Water Scarcity and Pollution
Water is one of the most important natural resources for all living organisms. A normal person could stay alive without aliment for one whole week but not without water. However, in the areas where people experienced water shortage and pollution, safe drinking water was unable to be distributed to them. Water shortage or water scarcity is a condition where there is not enough supply of water to meet human needs. It is a situation that happened in many parts of the world and still increasing every single day. Much of this increase is expected to occur in the developing world, in places such as India, China and North Africa (UNDP, 2006). Nevertheless, the fact that it also occur in other developing countries should not be neglected. UNDP, 2006 also states that although the physical availability of water is a factor in many locales, current water supply problems are often as much about governance as about the physical environment. This clearly shows that government and the other management policies should have play their roles in distributing water to all people without getting bias. On the other hand, water pollution is also one of the major problems happening around the world lately. It happened not only in China, where there is a high demand of water supply but also in our very own country, Malaysia. Water is considered polluted if some substances or condition is present to such a degree that the water cannot be used for a specific purpose (Owa, 2014). The number of people who have died due to polluted water is surprisingly high. Polluted water is indeed harmful to humans. We could not have imagined how our next generation will be able to sustain their life if this leading cause of death is not handled wisely and properly. In this critical review, we are going to develop the ideas on what are the causes, effects and solutions to water scarcity and pollution.
Generally, we knew that our earth is covered by roughly 70% of water and yet, we only have almost 3% of the water that can be used for human consumption. Nowadays, water shortage and pollution is not something new for us as this crisis become worse day by day. We know that our earth is sick and we need to find the causes to find the solution on how we are going to save the water in our earth.
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Figure 1. “”Compartmentalization of global water resources, with fresh water resources available for human use representing approximately 0.03 percent of all water on Earth.”” (Padowski & Jawitz, 2009)
Water scarcity and pollution are caused by various reasons. It was generally induced by the action that is carried out mostly by human compared to the nature itself. One of the main cause is the water pollution itself. We are now in a crisis where we cannot get enough water for our daily basis and work because the remained freshwater was already polluted by the action of the human itself. With only 3% freshwater in the world and yet we are not taking care of it wisely, we will face the worst scenario in the future. Where the water pollution come from? Water pollution is likely to be found at the urban area. “”Agriculture, domestic and industrial waters are the major pollutants of agnatic habitats.”” (Owa, 2014). This poor management of sewage system become the biggest problem of this pollution and this happen mostly to the river or lake in this urban area. Sewage is carried by the irresponsible society who dump and discharge the untreated sewage directly to the source of freshwater such as river and lake. This action will drop the amount of dissolved oxygen in the river or lake which mean, the water become unhealthy and harmed to be consumed. The bacteria who act as decomposer is breaking down the substantial solids of the sewage is used up the dissolved oxygen (O2) which cause the Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) decreases (Owa, 2014). This unbalanced process is disturbed the ecosystem and resulting the lack of healthy freshwater for organisms in the earth. As we cannot control this action, we are in danger because we are depleting the form of freshwater.
Figure 1. “”Current assessment of global water scarcity (Adapted from IWMI, 2006). Economic water scarcity was found to be a major stressor in sub-Saharan Africa, and physical water scarcity is predicted to grow in the lower latitudes of North America and throughout the Middle East and central Asia.”” (Padowski & Jawitz, 2009)
Apart from that, overpopulation day by day become a great impact of the increasing of human demand which lead the water scarcity and pollution itself. Mekonnen and Hoekstra stated that “”two-bird of the global population (4.0 billion people) live under condition water scarcity at least one month of the year. Nearly half of those people live in India and China. Half billion people in the world face severe water scarcity all year round.”” (Mekonnen & Hoekstra, 2016). This result is a driving force for the increasing of human demand as the population of human-being become greater since this last few decades. More people is meant that more domestic or daily basis produce and expansion of the industrial and agriculture are needed to full-fill human’s needs. This industry is used such a great amount of freshwater especially for the agriculture field. This fields are not only cause water scarcity, but they are caused the water pollution as well. When we look at the agriculture industry, the great amount of water must be used and it must use the uncontaminated freshwater to achieve a good quality product. We discharge the harmful chemical substantial from the great amount of fertilizer and pesticide residues from this activity. Since we are lack of freshwater in the surface because of the pollution which leave us no choice to pump up the groundwater to get the freshwater. However, the continuous of getting the freshwater from the underground is leading shortage of freshwater when the water from the ground cannot be recycle. This will cause in just few decades in the future, we will out of freshwater. This is like killing two birds with a stone, where we cause the lack of freshwater as we overuse it for the industry and at the same time, we contaminate the freshwater or groundwater with pollutant that we are produced. This action also can be called the poor water management by human.
