What is Water Pollution?

Know About Water Pollution


Water occupies about two third portion of the earth; less than a third is taken up by land. As Earth’s population continues to evolve in an incremental manner, people are emphasising ever-increasing pressure on the water resources of the planet. Our oceans, inland waters, and other rivers are being squeezed and exploited by human activities.

Degraded water quality means water pollution.

Being aware of the fact that pollution is a human problem as it is definitely a recent development in the planet’s history, prior to the 19th century, people lived more in harmony with their immediate environment though abstained from science and modernisation.

As industrialisation has spread it’s boons around the globe, so did the problems of pollution travelled along with it and definitely acted as a curse. When Earth’s population was much minute, no one could ever believe that pollution would ever present a serious problem.

What is Water Pollution?


Water pollution has innumerable definitions and can be defined in many ways.

Traditionally, it means one or more substances which get deposited in water bodies to such an extent that they cause problems for survival of animals or people.

Oceans, lakes, rivers, and other inland waters can naturally clean up a certain amount of pollution by eliminating it harmlessly. The chemicals thus deposited can very quickly have an effect on the quality of the water. This, in turn, can affect the health of all the plants, animals, and humans adversely whose lives depends on the river.

Water pollution is all about quantities. How much portion of a polluting substance is released and how big a volume of water is in its comparison. A small quantity of a life threatening chemical may have very less impact if it is spilled into the ocean from a ship. But the same amount of the same chemical can have a much bigger impact if spilled into a lake or river, where the clean water to disperse it is very less. Water pollution universally had a constant definition and it always meant that some damage has been done to an ocean, river, lake, or other water source. Thankfully, Earth is forgiving and damage from water pollution can be eliminated and reversed by adopting few steps.

Types of Water Pollution


The two types of water resources pollution are

SURFACE WATER POLLUTION:- Earth’s water resources are unconsciously  often relates  to huge oceans, lakes, and rivers. Water resources like these which are existent on the surface are called surface waters. The most common type of water pollution affects surface waters. For example, a oil spill from a oil tanker.

GROUNDWATER POLLUTION:- Earth’s water not always sits on its surface. A great percentage of water is held in underground rock structures known as aquifers, which we is not visible and we rarely think about it. Water stored in aquifers that is underground is known as groundwater. Our rivers are fed by aquifers and so is the supply much of our drinking water. This can also become polluted.

Weed killers being used in people’s gardens drain into the ground causing this type of pollution. Groundwater pollution is rare and  much less obvious than surface-water pollution, but is not a problem that can be ignored or given a back seat.


There are also other types in which pollution can persist.

POINT SOURCE POLLUTION:- Pollution from a single location, such as a discharge pipe attached to a factory, is called as point-source pollution. Other situations of point source pollution might include an spill of oil out  from a tanker, or a sudden smoke discharge from a smoke stack (factory chimney), or pouring of oil from someone’s car down a drain.

SCATTERED SOURCE POLLUTION:- A great percentage of water pollution happens not from one single source but from many different scattered sources. This is called scattered source pollution.

TRANSBOUNDARY POLLUTION:- Pollution that enters the environment from one single source or one place but has an effect on hundreds or even thousands of miles away. This is known as transboundary pollution.


How to Know Water is Polluted?


Now the different forms of water pollution are very obvious but knowing if a water body is polluted or not is also important. There exists two main methods of accesing the quality of water.

CHEMICAL INDICATOR:- One is to collect samples of the water from different water bodies and record the concentrations of different chemicals and pollutants that it contains. If the found pollutants are dangerous or their concentrations are too high and above safety level, we can regard the water is polluted. Taking records like this and judging are known as chemical indicators of water quality.

BIOLOGICAL INDICATOR:- The other way would be to measure water quality which involves the procedure of examining the fish, reptiles, and other insects that the water bears. If varied forms of creatures can live in the river, the quality is surely to be great; but if there is no fish life at all, the quality is obviously not good. This method is called as biological indicators of water quality.


Causes of Water Pollution


Water pollution doesn’t start with water itself. Any human activity happening outside water can affect the quality of the water environment.

Farmers fertilizing the fields, the fertilizers they use are eventually drained by rain into the groundwater or the existing surface waters. The real causes of water pollution are quite shocking.

Chemicals released by factories can enter the atmosphere and then fall back to earth in form of acid rain, thus entering the sea, river, or any other water body leading to water pollution. It is called as the atmospheric deposition phenomena.

Water pollution and its causes are listed below:-



With the increasing population, disposal of sewage waste is a major problem. According to the statistics of 2015 to 2016, many people don’t have proper access to healthy drinking water and many people also don’t have access to proper sanitation facilities. Sewage disposal affects the immediate environment on which survival is dependent and eventually leads to water-related illnesses such as typhoid.  


However developed countries have adopted flush toilets that take sewage waste quickly and hygienically eliminates it away from their respective homes. The problem caused by sewage disposal does not just ends here. The toilet after being flushed, the waste in it has to end somewhere. Even after leaving the sewage treatment works, there is still the remaining waste to dispose of. In some places sewage waste is pumped and untreated into the sea carried. It is possible for people to catch diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid, and cholera.



If treated in a suitable way and used in appropriate quantities, sewage can often act as a fertilizer, which helps plants and animals in growth.

The issue here is, sewage is eliminated in much greater portions than the natural environment can deal with. Fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides used by farmers does the job of adding nutrients to the soil, which when drained into rivers cause pollution.

