What is water pollution?
Water is very important for all living beings. We all need water. Rivers and lakes are the important sources of water that we use but this water is getting contaminated continuously.
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies such as lakes, rivers, oceans, and groundwater caused by human activities, which can be harmful to organisms and plants that live in these water bodies. It occurs when pollutants are discharged directly into water bodies without treating them first.
The major pollutants contaminating water are :
- Untreated industrial waste etc.
How does water get polluted ?
There are many causes of water pollution. These are indirect or direct contaminants.
- Indirect sources include contaminants that enter water supply from soil or ground water and from the atmosphere via rainwater.
- Direct sources include effluents from factories, refineries, waste treatments plants etc that dispose fluids of various quality into water bodies. For example : Contamination of the River Ganga.
Sometimes untreated sewage is thrown directly into rivers. It contains food wastes, detergents micro-organisms, etc. Water contaminated with sewage may contain bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites which causes diseases like cholera, typhoid, and jaundice. This water when seeps into the soil, contaminates the groundwater. If such water is used by us, it can cause severe infections.
Atmospheric deposition is the pollution of water bodies caused by air pollution. The acid rain caused due to oxides of sulfur, nitrogen, and carbon, falls on the ground and gets washed into the water bodies. This contaminates the water and threats aquatic life.
Potable water and its purification :
Water that is fit for consumption by humans and animals is called potable water. Water that appears clean may still have disease-carrying micro-organisms and dissolved impurities. So, it is essential to purify water before drinking by boiling or some other way.
Some ways to make water safe for drinking are as follow :
- Filtering : This is a physical method of removing impurities from water using a water filter or water purifier.
- Boiling : Boiling kills the germs present in the water and get clean for safe drinking.
Chlorination: It is done by adding chlorine tablets or bleaching powder to the water which kills the germs and micro-organisms present in the water.
Some more important factors to make water clean and safe :
- Laws for industrial units should be strictly implemented so that polluted water is not disposed off directly into water bodied.
- 3 R’s i.e, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle should be followed by each of us.
- Rainwater harvesting should be practiced.
- And last but not least, trees should be planted because trees maintain the water-cycle.