Water pollution is defined as the introduction of foreign pollutants into a body of water. These pollutants can cause illness or even death in the organisms that rely on the waterbody. The effects of water pollution are typically severe. This is because water is able to dissolve many substances. These substances easily enter the human body if the tainted water is consumed.
Besides affecting human health, the effects of water pollution can also impact biodiversity. For instance, when large quantities of nutrients are introduced into a waterbody, a phenomenon called eutrophication happens. This can result in the depletion of dissolved oxygen in the affected water body, essentially killing fish and other aquatic organisms.
Effects of Water Pollution – Short term & Long term
Water pollution can bring about disastrous consequences – for instance, a factory that pumped out a very toxic waste product into the sea directly contributed to causing neurological illness to an entire town for many decades (The Minimata Incident). The following are the effects of water pollution:
- Water pollution drastically affects human health; in fact, it can kill. In 2015 alone, a study revealed that waterborne illnesses caused 1.8 million deaths worldwide.
- It can cause contamination of drinking water – thereby contributing to waterborne illnesses.
- Water pollution also affects the ecosystem – it can cause a phenomenon called eutrophication. This can cause fish and other aquatic organisms to die.
- Toxic elements dissolved in water can make their way to humans through fish or other aquatic organisms.
- Water pollution also leaches chemicals into the soil that may impact the growth of plants or other food crops.
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