People, and all living organisms, need food, water, and oxygen. Each must be clean and available for humans and other living things to survive. Unfortunately, water pollution throughout the world can be a problem for people and living organisms in need of safe drinking water. Water pollution is dirty, unsafe water and cannot be used for drinking. Though there is plenty of salt water in the oceans, the pollution causes problems for aquatic life living in the oceans of the world.
The water pollution occurs when different particles, chemicals, and other substances cause the water to become unsafe. Sometimes the pollutants flow directly into the water from a factory. It can also flow indirectly from rainwater mixed with farm chemicals, construction sites, or other places that release unsafe chemicals. All rainwater eventually seeps into the ground and then flows into rivers, lakes, or streams that may be the source for drinking water.
Sometimes water pollution can occur naturally, such as by volcanic activity, excessive algae, animal waste, and silt from storms and floods. Human causes include sewage, pesticides and fertilizers from farms, chemicals, and trash from people littering. Water pollution can be sorted into several different types.
Nutrients pollution takes place due to excessive algae and plant growth when too many nutrients are released into the water. Wastewater, fertilizer, and sewage are the sources of the excessive nutrients. Surface water pollution occurs when unsafe substances reach the surfaces of the different bodies of water, and either dissolve in the water or remain on top of the surface of the water. It may include litter or other discharges in the water.
When decaying matter is released into the water, microorganisms grow and just like algae, they use up oxygen. Oxygen depletion is another type of water pollution. Groundwater pollution occurs when farmers, gardeners and others use chemicals to help their crops or plants grow, including grass. The excessive chemicals seep into the ground, causing the water underground to become polluted.
Other types of water pollution include microbiological, when people drink water directly from untreated rivers or streams, and the natural pollution causes illness to humans and to fish living in the water. Suspended matter are pollutants that do not dissolve in water, such as substances, particles, and chemicals that sink to the bottom and kill organisms living at the bottom of a body of water. Finally, oil pills may cause problems in the spill area and spread for many miles. Many fish die, and seabirds lose their ability to fly.
Regardless of the type of pollution, much of the human causes of pollution can be prevented. There are 14 billion pounds of mostly plastic garbage dumped into water every year, and in the U.S., 1.2 trillion gallons of sewage is dumped into water each year, and nearly 90% of wastewater flows untreated into lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. All can be reduced or prevented.
Some of the ways people can do their part in preventing water pollution is to reduce the amount of water used, such as taking shorter showers and using less water when brushing teeth or washing dishes. Disposing and recycling paints, oils, medicines, or chemicals properly, and not littering on the streets or in bodies of water. Planting more trees and flowers can lead to more rainwater being soaked up instead of mixing with chemicals from the area.
Over 70% of the Earth's surface is covered with water, and 70% of the body is made up of water; water pollution can have a devastating effect on life. It is important that everyone in the world can have safe drinking water.
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