Water is the most imperative and precious resource necessary for survival of human beings. Human beings have a steady and continuous need for pure water that is free of poisonous chemicals and pathogens for utilization and running daily processes. Nevertheless, clean water is not always available to all people. Although three quarters of the earth’s surface is covered by water, most of that water is not suitable for human consumption.
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In the present times, above fifty percent of people in the diverse regions of the world do not have access to safe and pure water to meet their daily needs. The condition is worse still due to the natural disasters that limit the availability of water that is safe for human being consumption.
Industrial processes use large amounts of water, which require treatment before being discharged to surface water systems. Wastewater from the municipal wastewater treatments systems has effluents, which affects aquatic life. There is therefore a need for innovative designs for treatment units, efficient low-cost methods and approaches for water quality assurance.
Definition Of Purification Of Water
Purification of water is removing impurities from water to make it fit for consumption as well as removing microorganisms that contaminate it. The process depends on the impurities in the water, level of contamination, finances available and the standards (Crittenden, 2010). The main objective of purifying water is to serve the intended purpose in different industries.
Problem Of Chemical Spills In Water
Chemical Produces Water Pollution
It Creates Waste Products
Water pollution has always been a main problem to the atmosphere and the surrounding. With industrialization in major areas and urban cities rising, the water around them just keeps being polluted. There are many causes of water pollution but chemicals are found to have the fatal effects to both living organisms and human beings.
Chemical pollution emanates from the effluent outfall from the industrial factories, refineries, residues of agricultural practices such as fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Polychlorinated biphenyls is also found in drinking water and is toxic for human consumption. Waste materials from chemicals such as lead and cadmium also pollute water.
Chemicals Make Water And Seas Poisoned
Chemical discharged in the water bodies cause water pollution to have unfavorable consequences to both marine life and the human beings at large. According to Clarke & Frid (2009), eutrophication originates from water that comes from the land where farming takes place. The problem occurred in London at Thames River, which led to death of many animals living in the water. Acid rain that results from engine smoke has negative impacts in oceans and seas.
Sources of Water Pollution
Water pollution emanates from different sources as depicted by the table below:-
|Sediment||Construction||Increases turbidity; affects aquatic organisms; contain toxins|
|Phosphates/ nitrates||Fertilizers; detergents; organic debris||Algae blooms; eutrophication|
|Toxins; carcinogens||Heavy metals; pesticides; herbicides||Disrupt food chain; carcinogenic; cause fish to die|
|Petroleum products||Motor oil; gasoline; axle grease||Disrupt food chain; deplete oxygen ; harms birds & mammals|
|Pathogens||Animal wastes; raw sewage;||Health hazards|
|Man-made litter||Plastic debris; others||Insightful; harm organisms|
Table showing the sources of water pollution and their consequent problems
From the table, water pollution affects marine life to a greater level.
Chemical pollutions are brought by several sources including phosphates, toxins, petroleum products and industrial effluents. Majority of pollutants have chemically associated and they cause adverse problems into only to the marine and aquatic life, but also puts human beings to the risk of consuming poisonous foods.
The effects are shown by the pie chart shown here below
Retrieved from: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Lakes, Reservoirs, and Ponds,” in National Water Quality Inventory: Report 2000. U.S. EPA.
The chart shows the percentages of materials that pollutes water. Most countries that are developing discharge a lot of contaminated water into the nearby water bodies. People are infected by water borne diseases after consuming water flowing near sewage and septic tanks that are leaking. The chart above shows the effects of water pollution from the sewage. It represents reasons for twenty-five percent pollution of water bodies and effects to the life of marine animals.
Chemicals threaten the organisms
Effect on marine life
The term marine life as defined by United Nations working group refers to pollution by man either indirectly or directly in marine environment resulting to poisonous effects to living resources, hazards to human beings health, hindrance to marine fishing and destruction of quality for use of seawater. Chemical pollution, as argued by US Environmental Protection (2009), has adverse effects to marine life. Contamination of water bodies has profound negative effects on the environment. When chemicals are poured into the water bodies, the ecosystem is destroyed.
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Many countries have not controlled pollution of water in the entire world due to disposal of different chemicals, which are harmful. The poisonous substances from the chemicals spread to the surrounding causing harm to all the nearby areas. Many countries experience problems because industries continuously deposit waste products in rivers as well as streams even after the ban. This can be attributed to lack of controlling mechanisms that would keep an eye on these industries and avert them from dumping industrial waste into water bodies.