Sewage and fertilizers together can cause a massive deposition of algae or plankton on surface of water bodies that pollutes big areas of oceans, rivers or lakes. Often called as harmful algal bloom, also called as red tide because it turns the ocean red. It removes oxygen from the water that kills other forms of life and is extremely harmful, it eventually leads to what is known as a dead zone.  Example can be the Gulf of Mexico which has one of the world’s most spectacular dead zones.

Waste Water


Statistics always illustrate the level of the problem that wastewater can initiate. Half of all ocean pollution is caused by disposal of sewage and wastewater from homes and factories.

Factories are the glacier sources for water pollution, but normal people are also responsible for it to a great  proportion. People pour chemicals of one sort or the other down their drains or toilets. Even detergents needed for washing machines and dishwashers end up finally in the rivers or the oceans. The pesticides we use on our gardens is not an exception as well. Highway runway also contribute towards a lot of toxic pollution.

Highways are covered with a lot of toxic chemicals. During rains chemicals wash into drains and rivers. It is not an impossible task for heavy summer rain storms to drain toxic chemicals into rivers in larger concentrations that they can kill large numbers of fish within a small time.


Chemical Waste


Now comes the highly toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). They are popularly used for production of electronic boards, but they are extremely harmful and have now been recognized and their use is highly limited. Even though PCBs are strictly banned, their effects will be prominent for many decades because they last for a long time in the environment intact. Another type of toxic pollution comes from heavy metals, namely cadmium, lead or mercury. Lead commonly used in gasoline is extremely harmful, and that’s the reason its use is now restricted in many countries. Mercury and cadmium are still used in   making of batteries. Until, a highly toxic chemical called TBT was used in paints to protect boats from the destructive effects of the oceans. Though TBT was gradually recognized as a pollutant it was doing much damage to the ocean

Radioactive Waste


It is viewed with great alarm.  Radioactive waste at high enough concentrations can kill and in lower concentrations it can cause cancers and various other forms of illness.

Oil Pollution


Ocean pollution can often be linked to huge black oil slicks though these denotes only a small fraction of all other forms of pollution entering our oceans. Oil spills though rare but whenever it has

happened, it is  known to harm many water species, fishes and salmons and variety of rare eggs.



Plastics are by far and away the most common substance that washes up with the waves and thus pollutes it.  The most prominent reasons for this is plastic being one of the most common materials, used for anything and everything in the country. Plastics though as not toxic as the same way as poisonous chemicals, they nevertheless is a major reason of harm to seabirds, fish, and other marine creatures.

Alien Species


Most people do not imagine this as being one of the cause. In some parts of the world, alien species are a major cause for water pollution. Alien species are animals or plants migrated from one region that have been introduced into a different ecosystem, where they did not originate from. Away from their normal environment, they do not find any natural predators, so they rapidly run mad and turn into hunters, finding out the usual animals or plants that live there.

Other Forms Of Pollution


THERMAL EMISSIONS:-Heat or thermal emission from factories and power plants also causes pollution in rivers. By increasing the temperature, it limits the amount of oxygen present in the water, thus also reduces the level of aquatic life that the river can nurture


DISTURBANCE IN DEPOSITION OF SEDIMENT:-Another type of pollution involves sediment disruption that flows from rivers into the sea. This makes the river or water bodies muddy thus causing water pollution


After – Effects Of Water Pollution


Pollution is an inescapable result of activities initiated by humans as believed popularly. It is argued that factories, cities, ships, cars, oil, and coastal resorts are wanted certainly some degree of pollution is sure to occur and we should accept it. Implying that pollution means a necessary evil that people must learn to live with if they want to progress. Fortunately, it is not agreed by everyone universally. We must all realise pollution cannot ever be the other side of modernisation. It is our not so careful activities that is causing pollution. . They can Like for a detailed demo let us consider the case of oil spills, they would never happen if the tankers are built in a proper manner and strong enough to bear accidents . But the builders built it that way to make it cost effective and thus compromising on the quality. In case of oil spills the devastation, harm to sea species caused is no way related to the builders thus it’s a matter of least concern for them.

Sewage can be a good example to explain how pollution affect us all. Sewage discharged into coastal waters washes up beaches and has the ability to cause a health hazard. People who bathe or do surfing or rafting or any sort of water sport in the water can fall ill if they swallow this polluted water. It can poison the shellfishes present such as cockles or mussels residing near the shore. People eating these poisoned shellfish has an heightened risk of suffering from an acute illness called paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Pollution matters because it is harmful for the environment on which people sustain and live. The environment is not something separate and not related to our lives. The environment that surrounds us is responsible for giving us life and health. Destroying the environment indirectly affects us and reduces the quality of our own lives. And that the reason why pollution should matter to all of us greatly.


Prevention Of Water Pollution


i)Spreading and Creating Awareness, Making Common People Aware:-

Making people aware of the problem is certainly the obvious and first step of solving it. Greater public being aware of the issue can make a big and noticeable difference.

ii)Implementation of Strict Government Laws:-

There should be certain levels of strict laws adopted by the government forcing people to adopt healthy measures for the environment.

iii)Observations of Economics:-

All experts agree that the most beneficial way to tackle pollution is through a principle called the polluter pays principle. This means that the person responsible for causing pollution should have to pay to clean it up, one way or another responsible way.


Dreaming A Pollution Free Future And Making It The Reality


Life is all about choice and pollution is not an exception. We can either learn to live with sewage filled beaches, polluted rivers, and fish that are too poisonous to eat. Or we can work together to keep the environment healthy so that the plants, animals, and people who survive on it remains healthy.  Doing our bit and working together, we can make pollution insignificant and the world definitely a better place to live in.