What is Water Pollution?

The world has been faced with many environmental concerns in recent years. In the last couple years environmental problems have been thrust into the forefront of media coverage and have garnered a lot of attention. There has been a lot of talk about water pollution. So what is water pollution?

Water pollution is the contamination of water supplies and resources by harmful wastes such as sewage, asbestos, nitrates and phosphorus. These pollutants case a lot of damage to the water supply, polluting drinking water and killing fish and marine animals. So now that we have answered the question of what water pollution is, now we need to look at how water pollution happens and what can be done to fix the problem.

muddy water pollution image

What is water pollution? Where does it come from? Most of the water pollution in the United States is a direct result of industries. Many manufacturing facilities use freshwater to carry away a wide variety of wastes which is then released into streams, lakes, rivers and oceans.

The National Water Quality Inventory has recently announced that over 40% of the lakes, rivers and estuaries in the United States are too polluted to fish in or swim in. Because they are so polluted they can not be used as a viable water source for drinking water either.

So what is water pollution going to mean for future generations? If the current situation is not altered there is going to be less and less viable water in the future.

The over-abundance of fertilizers that make their way into the water supply through run off causes a type of water pollution that results of what is called dead zones This is where an excess of algae builds up robbing the water source of oxygen and blocking sunlight from filtering down to lower aquatic plants. This results in dead plants which leads to even lower levels of oxygen in the water. Dead zones cause the death of many fish and marine life and negatively effects the ecosystem and the delicate balance of the water systems.

Another question to consider when thinking about water pollution is what is it going to cost in terms of fixing the problem? Fixing the problem of pollution in our water may seem like an insurmountable task, but can actually be done one small step at a time. Individuals can do their part to reduce water pollution by picking up their trash and disposing of it properly.

There are also other practical things that can be done to stop water pollution such as using less, or no, fertilizers and pesticides, using environmentally friendly cleaning and personal products, planting buffer zones of plants around rivers and lakes to act as natural filters, and enforcing the tough water purity laws that are already in place.

Individuals can also do their part by spreading the word and helping to educate other people on the dangers on water pollution and how to stem the tide and turn things around. If everyone does their part it is possible that in the future people will ask what is water pollution, because there wont be any more polluted waters anymore.