Water Pollution: A Serious Issue Indeed
Water pollution could be very dangerous to human beings, animals, and water existence. The consequences may be catastrophic, relying on the form of chemicals, concentrations of the pollution and where there are polluted. Underneath, we will see an article on the results of water pollution. The results of water pollution are numerous and depend on what chemical substances are dumped and in which places.
Many water bodies close to urban regions (towns and towns) are incredibly polluted. This is the result of all garbage dumped by way of individuals and threatening chemical compounds legally or illegally dumped through manufacturing industries, health facilities, schools and marketplace locations. This article will try to analyze the effects of the water pollution as well as the provisions made under by the Central as well as the State legislature with regards to water pollution and how effective they are. The author will also try to cover some of the steps to be taken by each and every individual in order to save water for our future generation.
Keywords – Water Pollution, Provisions, Effects, Health
Water is a vital component of human life, but, it is helpful only if it’s not contaminated. Pollution changes the physical, chemical, and also the biological properties of water. Water is alleged to be contaminated once it contains any foreign substances in it. Once water is impure or contaminated, it loses its qualities and becomes unfit for human consumption because it becomes injurious to public health for the needs and use of people in general, agriculture and for business functions also as for the health of animals, aquatic life and other living organisms. Pollution is one of the most important issues faced by the human race all over the planet. Pollution is a major international downside which needs in progress reappraisal and revision of water resource policy in the slightest degree of levels (international all the way down to individual aquifers and wells).
It has been urged that pollution is the worldwide leading explanation for death and diseases which it accounts for the deaths of over 14,000 individuals daily. About 90 % of the water within the cities of China is impure. In addition to the acute problems of water pollution in the developing countries, developed countries also continue to struggle with pollution problems. Taking a report as an example based on the water quality in the United States, 44 % of assessed stream miles, 64 % of assessed lakes acres, and 30 % assessed bays and estuarine square miles were classified as polluted. In 2007, the head of China’s national development agency came out with a report that nearly one-quarter of the length of China’s seven main rivers were so poisoned and polluted that they could harm the skin when came in contact.
India is not an exception to the risks of pollution. In India, most of the rivers and water lakes are impure by the direct discharge of industrial effluents and waste product into the system. There has been an estimation of over 580 deaths daily thanks to pollution connected un-healthiness. Water is usually mentioned as contaminated once it is impaired by human-originating contaminants and either does not support an individual’s use, like potable drinking water or undergoes a marked shift in its ability to support its constituent organic phenomenon communities, like fish. Natural phenomena like volcanoes, algae, blooms, storms, and earthquake conjointly cause major changes in the water quality and also the ecological standing of the water.
Although inter-related, surface water and groundwater have often been studied and managed as separate resources. Surface water seeps through the soil and becomes groundwater. Conversely, groundwater can also feed surface water. Sources of surface water are generally grouped into two categories based on their origin.
- Point Sources – This refers to contaminants that enter a waterway from a single, identifiable source such as a pipe or a ditch and includes a sewage treatment plant, a factory, or a city storm drain.
- Non-Point Sources – Refers to diffuse contamination that does not originate from a single discrete source. NPS pollution is often the cumulative effect of a small number of contaminants gathered from a large area. A common example is the leaching of nitrogen compounds from fertilized agricultural lands. Nutrient runoffs in stormwater from “sheet flow” over an agricultural field or a forest are also cited as an example of NPS pollution. Contaminated stormwater washed off of parking lots, roads and highways, called urban runoff, is sometimes included under the category of NPS pollution. However, because this runoff is typically channeled into storm drain systems and discharged through pipes to local surface waters, it becomes a point source.
- Groundwater Pollution – Interactions between groundwater and surface water are complex. Consequently, groundwater pollution also referred to as groundwater contamination, is not as easily classified as surface water pollution. By its very nature, groundwater aquifers are susceptible to contamination from sources that may not directly affect surface water bodies and the distinction between point and non-point source may be irrelevant. A spill of the ongoing release of chemical or radionuclide (an atom having excess nuclear energy thus making it unstable) contaminants into the soil (located away from a surface water body) may not create a point or non-point source pollution but can contaminate the aquifer below, creating a toxic plume. The movement of the plume, called a plume front, may be analyzed through a hydrological transport model or groundwater model. Analysis of groundwater contamination may focus on soil characteristics and the site geology, hydrogeology, hydrology, and the nature of contaminants.
