What are the solutions of water pollution

In this article we discuss the potential solutions that could help reduce water pollution. We discuss the causative agents for water pollution, and how water pollution affects us.

What are the solutions to water pollution?

The following ways are helpful in reducing water pollution:

  • Wastewater treatment
  • Plastic waste reduction
  • Water conservation
  • Stormwater management
  • Green agriculture

What is water pollution and what are the main causes?

When dangerous substances—often chemicals or microorganisms—contaminate a stream, river, lake, ocean, aquifer, or other body of water, the water quality deteriorates and the water becomes toxic to humans or the environment.

Water is very susceptible to contamination. Water, sometimes known as a “universal solvent,” can dissolve more chemicals than any other liquid on the planet. 

We have Kool-Aid and vivid blue waterfalls because of it. It’s also the reason why water is so readily contaminated. Toxic compounds from farms, cities, and factories easily dissolve and combine with it, polluting the water.

Some of the main causes of water pollution are:

  • Faulty agricultural practices
  • Sewage and wastewater
  • Oil pollution

We shall discuss these in brief.

Faulty agricultural practices

The agricultural industry is not only the world’s largest user of freshwater resources, with farming and animal production absorbing over 70% of the planet’s surface water supplies, but it is also a major polluter.

Agriculture is the biggest cause of water pollution all over the world. Agricultural pollution is the leading cause of contamination in rivers and streams in many parts of the world.

It also contributes significantly to the pollution of estuaries and groundwater. Fertilisers, pesticides, and animal manure from farms and livestock operations wash nutrients and pathogens—such as germs and viruses—into our rivers every time it rains.

Nutrient pollution, which is produced by an excess of nitrogen and phosphorus in water or the air, is the leading source of algal blooms, a poisonous soup of blue-green algae that may be dangerous to humans and wildlife.

Sewage and wastewater

Wastewater is the water that has been used. It originates from commercial, industrial, and agricultural activity, as well as our sinks, showers, and toilets (think sewage) (think metals, solvents, and toxic sludge). 

Rainfall brings road salts, oil, grease, chemicals, and debris from impermeable surfaces into our rivers, which is referred to as stormwater runoff.

According to the United Nations, more than 80% of the world’s wastewater is discharged into the environment without being treated or reused; in certain developing nations, the percentage is as high as 95%. 

Wastewater treatment plants in the United States treat around 34 billion gallons of wastewater every day. 

Before dumping the treated waters back into rivers, these facilities minimise the quantity of contaminants such as pathogens, phosphorus, and nitrogen in sewage, as well as heavy metals and harmful compounds in industrial waste. 

When everything goes well, that is. Our nation’s old and easily overburdened sewage treatment facilities, however, are estimated to spew more than 850 billion gallons of untreated wastewater each year, according to EPA estimates.

Oil pollution

Although large spills make the news, customers are responsible for the great majority of oil pollution in our oceans, including oil and gasoline that leaks from millions of automobiles and trucks every day.

Furthermore, approximately half of the estimated 1 million tonnes of oil that enters marine habitats each year originates from land-based sources such as industries, farms, and towns, rather than from tanker disasters.

Tanker spills account for roughly 10% of the oil in the world’s waterways, while the maritime industry’s routine operations—both legal and criminal discharges—contribute about one-third.

Oil is also naturally discharged from under the ocean’s surface through seeps, which are fissures in the seafloor.

Types of water pollution

There are various types of water pollution. Some of the major types of water pollution are:

  • Groundwater pollution
  • Surface water pollution
  • Ocean water pollution

We shall discuss these in more detail.

Groundwater pollution

Groundwater is formed when rain falls and seeps deep into the soil, filling the fractures, fissures, and porous areas of an aquifer (essentially an underground storage of water).

Nearly 40% of Americans get their drinking water from groundwater that is pumped to the surface of the earth. It is the only source of freshwater for some people in remote regions. 

When pollutants such as pesticides and fertilisers, as well as trash leached from landfills and septic systems, find their way into an aquifer, they make it unsuitable for human consumption. 

Contaminant removal from groundwater can be difficult, if not impossible, as well as expensive. An aquifer that has been poisoned may be useless for decades, if not thousands, of years.

Groundwater can also spread contamination far from the original polluting source as it seeps into streams, lakes, and oceans.

Surface water pollution


Surface water, which makes up around 70% of the earth’s surface, is what fills our oceans, lakes, rivers, and all the other blue spots on the globe map.

More over 60% of the water distributed to American houses comes from surface water from freshwater sources (i.e., sources other than the ocean).

However, a large portion of that water is in jeopardy. According to the EPA’s most current national water quality studies, over half of our rivers and streams, as well as more than a third of our lakes, are filthy and unsafe for swimming, fishing, or drinking. 

The most common kind of contamination in these freshwater sources is nutrient pollution, which includes nitrates and phosphates.

While plants and animals require these minerals to develop, agriculture waste and fertiliser runoff have made them a serious contaminant.

