Water Pollution: Is it as big of a problem as we think?


The following essay will be looking at the factors that cause pollution, and
the effect that pollution has on our world today. It will also investigate what
it has in store for the future if things do not improve. It will also explore
some of the methods used to treat and clean-up wastewater, and oil spills.
Today, the industrialization of Canada is severely affecting this nations
lakes, streams, and rivers. If something is not done to improve the situation
it is going to have some severe environmental problems in its future.
Today pollution is very high in both inland and marine waters. All
different types of water pollution are contributing factors in this problem.
Here are some things that are associated with pollution: Pathogens: Pathogens
are disease causing bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. They usually come from
human sewage. As pathogen numbers increase, so does the risk of human health.
Biochemical Oxygen Demand: Organic wastes that decay in a body of water.
decrease the amount of oxygen found in it. The living things in the lake need
oxygen to survive. If the oxygen level is depressed to zero, all fish in the
lake die. Any decomposition that does not contain oxygen starts to generate
noxious gases such as Hydrogen Sulfide. Pulp and paper mills, and municipal
sewage causes BOD. Nutrients: Nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus,
enrich waters and accelerate the aging of lakes and streams. Also, the result
of this is rich plant life which prohibits recreational activities. Plankton
blooms depress oxygen levels (as mentioned before) and therefore, endanger
living organisms. Major sources of nutrients are municipal sewage and
agricultural runoff. Toxic Materials: Can affect the health of aquatic organisms
and their consumers, and the people who drink the contaminated water. The
toxicants include lead, mercury, DDT, PCB, benzopyrene, oil, and dibutyl
phthalate. These chemicals enter the lake through dumping by the factories.
Temperature Changes: Temperature changes from waste heat discharges (like from a
nuclear power plant) can cause pollution. This happens if their elevation
reduces dissolved-oxygen levels, and accelerates eustrophication, which in turn
affects the ecological processes and blocks the migration path of fishes.
Acidification: Acidification (acid rain etc.) Is caused by sulfur and nitrogen
oxide in the rain, which is caused by automobiles and large industries.
Temperature Changes: The temperature of a body of water is changed by waste heat
discharges, like that of a nuclear power plant. It affects ecological processes
and blocks the migration paths of fish. Because of these pollutants Southern
Saskatchewan and Alberta are threatened by water shortages, and the great lakes
face problems in serious pollution. Rivers and streams are also greatly affected
by these pollutants. The noticeable outcomes of these pollutants are these:
Nitrates in drinking water can cause disease in infants that may sometimes end
in death. Crops in a field can absorb sludge-derived fertilizer containing
cadium, and when humans eat the crop it may result in acute liver and kidney
damage. Sometimes lakes become artificially enriched with nutrients from the
chemical fertilizers that run off cultivated fields into the water. This causes
water that is unpleasant to drink due to bad odor, taste, and algae. Also, acid
rain has left many lakes in Canada totally devoid of life.
There are three major sources of water pollution, they are municipal,
industrial and agricultural. Municipal: This type of water pollution comes from
the wastewater found only in homes and commercial establishments For many years
people have been placing importance on treating the waste to remove harmful
bacteria, etc. from it. Recently we are coming aware of the fact that we have to
improve the ways in which we dispose of the waste. Industrial: Industrial waste
is wastewater from industrial areas, and companies. There are many different
types of chemicals, and they all have different affects. Some are not as severe
as others, but all are harmful. They vary due to the amount they contain of
specific substances. Agricultural: Agricultural waste is a form of pollution
that is the source of many organic and inorganic pollutants in waters in the
ground and on the surface. Wastes from commercial feeders, animal wastes,
chemicals, etc. Run of into the land through leaching and runoff.
What is the typical wastewater from these categories made up of? Wastes from
toilets, sinks, industrial processes, and agricultural chemicals and leftovers.
Treatment of such sewage's as these is required before it may be buried, reused,
or sent back into the water system safely. In a treatment plant, the polluted
water is passed through a series of chambers, screens, and chemical