Water Pollution and its Main Sources

Category: Term Paper


In the recent years, the environmental protection issues have become urgent and need to be solved as fast as possible. The point is that people are used to consume everything that may be useful to them; on the other hand, there is nothing that humankind may give back to nature that is around. This paper will contain information about water pollution and how a human may influence the changes that have happened in the last time; the paper will provide a brief overview on the topic of water pollution and how governments of the countries try to prevent polluting water too fast. Besides, this paper is aimed to show how water pollution may influence the life of the ancestors and what may happen in the next few years if nothing is changed.

Since the very beginning of modern civilization water has become one of the most important parts of everyday life; people have been using water for their needs all the time. That is why the fact that water is polluted nowadays should not be left without any attention. Water pollution is either chemical or physical or biological change in the quality of water which is harmful for those who use this water. When human beings drink polluted water it may cause serious problems with health; besides it may influence those organisms that live in it. Scientists have distinguished several types of water pollution:

  • Toxic substance. This is a type of water pollution when water is filled with inorganic substances, for example, herbicides, pesticides or industrial compounds;
  • Organic substance. Such type of pollution occurs when such organic substances as manure or sewage are in the water. This type of water pollution may lead to decreasing the quantity of oxygen in water which in turn will lead to the decomposition process taking place;
  • Thermal pollution. This type of water pollution occurs when water is used as cooler for the nearby industrial or power plant, and then water returns to its environment with much higher temperature. This may lead to the decreasing of oxygen in water, but the need of this oxygen will increase;
  • Ecological pollution occurs when thermal pollution and pollution with toxic or chemical substances are caused by humans.

There are Three Main Sources of Water Pollution:

As it was mentioned above, water pollution is harmful not only for human beings but also for animals, birds, microorganisms, and fish. Though, the diagram above shows that only a human being is the one who pollutes water. Besides, polluted water cannot be used for drinking, cooking, even for agriculture, recreation and industry; if water is polluted, aquatic life in it becomes poorer and the reproductive function of living organisms there decreases; which in turn makes this water dangerous for people to use it. Thus, no one can escape this; every living organism feels the influence of such water and every organism suffers from that.

In the United States of America water pollution is an important and urgent issue to be solved. According to the statistics, 40% of all rivers in the United States of America are polluted and not suitable for fishing or swimming and there is no aquatic life; 46% of American lakes are also polluted and not suitable for fishing, swimming and aquatic life.

The Mississippi River – which drains nearly 40% of the continental United States, including its central farm land – carries an estimated 1.5 million metric of nitrogen pollution into the Gulf of Mexico each year. The resulting hypoxic coastal dead zone in the Gulf each summer is about the size of Massachusetts. (“Water Pollution Facts,” 2005)

The government of the United States of America understands all the harmfulness of this situation that is why some laws protecting water were adopted. For example, the Clean Water Act, that implements all possible regulatory and non regulatory tools to reduce the quantity of polluting substances into water; it also manages polluted runoff. These tools are used all over the country so they can support, “the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and recreation in and on the water” (“Laws & Executive Orders,” n.d.).

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Another law that protects water is the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) Section 6217 which is meant to make governments of those states that have coastal zone and participate in the Coastal Zone Management Programs, to develop Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Programs, where they describe what measures will be taken to decrease water pollution. In 2010 thirty four states participated in this program. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is another special program to protect endangered and threatened animals and plants and the place where they live. This program is implemented mostly by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service. Federal authorities are also known as those who are ordered to protect threatened and endangered plants and animals; they are using their authorities to utilize such protection programs. The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) is the act that prohibits the dumping into the ocean such substances that may harm human life or the environment without any reason. The Safe Drinking Water Act is another federal law, which ensures the quality of water the Americans drink every day. Under this law the United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates the standards for the quality drinking water and oversees local authorities, water suppliers and states that are responsible for implementing those standards. Another act that protects the safety and quality of drinking water is Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (Bioterrorism Act). Besides, there are several executive orders that exist all over the country; and every state has its own regulations protecting the quality of drinking water and controlling the amount of water polluted.


As it was shown above, there are a lot of laws protecting water; nevertheless water not only in the United States of America but all over the world is polluted. The researches have shown that more than 20% of all the drinking water in the United States does not meet the requirements of the Safe Water Drinking Act. The Act orders the water suppliers to deliver safe tap water to villages, although in 2004 such water that was provided to people in villages where more than forty nine million people lived, contained a lot of illegal chemical substances, for example, arsenic, uranium and bacteria that may be found in sewage. That means that laws cannot be always implemented into real life; that is why people also should take some measures to protect water and decrease the quantity of polluted water. It is known that the best solution is prevention; that is why not only governing authorities should prevent pollution but people, as well. First of all, people should try to keep beaches and areas that are nearby the river, sea or ocean clean; other prevention is to avoid using non organic materials, for example, people should use as less plastic bags or bottles as possible.

The solutions given above are only a small part of what can be done by an ordinary citizen; if every person does that, it will help to decrease the level of water pollution and thus it will make water cleaner and safe for other generations.

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