The main causes of water pollution in Africa are: urbanization, deforestation, industrial processes, mining and agriculture. Water pollution can be described as the contamination of water bodies such as oceans, lakes, aquifers and rivers. It occurs when pollutants are discharged into water bodies without removing or treating harmful compounds.
As more people move into towns and cities in Africa, they contribute to a number of factors that lead to water pollution. Urbanization results in congestion in urban areas, which results in inadequate sewage management and treatment. When untreated sewage from these congested urban areas is released to water bodies, it causes water pollution. Chemicals from industries in urban areas also cause water pollution.
Clearing land for urban growth and agriculture leads to water pollution. When soil is left without cover, it becomes prone to soil erosion. The soil is washed away to water bodies when it rains, making the water dirty and unfit for human use.
Many developing countries in Africa are experiencing rapid industrial growth without appropriate waste disposal measures in place. Industries produce waste that alters the pH of water, changes its color and leads to eutrophication, a process in which excess nutrients cause excess growth of plants that in turn creates further pollution.
Many African countries, such as Nigeria and South Africa, have a lot of mining activities going on, which increases the amount of salts and minerals deposited in water bodies and affects water pH.
Most African economies rely on agriculture. Some methods used in farming increase soil erosion and use excess fertilizers and pesticides. When it rains, the loose soil, excess fertilizers and pesticides are washed into bodies of water, causing water pollution.