Causes of Water Pollution
There are a lot of factors which contribute to the contamination of the water. Whether the source of water is ground, point or non-point, these elements have existed in all of them. These factors affect the quality of water directly and/or indirectly:-
- Domestics Sewage –The domestic sewage is directly connected to the water bodies which can range from a small lake to a big ocean. Due to the sewage being directly connected to the bodies, the human faeces, as well as other contaminants and pollutants which people usually flush in toilet, are carried along with the water directly into the lakes and oceans.
- Industrialization – Due to industrialization, more and more factories, nuclear plants and other industries have set up near the water bodies so they can easily throw off the waste, that they generate, into the water. This becomes more convenient for them as then they would not have to carry so much radioactive as well as chemical waste to disposal areas.
- Population Growth – Due to exponential population growth rate, the waste being created is huge. This waste is thrown into the water, which directly affects the water. This includes small as well as big waste categories such as huge machines, ships, and oil spills.
- Pesticides and Fertilizers – The heavy usage of pesticides and fertilizers by the farmers as well as others not only makes the water acidic in nature but also unfit for any kind of purpose.
- Plastics and Polythene Bags – Plastics and polythene bags used by the people are thrown in the rivers and oceans which usually block the supply of oxygen for aquatics animals.
- Urbanization – Due to urbanization, more and more people are migrating to cities thus accumulating a lot of waste in these areas and in turn, making them the most water polluted cities of all.
- Weak Management System – Due to the poor management system, and weak implementation of laws, the people have become careless towards the growing concern of water pollution. Authorities have also become obsolete with respect to the effectiveness in their performance of keeping the nearby water bodies clean.
Effects to Aquatic Life and Human Health
The contaminants in the water are capable enough to kill the aquatic life at a large scale. The change in the acidity of water and the human-induced pollutions such as polythene bags and plastics are the main factors for the death of aquatics life. By using plastics, blockages occur in the water system as well as water bodies because they are not something which can be dissolved in water. This cuts off the oxygen supply of the animals in the water, making it difficult for them to breathe an eventually choke or starve to death. The oil spills function the same way.
The pH in the water decreases due to the chemicals and other radioactive materials which are thrown by the industries and others such as factories which can increase the acidity of the water and thus in turn damage the aquatic animals, mainly those having shells on their bodies which get damaged due to so much acidity. The corals and coral reefs get affected on a large scale due to this.
Due to unprocessed water being the only source, the poor people in rural areas suffer from major diseases which are caused due by polluted water. The crops which are grown in farms in rural areas also suffer the same fate. Due to this, the casualty rates have increased a lot. Deaths due to cancer are much more in rural areas as compared to urban areas because they use unprocessed water.
Water pollution not only affects aquatic life but humans as well as all the animals which depend on ocean water and other water bodies. Here are some ways they affect our health: –
- Bacterial Diseases
- Viral Diseases
- Parasitic Diseases
- The acidity of Water leading to internal damage to the body
- Dead Animals’ Waste capable of causing severe diseases
As seen in the above picture, the water pollution level in the country has become worse and is still deteriorating. People who live in the water polluted areas suffer from chronic diseases and are more prone to death than other people, thus leading to more deaths due to water pollution.
Laws in India to Prevent Water Pollution
While there is a growing concern of water pollution in India, which is among the most water polluted countries in the world, there are some laws which were enacted either by individual states or by the central government in order to prevent the nuisance caused by water pollution. While some statutes are functioning at their best others have become ineffective in due course of time. The laws enacted to preserve the water quality and prevent water pollution are as follows: –
- Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974 – This Act was brought in with the objective of maintaining the water bodies as well as taking necessary measures to restore the quality of water while keeping a check on the water pollution level. For this, the Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Board was set up which keep a check on water pollution all over the country and within state respectively. They can also conduct research and investigation with a view to promoting the prevention of water pollution. Section 24 of this Act restricts any person from allowing any poisonous or harmful material in the water streams or any water body, as well as entering into any water body by which it would impede the water flow or cause pollution in any way. Any person violating this provision shall be held liable for punishment with imprisonment of one year and six months extending to six years. The major flaw of this Act is that it does not cover the groundwater management policies, as well as no provisions for an indiscriminate tapping of groundwater, rainwater harvesting, etc.
