75% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, yet only about 1% is readily available for human consumption. Water pollution affects the environment just as much as air and land pollution, affecting ocean life as well as human life. Ocean life is more obviously affected because of the dirty, unhealthy water serving as natural habitats for marine plants and animals. Human life is affected too however, because of the lack of water resources available to the people of developing countries. Only a fraction of our planet’s citizens have access to clean water; people may have access to water, but it is not clean water.
The two sources of water pollution are called point source and nonpoint source. Point source pollution refers to the pollution that has been introduced in a specific location into the water. This type of pollution is found through septic systems, landfills in certain situations, gas and petroleum products, chemical compounds used to dissolve grease and oil in water, pesticides, and lead. In addition, nearly 500 million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls were dumped into the ocean before the United States banned the practice. Most of the point source pollution comes from factories, yet still a large portion is coming from individual human action. As waste receptacles are less available, more citizens are choosing to dump their waste into the oceans and nearby lakes, rivers, and ponds.
Nonpoint source pollution primarily results from runoffs affected by pollution. One of the ways this happens is through the treatment of soil with chemical pesticides. Instead of dumping pesticides straight into the water, nonpoint pollution of pesticides occurs by the seepage of treated soil into the water below the surface, or into runoffs. Another nonpoint source of water pollution is through air pollution. Airborne pollution can travel far distances from its source, and often particles of pollution will find their way into water sources.
Water pollution is a serious threat to the health of our ocean life. Find out more at: