Water pollution is when any body of water is contaminated to the point that it harms living organisms or makes the water unsuitable for use. Out of the 70% of water that covers our Earth, only 2.5% of it is fresh water and sustainable for use. For the reason that only 2.5% of it is fresh, every year over three million people die prematurely from “contracting infectious diseases spread by contaminated water or having too little water for adequate hygiene” (Miller 246).
Water pollution can come from two sources, point and non-point sources. A point source is a single source while non-point is larger and dispersed. Point source pollutants come from drain pipes, ditches, or sewers to a specific location such as bodies of water. A few examples would be from factories, oil tankers, and underground mines. The reason these are point sources is because these facilities release treated wastewater. Non-point source pollutants cannot be traced to a sign of release. Examples of these would include runoff of chemicals into surface water from livestock feedlots, urban streets and golf courses. As the water empties into the streams and rivers it accumulates contaminants from the sources the water ran through.
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There are also many different types of pollution these include but are not limited to heat, oil, chemicals, and trash in general. The water that they use in factories is used to cool down metal and machinery. Once they release that water into a nearby stream or river, it can make some of the species vulnerable to disease. Many organisms can only live in a narrow range of temperature. Not only does an increase in temperature in water harm the aquatic life, but it also decreases the dissolved oxygen content of the water.
Tanker accidents and blowouts at offshore drilling rigs are some of the reasons why our water is polluted, but it is not the main reason. Of all of the oil in the water around the world “tanker spills only account for 10%” (Denchack 16). Most oil pollutants come from urban and industrial runoff from land. Groundwater can spread contamination far from the original polluting source as it seeps into streams, lakes, and oceans. Once an aquifer becomes polluted, it can possibly be unusable for a decade or even thousands of years. Unfortunately, as a civilization, we greatly depend on the existence of these aquifers.
The result from poorly managed waste is marine debris. When single use disposables are improperly managed this trash can find its way into streams, rivers, lakes, and our ocean. Waterbodies that carry trash will often end up emptying into our oceans. Trash, packaging, and improperly disposed waste from sources on land “account for 80% of the marine debris found on beaches during cleanups and surveys” (epa.gov,
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