It is hard to avoid this crisis and our future generation are affecting by water shortage and pollution. We need to find the immediate and effective solution for our better future which we will discuss with few possible solutions of our problems later.
The effects of water pollution can be fatal sometimes. It affects all living creatures on Earth. One clear effect that could be seen is the effects on public health. Polluted water gives negative feedback towards human bodies, skin, lungs, brain, liver and kidneys, caused cancers, and birth defects. It also causes waterborne diseases such as Jaundice, Tuberculosis, Typhoid and Cholera. These diseases then lead to a major issue which is death as polluted water is consumed or got into contact with the skin. Aquatic lives such as seaweed, crustaceans and mollusks that serve as food sources to human are dying due to water pollution from oil spills. This further resulted in calcium deficiencies towards humans who consumed them. In places where water pollution is very common such as in India, people from the youngest to the oldest are exposed to these kinds of diseases. It is very sad to hear that people are dying due to circumstance that could easily be prevented from happening if proper measures are taken.
Apart from that, untreated sewage disposal into water ecosystems such as river leads to the death of aquatic organisms. This happened due to the presence of high amounts of bacteria that took up all the oxygen and other nutrients from the water which is supposed to be consumed by aquatic organisms such as fish. These bacteria is stimulated from the organic matter that is thrown into the river as bacteria acts as organic matter decomposers. As bacteria undergo respiration, they used up almost all of the dissolved oxygen contained in water. Thus, Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) will decreases, making other aquatic lives to die due to suffocation. The link of food chain among aquatic lives will break as a result of this occurrence. Besides, sewage not only contributes to the growth of bacteria but also nutrients for the growth of algae. The enrichment of water courses with algal nutrients is called eutrophication (Alrumman, 2016). Eutrophication is a serious problem because algal growth adds organic matter back into the water. This further increase the BOD that cause a deterioration of water quality. This apparently cause other consequence to rise up as well. Fishermen, whose life depend mostly on aquatic organisms such as crab, fish and prawn as their source of income to support themselves and their family are going to suffer financial problem in the future. They are not able to sell fresh seafoods according to customers’ wants. In a longer period of time as water pollution is not resolved, they will have to quit their job as a fisherman and look for another job that is more stable.
The next effect is polluted water brings negative feedback to the crops and the soil fertility. Water pollution due to acid rain from sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide causes pH of soil to become lower. This happen when human use polluted water to water their crops. As they have no other Due to insufficient nutrients, plants will eventually wilt and die. Thus, farmers who depends mostly on the production of crops could not harvest a healthy crop, making them to have financial issue in the near future.
Furthermore, water pollution also causes the country economy to deplete. Water ecosystems such as river, ocean and lakes acts as tourists’ attraction. It acts as a source of income to the country as tourists are willing to come to experience its beauty. However, water pollution cause the rivers and oceans to change its colour and have odours that are unpleasant. These are the result of industrial and domestic disposal that are uncontrollable. Large solids such as faeces and paper break up into very small particles and make turbidity with visible particles of organic material. Thus, the colour of water will turn gray and change to yellow-brown, according to the time day. However, as all the oxygen has been consumed during transit in the sewer, the wastewater becomes anaerobic or septic which cause the colour of water to become as dark as black. Moreover, the breaking up of large solids produce a musty smell which come from bacteria such as Cyanobacteria. sp. The rotten eggs is the commonest odour that is caused by hydrogen sulphide produced by anaerobic bacteria (Alrumman, 2016). Such odours cause not only tourists but also the local community to suffer. Tourists will not choose the country as one of their holiday spots. Indirectly, the country will experience a plummet in economy curve, making the government to go for extra miles to find solutions for the problem.
