Pollution of water may be considered to be one of the most imperative issues concerning mankind. The problem which, if not addressed in haste and with purpose and conviction, then the problem may only get worse, assuming uncontrollable proportions. Only recently have the governments of the developed countries of the world got concerned about the problem, and started to ponder on actions to get it under control, at least to some pragmatic extent. As much as 70 % of the surface of the earth is covered with water bodies. Yet only as little as 0.01 % of this water mass is available in the form of fresh water, which is what is required for substance of life on earth. At least, in the case of humans. What it prosaically means to our cause is the fact that even though there is an abundance of water on the planet, only as much as a drop of it is available for consumption for mankind.
The problem in our hands is for sure extremely severe. Yet the solutions that have been brought to the table have been mostly inconsequential. In this publication we discuss the health hazards of Water Pollution and importance of controlling water pollution for better health.
What are the Hazards of Water Pollution?
1Severity of the Situation
If some reports in the New York Times are to be believed, then as much as 80 % of the China’s underground water is contaminated to the extent that it could not be even used for drinking or for the purpose of bathing. The reason obviously being contamination brought about expansion of industries and irresponsible farming.
As per the World Water Development Report, which is developed and compiled by UNESCO, the fact was put to light that three out of every four jobs on the planet is dependent on water. As much as an entire half of the entire work force of the world is either employed in water dependent jobs or in those which are dependent on natural resources. Industries, agriculture, fisheries, forest resource harvesting, energy resources, intensive manufacturing procedures, recycling procedures, construction works and transportation.
Hence, it is not very difficult to arrive to the inference, that neglecting the case of water pollution, thus far, has also brought about the risk of severe damages done to some of these economies, to the extent that the livelihood of the people involved with the concerned market was severely affected. The problem does not end there, as the events of the future could only be spelled to be catastrophic if the issues are not addressed in haste.
2Reason for Ignorance Regarding the Issue of Water Pollu...
The response to the problems that relate themselves to pollution of water, come ofttimes far too late. The pollutants run their course, do the damage that they intend, change the course of the many occurrences that may concern various natural, as well as societal phenomenon.
The environment is left in a severely damaged state, by the time the respective responses from the concerned circles start to come. A case of water pollution may pass the notice during the early days, because the level of contamination may not be visible to the naked eye, or the basic modes of testing. Pollutants like smog, which is nothing but a mixture of smoke and water, create urgency among the concerned circles to come up with the decisions.
As far back as 1968 Garrett Hardin, an American ecologist in his own right, put to light the fact, or in other words highlighted that individuals who only have their own interest in mind, behave in a manner, which could be said to be either opposing, or ideologically contrary to the beliefs and interests of the mass. This is what leads to wasteful depletion of the resources. The very idea, that the selfish interest of the people, leads them to neglect the cause and interest of the group means that a more centrally controlled autonomy is required in case of such issues, in order to bring about the intended well being on the society, by bringing about a healthy and positive change in their life style.
Common pool resources like water, which are expensive, to the point of been priceless, yet made available to the population at a token price. A central control would not only ensure uniformity of distribution, but also ensure to the honest maximum extent that the wastage of the resource is prevented, as much as possible, and at all cost. The idea of personal gain must be completely replaced with the gains of the society, at least in the case of common pool resources like water.
4Chemicals Found in Drinking Water
• Chemicals found in water, may either be naturally occurring, or else introduced through interference from the part of human beings. In any case, chemicals may have serious health hazards, and must be treated and neutralized , before the water is made available for drinking. Find below a concise list of chemicals that you may come across in an unfiltered glass of drinking water.
• Fluorides found in water are required for the body, for strengthening the case of your bones. Yet high levels of fluorides in your drinking water may have an adverse effect on the state of your health. Rajasthan in India is a state where the fluoride content in the ground water is naturally high.
• Arsenic is said to occur in its natural form in water, and also collected from fertilizers rich in phosphorous, and pipelines that may develop deposits of phosphates. A high level of arsenic is often reported from time to time, to be found in drinking water samples, specially those in the underground. The development of lesions on the skin may be said to be among the initial symptoms of arsenic poisoning.
