The usefulness of water cannot be underestimated. It is as essential to man as oxygen is for breathing. Water is vital for so many aspects of life. It is important for digestion, for aiding in supplying oxygen and nutrition to cells, maintenance of muscle tone etc. One is able to live without food for weeks, but is unable to stay for weeks without water. 70% of Earth’s surface is covered in water, but only 2% is fit for consumption. This 2% is also depleting at an alarming rate. Because water is so precious, everything must be done to conserve it and keep it from getting polluted.
The pollution of water is a very serious problem. The quality of the water available for consumption is becoming more and more polluted due to chemical, physical and biological changes that water undergoes. The most common method of pollution of water occurs through the addition of fertilizer. Fertilizer is used in plant for them to grow faster and better. This has been happening for many decades. However, over fertilization is an issue that pollutes the water. Over fertilizing crops causes the chemicals to get absorbed into the soil. This affects ground and surface water. Fertilizer contains nitrates and phosphates. When these compounds enter the water, it contaminates it and results in the abnormal growth of algae. This unbalances the ecosystem. The imbalance in the ecosystem causes a drop in oxygen which makes it difficult for animals living in the water to live.
Water pollution can also occur with various accidental leaks and spills of petroleum fuels. Sometimes, oil leaks from cars and trucks. These oils get washed away by rain and enter the ground and surface water areas. This contaminates the water. Hydrocarbons found in gasoline dissolve up to a certain extent in water. A chemical compound known as benzene, in gasoline, is linked with cancer. Oil spills, such as, the one that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico significantly contaminated the water and ruined marine life. The long-term repercussions of this incident are immense. The food chain, all marine life depend on, was greatly altered. Lack of reproduction in the fish can affect the fishing industry. Another factor that was affected with the oil spill includes wildlife that lived near the ocean. This type of disaster can result in the extinction of some animals.
Mining is another problem that pollutes the water. The exploration and removal of minerals, when mining in water, affects the water tablet. The entire process of mining affects the water. The significant amounts of waste material that enter the water contaminate it and cause pollution. With mining, various chemicals enter the water and form sediments in lakes and streams. These toxic sediment levels pollute the water and harm the entire ecosystem.
Water pollution did not happen yesterday or ten years ago. It is slow process that has been happening with the improvement of man. However, water pollution is seeing an extreme high over the last decade or so. With only 2% water useable for consumption, what happens when this water runs out? How will the human species survive? It is the responsibility of the human race to stop polluting water and do whatever it takes to ensure clean drinking water for our next generations.