18, Nov 2023
The Devastating Effects of Water Pollution

What is Water Pollution Explained in Detail

Water pollution is contamination of bodies of water (lakes, rivers, oceans and aquifers). This is caused by waste from people and animals, chemical substances, and heat.

There are two main types of water pollution: point source and nonpoint source. Point source pollution comes from a specific identifiable source such as a sewage treatment plant or factory. Nonpoint source pollution is contamination from diffuse sources such as agricultural and urban runoff or wind-blown debris.


Water pollution can be caused by a variety of things. One of the most common causes is industrial waste that is dumped into freshwater systems. This can include chemicals, heavy metals and other dangerous materials that are toxic to humans and animals.

Another common cause is agricultural pollution. This can include fertilizer, animal waste and pesticides that wash into streams, rivers and lakes. It can also include nutrient pollution, which is when excess nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers cause harmful algal blooms in lakes.

Other sources of water pollution include leaking sewers, which can release raw sewage into waterways. This is a major source of bacteria and other pathogens. It can also include thermal pollution, which is when heat from power plants or other industries causes water to become warmer than it should be. This can make it harder for fish and other species to survive. It can also harm human health by making it more difficult to breathe, as well as causing skin irritation.


Water pollution causes a lot of damage to people and the environment. It makes it dangerous to drink and also affects aquatic organisms, making them ill and killing them. It can be contaminated with microorganisms, fertilisers, pesticides, pharmaceutical and personal hygiene products, metals, nitrates, plastics, faecal waste and radioactive substances. The contaminants move up the food chain affecting other organisms. It disrupts the balance of the ecosystem and causes a loss of biodiversity.

It destroys the beauty of rivers, lakes and oceans, makes it impossible to use for recreational purposes. It affects the economy as industries that depend on water suffer. It leads to the spread of diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid and poliomyelitis caused by bacteria in polluted waters. Chemicals in sewage and other pollutants enter the human body through the skin or the digestive tract. They can cause a variety of health problems such as gastrointestinal illnesses, nervous system disorders and cancers. This is why water quality matters.


All living things need pure water to survive. When outside substances pollute our lakes, rivers and oceans, the ecosystem is disrupted. Fish and other aquatic animals die, and plants can’t grow. This can make it difficult for humans to get the nutrients they need from food that grows in the water. Water pollution also hurts the economy by making it more expensive to treat and drink water.

Everyone can help prevent water pollution. Some of the easiest ways are to avoid dumping chemicals or waste down sinks and toilets. This includes avoiding flushing cleaning products, medications and oils down the drain. These can contaminate sewage treatment plants and the drinking water supply.

Other things that can cause water pollution are deforestation, industrial waste, oil spills, faecal waste and animal waste. These contaminants change the water’s chemistry and cause health problems for plants, animals and people. They may also harm the ecosystem by reducing oxygen levels in the water.


Water pollution is a serious problem that affects people and the environment. It can cause diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid that kill millions of people every year. It also pollutes the soil and air. Chemicals and waste from factories, hospitals and households can enter rivers, lakes and seas through leakages or improper disposal. These chemicals and waste can lead to the death of fish and other organisms that live in these bodies of water.

Industrial pollutants like chemicals, sewage and paper mill discharge, fertilisers, pesticides, pharmaceutical products and heavy metals can deplete oxygen in water and lead to eutrophication, while gases like CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels can raise the temperature of water.

Wastewater treatment plants can help reduce the level of pollutants in wastewater. This is achieved by spraying or trickling the water over a bed of sand or gravel and using microorganisms to break down organic material. Septic tanks can also help limit water pollution by effectively treating sewage before it is released into the environment.

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