pollution as a result of an industry is mining which exposes heavy metals ad sulfur compounds that get leached and absorbed into the ground water and make their way into the nearby water sources. Mines can continue to drain toxic elements into the water supply long after the mining has come to a close.

Different Water Pollution Causes

Water pollution is best defined as any change, biological, chemical, physical or otherwise in the quality of water. This change has harmful effects on any living organism that uses, lives in, or drinks the water. There are different types and causes of water pollution, including:

  • Sediment build up as a result of clear cutting
  • Chemical and industrial processes that produce waste that is injected into deep groundwater sources
  • Personal care products and household cleaning products such as bleach, fabric softener, lotion, perfume and hair dye
  • Pharmaceuticals such as growth hormones used in farming
  • Sewage
  • Air pollution due to power plants and emissions from vehicles
  • Carbon Dioxide which causes acidification in oceans
  • Heat from power plants that causes water pollution by killing fish and marine organisms.
  • Disease causing: These means, such as bacteria, parasitic worms, and viruses enter the sewage systems and untreated wastes. Illegal dumping of raw sewage is a main factor.
  • Oxygen demanding: There are certain bacteria that need oxygen to decompose. An excess of these bacteria enter the water and deplete the oxygen levels during their decomposing process, thus robbing the needed oxygen for life of the organisms that make the water their home.
  • Inorganic Pollutants: These water-soluble agents, like acids, salts, and toxic metals make the water unfit to drink and cause harm to the aquatic life.
  • Phosphates and Nitrates: These are also water-soluble and cause excessive growth of algae and plants. The excess growth of these organisms deprives the oxygen levels.
  • Organic Compounds: Oil, plastics, and pesticides are compounds that are unhealthy for all living organisms.
  • Radioactive: These water-soluble compounds are a main cause of birth defects, cancers, and other genetic damages. Illegal dumping is the main reason for this.

There are many other causes of water pollution in addition to these that will need to be dealt with and addressed to reduce the strain on the water supply.

Water pollution does not stem from one cause, nor is there one type. Whatever the form it takes, it affects all the living organisms that live in the water, drink the water, or are near the waterways. It is time to stop the act of waste, abuse, and misuse of our most precious resource, and minimize the impact of the causes of water pollution.