Water Pollution Effects | Types, Causes & Solutions


As water is the essential thing for every being we can’t take the polluted one. Why? Let’s see what is Water pollution and its effects. Water pollution is defined in many ways. Generally, it means building up of one or more substances in the water to such a level that they cause many problems for animals and people.

Water pollution is usually caused due to the activities of human and it is the contamination of water bodies like seas, rivers, oceans, aquifers, and groundwater. This pollution is maybe the change in chemical, physical or biological properties of water that will have an effect on any living organisms.

Water Pollution and its Effects on all beings

Generally, water pollution occurs due to contamination of water with harmful substances like microorganisms or chemicals where the quality of water gets degrades and makes it toxic to the environment or human. Water pollution always means that some damage that has been done to river, ocean, lake, sea or other water sources. Drinking water also known as potable water, this is considered as safe water for animal and human consumption. This water is usually used for washing, drinking, cooking, crop irrigation, etc. These days bacteria, chemicals, and other pollutants even affecting the drinking water.

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Water Pollution Facts

In recent days water pollution is a worldwide problem in the daily life of the human and animal kingdom. Below are some of the water pollution facts:

  1. Earth’s surface is covered by 70% with water where only 2.5% is the fresh water on earth of complete water.
  2. 70% of industrial waste is dumped into the water.
  3. Domestic sewage cause around 80% of water pollution.
  4. Generally every year more than 6 billion pounds of garage mainly the plastic end up in the ocean.
  5. Contaminated water causes many diseases like typhus and cholera
  6. Around 15 million children who are under the age of below 5 years die from the disease caused by drinking the contaminated water every year.
  7. On average, around 250 million people fall in disease every year caused by drinking contaminated water and while according to the World Health Organization and UNICEF around 2.5 billion people have lack of good health conditions.
  8. Asia has the highest number of contaminated rivers than any other continents.
  9. Almost around 2 million tons of human waste is exposed every day to the water.
  10. In America, 46% of lakes and 40% of rivers are polluted and are unsuitable for fishing, swimming, or any other activity.
  11. Most polluted river in the world is Ganges River and contains garbage, dirt, humans and dead animals.
  12. In china, 20% of groundwater is used for drinking which is contaminated with carcinogens.

What are the Effects?

Water pollution effects can be disastrous depending on the concentration of pollutants, kind of chemicals. The pollution effects vary depending on what type of chemicals is dumped and in which location. Below is a list of water pollution effects on human and on the environment.

  1. Diseases: in humans consuming or drinking polluted water have many terrible effects on health. It is the main reason for many diseases like hepatitis, typhoid, cholera and many such diseases.
  2. Destruction of the ecosystem: Ecosystems are very dynamic and can easily respond to even a small change in the environment. An entire ecosystem can get collapsed with water pollution if it left unchecked.
  3. Eutrophication:  the growth of algae is encouraged by chemicals in the water body. These algae will form a layer on the top of a lake or pond. Bacteria now feed on these algae and then decrease the amount of oxygen in a water body, which severely affects the life of aquatic species.
  4. Effects the food chain: the pollutants and toxins in water disrupt the food chain which is consumed by aquatic animals and then are eaten by humans.

Types of water pollution

There are different types of water pollution. They are:


When rain falls and water goes deep into the earth filling the cracks, crevices and then porous spaces of aquifer then it becomes the groundwater which is the least visible but one of the most important water resources. Around 40% of American relies only on groundwater which is pumped to the earth’s surface for drinking. In rural areas for some folks, it is only the fresh water source. Groundwater gets polluted with contaminants like pesticides and fertilizers from landfills and septic systems, making it unsafe for human use. Removing the contaminants from groundwater is difficult and very costly. Groundwater also spread the contamination from the original polluting source to lakes, streams, and oceans.

Surface Water

Surface water covers 70% of the earth that fills the lakes, oceans, rivers and all the blue bits on the world map. According to the recent surveys on national water quality by U.S Environmental Protection Agency, nearly half of our streams and rivers and more than 1/3rd of our lakes are mostly polluted and are unfit for drinking, fishing, and swimming. Nutrient pollution that includes phosphates and nitrates is one of the leading types of contamination in these freshwater sources.

Ocean Water

On land, about 8% of ocean pollution which is called as marine pollution gets originated here. Contaminants such as nutrients, chemicals, and heavy metals are carried from factories, farms, and cities by rivers and streams into the estuaries and bays and from there they travel into the sea. Our seas are sometimes get spoiled by oil leaks and spills and are consistently soaking the carbon pollution from the air. The ocean absorbs more amount of carbon emitted.

Point Source

When the contamination starts from a single source then it is called as point source pollution. Some of the examples are wastewater discharged illegally or legally by some manufacturer, oil refinery, and contamination from leakage of septic systems, oil, and chemical spills and illegal dumping. As the point source pollution starts from some specific place it can affect the miles of ocean and waterways.

Nonpoint Source

This is a type of contamination originated from diffuse sources. These include stormwater runoff, agricultural or some debris which are blown into waterways from the land.


Transboundary pollution is the outcome of contaminated water from one country spilling the water into another. Contamination is a result of disasters like oil spill, agricultural and municipal discharge.

What are the Causes?

Water is exclusively vulnerable to pollution. Water can dissolve the more substances than any other type of liquid on the earth which is known as the universal solvent. Toxic substances from towns, farms, and factories get dissolve into water and mix with it causing the water pollution. Water pollution caused due to many reasons. Causes of water pollution are as follows:

  • Sewage and wastewater: Sewage, liquid waste, and garbage from households, factories, and agricultural lands getting discharged into rivers and lakes. These wastes include harmful chemicals and toxins which makes the water poisonous for plants and aquatic animals.
  • Dumping: Dumping of litters and solid wastes in water bodies cause huge problems. Litters generally include plastic, glass, Styrofoam, aluminum, etc.
  • Industrial waste: Industrial waste generally contains pollutants like lead, asbestos, mercury, and petrochemicals which are very harmful to both the environment and people.
  • Oil pollution: Seawater gets polluted with the oils spilled out from ships and tankers while traveling. The spilled oil doesn’t get dissolved in water and forms a thick sludge, in turn, polluting the water.
  • Acid rain: Acid rain is the pollution of water caused by air pollution. The acidic particles when mix with the water vapor that caused by air pollution in the atmosphere will result in acid rain.

Water pollution solutions

The best way to prevent water pollution is by trying and reducing the harmful effects. There are many small changes we need to do to make protect ourselves and some of the water pollution solutions are:

  1. Save water: Conservation of water is our top aim. Wastage of water is the main problem and now we are walking up with this issue. Small changes will domestically make a huge difference.
  2. Better treatment of sewage: Treating the waste products before it gets disposing into the water body will help to reduce the water pollution on a large scale. Agriculture and some other industries can reuse this wastewater by decreasing its toxic contents.
  3. Use eco-friendly products: By using soluble products which do not go and become pollutants will reduce the amount of water pollution which is caused by household.
  4. Reduce plastic consumption instead of reuse or recycle plastic whenever possible.
  5. Maintain the car without leakage of oil, coolant, and antifreeze.

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