Without exception, all living organisms on earth include water as one of the main components of any cell. However, the role of this element is not only in the formation of life but also its maintenance since this seemingly ordinary liquid plays an enormously essential role in the existence of the human and the representatives of flora and fauna. Two hydrogen molecules and an oxygen molecule, which together form a chemical compound of water, serve as a valuable source of cell nutrition. They help to not only strengthen the human body but also to stimulate the growth of plants, participate in the natural processes of air saturation with important components, and provide nourishment for cellular structures.
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This element of life is present on Earth in sufficient quantities, but one of the global problems that humanity has faced is the pollution of water resources. Despite the large reserves, many big and small reservoirs contain harmful products, which is the result of anthropogenic interference. The importance of water conservation on Earth is one of the priorities of the modern world since human health and the entire surrounding world directly depend on the quality of this natural resource and its preservation. As a separate region for analysis, the situation with water conservation in Albania will be considered.
Based on statistical data, it is possible to find out whether pollution is a topical issue in the country and what potential measures are to be taken to improve the current situation. The use of up-to-date information is a valuable source of obtaining the necessary facts for analyzing and conducting appropriate intervention aimed at preserving the country’s water resources.
Relevant Statistics on the Country’s Water Quality
In order to consider the situation with water resources in the country, it is possible to cite the official statistics presented by the European Environment Agency for 2015. As a research object, the state of the bathing waters of Albania was assessed, and since there are many reservoirs in the country, the report is quite extensive. In accordance with the data of the survey conducted in 2015, only 32.1% of all the bathing waters were of sufficiently high quality (European Environment Agency). The acceptable condition was assessed in 50.0% of the waters (European Environment Agency). Finally, 39.7% of Albanian bathing reservoirs were rated as those with poor water quality (European Environment Agency).
As the report shows, the relevance of work in relation to the cleaning of water resources from pollution is essential in the country. Moreover, based on the results of the same study, the indicators deteriorated significantly compared with previous years. In 2013, only 8.2% of the bathing waters were noted as those that had a high level of pollution, and in 2014 – 1.4% (European Environment Agency).
In accordance with these data, it is crucial to emphasize the relevance of intervention aimed at working in relation to the cleaning of Albanian bathing waters. Otherwise, the situation may worsen if insufficient measures are taken. The population and, in particular, industrial organizations are to be aware of the importance of protecting natural resources and value existing wealth. Relevant advocacy should be carried out to alert people about the global pollution of water resources and what the consequences are for future generations. For this purpose, it is required to describe what virtues pure water has for human health.
Health Benefits of Water
Water has a number of indisputable advantages over other liquids that people face every day. They include those products that are usually referred to as food: tea, coffee, juices, and other substances. Certainly, it is not necessary to abandon the use of these beverages completely. However, it is essential to be aware of the virtues of water and its advantages over other liquids. As it is known, the human body, for the most part, consists of water that not only forms tissues. This element is responsible for the dissolution of oxygen and performs the transport function for blood cells. In addition, water directly influences a number of the most important processes in the body. Despite its simple structure, it has many valuable properties.
In the human body, water acts as a binding substance that connects the solid components of all cells. In particular, these are cell membranes that perform the role of barriers. Passing through tissues, water produces energy, which is the driving force of the body. Moreover, the neural processes in the brain are also carried out by this fluid, which makes it even more valuable for the human.
It is impossible to neglect the use of water and to replace it with other liquids constantly. When abandoning it and consuming various hot and cold drinks, there is a risk of dehydration. In the process of evolution, humanity has developed a protective mechanism. It is a thirst that signals the lack of water in the body. While refusing to take it and drinking much tea, coffee, and other drinks, a person loses the natural feeling of thirst, which can lead to dire consequences.
For example, it is doubly dangerous to use natural coffee instead of water since caffeine in this drink leads to dehydration and dulls the feeling of thirst. Moreover, there are other threats that thermally treated fluids carry. Boiled water loses its original structure and turns into a useless liquid. Also, the composition of coffee and tea includes natural stimulants that are addictive, and in the future, it becomes difficult to abandon these drinks.
