Water pollution: What can be Done and Undone.
What is water pollution?
Water pollution has been defined to be the contamination of water bodies (such as lakes, oceans, rivers, etc.) This occurs when pollutants and other harmful substances enter water bodies or are directly or indirectly discharged into them without adequate treatment of harmful compounds. Water Pollution has hazardous affects not only on the environment but also all types of organisms of our world. Water is the source of survival for 90% of beings on the surface if the earth. Contamination of water will only have disastrous effects on all.
Types of Water Pollution
Water pollution can occur through two types of sources, namely:
v Point Sources
v Non Point Sources
Let us look more closely into what these types of sources are and the impact they have on our environment and everything in it.
ü Point Sources: These types of source is said to be a single, identifiable source through which contaminating substances enter water bodies. For example: Discharge from a storm drain or factory.
ü Non-point Sources: This type of contamination does not occur from a single point source, it is a form of diffuse contamination. It is the effect of accumulation of toxic materials from several single sources. For example: Urban runoff.
Now that we have found out as to what water pollution is and what causes it, let us narrow our search within our country and throw light on the issue of water pollution in India.
What are the causes of water pollution in India?
- Untreated Sewage: This is one of the most dangerous and prominent cause of water pollution in our country. Hygiene is one of the main factors we must keep in mind especially when it comes to our source of survival- water. This is not the reason for contamination of surface water, but also contamination of ground water. The treatment of this water is the responsibility of the government, but its execution never takes place due to not only insufficient treatment capacity but also that the sewage treatment plants that exist do not operate and are not maintained.
- Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD): In the year 2008, the water quality monitoring found that the BOD was higher than expected in several rivers and water bodies of the country indicating that water was not clean and usable for drinking purposes. The percentage of BOD in water bodies determines the amount to which the water body is infected. A water sample with approximately 20 mg or greater of O/L is considered to be unsafe polluted water and an O/L of anywhere between 3 to 8 mg indicates moderately clean water and lower than that is an indicator of pure water.
- Coliform Levels: Lastly, a major effect on water is the amount of coliform level present in the water. Our river, namely Yamuna, Ganga, Chambal, Vardha, and many more are some of the most polluted water bodies affected by coliform. This makes is an easy target of spreading viral diseases and breaking endemic and epidemic diseases throughout cities and countries.
These are the damages that have occurred and affected the water of our country. The problem is not limited only to our country but also around the world. The next useful step would be to find remedial measure we could use to protect our water bodies.
So here is a list of 10 things we can do as individuals in small ways to prevent water pollution:
- Do NOT discard oils and other fatty substances down the sink. Keep a separate jar and dispose when full
- Do NOT dispose of household chemicals and other hazardous substances down toilets and sinks.
- Do NOT flush down pills and other medication.
- Avoid using the toilet as a wastebasket, keep a separate waste basket and dispose of waste substances carefully.
- Differentiate between your dry waste an wet waste and create a compost pit for your wet wastes
- Use recycled water for your toilet.
- Run your washing machines and dish washers on full load as this saves electricity.
- Drink only aqua guard purified water.
- Do NOT dispose sanitary waste by dumping is toilets. Use proper disposal techniques.
- Conserve water and check leaking taps and faucets. Get them repaired immediately.
These are small but useful ways, through which we can save, conserve and protect our water. Be the change you want to see. Not only is keeping water clean our duty but also conserving every drop. The change begins within you. Take the first step towards living a green and healthy lifestyle. Follow green living and you will not only see but also feel the change from within .