Water Pollution Essay, Research Paper
People keep on throwing trash and industrial wastes into our clean water. If this continues, the quality of our water will deteriorate, and without it everything dies, including us. Water pollution is destroying our world, but fortunately we can count on special treatments for this kind of problem.
What is water pollution? “It is the contamination of water by foreign matter such as organisms, chemicals, and industrial or other wastes” (Encarta 96). Water has six major pollutants. These pollutants are the following: sewage and other oxygen-demanding wastes, plant nutrients, exotic organic chemicals, petroleum, radioactive substances, and sediments. Sewage and other oxygen demanding wastes, lead to oxygen depletion “to empty out” ( Webster?s Dictionary). Plant nutrients; can stimulate the growth of aquatic plants, which can interfere with water uses. Exotic organic chemicals including pesticides, and industrial products. Petroleum especially from oil spills, which kills most of the animals living in our world. Radioactive substances which come from the wastes of organic and thorium “a heavy, radioactive metallic chemical element” (Webster?s Dictionary). Sediments, consisting of soil and mineral particles washed away by storms and floodwater from croplands.
Some notable effects of water pollution include those involved in human health, some examples would be: “nitrates in drinking water can cause a disease in infants that sometimes results in death” (Encarta 96). Cadmium, “a metallic element used in alloys and for electroplating” (Webster?s Dictionary). If ingested in sufficient amounts, the metal can cause an acute diarrheal disorder and liver and kidney damage. ” The hazardous natural of inorganic substances, such as mercury, arsenic, and lead has long been known or strongly suspected” (Encarta 96).
Lakes are especially vulnerable to pollution. One problem is eutrophication, “the aging process of a body of water choked by plant life” (Webster?s Dictionary). It occurs when lake water becomes artificially enriched with nutrients, causing abnormal plant growth. Runoff of chemical fertilizer from cultivated fields may influence this. The process of eutrophication can produce problems such as bad tastes and odors, and unsightly green scums of algae, as well as the growth of rooted plants, oxygen depletion, and other chemical changes such as precipitation of calcium carbonate in hard waters. Another problem, “acids rain, has left many lakes in the northeastern US and Canada totally devoid of life”(Encarta 96).
The major sources of water pollution can be classified as municipal, industrial, and agricultural. “Industrial wastes provide the widest range of complex pollutants” (Encyclopedia Americana). “A particularly complex dimension of water pollution has emerged in recent years with the growth of synthetic chemical industry” (Encyclopedia Americana). Large power plants also constitute a hazard because they give off heat. The heat released by the plant near a body of water might raise the water temperatures and cause serious damage to aquatic life.
Three options are available in controlling industrial pollution. They are: ” control can take place at the point of generation within the plant; wastewater can be pretreated for discharge to municipal treatment systems; or wastewater can be treated completely at the plant and either reused or discharged directly into receiving waters” (Encarta 96). Municipal water pollution consists of wastewater from homes and commercial establishments. The main goal of treating municipal wastewater was to reduce its content of suspended solids, oxygen demanding materials, dissolved inorganic compounds and harmful bacteria. The basic methods of treating municipal wastewater fall into three stages: Primary Treatment “including grit removal, screening, grinding, flocculation, and sedimentation” (Encarta 96). Secondary treatment “entails oxidation of dissolved organic matter by means of using biological active sludge, than filtered off” (Encarta 96), and tertiary treatment, “advanced biological methods of nitrogen removal and chemical and physical methods such as granular filtration and activated carbon absorption are employed” (Encarta 96).
Agriculture is the source of many organic and inorganic pollutants in surface waters and ground water. Control may involve selling basins for liquids, limited biological treatment in aerobic and anaerobic lagoons, and a variety of other methods.
In conclusion, water pollution is slowly destroying God?s beautiful creation, earth. These are some treatments for it, but still the water is not a hundred percent pure. We should care more about this problem that we are facing now because in the future it can get worst.
1. Encyclopedia Encarta 1996, Water Pollution
2. Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 28, Water Pollution, p1829
3. Webster?s Dictionary 1996