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How Does Water Pollution Affect The World Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2317 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Water – the most important and basic necessity required for life to exist on this planet. From microscopic organisms to giant mammals, from algae to angiosperms, every living thing needs water to survive.

It is universally known that clean, potable water is extremely essential for a healthy living but it’s also very scarce in today’s polluted world. Statistically, dirty water is one of the deadliest killers. UNO has estimated that 10 people die every minute from contaminated water. The WHO estimates that 80% of all sickness and disease in developing countries is due to unsafe water. I believe water pollution is one of the most widespread problems and it has deadly effects which could be mitigated if the right actions are taken in a timely fashion. Thus, I think this is a relevant topic to tackle.

Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies such as lakes, rivers, oceans and groundwater. Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly into water bodies without removing harmful compounds. By this project I will know more about what are the different perspectives regarding this issue.


Water pollution is prevalent all over the world. Several countries are suffering from intense pollution. The irony is that the highly industrialized, developed countries suffer from the highest margin of pollution. Many factors are held responsible for these problems- industrialization, population and poor water treatment plants. The top five polluting countries are China, USA, Russia, India and Japan.

Globally, the water and sanitation crisis claims most lives. Some 6,000 children die daily due to lack of safe drinking water. The death tolls are equal to those who die due to 20 aircraft crashes.

UN statistics show 2 million tons of human waste is disposed in water bodies daily. Developed countries dump 70% of industrial wastes untreated leading to contamination.

The following are the sources of water pollution:

Fertilizers: Synthetic fertilizers leech into rivers through rainwater or improper irrigation. Drained fertilizers give enrichment of nutrients which gives rise to algae; this is Eutrophication. This disrupts the life cycle of marine animals by using up oxygen. If continued it will lead to 15% global increase in nitrogen flow into rivers in 30 years.

Chemical industries:  Untreated chemical are released into waters due to which adversely affect marine organisms. Sewage contains a high amount of pathogens leading to spread of diseases 

Oil Spills: When huge oil tankers leak while in transit, massive quantities of crude oil are spilled into our oceans. This results in death of t thousands of marine organisms and birds. Many animals/ birds die of hypothermia as oil sticks to their scales/feathers and they are not able to breathe and fly. The temperature of water gets affected and in turn the animals die. The oil spills are one of the most damaging events of pollution, especially because they are very difficult to clean up.

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Continentally, Africa has highest amount of polluted water. South Africa, to be specific, is most polluted country when it comes to water pollution. The government of Africa has taken control over the pollution by implementing many laws and measures. Africa being a developing continent, cannot afford the cost of treating all the waste. Some industries they dispose the waste directly in water bodies. Also, the implementation of laws is not very strict in Africa. 

In Europe, the most polluted coasts are of Lithuania and Estonia; an estimated 70% of all surface water is polluted due to industrial activities. Poland has high rate of water pollution which causes shortage of water for industrial use. Baltic Sea is considered to be most polluted sea in the world. Thus, this suggests that even if the country is developed, it can suffer from pollution.

In Asia most polluted waters are to be found in China. About 80% of China’s water is heavily polluted. This is due to untreated sewages and industrial influence. About two million people suffer from serious diseases caused by unsafe water. Japan suffered a great setback due to the Mina Mata disease. Caused by methyl mercury from the industrial wastewater of the Chisso Corporation’s chemical factory, this highly toxic chemical accumulated in shellfish and fish in Mina Mata Bay. Those, when eaten by the local populace resulted in mercury poisoning. This deadly disease, which in extreme cases can cause insanity, paralysis, coma and eventual death, is just one of the many examples of diseases that water pollution causes.

Even in USA, clean tap water is a reality only in some states, mostly up north, while others are still getting contaminated water. Many Americans drink tap water without even knowing it. The Senate and the Congress in America passed The Water Act in 1974 that could set national limits on certain contaminants in tap water.

Australia has a comparatively low rate of water pollution. Many water projects are underway in Australia and people are enthusiastically helping to solve the problem of unsafe drinking water. Main source of pollution at Sydney’s beach is affluent discharge from Bodi and Malabar waste water treatment plants. Waste water treatment plants collect waste water and remove solids and then treat waste water before realizing it into the environment.

Starting the treatment of water today can help us save large numbers of lives. Thus, it forms a major crisis in the world. Time has come to solve it.


I am an Indian, living in Rajkot, Gujarat. I’m privileged to live in a country which has adequate water. By adequate, I mean there is enough for need, but unfortunately not enough for greed. Regrettably, India is amongst the top water polluters in the world. Since several decades, industrial wastes like chemicals, oils, carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals) and other poisonous substances are discharged into the rivers in large quantities.

It’s a fact the water shortage will be the world’s most serious issue in the coming years. Someone rightly said that the third World War will be over water, considering India Fights have already started on small scale over water. At present the many states of India are involved in legal battles over the rivers which they consider a part of “their” state. The States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Karnataka are fighting over the river Kaveri. And Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are fighting over river Krishna.

