The effects of water pollution strongly impact the balance of nature, which ultimately impacts all humans. With proper care and consideration, many of the situations that cause water pollution can be stopped or decreased.
The effects of water pollution are not always immediate. They are not always seen at the point of contamination. They are sometimes never known by the person responsible for the pollution. However, water pollution has a huge impact on our lives. With knowledge, consideration and preparation, water pollution can be decreased. It doesn't take much effort — just a little thought.
Water covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. While less than 3 percent of this water is drinkable, all of it is necessary for supporting life on Earth. Water pollution is one of the biggest threats to the environment today.
There are several types of water pollution ranging from sewage and fertilizers to soil erosion. The impact of water pollution on aquatic life and land life can be devastating.
Although just about any substance can pollute water, there are a few sources of pollution that create the greatest risk—or add the greatest volume of pollutants to our waterways. These sources include: runoff, wastewater, air pollution, and eroded soil and nutrients. Each of these sources contribute different pollutants to our waterways, and they all have differing affects.
Water Pollution Solutions
The best solution for water pollution is prevention. While pollution that has already occurred is a current threat to all life on Earth, attempts to clean it up may cause even more harm.
Chemicals used to treat or clean up oil spills may further contaminate water supplies. Adjustments in temperature to counteract heat or cooling pollution may not achieve proper balance, leading to more loss of aquatic life.
Preventing water pollution does more for the environment by halting the level of pollutants where they are. This gives the environment needed time to begin to correct itself, and time for scientists to determine the best way to combat existing problems.
Water Pollution Preventions
Erosion is one of the biggest causes of water pollution today. When you take steps to conserve soil, you are also conserving water and water life. Planting vegetative covers, strict erosion management and implementing beneficial farming methods are just a few of the many possible approaches to soil conservation.
Dispose of Toxic Chemicals Properly
It’s always a good idea to use lower VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) products in your home whenever possible. If you do use toxic chemicals, such as paints, stains or cleaning supplies, dispose of them properly. Paints can be recycled and oils can be reused after treatment. Proper disposal keeps these substances out of storm drains, water ways and septic tanks.
Clean Up Waterways
Just picking up waste and litter wherever it is spotted can go a long way to keeping debris and pollutants out of the water. Do your part by taking your own trash, other wastes and any you see to a nearby disposal facility.
Avoid Plastics When Possible
Plastic bags in the ocean is a well documented water pollutant. Keep this problem from getting worse by changing to reusable grocery bags whenever possible.
Get Active and Get Involved
Is there a company near your home that releases heat, coolants or chemicals into a nearby waterway? You can get involved. Contact the local authorities or write letters to the heads of companies. Spreading an awareness of problems is a big first step toward combating them.
While water pollution solutions may seem like too little, too late when viewed in the light of major oil spills and floating plastic bag islands they are necessary to prevent these problems from growing worse. Simply slowing down the rate of pollution can give the environment and scientists time to find long-term solutions to the very real problems of water pollution. If you do your part to prevent pollution in your area, then you’ll be helping to protect life.