All of these will be discussed in this article. Water is essential in our everyday life and is something that many humans take for granted and do not fully understand how important water truly is. Humans, animals, and plant life need quality water in order to survive. The question of whether our water sources can continue to provide for all the living organisms on earth does not come with an easy answer. Water systems all over the planet have fell prey to pollution and in a lot of cases have suffered severe losses to animal and plant life as well as ecosystems being completely degraded.
Some of these systems have become so polluted that he loss of species is overwhelming, and even irreversible. This is an ongoing problem that we as humans have faced for many years and in all of these cases we have been the main cause of the crisis. If pollution is not cleaned up and prevented, we will not be able to have a sustainable planet. Laws and regulations are just a small part of dealing with this global concern. Prevention is just one measure of how we can save our water systems and provide better lives for all species.
There are countless measures that we can take to improve the conditions brought on by water pollution, and there are cores of ways it can be prevented. These methods can benefit our planet as a whole, and lead us to sustainability with our water systems. However, we have a long way to go before we can say that we no longer need to be concerned with water pollution. We can’t possibly turn our backs on this never ending problem. Although there has been a lot of efforts put in to help our polluted waterways, there is still much more needed work left to be done.
Water Pollution in Our World Water pollution is not something new on our horizon, in fact it can be said that pollution began the first moment life came into existence on our planet. Through natural and man-made activities comes some sort of byproduct. A number of these byproducts are considered to be pollutants, which once they have entered the environment can compromise the natural area. There are two types of pollutants one being a nonprofit source which comes from indirect sources such as water run-off. Then there is point-source, where a plume which has the greatest amounts of pollutants at or around the source.
For example, such as sewer leaking directly into the soil or waterways. The Tiber River became so heavily polluted by 312 B. C. E. Because in ancient Rome awe sewage was being directed through the sewers into the river. Leaving the Romans no other choice but to come up with a new method of obtaining clean drinking water. They built aqueducts in order to have cleaner water. For centuries in many parts of the world, countries have been plagued with outbreaks of cholera and typhoid due to raw sewage being dumped into our waterways.
Thousands upon thousands of people have died each year because of cholera outbreaks in several developing countries because they do not have clean drinking water to this day. Throughout the United States, any of our rivers have been tainted with raw sewage for years, which has greatly affected Our freshwater supplies. Rivers that were located near factories fell victim to industrial waste simply because they were close by and an easy dumping area. There was very little thought if any to the consequences of these actions.
During the industrial revolution, the Quahogs River in Ohio suffered greatly due to the wastes that were being dumped into it by nearby factories and cities. It became so polluted that nearly every sign of life was gone. The surface of the river was dominated by sewage, oil, and other contaminating pollutants as well as other rubbish and became extremely flammable. Throughout 1 868 to 1969, several fires broke out on the river’s surface, which could have been started from something as small as one cigarette to a flicker of sparks generated by wheels of passing trains.
The media didn’t take notice Of this river until 1 969 and it became public knowledge causing an outcry of immediate action and change. Pollution found in groundwater is mostly due to the use of chemicals, such as pesticides, insecticides, paint, oil products which are considered to be volatile organic compounds. Even traces of gasoline and pharmaceuticals can be found in groundwater sources in our urban and rural areas. After groundwater is heavily polluted, the cleanup efforts can be of great costs and in some cases not viable.
These are just a couple of the many contaminants that can seep into our groundwater. There are many factors that can contribute to pollutants that are found in surface water. For example, the recent oil spill that occurred in the gulf, has caused a great deal of contamination to our ocean, waterways, and the ecosystems Of the gulf coast marshlands that have been directly impacted by this. In many reported and unreported cases, raw sewer has been pumped/dumped into our oceans, and is still an ongoing problem in many areas.
Water samples from all over have shown high traces of pharmaceutical compounds, that have been passed on through urine and feces from the numerous medications that humans take. These compounds can greatly affect growth and development, and cause other impairments in aquatic organisms. All of these examples are point- source pollutants which have had a great impact on our waterways and continue to do so. Water travels in many different ways, and as it passes wrought one place to the next it picks up non-point source pollutants.
Such as, run-off water from irrigated fields, to cars being washed, and even from storm water that runs through surfaces picking up residues along its’ way causing the pollution to travel. Laws and Regulations The Clean Water Act (CAW) was enacted in 1972 in the United States, to help protect our waterways, and improve the quality of our drinking water. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act that took place in 1948 was the basis of the CAW With the CAW discharging any type of pollutant into Our waterways as not allowed without a permit.
