Today, we have to face several types of pollution – air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, noise pollution, etc. But the pollution that affects the largest number of people is water pollution. Scientific and technological progress of the past two hundred years has made the life of the man very comfortable. The scientific revolution has generated massive employment and made millions of people happy. Due to extensive research and manufacturing of new drugs, people are enjoying a longer lifespan. Death rate has gone down significantly. Thus we find that the machine age has given us enough. But if we look around the environment, we know that this progress has also injected poison in our life. One such form of poison is the water pollution spread all around us today.
Water pollution is one of the greatest crises facing the country. The largest source of it is the sewage water without treatment, as also water coming from pesticides-ridden fields, and chemical waste producing small and big industries. Things are so serious that there is no water resources in India, which is not contaminated at all. In fact, over 80 percent of the country’s water resources have been polluted up to a large extent. There are polluted water bodies around which population lives in large numbers. Ganga and Yamuna are among India’s most polluted rivers. In fact, a major chunk of the country’s waste water is produced in cities and towns nestled on the banks of rivers.
What is Water Pollution?
Water pollution refers to the blend of such substances in river, lakes, ponds, underground and sea water that invalidates water for the use by humans, flora and fauna. It affects the whole of the world, as water is the basis of life.
Information on Water Pollution
In India, the biggest cause of water pollution is urbanization taking place at a fast and unbridled pace. In the past decade, the rate of urbanization has grown so intensely that it has left an indelible impression on water resources of the country. As a result, it has given rise to environmental issues on a long-term basis. These include the lack of water supply, water pollution and problems with regard to its storage.
In fact, the disposal and treatment of polluted water is a huge issue today. There are many cities and towns near the rivers, which are facing these issues. In these areas, disposal of sewage water is a big problem. The water of rivers, ponds, canals, wells and lakes is used for domestic as well as industrial purpose. In most cases there is very little treatment of water and this way it contaminates 80 percent of fresh water flowing on the surface of the land. This polluted water passing through the surface poisons the groundwater. As per an estimate, 16, 662 million litres of contaminated water is produced daily in towns with a population of one million in India.
The major causes of rising levels of water pollution in India are as follows:
- Industrial waste and its inadequate disposal.
- Improper methods of cultivation (including use of chemical fertilisers pesticides) in agriculture.
- Decline in the water quality of rivers flowing through the plains.
- Social and religious rituals, such as floating dead bodies in the water, bathing, littering.
- The oil spills from ships.
- Acid rain.
- Global warming.
- Eutrophication (the depletion of oxygen in a water body, which kills aquatic animals).
- Inadequate sewage water treatment.
How is water polluted? Reasons for Water Pollution
Chemical Waste: The main sources of water pollution are industries. Chemical waste from our industries and factories is directly accumulated into rivers and ponds. This waste is highly toxic. This even makes water poisonous leading to the death of creatures living in water bodies. After drinking this water, many animals die, and many people fall sick.
Garbage: There are many more factors for water pollution other than industries. Thousands of tons of trash (garbage) flowing out of our cities and villages find their way in rivers. As chemical fertilizers and drugs are being used for farming too, water sources are getting severely undermined.
Contamination of sea water: Further, the fusion of polluted rivers into the sea aggravates water pollution. Growing pile of unusable plastic through is discharged into the sea. Many times due to accidents, fuel of vessels spills into the sea. The oil spill spreads far away in the sea and makes a layer on sea water. Due to it, countless living creatures die in the water.
Types of Water Pollution
Water pollution can be divided into two main parts. First: physical water pollution, and second chemical pollution. We can further divide physical water pollution into five categories. Similarly, chemical water pollution can be divided into three key categories. Let us study these in order.
1. Physical water pollution
Physical water pollution is pollution of water by physical actions, which are mentioned below:
(i) Thermal pollution – When water is used in cooling industrial plants and power stations, the hot water that comes out leads to depletion of oxygen in environment, which is extremely harmful for fish and other animals.