(Sulaiman A. Alrumman, 2016)
Water pollution and water scarcity has a colossal effect in our lives. It can be diminished with learning thought and readiness. It doesn’t require much exertion only a little idea. There are different approaches to decrease water shortage and water contamination. Water pollution control and management is the one of approaches to diminish the issue that had been occurred. It could be through aversion, rehearse endeavors or join a program that can offer information to individuals about the essential of taking consideration our environment.
First, environmental education can be a solution tool for the prevention of water scarcity and water pollution (Karata A, Karata E., 2016) . There are plenty of opportunities out there that people can use the world around them. There are a lot of chances out there so people can use in order to learn more about their surroundings problem. The expert in the environmental problem can be in a situation to help by instructing the individuals who are not managing the issue. The individuals who are managing it can get educated on how they can keep the issue from winding up far more atrocious later on. Besides that, we should bolster clean water activities that been sorted out by NGO’s. There are associations found everywhere throughout the world that are hoping to convey clean water to zones that don’t have it.
Besides that, regulation and monitoring or engaging in control measures by diminishing or limiting waste likewise can decrease the water problem. It is a powerful method for water scarcity and pollution management. Numerous countries worldwide have authorized enactment to manage different kinds of contamination and also to moderate the negative impacts of contamination. Precedent is wash your car far from any tempest water channels. At that point, do not throw trash, chemicals or solvents into sewer depletes and inspects your septic system every three to five years. Other than that, utilization non-harmful cleaning materials, tidy up oil and other fluid spills with kitty litter and sweep them up and don’t wash paints brushes in the sink.
Other than that, advance innovation that been produced for water preservation additionally can be utilized to lessen the issue happened. There has been a ton of work in the realm of water protection, yet there is likewise a ton that should be done with the end goal to guarantee that water can be preserved. If we put some effort by using money and exertion into preservation could be lifesaving. For sewage treatment, the device that can be utilized are sedimentation (primary treatment), activated sludge bio filters (secondary treatment that also used for industrial waste water), aerated lagoons, constructed wetlands (also used in urban runoff). Thus, it can enhance sewage systems since people can access clean drinking water if our nation have a good sewage system. Without appropriate sanitation, the water in a territory progresses toward becoming ridden with illness and any different issues. By enhance the sewage systems in these areas, we can prevent the problem from getting worse. In addition, ultrafiltration, API oil-water separators, bio filters, dissolved air flotation (DAF), powdered activated carbon treatment can be utilized for industrial wastewater treatment. Last but not the least are vapour recovery system and phytoremediation.
Next, people are encouraged to practice recycle and reuse of water for their daily live. There are a lot of innovations out there that enable us to reuse water and other types of water that we might use in our home. This method is not only helping to prevent water scarcity but it can spare us some cash as well. Our industries should go advance in trying to recycle these wastes instead of dumping them for rain water to sweep these refuse into our rivers and streams making them undrinkable (Owa, 2014).
To wrap things up, we can use fewer chemicals to clean our home. At that point, we ought to abstain from using pesticides and fertilizers that can keep running off into water system since it can cause water contamination that give negative effect to human and aquatic animals. . To maintain a strategic distance from water scarcity and water pollution issue turn out to be more regrettable step by step, we should preserve however much water as could reasonably be expected and talk up about water issues that influence our community (Khatun, 2017).
From the above discussion, we have concluded that due to overpopulation the demand of water supply increases and it causes water shortage when the water supply cannot fulfill human need. Industrialization is also one of the reasons that cause water scarcity and water pollution by decreasing the quality of water. When the quality of water decreases, so the water will not be suitable to be consumed by humans and other organisms. This is because water is an essential source for all living organisms. To solve this issue from becoming worse in the future, water should be treated properly and some prevention method to manage and control water scarcity and water pollution should be practiced. Thus, if water is in a good condition, we manage to supply and get safe drinking water and prevent more death cases involving water misuse. Finally, we can say”” SAFE WATER, SAVE LIFE.”” (Khatun, 2017)