Oh! It is so much fun playing with water on the beach. But ever thought what if water just evanesces from our lives? Well the pace at which water is being polluted the day isn’t very far! All of us are well acquainted with the term ‘water pollution’ but not with the grave effect that it has on our lives.
The total volume of water available on earth is about 1.4 billion km and about 70% of the earth is covered with water but freshwater in the world is only 25% of the total water available on the planet. Around 70% of the industrial waste is dumped into the water bodies consequently; millions of people don’t have access to clean drinking water. 20% of the groundwater in China is used as drinking water which is highly contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals.
Microbes, toxins, and water containing unnecessary amounts of salts give rise to many diseases. Around the globe more than 80% of diseases are directly or indirectly caused due to polluted water. According to UNICEF more than 3000 children die every day globally due to the consumption of contaminated drinking water.
The nuclear crises that occurred in Japan after the 2011 Tsunami prompted that the Japanese government had dumped 11 million liters of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. It created a 70 km long island of debris that is still floating in the Pacific Ocean.
The Living Blue Planet report, released by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) states that over 25% of all marine species live in coral reefs yet they cover less than 0.1% of the ocean. Around one in four species of sharks, rays and skates are now threatened with extinction. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list classifies four turtle species – hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley, green, and loggerhead as critically endangered.
In America, 40% of rivers and 46% of lakes are polluted and considered unfit for swimming, fishing, or aquatic life. The Ganges River in India is most polluted in the world. As per an estimate, almost 2.5 million people in over 34000 villages of India are suffering from Cholera. Tribal villagers in Rajasthan are suffering from various diseases due to drinking dirty water from the ponds.
On average 250 million people worldwide succumb to diseases related to water pollution. Polluted water is like poison for human beings. Large amounts of chloride in drinking water deform the spine making it snaky and teeth also become yellow and start falling.
It also increases the risk of kidney diseases. A large amount of sulfide and urea in water is the cause of respiratory and intestinal problems respectively. Contamination of drinking water with nitrate resulting from fertilizers and chemicals used in agricultural lands is the reason for blue baby disease in kids which changes their skin color eventually causing their death due to decreased oxygen-carrying capacity of hemoglobin in babies.
The huge oil spill was caused by BP in the year 2010 due to which aquatic species have faced an estimated extinction rate five times more than that of terrestrial animals. Over 30 billion tons of urban sewage is discharged into water bodies making them highly infected with bacteria, parasites, and viruses.
Aquatic plants get severely affected due to water pollution. Due to a plethora of moss in the polluted rivers sunlight fails to reach the depths of water consequently affecting the aquatic plant life. The lack of sunlight results in the failure of photosynthesis which harms the growth of aquatic plants.
Some aquatic weeds such as water hyacinth and water ferns also have hazardous effects on the water ecosystem. Water hyacinth was grown for its aesthetic appearance but it is known to hinder the growth of aquatic plants and is fatal for aquatic organisms as it uses up a large amount of oxygen present in water.
According to the survey done by the Food and Water Watch cites that approximately 3.5 billion people in 2025 will face water shortage. This is likely to happen because pollution is increasing tremendously. It is the need of the hour to take preventive measures to mitigate this increasing menace of water pollution and save some clean water for future generations.
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