Water pollution; addressing the pivotal issue of Pakistan!

Ms. Aimen Izhar , Green Blogger, Dept. of Environmental sciences , GCWUS
“Water is the driving force of all nature.”
Rapid growth of world population and quest of material prosperity have generated massive expansion in agricultural and industrial production. The generation waste has affected the environment adversely. It has deteriorated the environment quality. Advancement in the socioeconomic status of many people has increased the use of agricultural and industrial products. Some of activities associated with this expansion have adversely affected water quality.
Water covers more than 70 % of the Earth’s surface but less than 3% of this is freshwater. The amount of freshwater available for human consumption is 0.01%: the remaining portion of water in bound in the glaciers and ice. The available small portion of water is becoming polluted due to anthropogenic activities such as improper disposal of municipal and industrial waste and excessive use of fertilizer on agricultural fields. Anthropogenic activities introduce various type of dangerous substances to the water which result in many water borne diseases. Freshwater is integral part of all necessary purposes in everyday life including food preparation, drinking, washing and many other purposes.
Water pollution is the degradation of water due to anthropogenic activities which harm the nature of water. Huge amount of pollutants which are being released due to anthropogenic activities perturb the characteristics of natural water. The pollutants are heavy metals, mainly lead and arsenic, phosphates, oils, nitrates and petrochemicals. The different types of water pollution which depends on the nature of pollutant such as chemical water pollution, microbial water pollution, groundwater pollution, nutrient pollution, suspended matter pollution and oil spillage.
Chemical water pollution mainly caused by the industrial operations and agricultural chemical and agricultural runoff which includes the harmful chemicals which get in water body and harm its state and aquatic life. Chemicals include metals, solvents, pesticides, and petroleum come contact with water by waste dumping and agricultural or industrial runoff. The metals include heavy metals which have devastating effects on aquatic organism, plants and also on humans.
Microbial water pollution mainly due to the excess growth of microorganisms which have ability to destroy the nature of water and render it harmful. Different types of bacteria, viruses, protozoa destroy the composition of water.
Oil spillage is also one of the cause of water pollution. Due to massive oil spill the water quality destroy and the aquatic flora and fauna also die off due to lack of oxygen and sunlight. The oil spill make a thick layer of oil on the water surface which bound the sunlight to pass through water and reaching to the aquatic organism. Less oxygen and suffocation in that water body leads to destruction of aquatic environment and water quality.
Nutrient pollution refers to the excessive amount of nutrients which effect the water causing eutrophication of surface water. The nutrients mainly nitrogen and phosphorus stimulate the algal growth. The main cause of nutrient pollution is agricultural runoff from farm fields and pastures, discharge from septic tanks and emissions from combustion.
In 2011 Unites state Environmental protection agency report that excess amount of reactive nitrogen compounds in environment are associated with eutrophication ,toxic algal bloom and hypoxia.
In Pakistan, poor water quality is one of the main environmental and health related concerns. The surface and groundwater in the country are polluted with the toxic substances and microorganisms. Bad living conditions and natural disasters both with mismanagement frequently deteriorate drinking water in the country. Water treatment plants exist only in few industrial cities but they are not properly working and not treat water properly.
As a result majority of country population is deprived of safe drinking water. National statics reveal that 56% of the total population in Pakistan has access to safe drinking water, but in rural areas safe water is hardly available to 45% of the population. Other statics reveal that 70% of the rural population in Pakistan has no access to safe drinking water, while in urban areas only 40-60% of people have access to potable water. As a result of drinking unhealthy water 20-40% of Pakistani people suffering from waterborne diseases including cholera, diarrhea, dysentery hepatitis, typhoid etc. One third of deaths caused by water borne diseases.
“Don’t waste water even if you were at a running stream.”
To conserve water from becoming scarce and make it available to all lives in its natural state, it’s important to take action at local, regional and global level. At local scale, every citizen must take part in awareness campaign to conserve every drop of water. Conserve water by turning off the tap after use. Be carefully about what you throw into sink or toilets. Don’t throw paints and oils into sink or other source of water. Use environment friendly products like detergents, cleaning agents and soaps. Don’t overuse pesticides and fertilizers because they improve the yield of crops but destroy the water from its pollutant rich runoff. Use bio fertilizers. Make effective and productive treatment plants to treat industrial waste water and reuse it. By planting more plants to prevent fertilizers runoff into water source.
“Save water save life.”
Aimen Izhar
Dept. of Environmental sciences , GCWUS
The earth needs love!

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