What are the Leading Factors of Water Pollution Around the World?
Historical Background: For centuries, humans unknowingly contaminated sources of drinking water with raw sewage, which led to diseases such as cholera and typhoid.(A&E, 2018) Water pollution intensified with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, when factories began releasing pollutants directly into rivers and streams. In 1969, chemical waste released into Ohio’s Cuyahoga River caused it to burst into flames and the waterway became a symbol of how industrial pollution was destroying America’s natural resources.(A&E, 2018)As the Industrial Revolution progressed, water pollution became a major crisis. Factories found water sources, especially rivers, a convenient means of waste disposal. … Coupled with widespread and human waste contamination of rivers, a fire on the Cuyahoga in 1969, led to the enactment of the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA). (Ferrara, 2018)
Theoretical/Conceptual Background:Some important things to know when talking about water pollution is, Nutrients Pollution, Some wastewater, fertilizers and sewage contain high levels of nutrients. If they end up in water bodies, they encourage algae and weed growth in the water. This will make the water undrinkable, and even clog filters. Too much algae will also use up all the oxygen in the water, and other water organisms in the water will die out of oxygen starvation. Surface water pollution, Surface water includes natural water found on the earth’s surface, like rivers, lakes, lagoons and oceans. Hazardous substances coming into contact with this surface water, dissolving or mixing physically with the water can be called surface water pollution. Oxygen Depleting, Water bodies have microorganisms. These include aerobic and anaerobic organisms. When too much biodegradable matter (things that easily decay) end up in water, it encourages more microorganism growth, and they use up more oxygen in the water. If oxygen is depleted, aerobic organisms die, and anaerobic organisms grow more to produce harmful toxins such as ammonia and sulfides. Groundwater pollution, When humans apply pesticides and chemicals to soils, they are washed deep into the ground by rainwater. This gets to underground water, causing pollution underground. This means when we dig wells and boreholes to get water from underground, it needs to be checked for ground water pollution. Microbiological, In many communities in the world, people drink untreated water (straight from a river or stream). Sometimes there is natural pollution caused by microorganisms like viruses, bacteria and protozoa. This natural pollution can cause fishes and other water life to die. They can also cause serious illness to humans who drink from such waters. Finally you should know that Oil spills usually have only a localized effect on wildlife but can spread for miles. The oil can cause the death to many fish and get stuck to the feathers of seabirds causing them to lose their ability to fly( eSchooltoday,2018).
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Recent Developments: In the 1960s, an environmental movement began to emerge that sought to stem the tide of pollutants flowing into the planet’s ecosystems. Out of this movement came events like Earth Day, and legislative victories like the Clean Air Act (1970) and the Clean Water Act (1972). (A&E,2018) In 1974, the Clean Water Fund has worked to promote advocacy of clean, safe water and air, as well as a reduction in pollution in the home, community, and the workplace. The Fund’s programs are designed to “build on and complement those of Clean Water Action… which has helped develop, pass, strengthen and defend the American nation’s major water and toxics laws such as the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Superfund and others.” (Sustainability,2018)