Human beings have left a lasting effect on river ecosystems. Water is an essential natural resource that is required by all living beings. Pollution and scarcity have made it difficult for millions of people to get access to clean drinking water. We are facing a severe problem, but before we go deeper into the subject, we need to educate ourselves around the whole concept or river or water pollution.
Two-third of our planet is covered with water, which is justifiable from the amount of water we need for survival daily. Water may seem to be everywhere, but it is actually available in a fixed quantity. It frequently changes its state in a cycle which is commonly referred to as the Water Cycle.
The Water Cycle involves a pattern where water from the lakes, rivers, and other water bodies evaporate and turn into vapour. Through the process of condensation and precipitation, it returns to the earth in the form of snow or rain.
River Pollution is the contamination of rivers because of different human activities. The contamination could involve changes in the biological, chemical, or physical properties of the river water which is detrimental in value. Drinking water is derived from rivers and other freshwater sources. But the bacteria, chemicals, and pollutants are affecting our drinking water as well.
Sources of River Pollution
Pollution is not easy to control because many times it results from infrastructures near the river. Pollutants enter the river, usually in small quantities, but from different locations of points along the river’s length. The most common sources would be from urban and rural areas.
Clearing of forests for producing farmland leads on soil erosion in massive quantities, which eventually are deposited to the rivers. Agricultural intensification (the substantial increase in the application of fertilizer and an increase in stock numbers) have also caused chemical and nutrient loss at the nearby rivers and streams.
When it comes to urban areas, the contaminants are in the form of heavy metals and PAHs that are washed off from the hard surfaces of roads. Nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide are emitted from power stations and factories also get into the rivers through acid rain. Sewage is another source of water pollution in certain areas.
Pollution can end up lowering the pH level of the water, which would affect the lives of all kinds of aquatic organisms like vertebrates or algae. The biodiversity is going to decrease with the depleting pH levels significantly.
The Negative Impact
There are several negative consequences of river pollution. And because of this reason, this matter requires the utmost attention internationally. Some of the negative impacts of river pollution are mentioned below –
- Diseases – With more and more river pollution, access to quality or safe drinking water will be significantly less. When humans and animals start consuming decontaminated water, it is going to be disastrous to their physical health. Some of these diseases include hepatitis, cholera, and typhoid.
- Ecosystem Destruction – Ecosystems are known to be extremely dynamic, and they have the ability to respond to the smallest changes occurring in the environment. If river pollution goes unchecked, it could easily wipe out an entire ecosystem in a go.
- Eutrophication – When chemicals are dumped into the water bodies, they boost the growth of algae. These algae appear as a layer on the top as bacteria feed on this particular species; it significantly reduces the amount of oxygen in the water, which could affect the lives of the aquatic animals significantly.
- Food Chain Disruption – Food chains get disrupted when the water contains pollutants and toxins which end up being consumed by the underwater animals (like shellfish, frogs, etc.). Humans may also end up consuming these animals, which would again impact health severely.
River pollution is a significant problem of today that demands immediate attention. The best way one can get rid of large-scale pollution to combat the harmful effects. Making little changes could help in protecting ourselves from a terrifying future that lies ahead of us. Water wastage is another major problem we have to deal with, and conservation water is the only way to do it. Try to make small changes in your domestic lives, and it will make a huge difference. Apart from that, you can also try choosing environmentally friendly products over others whenever you visit the market. These efforts are going to count to something huge.