The value of water for the body can be determined by the following theses:
- The balanced availability of water in the body significantly reduces the risk of diseases of the excretory system, the formation of stones in kidneys and gallbladder, and relieves constipation;
- Water contributes to the absorption of nutrients by the human circulatory system and internal organs;
- The consumption of the required amount of water reduces the likelihood of severe illnesses for people, including the diseases of the heart, kidneys, bladder, and breast and colon cancer;
- Water activates the process of excretion of toxins, slags, and other harmful substances from the human body;
- Water contributes to normal digestion and dulls the feeling of hunger, which allows the human to control his or her body weight;
- A sufficient amount of water in the body improves the brain and circulatory system, reducing the risk of strokes;
- Water is a binder for muscles and joints, which reduces their inflammation and prevents injuries during physical exertion, such as muscle strain.
It is essential to note that only pure water is beneficial to the human body. The use of an unprepared liquid is fraught with serious problems, including dangerous ailments. The installation of filter systems allows protecting water consumption and achieving its purification at home. However, when speaking about large reservoirs, additional security measures should be taken by the authorities to ensure safe processing and supply to people.
Main Sources of Water Pollution
Water pollution is the process that makes the water unsuitable for its further use, and it is one of today’s global problems. There are several main sources of pollution, and household pollution is the most common and well-known. Performing daily needs, for instance, cooking, washing, cleaning, and other procedures require using water. In addition to private use, the resources that are used for social needs should also be taken into account – putting out fires, washing streets, and various communal needs.
All the liquid used turns into domestic wastewater and enters the sewer. In its dissolved form, there is a huge amount of soap, laundry detergents, bleach, and other household chemicals in it. In addition, it also contains various organic and food waste. Also, thawed and rainwater wash away those substances that accelerate the melting of snow and ice, sand, salt, and other harmful compounds from sidewalks and roadways. All the drains often enter remote basins, and afterward, dirty water gets into large reservoirs and, as a result, pollutes them.
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One of the largest sources of water pollution in developed countries is industrial activities. The liquid often acts as a coolant; it can be used for washing various materials and is often utilized as a means of storing certain substances. Most of the wastewater comes from such industries as oil refining, pulp and paper, ferrous metallurgy, and the organic synthesis industry. Moreover, thermal pollution should also be mentioned since it is one of the frequent forms of contamination. When relatively clean water is thrown into rivers and lakes, but its temperature is slightly higher compared to that in a reservoir, it can have quite dangerous consequences for the fish population and may be fraught with the growth of algae and weed plants.
Agriculture is another area that is characterized by high water consumption. In this industry, it is actively used for irrigation, and when draining, it contains soil particles and various chemical compounds (insecticides, inorganic and organic fertilizers, herbicides, and other harmful productions). In addition, a huge amount of organic waste from farms processing agricultural products gets into the water. Therefore, activities in different industries can be hazardous to natural resources, and the additional effects of contamination should be mentioned.
The Impact of Pollution on the Environment
First of all, under the influence of pollution, the amount of oxygen in water decreases. It is due to the active decomposition of organic residues by aerobic bacteria. Those creatures that live in polluted reservoirs die both under the action of harmful substances and due to the lack of oxygen to support life. Also, the aforementioned thermal pollution of water leads to a decrease in oxygen concentration. Due to the saturation of water with certain types of pollution, the process of eutrophication accelerates, which leads to the rapid overgrowing of lakes and ponds and their disappearance.
No less dangerous is infection with pesticides that are used in agriculture to combat insects, weeds, and other pests. They are environmentally unsafe and tend to accumulate in various organisms, circulating within food chains. Their structure is not amenable to chemical or biological decomposition. Another danger is the radiological contamination of water. Chemical isotopes are inherently resistant to transferring various environments and, like pesticides, they able to circulate in food chains. Radiation, as it is known, can destroy the tissues of living organisms, cause genetic mutations, sterility, and even death.
Together with industrial wastewater, hazardous heavy metals enter water reservoirs. They also tend to accumulate, and a person who eats even frozen fish exposed to a poisonous substance may die. All of these factors account for the urgency of finding appropriate abatement measures, and one of them is purification and filtration.
Water Purification and Filtration Methods
Realizing that freshwater pollution threatens human existence, government agencies create requirements for the operation of enterprises and the behavior of people at the national and international levels. This framework is reflected in specific documents regulating the procedures for monitoring water and the operation of cleaning systems. There are different methods of filtration, which are used depending on the type and volume of pollution, as well as the final goals.
Mechanical filtration methods prevent large objects from entering water reservoirs. For this purpose, special gratings and filters are installed on pipes through which the drains flow to delay them. The timely cleaning of pipes is required; otherwise, clogging may cause accidents. Specialized filtration is designed to capture pollutants of one particular type. For instance, there are traps for fats, oil spills, or flocculent particles, which are deposited with the help of coagulants.
