Water pollution is caused by several factors- the unabashed dumping of chemical waste, unintentional dumping of sewage waste, oil spills etc. The harmful pollutants not only disturb the ecosystem of water bodies, but also have adverse effects on human health. The diseases caused by the affected water-bodies depend on the nature of the pollutant. Apart from water borne diseases, polluted water is also nefarious for being the origin of other kinds of damage to the human body.
Contamination Of Groundwater – A Refresher
The excessive use of pesticides and other chemicals pollutes groundwater. Incoherent and irresponsible management of the water bodies under this condition can cause many health problems for humans. If we take into consideration the urban areas, the health impacts caused by sewage and other kinds of contamination are rampant. For example, Persistent Organic Pollutants (or PoPs) that are released from the industrial waste easily invade the ecosystems of water bodies. In turn when the people consume toxic seafood, they are most likely to get dangerous diseases.
Sewage acts in two ways on the water body that it invades. It carries pathogens that can cause serious health concerns. Also the amount of organic waste released with the sewage disrupts the ecosystem by raising levels of oxygen. If we talk about rural areas, over-use of pesticides and chemicals entail grave health hazards. Fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, etc, – all increase the level of undesirable nutrients in the water bodies and cause eutrophication.
Contamination Of Drinking Water – The Gravest Danger
Drinking water is perhaps the most important aspect where it is most necessary to check the inflow of harmful chemicals and other kinds of pollutants.
- Contamination of water by lead components, because of contact with lead plated pipes, plumbing materials, etc. can affect the quality of drinking water.
- Arsenic, even if present in small quantities in drinking water, can cause harmful diseases like arsenic skin lesions.
- Fluoride, which exists naturally in water and is also quite useful against the weakening of bones and dental caries, can be harmful if the consumption exceeds a certain level.
It is the prerogative of the municipal corporations and city water works departments to see to it that the water resources, especially freshwater resources are not contaminated by harmful chemicals. Awareness about these ravages of polluted drinking water is also necessary.
Contamination Leading To Diseases
Scary as it sounds, even people in developed countries are battling daily with water that’s contaminated with lot s of pathogens. Pathogens are mainly of 3 kinds:
- Bacteria- which can cause typhoid, cholera, paratyphoid fever and bacillary dysentery.
- Virus- which can cause poliomyelitis and infectious hepatitis
- Protozoa- which causes amoebic dysentery
Contaminated water can cause diarrhoea, jaundice, respiratory problems and other harmful diseases to humans. Lead, for example affects the central nervous system. Stagnant water can cause mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, which not only has adverse effect on the ecosystem of the water body, but also can take lives of people in hundreds and thousands. A certain level of pollution of water is quite natural and inevitable but excessive mixture of pollutants in water resources causes adverse effects.
Water sustainability should be a core concern for all societies that are dwelling on this earth. It is a matter of not only focussing on issues of water, but the environment at large. It is about radically re-orienting the relationship between human beings and nature. It is critical to define sustainability as the new ethical paradigm on which life is to be lived.