Causes of Water Pollution
With environmentalism attracting the public's attention due to global warming, an increasing focus has been put on stopping pollution, especially carbon dioxide emissions. The main battle has been waged against air pollution, while water pollution has not been in the public limelight. Water pollution occurs when contaminants enter a body of water. Common causes of water pollution include the dumping of garbage and waste. Physical trash like cans, bottles, can rings often accumulate in bodies of water through littering. Worse still is contamination from bacteria, worms, and viruses present in sewage. Many undeveloped countries dump sewage straight into rivers, lakes or the ocean. Industry also causes water pollution in the form of chemical runoff and spills. Other toxic metals, salts and acids are dumped into water bodies from industrial processes.
Immediate Effects of Water Pollution
Water pollution can have a drastic impact on aquatic life in any body of water, and it can result in the complete elimination of certain species. Chemical compounds can be toxic to aquatic life, and heat pollution can create an environment that makes it difficult for aquatic animals to breathe and maintain the appropriate level of oxygen to survive. Water tainted by pollution will likely be toxic to land animals and humant. As the population of humanity increases, and demand for water goes up, the importance of clean drinkable water will continue to rise, so water pollution is likely to become an increasingly critical issue.
Other Effects of Water Pollution
Apart from shorter term effects on aquatic ecosystems and the palatability of water, water pollution has several other detrimental impacts. For one, the air contains a certain amount of water vapor which is in a constant cycle of rain and evaporation from bodies of water. The more polluted water becomes, the more likely that harmful pollutants will evaporate into the air along with the water, increasing air pollution and causing rainwater to become acidic. Thermal heating is also a potential long term problem: global warming heats waters and melts the ice caps, but water is a much better conductor of heat than air, so heated water runoff raises the temperature of water much faster than hot air can. Additionally, water pollutants can easily find their way into aquatic creatures, which are eaten by land animals, and somewhere down the line, ingested by humans. So not only does tainted drinking water pose potential heath threats, but so does food which comes from animals that have been affected by water pollution.