• Contamination of the ground water with arsenic may be brought about as much by natural sources, as by man influenced sources, although surprisingly, the former may be said to be more prevalent of the two. In severe cases the government may have to provide the population with an alternate source of drinking water. Desalination, or transportation of water from far away reservoirs, either man-made or natural, may be said to be the common methods adapted by the concerned circles. Removal of such dangerous chemical, which arsenic is surely is, specially from a source such as ground water, may be a tedious task in the case of the most efficient of governments. Ground breaking research, literally may be required to come up with solutions.
• Lead is often used in the manufacturing of pipes and fittings which are used in the transportation of water from its source to the consumers. Although the use of the metal, with water related functions has been done away with in the current times. Although certain old fixtures and attachments may be still present in ancestral houses, as part of their plumbing unit. It is from these fittings that the water gets contaminated with the metal mentioned.
Large Scale Waste
• The means through which water may be contaminated by large scale waste, may include sewage which is not treated, industrial and agricultural discharge, These are often pumped into lakes and other water bodies, which leads to severe cases of water pollution. Making the water unfit for either recreational, or necessary use.
Petro Chemicals and Heavy Metals
• Underground storage tanks of crude oil and petroleum products are the main source of contamination of ground water, with petrochemicals. Heavy metal waste may contaminate water through irresponsible mining activities. And dumping waste in a dangerous, irresponsible manner.
Solvents of Chlorine
• Metal and plastic industry, fabric cleaning like dry cleaning, manufacturing of air craft components. These may be sighted to be the reasons which bring about the contamination of ground water with solvents of chlorine. Besides measured quantities of chlorine may also be added to the drinking water at treatment plants, as chlorine has a disinfecting and thus helps by killing he germsthat may be present.
5Water Borne Diseases
Diseases which are water borne may be said and have been notoriously known to be highly infectious in nature. They spread mainly through the medium of contaminated water. These diseases causing elements may be present either directly in the water, or may be transmitted through flies, insects, dirt or other external medium, living or non living. Yet water remains the principal culprit through which these diseases are spread, thus the reason why these diseases are termed as water borne diseases.
Most of the diseases of the intestine are highly infectious in nature and mostly transmitted through the medium of faecal waste. Pathogens, which are a class of microbes which include viruses, bacteria, protozoans, parasites and a host of other worms. These may be often found in the faeces of a person who has been infected with a respective disease. These disease causing agents may be found in dense concentrations in areas with poor standards of sanitations. These agents travel principally through water sources and is further spread through touch of persons who handle food and drinking water.
The highly infectious nature of these diseases makes it imperative that high standards of hygiene are at the very least maintained within the confines of the household. Specially the people who look after the patients, as they may be at most risk of contracting the condition. Some of these disease, certainly severe in their disposition have been known to affect large populations in tropical regions of the planet.
Also read: Get to Know about Hepatitis
6Categorizing the Water Borne Diseases
Polluted water may lead to a host of diseases, that would have its particular effect on the respective part of the body. Some of the examples have been sighted below. Read on ahead. Episodes of diarrhea, irritation caused to the skin, respiratory disorders, and the disease may vary depending on the pollutant that is present in the water.
Stagnation of water, and other issues regarding contaminated water left ignored and untreated, is another major cause of concerns with respect to their proximity to human habitations. Such conditions may lead to cozy breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other disease causing parasites and microbes. This is even more of a problem in the soggy tropical zones of the world. Malaria, chikungunya, dengue fever may be sighted as examples of diseases carried and passed upon by mosquitoes. Typhoid, paratyphoid fever, cholera, bacillary dysntry, among others, are examples of diseases that may be transferred through bacteria, found in contaminated water. Hepatitis, which is highly infectious, a type of which may be also known as jaundice and poliomyelitis, among countless others are examples of viral infections. While amoebic dysentery may be considered a case of a protozoal infection.
Also Read: Cost Paid for Water Pollution