Water is a natural resource whose maintenance is currently considered as a fundamental concern of every human population. Water conservation is an imperative requirement owing the role that it plays in human and aquatic life. It is considered an inevitable resource that is largely dependant on human and aquatic life (Kumar, 2004). Water is used in all sorts of activities ranging from bathing, drinking, cooking, swimming, farming, and so forth. Currently, people have become less careful about the manner in which they use water. The use of pollutants like pesticides and fertilizers threatens the water resources that become contaminated and unsuitable for human life, animal habitat and aquatic life (Goel, 2006). Due to the essence of water, it is evident that its contamination and pollution is a great threat that plaques the world.
The main substances that contaminate and pollute water are oil and chemical waste. Petroleum products form part of the major threats to fresh water as they intoxicate the ecosystem. In most cases, water contamination and pollution by oil and chemical waste results from accidental spills that come from pipelines, ships and some leaking underground storage tanks among others. Such oil and chemical spills are undoubtedly dangerous to the inhabitants of lakes, seas and other water bodies. The height of the implications of water contamination by oil and chemical spills was witnessed after the leaking of over 176 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill was considered one of the most expensive disasters whose consequences would be visible for several years to come. The accidental oil spill killed several animals and birds and threatened plant life. The effects are even worse as many Americans ended up breathing air that is contaminated with the evaporation of oil (Kumar, 2004).
Plastics and other plastic-like substances also contaminate water. This is the case when plastic bottles, plastic bags and nylon are disposed in water bodies. In most cases, people neglect the need to recycle plastic bags. Few plastic substances are taken for recycling while a greater portion is directly dumped at the trash (Kumar, 2004). The substances are very difficult to recycle and they do not easily photo degrade. As a result, the substances end up breaking into tiny toxic particles that pollute water and soil and find their way into the food chain (Goudie, 2009). It is vital to consider the fact that plastic substances are not biodegradable and that once they are released into the water resources, they become a long term threat to human and aquatic life. Floating plastic objects are harmful to marine animals. They can attach to the animals hence affecting their locomotion and resulting into death of aquatic animals (Environmental Working Group, 2009).
In most cases, people use pesticides and herbicides to kill unwanted plants and animals without considering the effects of such actions. The pesticides and herbicides have toxins like nitrate, lead and mercury. The toxins get to the water bodies through dumping of toxics by large companies into the sewage system or after they have been collected by rain. The toxins end up in oceans and lakes and become harmful to animal life. In the past, many have unknowingly taken water which contains pesticides resulting into several deaths. Several human diseases also result from the consumption of contaminated water (Kumar, 2004).
Water resources are also polluted by sewage and waste water. The highly increasing human population results into a concentration of many people within a small area. The high level of population results into an increase in waste products like garbage, sewage and used oil that spill on the ground and end up being drained into large water bodies. Due to industrialization, the developing countries dump sewage water and other industrial wastes into large water bodies without proper treatment. The failure to properly treat the sewage water and other industrial waste products slows down dilution process of the waste products. As a result, they flow directly into rivers and lakes hence polluting the water bodies. Sewage water contains all sorts of wastes that are highly harmful (Goel, 2006).
Another source of water contamination and pollution is agricultural waste. Modern farming methods that involve irrigation and other current agricultural techniques present several environmental threats. The agricultural pollution may have direct or indirect effects on human and animal life. Farmers use several agricultural chemicals for food production. The chemicals can result into the presence of excess nitrate content in water that is a potential cause of blue baby disease. The agricultural runoff can get into water sources without being treated hence affecting wildlife and fish that are considered the main source of food for humans (Environmental Working Group, 2009).
Water pollution is a great threat due to the essence of water in sustaining human life. Based on the understanding that drinking water is scarce and that the world’s population is spiraling, it is prudent for all people to show interest in conserving this limited resource. Everyone should be concerned about the measures that can be taken to keep the water bodies clean so as to support human, animal and aquatic life. People should be more careful when using toxic products so that they do not spill into the water bodies. Oil tanks, pipelines and other containers should be subjected to regular maintenance so that they are in good shape. This will help to reduce spills. All plastic waste materials should be recycled so that they are not carelessly dumped into the water bodies. It is also important to avoid dumping toxic things into the sewage water system. Proper disposal of such products like the garbage, plastic objects, chemicals and other toxic items will make the world greener. Everyone should realize that water is an essential source of life that must be conserved and protected.