Pollution is a world-wide spread problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Water pollution is a big worry considering that water is essential to all living and nonliving things. As Adrian Armstrong (2006) says in his article Ethical issues in water use and sustainability, “...water is valuable, because we need it, and so we protect it in so far as it benefits us” (p. 10) The main problems of water pollution is the water quality and sustainability of it; The longer we allow our water to become polluted, the less supply of drinking water we have. Much of our water supply is not drinkable or usable for irrigation purposes due to pollution; Not only is this the case, but the water that is actually useable, is being used as if there is an endless supply of it. It is our responsibility as the habitants of this earth to treat it withe respect. Some people may not realize the havoc that is being done by their actions, and nonliving things cannot help the pollution that is released, but we need to come up with a solution, otherwise we will have no water in the future for anything; bathing, drinking, irrigation, recreational activities, etc. Let’s see what factors contribute to water pollution, and who is affected by the problem.
Many factors contribute to the problem that is water pollution, whether they be living or nonliving. Humans, animals and as Brown & Froemke (2012) describe “Non point sources, such as farms, roadways, and urban or suburban landscapes, remain largely uncontrolled” (p. 137) Non point Sources (NPS) such as grass and leaves from landscapes, air emissions from vehicles that distribute emissions into the air that dissolve into the water are all NPS that factor into the pollution of our water. Mainly human efforts affect the water supply, whether intentionally or not. Human waste is a part of life that we all experience, and thanks to modern technology of a toilet, we are able to experience these movements with privacy and sanitation. Lack of sanitation can cause diarrhea. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) “These cases [diarrhea] result in 1.5 million deaths each year, most being the death of children” (Pruss-Usten 2008). Diseases like hepatitis, and schistosomiasis, and many others can be fatal to those who do not have access to clean drinking water. Dumping food into the sink and letting it go down that drain is another source of pollution. Everyone and everything, such as humans, animals, insects, plant life and the very soil is affected by polluted water, mainly from disease, unhygienic practices and malnutrition from unusable water. According to the UN-Water Policy (2011), “People most affected are those who live near contaminated waterways and those who have no alternate access to safe water or to improved sanitation” What are some of the positive and negative effects that humans have had on the water pollution problem?
Negatively, and positively humans have had the biggest impact on our water supply and quality. Some of the biggest negative contributors from humans are the air pollution from our means of transportation, by motor oil leaking onto pavement effectively being released into the water; Not picking up after our pets, letting all output of animals enter the sewage system; Cremation of ashes. Many people have traditions that upon death, they are to be cremated and their ashes are to be released into the ocean or spread on top of a beloved ones grave. All of these contributors leak unnatural chemicals into our drinking water. Even though humans have negatively affected the water supply, humans have also done right by it. Positively, humans have developed waterways such as sewage drains and tunnels, taking all used water away from living quarters; Sewage treatment, taking all sewage from homes such as urine and fecal matter and treats it using varying...
References: Armstrong, A. (2006). Ethical issues in water use and sustainability. Area, 38(1), 9-15.
Brown, T. C., & Froemke, P. (2012). Nationwide assessment of nonpoint source threats to water quality. Bioscience, 62(2), 136-146. doi: 10.1525/bio.2012.62.2.7
Prüss-Üstün, A., Bos, R., Gore, F., & Bartram, J. (2008). Safer water, better health: Costs, benefits and sustainability of interventions to protect and promote health. [Geneva]: World Health Organization.
UN-Water. (2011). UN News Center. Retrieved January 23, 2013, from
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