Chemical filtration implies that wastewater is reused in a closed cycle. Therefore, knowing the composition of specific waste, it is possible to select those chemicals that are able to return water to its original state. As a rule, it is technical water and is not meant to be drunk. Finally, tertiary cleaning provides an opportunity to use water in everyday life, agriculture, or the food industry, and the quality of such a product is to be impeccable. To do it, water is treated with special compounds or powders that are capable of retaining heavy metals, harmful microorganisms, and other substances in the process of multi-stage filtration.
The Rational Use of Water Resources
The rational use of water resources is currently an urgent problem. It is primarily the protection of water spaces from pollution, and since industrial effluents occupy the first place in terms of the volume and damage they cause, it is essential to solving the problem of their discharge into rivers and lakes. In particular, it is necessary to limit discharges into water reservoirs and improve the technologies of production, purification, and disposal.
Also, a crucial aspect is the collection of fees for the discharge of wastewater and pollutants and the transfer of collected funds for the development of new non-waste facilities. It is necessary to reduce the size payments for the environmental pollution to enterprises with minimal emissions and discharges, which will serve as a priority to maintain a minimum of discharge or its reduction in the future. Apparently, the ways of solving the issue of water pollution in the world lie primarily in the development of an advanced legal framework. Therefore, it is significant to support the system that would protect the environment from harmful anthropogenic impact, as well as to find opportunities to put these laws into practice.
Modern Methods of Control over Water Pollution
Control over water pollution by remote and non-contact methods is carried out using aerial photography. Specific images obtained from space are widely used to study the contamination of the World Ocean, the structure and directions of the sea currents, ice cover, snow melting, and other processes. Determining the ratio of areas covered and not covered with ice is of great interest for flood forecasting. Photographs provide an opportunity to establish floodplains and river deltas filled with water, ancient river beds, and water quality in large reservoirs and streams. The analysis of such images allows characterizing the salinity of coastal zones, water erosion, and the areas of groundwater outflow to the surface.
Those services that perform such procedures provide an opportunity to receive a comprehensive understanding of the Earth’s water resources and select scientific recommendations for their use. This activity is significant since humanity faces the danger of chronic water hunger, and the lack of this valuable resource may be an urgent issue not only in arid regions of the planet but also in other places. Oceans pollution is one of the aspects of the general problem, and the main resources contaminating water include oil, domestic and agricultural wastewater, and radioactive substances.
One of the indicators of water pollution is the change in its temperature. All the measurements are carried out by active radar methods. The temperature of the water surface is fixed by the detector accurately, and modern equipment is utilized to receive the most precise data. On the whole, the activities that are performed today to protect water are large-scale. However, despite the work that is conducted, the issue still exists, and relevant actions need to be taken to protect the global water reserves from pollution.
Work on the Control over Water Pollution in Albania
Despite the disappointing data from recent statistics, the level of water pollution in Albania is not critical in order to abandon any ways of improving the current situation. According to Grazhdani, one of the relevant issues is non-point source pollution (NPS) (82). As the author remarks, in Albania, NPS “has become a major problem in recent years due to more human interactions and disturbances to natural landscapes” (Grazhdani 82).
Nevertheless, recent attempts by the government to control this issue suggest that relevant work is done, and new ways of combating the dangerous pollution of the country’s water sources are sought. The state agencies seek to “understand the relationship between residents’ attitudes and actual behaviors regarding NPS pollution control and community-based watershed management policies” (Grazhdani 82). The desire to improve the current situation is a positive trend, and if the dynamics of work are stable with respect to this issue of environmental protection, significant changes for the better can be achieved.
The assessment of risk factors, current statistics, and possible protective measures are those procedures that allow determining the threat of water pollution water and suggesting the potentially successful ways of solving this problem. The value of water on the planet is significant, and the deterioration of this element’s quality is fraught with problems both for representatives of the flora and fauna and humans. This natural resource is the component of almost all processes occurring in living organisms. The types of pollution may be different, and relevant protection measures are to be taken. The situation in Albania is not critical, but the state should pay attention to the alarming statistics and do everything possible to improve the current indicators of water purity in the country.
European Environment Agency. “Not on Albania’s Bathing Water Quality.” Web.
Graziani, Dorina. “Contingent Valuation of Residents’ Attitudes and Willingness-to-Pay for Non-Point Source Pollution Control: A Case Study in AL-Prespa, Southeastern Albania.” Environmental Management, vol. 56, no. 1, 2015, pp. 81-93.