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Water pollution is the contamination of bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, oceans, and groundwater caused by human activities, which can be very harmful to organisms and plants that live in these bodies of water. Water pollution has been said to be the leading worldwide cause of deaths and diseases which takes the lives of more than 14,000 people every day. In the United States, it has been reported recently that 45% of assessed stream miles, 47% of assessed lake acres, and 32% of assessed bay and estuarine square miles are classified as polluted.
There are three categories of water pollution: 1) Point source pollution – contaminants that enter a waterway through a discrete conveyance, such as a ditch or a pipe. 2) Non-point source pollution – diffuse contamination that does not originate from a discrete source. 3) Groundwater pollution – ex) A spill of chemical contaminant on soil which may not create point or non-point source pollution, but may contaminate the aquifer below.
The contaminants which can contribute to pollution are a wide spectrum of pathogens, chemicals, and physical or sensory changes such as elevated temperature and discoloration. A bacterial indicator of pollution would be coliform bacteria. To view a list of microorganisms present in polluted waters, click here. Organic water contaminants would include detergents, disinfection by-products, herbicides, insecticides, food processing waste, petroleum hydrocarbons, and various chemical compounds that can be found in hygiene and cosmetic products. Inorganic water pollutants include acidity (ex. from power plants), ammonia (ex. from food-processing waste), fertilizers, heavy metals (ex. from cars), silt, and chemical waste (ex. industrial by-products). Macroscopic pollution which are large, visible items that pollute the water are shipwrecks, nurdles, and trash.
If you would like to help stop pollution, visit the links below for more information.
Help Stop Pollution Links