Water Pollution Essay

This water pollution essay consists of the following parts

  1. What is Water Pollution?
  2. What are Water Pollutants?
  3. Sources of Water pollution
    • Point Source
    • Diffused Source
  4. Types of Water Pollution
    • Natural Process
    • Anthropogenic Process
  5. Classification of Water pollutants
    • Suspended Matter
    • Thermal Discharge
    • Pathogens
    • Natural Organic Pollutants
    • Synthetic Organic Pollutants
    • Inorganic pollutants
    • Oil & Grease
    • Radioactive substance
    • Sediment

Now let’s start this essay on water pollution

What is Water Pollution?

Water pollution can be defined as the presence of foreign substances or impurities (organic, inorganic, biological & radioactive) in such concentration which lowers the quality of water and makes it unfit to use.

Water pollution essay

In other words, we can say that when any organic or inorganic substances get dissolved in water (water bodies like river, lake, and pond or in aquifers) and deteriorate the quality of water is known as water pollution.

We can also define water pollution that “any changes in physicochemical characteristics of water which has a harmful effect on living organisms” is water pollution.

Water pollution effects, both human health and aquatic life and causes many harmful diseases like Dysentry, Arsenicosis, polio, Eye infection, Cholera, Diarrhoea, Jaundice, Cancer, etc.

What are Water Pollutants?

The substances which are responsible for pollution are known as pollutants. These are found in water in suspended, colloidal and dissolved or in ionic form. The characteristics of pollutants depend on the source of pollution, it varies, and every industry has different pollution potential. The pollutants from the food or beverage manufacturing industry will always differ in comparison to the chemical manufacturing industry. So we can’t use the same treatment technology for all industries, it will change according to industry and its production process. It is necessary to collect the data related to the production process and effluent quality before finalizing the treatment scheme.

Sources of Water Pollution

There are two main sources of water pollution, these are:

  • Point Source:

The sources which can be identified at a single point are known are point source. The effluent discharge from any industry & domestic effluent through regular channels are the point sources. We can easily minimize the water pollution caused by the point source through collection and treatment.

  • Diffused Source:

The sources which cannot be identified easily are known as the diffused source. In diffused sources, the pollutants are found scattered on the ground ultimately reach to the water bodies and cause pollution.

Types of Water Pollution

  • Natural Process:

The natural process is mainly when decomposed organic waste like biomass or kitchen waste and dead animals added to water. It changes the quality of water and decreases the Dissolve Oxygen level which leads to an increase in the Chemical Oxygen Demand & Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand.

  • Anthropogenic Process: 

The main sources are industrial effluent & domestic sewage. Agricultural run-off is also a big source for water pollution. The farmers are using lots of pesticides, herbicides & chemical fertilizer in their agricultural fields.  These chemicals also cause water pollution when they go down and mixed with groundwater or mixed with surface water stream by runoff.

Classification of Water pollutants

There are lots of uses of water in our daily life like in bathrooms, laundry, in the kitchen, cleaning of floor and washing of vehicles, etc. On the other hand, industries also use a huge quantity of water for production, cooling & washing purposes. After uses the water gets polluted/contaminated by the organic or inorganic pollutants and no more usable. The pollutant responsible for water pollution can be classified into the following categories-

  • Suspended Matter

Industrial and domestic both effluents contain suspended particles in the form of organic or inorganic particles or of immiscible liquid (oil & grease). These particles are responsible for the turbidity of water. The suspended matter has the following effects-

  1. The suspended matter reduces the light penetration in water bodies which inhibits the photosynthetic activities in aquatic vegetation.
  2. These provide the adsorption sites for harmful chemicals or biological organisms which may adversely affect the flora & fauna of water bodies.
  3. The settling ability of suspended matter also cause a harmful effect in water bodies it reduces the capacity of water bodies which leads to the degradation of that water body.
  4. The organic matter present in suspended is also responsible for the reduction in DO level.
  • Thermal Discharge

The maximum industries especially power plant are using water for cooling of steam, equipment & machinery, during this process the water gain temperature and become unfit for further use. If industries discharge this water in any water body then it has a deleterious effect. The rise in temperature of water to such extends which is harmful to aquatic life is known as water pollution. The effects of thermal discharge are as under-

  1. The biological activities increase with the increase in temperature ( It doubles with an increase degree centigrade)
  2. Some aquatic organisms like cold water fishes die due to an increase in temperature.
  3. It reduces the oxygen dissolve rate in the water body which resulting in decreased Dissolved Oxygen levels. Low DO levels coupled with high temperature result in increasing the metabolic activity of micro-organisms thereby resulting in the reduction in the availability of oxygen leading to anaerobic conditions.
  4. It increases the algal growth which may become a problem for the aquatic ecosystem.
  • Pathogens

Domestic sewage and industrial wastewater especially tanning industries, slaughterhouses, and hospital wastewater contains pathogens. Pathogens are the microorganisms that are capable to infect and transfer diseases to humans and animals.  Microbes like bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and some helminths are some pathogens found in wastewater.

These pathogens have an ability to survive in adverse conditions in water by forming cyst, egg, etc. and are capable of causing infection when the favorable season comes. Some impacts of these pathogens are-

Cholera, typhoid, gastrointestinal disorder, poliomyelitis, hepatitis, dysentery, and some other viral infections             are water-borne diseases

  • Natural Organic Pollutants

The organics which reduce the dissolved oxygen in any aquatic system are natural organic pollutants. The organic pollutants are found in sewage & industrial effluent like sugar mills, distilleries, paper mills, slaughterhouses & food processing industries. The Dissolve oxygen is a necessity of aquatic life when organic pollutants enter any stream the aerobic bacteria start digestion and consume the DO. This phenomenon reduces the DO level in that stream and if the process continued the condition becomes septic.

During day time the photosynthetic activities increase the DO level but in the night the respiration is being done by the aquatic flora & fauna which leads to reduce DO level. If the oxygen demand exceeds and dissolves oxygen level falls, it means the water body gets polluted.

  • Synthetic Organic Pollutants

The detergents, pesticides & fertilizers are examples of synthetic organic pollutants.

  • Inorganic pollutants

These are the heavy metals, alkali and acids, the effluent of metal industry, electroplating industry, and battery manufacturing industries having the potential of inorganic pollutants.

  • Oil & Grease

Oil & grease comes from the leakage or spillage during the replacement/filling of oil & grease in the machinery which is used in industries. Some industries like food & beverage and hotel industries have a large potential of oil & grease pollution because they use a huge quantity of edible and it comes in the effluent during the washing of manufacturing equipment. Oil & grease are hazardous material, if oil and grease mixed into water bodies, it forms the oil layer on the surface of the water and reduces the light penetration into water and photosynthesis. It further hinders oxygen transfer from atmosphere to water and this leads to decrease dissolved oxygen level at the bottom of the water and adversely affects the survival of aquatic life.

  • Radioactive substance

Nuclear waste is produced from industries mainly mining & refineries industries, medical, scientific processes, etc. These industries wastewater may contain radioactive pollution.

  • Sediments

Sand, grit, silt, minerals and soil particles are known as sediments; they come to streams from surface runoff from the agricultural field and also with domestic and industrial effluents. The impacts of sediments are-

  1. Increase turbidity of water which reduces the light penetration in the water stream.
  2. Cause asphyxia in fishes.
  3. It reduces the water stream capacity.

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