(ii) Taste and odour pollution – The water that smells bad or even if it does not give good taste, such contaminated water is not meant for drinking. But the scarcity of water does not allow people to abandon it completely.
(iii) Colour pollution – Pure drinking water’s natural colour is light brown, but the coloured water streaming out of factories and industries, is tainted. Unfortunately, clean, pure water has become a rare phenomenon today.
(iv) Domestic effluent pollution: The water which is used for domestic purpose such as bathing, washing, etc passes into the rivers, ponds, etc. through drains. It carries forward other hazardous materials too along with it. The situation remains critical due to the pressure of uncontrolled population on water resources. Toxic substances emitted from factories pollute entire river/ pond etc.
2. Chemical water pollution
A variety of chemical substances get merged into different sources of water, leading to water pollution. Polluted water leaves a highly negative impact on man as also on trees-plants, and animals. Its use leads to the outbreak of deadly diseases such as cholera, TB, jaundice, Typhoid, paralysis, polio etc. We should never use contaminated water even by oversight.
Effects of Water Pollution in India
Water pollution has adverse effect on every life around the water resource, which is even somewhat polluted. At a certain level, polluted water proves harmful to crops too. This depletes the fertility of the land. Overall, it affects agriculture and the country. If sea water is polluted, it has a negative impact on marine life too. Water pollution is the biggest cause of the decline in water quality. Its intake can cause many diseases.
In fact, water pollution is a major cause of the low level of health in India, in both urban and rural areas. Diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, jaundice, vomiting, diseases like diarrhoea may occur due to polluted water. In India, 80 percent of patients suffering from disorders of the stomach have fallen sick due to drinking polluted water.
How to Avoid, Solve Water Pollution
The best solution of water pollution is to prevent it. The most prominent solution is soil conservation. Water is polluted due to soil erosion too. So, if there is soil conservation, we can stop water pollution to some extent. The way to stop soil erosion is planting more plants or trees. We can adopt such methods of cultivation that improve the health of the soil rather than the spoil it. At the same time, adopting the correct methods of disposal of toxic waste is also extremely important. In the beginning, we should reduce or not use such products that include harmful organic compounds. In cases where the paints, cleaning and stain removal chemicals are used, the safe disposal of water is extremely important.
It is also important to pay attention to car or oil spills from other machines. It is said that oil spill out of cars or machines is also one of the factors leading to water pollution. Because of this, it is important to take care of our cars and machines. They should be regularly checked to ensure that there is no oil leak. After the completion of the work in factories, particularly those which use oil, it is essential to exercise caution in the cleaning, safe disposal, or preservation of water for later use. Below are some ways, through which this issue can be resolved:
- Cleaning of waterways and beaches.
- Not to use biologically non-degradable materials such as plastic.
- Use methods to reduce water pollution in all activities.
Due to above-mentioned reasons, water pollution has become a terrible problem today. The water of rivers and ponds that is used as life-giver to people is no longer drinkable. Our government should quickly take steps to address the problem of water pollution. First, monitor industries and factories to the effect that industrial waste is not shed into rivers and ponds. Domestic wastes should not be released into water sources without proper treatment. The use of chemical fertilizers should be discontinued in farming and organic farming should be promoted instead.
Water pollution has now taken the form of an emergency. So, we need to take big steps urgently. If we want that our citizens continue to get safe drinking water and water sources remain safe for a long duration, we will have to take steps for it from today itself. The delay can prove to be fatal in this case.
The man, flora and fauna cannot survive in the absence of water. We use water for drinking, bathing, irrigation and sanitation. These activities require us to use clean water. But with dirt of drains, plastic, rotten material, disinfectants finding their way into the rivers, water quality has declined to a great extent. Dirty-water contains harmful bacteria that cause damage to our health. Therefore, we should pay full attention to the cleanliness of rivers. There is also a need for social awareness campaign against water pollution. Water has been called the elixir of life. It is our duty to maintain its cleanliness.