In India, rivers have a great religious importance and they are considered holy. People travel miles to bathe in these rivers. Due to these pollutions, the water which was considered ‘Amrita’ (Elixir) has now become like poison. To some extent, bathing in the river does cause water pollution. Imagine thousands of people diving into rivers for a “holy and spiritual” bath. This does contaminate water and gives way to spread of infection.

In India, people wash their clothes in the rivers and use river water for purposes of personal hygiene. It has been found that expired medicines and used injections are thrown into the rivers. Out of the 1400 km of the river Yamuna, 600 km from Panipat to Etawa has been officially declared to be dead (this means this stretch of the river has 0% dissolved oxygen meaning that neither can water support any type of life nor is it suitable for any kind of use.

Experts have found out that the level of coliform (harmful bacteria) in water is dangerous if its 50 per 100ml of drinking water. For bathing water, it is an approximate of 500 per 100ml is considered harmful. More than 500 means that the water is not even fit for bathing. It has been found that Delhi’s level of coliform is between 9,000,000 and 10,000,000. If this is the condition of the capital city; it can be assumed that in other parts of the country the conditions are worse. Even though the Indian government has introduced many Acts outlawing water pollution, it is unable to enforce it strongly. Industrial wastes are dumped into the ground by injecting them deep inside. This practice pollutes the underground freshwater.

In India, water pollution is impacting on the health of the people. The industrially polluted water is treated by ordinary techniques, which still are not able to filter out the heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. This water is used in agricultural practices, and the produced crops like the fruits and vegetables contain these poisonous substances. Such water, which drunk even in small quantities can cause some serious health problems like:


Bacterial Infections

Typhoid, Cholera, Bacillary Dysentery


Viral Infections

Infectious Hepatitis (Jaundice), Poliomyelitis


Protozoan Infections

Amoebic Dysentery

Aji River flows nearby Rajkot and a dam is built on it to sustain it. An analysis of different water bodies in downstream of Aji dam indicates the most of water bodies within city limits are contaminated. Pollution of underground water due to electro-plating industries and sari-printing industries is also observed. These small- scale industries are proliferating but are also causing severe damage to underground, potable water which is becoming increasingly scarce.


Perspective – the word itself means the way one looks at things. I believe perspectives, opinions, ideas and viewpoints change whenever we experience something new, encounter something different.

Rajkot has consistently good rainfall since the past couple of years. We collect and harvest the rainwater by collecting it in buckets and tanks. This water can then be utilized in water the garden plants and washing the car.

The same case applies to this project. In my family, I observed a lot of wastage of water. It wasn’t until I saw Satyamev Jayate that I realized the importance of saving water. That was has been an eye-opener for many issues that my country is struggling to overcome.


Today, water has become a major world issue. The concentration of water pollution is expected to increase in future, evident by the growing trend today. With the advancement in industries, agriculture and many other contributing factors of water pollution, water is getting more contaminated by the minute!

Presently the health is already being affected badly. There is massive outbreak of diseases and prevalence of infections. I agree that there are vaccinations present for almost all of these diseases but the saddest part is that not all of the affected population can afford to get vaccinated. And worse, some of the people may not even know about those vaccinations.

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Soon, if all the water gets polluted, the scenario will worsen. If this continues to happen then many diseases will spread due to bad quality of water. Clean water will not be available for drinking, the level of pollution will have risen so much that it would be very expensive to purchase and only a few people will be able to afford it.

If states today are fighting for water, tomorrow individual people might fight for water and a small issue about water may start a fight that might be difficult to contain or halt. If not acted upon now, the future of the world is going to be very dry.


Water pollution needs to immediately be reduced. By taking simple measures, we can alleviate the levels of contamination and with constant and consistent effort, probably remove contamination altogether.

The following are some ways in which that could be done:

Wise usage of water and a sense of responsibility while using it.

Spreading awareness to industrial firms and trying to make them relocate their sewage plants if they are depositing it untreated into water.

Stricter laws about minimum usage of pesticide, fertilizer and herbicide per annum which will reduce surface run off.

Passing Government Laws and Water Acts about treatment of drinking and sewage water.

Making farm irrigation more efficient and widespread.

These are some primary steps which can at least help jump start the conservation process. Soon, if this is kept on-going, my may well be living in a contamination-free world. Thus, I believe to change some this big and major, to stop the wrong process and set it right, all we have to do is accumulate the courage to take the first step.


After realizing the need for judicious use of water, I have reduced the use of water in cleaning my bicycle and bathing. The household help had been instructed to use less of water in washing utensils and clothes. She has been advised to not keep the tap running I think the use washing machines and dishwashers would be beneficial in saving a good amount of water. My father owns a chemical industry and he ensures that his industry does not deposit waste directly in the water body before sufficient treatment.

I believe these small steps, if taken by everybody will make a drastic change in the overall picture of this nation. And for that, I do talk to my friends about saving water and its importance. I am convinced that spreading awareness is the ONLY way to tackle is increasingly prevalent problem.


[Word count: 2205]


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