Water pollution is the contamination of water sources by substances which make the water unusable for drinking, cooking, cleaning, swimming, and other activities. Pollutants include chemicals, trash, bacteria, and parasites. All forms of pollution eventually make their way to water. Air pollution settles onto lakes and oceans. Land pollution can seep into an underground stream, then to a river, and finally to the ocean. Thus, waste dumped in a vacant lot can eventually pollute a water supply.
Diseases, Medical Problems
Water pollutants may cause disease or act as poisons. Bacteria and parasites in poorly treated sewage may enter drinking water supplies and cause digestive problems such as cholera and diarrhea. Hazardous chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides from industries, farms, homes and golf courses can cause acute toxicity and immediate death, or chronic toxicity that can lead to neurological problems or cancers. Many water pollutants enter our bodies when we use water for drinking and food preparation. The pollutants enter the digestive tract. From there, they can reach other organs in the body and cause various illnesses. Chemicals come in contact with the skin from washing clothes, or from swimming in polluted water and may lead to skin irritations. Hazardous chemicals in water systems can also affect the animals and plants which live there.
What You Can Do?
Use less water
Clean, fresh water may seem plentiful, but there is a limited amount available on earth. Use water-saving devices on sinks, in toilets, and in showers. Take short showers instead of baths. Do not run the water constantly while brushing your teeth. Wash clothes when you have a full load of laundry. Only water your lawn and plants when absolutely necessary.
Avoid pouring chemicals down the drain
Use fewer chemicals and cleaners around the home. Not only will you cut down on indoor air pollution, but also on the amount of chemicals entering the water system. If necessary, use biodegradable cleaners. Do not pour oil or other chemicals into the drainage system on the street.
Have your water checked for lead contamination
Many homes have lead pipes or lead around connections on the pipes which carry water to their homes. Since this lead may enter your drinking water and cause medical problems in young children, you might want to have the water tested. If lead is present, installing a filter may solve the problem.
Do not pollute outdoor water sources
Do not pour oil or other chemicals into the drainage system on the street. A little oil can kill many plants and animals. Do not litter, especially near water. Litter may be eaten as food by animals and cause harm to them. Do not use pesticides on lawns, or use only organic ones. Use less fertilizer, also. All these can enter our water sources.
Enjoy water for eating, drinking, cleaning, swimming, etc. Just remember to use it carefully. Do not waste or pollute this limited precious resource.