Residents rely on septic tanks or hook up to local sanitary sewer systems which carry sewage to wastewater treatment plants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees the CAW and has put into practice, standards for wastewater as well as water quality regarding contaminants in our waterways. The CAW has not been without it’s criticism, due to how basic it is. Although it is considered the foundation of protection where surface water quality is concerned. The EPA rely heavily on state localities to enforce its regulations, and monitor them at a local level.
This act is not the first one to ever be imposed, in 1899 the Rivers and Harbors act banned dumping of pollutants into our waterways without a permit, which also took on criticism as there was no way to impose the measure. This is not a simple task as it takes everyone working together to better our waterways. There have been many amendments to the CAW and that is something we can expect to continue because of results and research, as well as finding better ways to implement protective measures. In 1973 the Endangered Species Act (SEA) began, which is designed to help safeguard and cover species.
The Fish and Wildlife service plays a key role in the SEA because they are in charge of listing which animals meet the requirements to be considered endangered and or threatened. A specie’s standing has to be assessed and determined if it meets with certain factors that were placed into the SEA act. This is not an easy task and has been met with much controversy. The efforts from both of these acts were not sufficient because of localities being allowed by the EPA to create their own clean water acts.
After many court litigation, the EPA has since made changes in how localities manage their own laws and regulations so that consideration of the SEA and CAW can work together in efforts to protect our waterways, our wildlife, and our environment. State and local authorities are working diligently with the EPA to gain better management practices, as well as maintaining high standards for water quality. As time goes by, these standards are revised and updated to meet the needs for our environment. New laws are constantly being put on the books, as old ones are amended.
As quickly as one presidential administration leaves office and another one comes in, and the EPA is reshuffled to meet its’ needs. Prevention There are countless sources that can be listed as to the reason of why and how are waterways are being polluted. Numerous organizations throughout the world have formed in hopes to create a better method of tackling these issues. Education takes a big role when it comes to prevention. Even in very small measures we can minimize pollutants going into our waterways.
Most people don’t realize just how many hazardous waste products they actually have in their homes. Looking underneath the kitchen sink, in the garage or storage sheds, you can find numerous chemicals that are very dangerous to our environment. The can of paint sitting on the shelf half empty, that was left over from when you painted your trim work can impose a great threat. Do you know how to dispose of it? States and localities have hazardous waste centers available to the public in order to prevent these waste from going into our drainage systems or seeping into our soils.
Hazardous-waste collection centers have been helping out in this regard, by allowing people to drop off toxic household chemicals, so that they will not be dispensed down storm drains, flushed down toilets, or thrown in ditches. Some of these centers may only be available occasionally, while others are open during the five day work week. A number of the chemicals that they accept are; pesticides, motor oil, solvents-based cleaning products, chlordane, lighter fluid, paint, paint stripers, and drain cleaners. They also take empty bottles/containers such as oven cleaner, bleach, and toilet cleaners.
These centers are extremely helpful when it comes to fighting pollution in our waterways. Just check with your local area to find out if this type of operation is available to you. Local police departments and hospitals are set up to help with disposal of unused r expired prescription medications, which aids in the prevention of pharmaceutical compounds getting into our waterways. Controlling water usage is also a great way to help reduce water pollution. Turning off water while brushing your teeth or shaving. Using timers on sprinkler systems and making sure that they are not overpowering.
Checking for leaks in pipes, and insuring that they are properly insulated. Shortening the time we spend in the shower. Making certain that our washing machines are fully loaded before washing our clothes. These are just an example Of small measures that everyone can take to help out. Programs such as the Go Green Initiative, are helping out by teaching the public about many measures they can take to change their habits. Veterans come together in this group and form teams that go all over the world cleaning up marshlands and wetlands, planting trees, and they strive to teach others about becoming more independent where energy is concerned.
They know the importance of our natural resources and they are sharing what they know. Conclusion Water may appear to be an plentiful source on our planet and it is something that every species on Earth needs to survive, but pollution has caused some ere critical problems for are waterways. These problems have had direct effects on our wildlife, plants and other organisms and in countless instances we have lost a great deal of species that will never return. Humans are responsible for these occurrences, whether it was done directly or indirectly.
For centuries, our waterways have been used for dumping grounds due to numerous reasons. The reality of our planet’s situation began to seep into our minds and our ideas started to shift. Organizations were formed and laws Were created. People were taking notice of just how much damage was akin place. Education is playing a big role in informing humans of ways to clean up our waterways, as well as taking preventive measures to keep pollutants from getting into our water and soils.
Utilizing the many facilities to help us dispose of hazardous chemicals and other wastes can immensely prevent our waterways from becoming further polluted. Pollution directly effects our ecosystems, wildlife, and humans. This includes the very water that we drink daily. Working to create better methods of preventions, and cleaning up these polluted areas, as well educating people on pollution could irately help us achieve a more sustainable planet for all of us to live.