Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies like lake, sea, river etc. The pollutants discharged into the waterbodies enter without proper treatment. The sewage and the waste can produce algae content in the water which is massively destructive for various water bodies. The polluted water contains highly toxic substances which are harmful to a human who depends on the sources of the water bodies as well as for the aquatic life. So we would now focus on the causes as well as the effects of water pollution on ecosystems.
CAUSES OF WATER POLLUTION
Industrial waste: The industries are the primary source of water pollution as the waste discharged into the waterbodies are harmful. The industries release waste like lead which is a non-biodegradable substance and so hard that it cannot break and can cause harm to the environment. Mercury which is metallic and is harmful to the marine life, sulphur a non-metallic substance which would destroy the marine life, asbestos when inhaled can cause illness and lung cancer etc. The pollutants are a health hazard and carcinogenic.
Medical waste: The medical waste is also a source of water pollution. The waste products consist of urine pouch, bandages, syringes, blood and other body fluids. The waste comes from the medical laboratories and research centres. Improper management of the medical instruments and they’re discharging into waterbodies can be harmful. Some of the infectious waste is like tissue culture, excreta and lab culture. There is also few radioactive waste content in the medical waste like the glassware and mercury content which creates havoc in the water bodies.
Domestic waste: Waste originated from the consumption of households. The municipal solid waste like garbages, trash and refuse and the regular waste that is dumped by the public. These residues are also not appropriately treated and directly discharged into the water bodies. Some of the scraps also include a solvent, paint, polythene bags, pesticides, batteries, automotive products as well as electronic items. Poor waste handling practices and inadequate provision of solid waste management facilities in cities can lead to a rise in domestic waste.
EFFECTS OF WATER POLLUTION ON THE ECOSYSTEM
Human waste can increase the number of bacteria which can cause gastrointestinal disease and also waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and typhoid (learn about other ways humans are impacting the environment). Bioaccumulation and excessive concentration of chemicals result in buildup in the adipose tissue of trophic levels, zooplankton and large fishes. And consumption of these fishes means indirect consumption of mercury content. High levels of organic chemicals can make the water unfit for drinking purpose and harmful to marine organisms. Due to thermal pollution when hot water comes into the body it stops or changes the breeding cycle of aquatic life. Accidental oil spills from large ships can cause sizeable environmental damage, and it clogs the fish gills. Due to the medical waste when the fluorine content is excessive in the waterbodies it causes the drinking water harmful to health and also creates a dangerous disease that is “blue baby”. Not only the wastes are detrimental to aquatic life, but also it causes a disturbance in the food chain as the fishes die. Nutrient pollutants are excessively harmful as they produce algae in the water and these algae attack the fishes and other aquatic animals by reducing the oxygen content due to which the ecosystem is not maintained correctly. Recent news that has made the headline that a 16000 coastline in the United States has been affected by damage of oil spill due to which more than 8000 fishes and other aquatic animals like tortoise, starfish etc. were killed. Removal of the contamination from the water also costs high as the elimination of highly infectious waste is very costly.
Hence the water pollution has endangered many lives including human and aquatic, so we need to take some measures if not to eradicate but at least to reduce the water pollution. Like we can control the domestic waste and can make sure that the trash does not go into the river, lakes etc. Before discharging the industrial waste, it should be adequately treated so that it does not create much harm to the marine life. A little step towards eliminating water pollution can eradicate and thus reduce the effects of water pollution on ecosystems .