Friday, May 8, 2009

What Causes Water Pollution?

If there is something that seriously affects everyone is, Water pollution. Over 40% of the rivers and 46% of the lakes in America are too polluted to fish in, swim in, or maintain marine life. There are many causes of water pollution. Water pollution come from two different types of sources.

1) Pollutants being emitted directly into a water body results in a "point source", such as a pipe from an industrial facility leaking toxics directly into the water.

2) Pollutants being indirectly transported to the water such as run off from fertilizers flowing in to a larger body of water by rain results in a type of polution called "nonpoint source".

Pesticides are one of the most common causes of water pollution. Pesticides from farms and individual home owners run off into streams and rivers. Then on it gets absorbed into the ground water polluting the water that people drink and causing trouble with the fish in the rivers where the pesticides run off.

One more cause of water pollution are fertilizers and nutrient pollution. Some of the pollutants that are most prevalent in the manure, sewage and chemical fertilizers are Nitrates and phosphates. These pollutants run into the streams and rivers causing excessive growth in aquatic plants and algae leading to clogged waterways and dead zones.

Another cause of water pollution happens when oil, gasoline and additives gets spilled due to a leak in a major oil tanker. This usually gets a lot of coverage and press due to it's effects on marine animals, local fisherman and coastal businesses. Oils can also seep into the waterways through the groundwater as a result of a leak or small spill.

Mining as a result of an industry, is an other one of the causes of water pollution. Mining exposes heavy metals and sulfur compounds that get leached and absorbed into the ground water and make their way into the nearby water sources. Mines can continue to drain toxic elements into the water supply long after the mining has come to a close.

A few additional causes of water pollution are:

• Chemical and industrial processes that produce waste that is injected into deep groundwater sources

• Sediment build up as a result of clear cutting

• Pharmaceuticals such as growth hormones used in farming

• Personal care products and household cleaning products such as bleach, fabric softener, lotion, perfume and hair dye

• Air pollution due to power plants and emissions from vehicles

• Sewage

• Heat from power plants that causes water pollution by killing fish and marine organisms.

• Carbon Dioxide which causes acidification in oceans

There are many other causes of water pollution in addition to these that will need to be dealt with and addressed in order to reduce the strain on the water supply.

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