Planet Earth is covered up by 78% of water and only 3% of this water is freshwater, the remaining water is salt water contained in seas and oceans. Water is the most important liquid and available freely in nature. It is one of the renewable resources and forms the basis for the existence of life on earth.
Freshwater is drinkable water consumed by animals and living organisms. The availability of this water is decreasing by the day due to factors such as overpopulation, urbanization, improper sewage treatment etc. Out of the 3% fresh water that is available on the earth, 0.3% water is found in lakes, rivers, swamps etc., the rest of the water is frozen in ice caps and glaciers. However, ocean water is subjected to the hydrological cycle to undergo certain processes to make water consumable for various needs.
Water is a colourless, tasteless and odourless liquid. Chemically, water consists of 2 molecules of hydrogen and one molecule of oxygen and has a covalent bond, the molecular weight of water is 18 grams or 1 mole of water.
Also Read: Disappearing Act of Water
Why Does Water Need To Be Available?
Is water necessary at all? Even if it is, is it required by all organisms? Yes, water is necessary for the survival of all living organisms, hence it needs to be available at all times for our existence. Following are a few of the reasons stating the importance of water.
- Most biological processes take place in a water medium
- Water needs to be dissolved in the cells for chemical reactions to take place and transportation of substances to occur from one part to another part of the body
- Maintaining the water levels inside the body is essential for survival
- Water is used in our daily lives for various needs
- Not having water around us can lead to a rise in health hazards
- Greatly contributes to minimizing effects of droughts and water scarcity on people
- Water cycle does get rains on land, but not necessarily in the same area where water was washed away due to various reasons (tsunamis, droughts, cyclones)
- Water needs to be available to plants, as they form an important part of our food chain
- Marine species require water for their survival
Also Read: Air, Water And Soil
Though the importance of water cannot be stressed enough, it is being contaminated on a daily basis by us. Water is a universal solvent, because of this property of water, it absorbs all the substances, minerals, most of which are harmful to living organisms. Use of pesticides and insecticides by our farmers this way proves to be hazardous as water absorbs these substances. Also, lack of proper sewage system results in water from industries getting redirected to water bodies causing water pollution. This water is consumed by us, animals and even the life inside this water ultimately leading to health hazards.
Effects Of Water Pollution
Following are effects of polluted water:
- The chemical constituency of water is disturbed due to various industrial activities of man. This adversely impacts organisms living in that ecosystem.
- If large quantities of mercury are present in aquatic habitats, it can induce hormonal imbalances when consumed
- Oil spills lead to the death of marine creatures and drastically affect the ecosystem
- Polluted water when used for irrigation causes depletion in the levels of soil fertility
- Acid rain can be hazardous and also has proven to cause destruction to the infrastructure
- High levels of phosphorous, nitrogen in water can lead to the growth of invasive plants
Also Read: Water Pollution And Its Control
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