Municipal and industrial waste discharges also contribute a significant amount of pollutants. There’s also all the trash that businesses and individuals throw straight into rivers and streams.

Ocean water pollution

Eighty percent of ocean pollution (also known as marine pollution) comes from land, whether it’s near the shore or far inland.

Chemicals, fertilisers, and heavy metals are transported by streams and rivers from farms, industry, and towns into our bays and estuaries, where they flow out to sea.

Meanwhile, wind-borne marine trash, notably plastic, gets swept into storm drains and sewers. Oil spills and leaks, both large and tiny, pollute our waters, which are constantly soaking up carbon pollution from the air.

The ocean absorbs up to a quarter of all carbon emissions produced by humans.

How to reduce water pollution?

The following ways are helpful in reducing water pollution:

  • Wastewater treatment
  • Plastic waste reduction
  • Water conservation
  • Stormwater management
  • Green agriculture

We shall discuss these in brief.

Wastewater treatment

Treatment of part of the water before it is restored into the waterways is likely the most efficient technique to prevent water pollution.

Because wastewater treatment facilities can remove virtually all contaminants in wastewater using a chemical, physical, or biological method, this is a very successful approach. 

Sewage will be pumped through the facility’s several chambers to gradually lower its toxicity. It is critical that wastewater treatment facilities stay in good working order so that they can perform as planned.

There are a variety of water treatment sensors available to ensure that toxins are effectively removed from the water before it is discharged back into the environment.

These sensors include pH sensors, conductivity sensors, and oxidation reduction potential sensors.

Plastic waste conservation

Plastics are frequently washed into the ocean and other bodies of water, further degrading the water’s cleanliness. 

Every year, an estimated 9-12 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean, a figure that must be drastically decreased to prevent the ocean’s water quality from deteriorating even more.

Plastic is utilised in a variety of goods that individuals use on a daily basis, including everything from garments to other objects around the home, in addition to water bottles. 

It is advised that you avoid using plastics wherever possible to help limit the quantity of plastic garbage that enters the environment. Plastic bottles, cutlery, and straws should all be replaced with alternatives. 

Whenever you make use of plastic, make sure that you recycle.

Water conservation

It’s critical to focus on water conservation wherever feasible if you want to do your part to keep water clean and pure while also protecting the environment.

On a daily basis, there are several strategies to preserve water. It’s best to keep the water switched off if you’re shaving or brushing your teeth.

If you take a shower every day, choose shorter showers that aren’t longer than necessary. You may alternatively take a bath, which uses far less water.

If your landscaping includes a garden, make sure to just utilise the quantity of water that your plants require. Water is a scarce resource, which is why it’s important that you try to lessen your water usage when you can.

Stormwater management

When practicable, managing stormwater is another excellent approach for conserving the environment and decreasing water pollution.

Stormwater gathers up dangerous contaminants when it travels along sidewalks, roadways, and lawns, which are subsequently forced into storm drains, streams, and rivers.

Stormwater may be treated and controlled using a number of methods, including sand filtration and electrocoagulation, as well as reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation.

Stormwater and the pollution it contains must be managed since this water will ultimately reach rivers, streams, and seas, worsening contamination in these bodies of water.

Stormwater management should assist to alleviate this problem and limit the quantity of pollutants that reaches the sea.

Green agriculture

For everything from cattle production to farming, the agricultural industry consumes up to 70% of the world’s surface water supply. Agriculture, unfortunately, is the principal source of water contamination. 

Pesticides and fertilisers wash away with rainwater when it rains, bringing viruses and bacteria into the rivers. Agriculture, on the other hand, might be more environmentally beneficial.

Consider planting trees and other plants near bodies of water to encourage the use of green agriculture by preventing pesticides from being carried away when it rains. Pesticides containing hazardous compounds should also be avoided.

Conclusion

When dangerous substances—often chemicals or microorganisms—contaminate a stream, river, lake, ocean, aquifer, or other body of water, the water quality deteriorates and the water becomes toxic to humans or the environment.

This is known as water pollution. Water bodies can be polluted by natural processes, but in the current scenario, it is dominated due to anthropogenic activities.

Some of the best known examples of water pollution are agricultural runoff, sewage and wastewater pollution, oil pollution, radioactive pollution, and plastic pollution.

In order to reduce water pollution, methods such as wastewater treatment, plastic waste conservation, green agricultural practices, stormwater management, and other such activities are crucial.

FAQs

How does water pollution affect human life?

Many waterborne infectious illnesses are spread through the faecal-oral route of transmission as a result of pollution. Water contamination poses a number of health hazards, including cancer, diarrhoea, respiratory disease, neurological dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease.

What are some examples of water pollution?

  • Plastic or other waste are directly thrown into water resources.
  • Chemicals or other toxic waste from industries are drained to rivers, lakes etc and these actions pollute the water.
  • Use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides in agricultural fields. When it rains all the chemicals flew into nearby water resources.
  • Household waste is the other reason for water pollution.
  • Use of detergents pollutes the underground water.

References

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