Water is the one of the most important natural resources. It makes up about 74% of the Earth. It would not be wrong to claim that water supplies the life of almost all creatures living on earth.
However, this lifeline is under severe manipulation by inhabitants of the earth in the form of water pollution. This environmental pollution is one of the three major types of pollution, which are land pollution, air pollution, and water pollution.
Estimates show that this type of pollution claims most lives in the form of death from diseases. About four thousand people are daily claimed by diseases that are caused by water pollution. Mostly population weak countries, like India and China, face scarcity of pure drinking water. The problem is not unique to developing countries. Developed countries also face this problem to a great level.
There are two types of water pollution, but both are equally harmful. These categories of water pollution include surface water and ground water. The difference between the two is just the location of contamination. One is above the ground level and is easily detectable while the other is on the ground and hard to manage.
When a water body has impurities in the form of anthropogenic contaminants and it is not suitable for drinking then it is termed as polluted. There are many factors that contribute to water pollution. These include natural factors as well as human interventions.
Natural factors that affect water quality are storms, volcanoes, earthquakes and algae blooms. Human factors include dumping of toxic wastes in water bodies, polluting land through pesticides which later travel to water bodies and spilling of wastes in such bodies in the name of waste disposal. A wide range of chemicals that are waste products from factories also contribute to this problem.
There is a natural mix of minerals in water bodies that contribute to the richness of water. These minerals include calcium, iron, manganese and sodium. However, any change in these minerals that may occur due to human intervention leading to an imbalance in regulated minerals. Greater or lower concentration of these minerals can endanger aquatic life.
Moreover, man has a tendency to change the ratio of oxygen dissolved in water by throwing different types of wastes in it, like plastic bags. Other materials that affect this ratio are from plants, for example, grass and leave. Wastes from outside the water world can disrupt the passage of light in water bodies. This disruption may result in clogging of fish's gills and disturbance in growth patterns of plants.
Many chemicals that are introduced by mankind in water bodies are toxic. Waterborne diseases can be caused by these toxins. Moreover, these impurities can alter the pH of impure water. This may result in a change in its temperature, and in its electrical conductivity.
There are three different methods to determine the level of pollution in a specific water body. These are physical testing, chemical testing, and biological testing. In the physical method of testing water pollution, scientists use temperature, turbidity, and solid concentrations.
Chemical methods of testing include chemical oxygen demand, biochemical oxygen demand, pH, and valuation of impurities like pesticides. The third type of testing uses living things to determine how healthy the aquatic system is.