The aquatic life is mostly affected and hard hit by water polluted by chemicals. Water pollution can even lead to an extinction of some animal species. The animals that live in water are not able to breathe due to the waste products and chemicals that are deposited in the water bodies. In addition, toxic chemicals affect animals in the dry land after they drink the polluted water. Eutrophication caused by the agricultural chemicals run off to water bodies causes a condition in which there is excessive growth of microscopic plants. When the plants become many, they reduce the level of oxygen making the animals to die.
Eutrophication is also found to have influences with the normal growth of coral reefs and as a result causes suffocation. Industrial effluents also have adverse impacts to the life of marine animals. Pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls accumulate in the fatty tissue of plants and animals and as a result cause diseases and the resulting death of marine life (Clarke & Frid, 2009). Another threat of chemical pollution to marine life is oil pollution. This leads to death of marine organisms as well as hampering the growth of corals especially in oil terminals.
Effect On People Who Live Near Seas
Toxic wastes dumped in the ocean not only harm plants and animals, but also impacts on the human being heavily. Waste materials that are deposited in the sea can affect the health of people and contaminate seafood (Barlow, 2008). Chemical waste products such as lead while eaten by animals can also have a secondary effect to human beings. This causes damages to the nerves and abnormality in children who are born. Many bacterial as well as viral diseases originate from waste materials in the water.
Solutions To Reduce Chemical Spills
Stop Old Water Purification Systems
Purifying chemically polluted water using old methods is not effective as employing green sustainable methods. Industries and domestic usage of water should seek to stop using the classical methods of purifying chemically polluted water such as use of iodine and chlorine and instead use green methods.
Old Systems Produce Pollution
Old methods of purifying chemically polluted water result to introduction of other chemicals such as iodine and chlorine, which can result to allergic conditions in human beings. Instead of removing the chemicals fully, other chemicals are used as the purifying agents.
Old Methods Cost Money
Old methods of purifying chemically polluted water are costly in the end. Equipment needed and the reagents to be used are costly as compared to the green methods.
Build Greens System For Water Purification
Solar Water Disinfection
Solar water disinfection is a green method that employs the use of zero emission ultraviolet (UV) water disinfection. Though not yet feasible for large amounts of water, this method has proven to be a sustainable remedy in remote areas that lack other means of disinfecting and purifying water (Mark & Viessman, 2009). Unlike other classical methods of purifying water that are costly and complex, solar disinfection requires small amount of capital outlay to install.
Nanotechnology is defined as the comprehension and control of matter at set dimensions called nanometers where unique phenomena enable novel applications (NNI, 2008).
Purification and filtration of water is by use of nonmaterial (Thomson, 2008). These materials have been used to purify contaminated groundwater and subsurface source areas of contamination at dangerous waste sites. This is figured as a solution to using relatively high cost and often-lengthy operating methods of purifying water. Nanotechnology is an example of an in situ treatment technology.
The problem of water contamination is experienced in almost all water bodies all over the world. Therefore, measures to promote and protect this fundamental resource have to be put in place. Water should be considered a global resource and policies put in place to address pollution. Sanctions should be put in place to regulate the discharge systems. Different organizations should follow the laid down rules and regulations and specify the pollutants that can be tolerated in the water bodies as well as specified amounts (Bryce, 2010).
The relevant water department should give a report on the areas where pollution has been a major problem. This is effected through people coming together in order to solve the problem easily. The government should be involved in making sure the set policies are followed and fines imposed in case of violation. This will see a reduction of chemical spills by a more proactive method, which is eco-friendly and green.
The issue of chemical spill in water bodies is real and requires address through embracing the aforementioned recommendations. Water pollution is an issue that affects not only marine life but also human beings at large. The public needs to learn more information about it so that they can learn to fight it and keep waters clean. Green technology should be used to reduce chemical spills, as they are sustainable and always proactive methods.
Barlow, M. (2008). Blue covenant: The global water crisis and the coming battle for the right water. Melbourne: Black Inc.
Bryce, R. (2010). Power hungry: The myths of “green” energy and the real fuels. New York: Public Affairs.
Clark, R. & Frid, C. (2009). Marine pollution, 5th eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Crittenden, J. (2010). Water treatment: Principles and design. (2nd edn.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mark, J. & Viessman, W. (2009). Water supply and pollution control. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall Publications.
National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). (2008). What is Nanotechnology?
Thomson, E. (2008). MIT develops a ‘paper towel’ for oil spills: Nanowire mesh can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil. MIT news.