- Orissa River Pollution Act, 1953 – Due to increasing water pollution level in the state of Orissa, this Act was enacted. Rivers like Mahanadi and Brahmani are among the most polluted rivers which surround the state. A report suggested that 50 % of the water in these rivers are polluted, which makes the condition even worse. The major factors contributing to water pollution in this state are the sewage and waste from factories and mines, as well as heavy metals like magnesium and lead.
- Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Section 277 of the IPC penalizes any person who commits an offence of disturbing the public reservoir or public spring voluntarily. The punishment includes imprisonment of three months along with a fine of Rs. 500 of both.
- Provisions of The Constitution of India – Article 21, Article 48, and Article 51(g) all have indicated, though explicitly that right to clean water is a fundamental right and to maintain this fundamental right for everyone, the prevention of river bodies such as Ganga is the highest priority.
- Damodar Valley Corporation (Prevention of Water Pollution) Act, 1948 – Because Damodar valley is among the oldest river basins of the country, there is a need to keep a check on the functioning of this valley, and so the Damodar Valley Corporation came into the picture. Due to the growing need for industries, the agricultural area was decreasing in the valley and the waste generated by the industries was increasing drastically and was disposed of in the river valley.
- River Board Act, 1956 – The main purpose of this Act is to regulate the inter-state water disputes. The State Government receives power from this Act to issue a special notification in order to establish Boards. Even though Article 262 of the Constitution of India gave power to the Union to adjudicate the inter-state water disputes, this Act gives the power to establish the tribunal in order to regulate the issue in the country.
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution Cess) Act, 2003 – Under this Act, section 2 defines any industry as an operation, process, sewage or disposal treatment, or any effluent by industry. Section 3 of this Act gives allowance to the industries which use the water below the specified limit by levying taxes on them. The industries use water as a processing agent for their waste and usually throw the industrial waste into the river bodies causing water pollution.
- The Shore Nuisances (Bombay and Kolaba) Act, 1853 – This was brought in with the objective of eradicating the nuisances and wastage in the Bombay and Kolaba islands. The safe navigation of harbour as well as giving importance to the interest of the public is the main concern of this Act. The collector of Bombay receives the power from this Act to issue a notice to remove the wastage and pollutants below the high water mark. The state is empowered under this Act to clear any hindrances if the notice is not being complied with within one month of the notice issuance.
Not Just Them, But We Too
Not just the Government, but every individual in the country has to step up if we have to make sure that the future generation does not face the consequences of our actions. In order to prevent further deterioration of water bodies around us, some initiatives must be taken by each and every citizen on non-citizen who reside in the country. The laws are made by the Government with a view that the people of the nation will abide by these laws, something which is overlooked by the same people who criticize the government for not functioning effectively. Hence below are some steps whichever person should try to do in order to contribute to the prevention of water pollution and instead, save it: –
- Avoid pouring the fat generated from cooking oil, or any other form of fat, oil or grease into the drainage and instead, keep a container beneath the sink to collect the same and throw it when it is full.
- Make sure the sump pump or cellar drain below your house (if any exists) does drain into the sanitary sewer system.
- When washing clothes, avoid the use of detergents and bleach as much as possible and use phosphate free soaps and detergents.
- Avoid heavy use of pesticides and other such similar materials.
- Do not dispose of the chemicals and other harmful waste material into the sewer system as it is directly connected to the rivers.
- Take measures to use minimum water in the toilet. For example, use half a gallon of a container in the toilet tank to reduce water use per flush.
- Clothes and dishes should only be washed when there is a full load. This saves water as well as electricity.
Water pollution is one of the major concerns growing in not only India but also in the world. Due to water pollution, a lot of lives have been lost and a lot more are on the verge of getting lost. Water pollution does not only make human life difficult to sustain but also affects the aquatic life severely. Aquatic animals are not able to breathe due to the blockage by plastics and other non-biodegradable materials, as well as the acidity of water increases so much that is damages the skins of animals as well as causing harm to the corals and coral reefs.
In India, the right to clean drinking water is a fundamental right and in order to prevent the water pollution from causing more damage, there have been some enactments of laws in India which have the capability of dealing with the issue if implemented well.
But the prevention of water pollution does not depend only on the Government, but also the common population of the country. Every individual has to take initiative in order to prevent the water from causing damage to the future generations and provide them with drinking water, which is the most important part of the human life.