Q:

How is water polluted?

A:

Quick Answer

Water pollution can occur directly, when contaminated runoff enters lakes and streams, and through atmospheric pollution that results in acid rain. Water that has been polluted may be unsafe for human use or consumption and may damage entire ecosystems.

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Full Answer

Agricultural and industrial operations often produce hazardous chemicals that may enter into the water cycle through runoff. Fertilizers, pesticides and even antibiotics used on livestock all have the potential to pollute groundwater, lakes and streams and even ocean water in coastal areas. Other industrial sources of water pollution include oil spills and other accidents resulting in chemicals being directly introduced into a body of water.

Water pollution may affect bacteria levels, resulting in an environment that is unable to sustain life. Fertilizers used in agriculture have been responsible for the creation of hundreds of aquatic dead zones in coastal areas. Plastics and other non-biodegradable materials are also introduced to rivers, streams and oceans through non-point pollution. Phenomena such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are also a result of water pollution. The garbage patch, sometimes called the Pacific Trash Vortex, is the result of litter, debris and other materials that have been introduced to the ocean, where they have formed a vast collection of debris.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What can people do to stop water pollution?

    A:

    People can stop water pollution by throwing litter into proper trash bins, helping clean up garbage in rivers and lakes and on beaches, not throwing litter down the drain and using eco-friendly cleaning liquids. Moreover, it helps to use water wisely to avoid water shortages and reduce the amount of contaminated water that requires treatment. It is also important to dispose of toxic household chemicals properly.

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  • Q:

    How does air pollution affect the environment?

    A:

    Air pollution affects the environment by causing acid rain, reducing visibility, damaging plants and animals, and contributing to climate change. It has a negative effect on biodiversity and the survival of species. Air pollution is caused by both particulate and gaseous pollutants.

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  • Q:

    Why is pollution a problem?

    A:

    Pollution is a problem because it damages crops, soil, plants and trees, interferes with air travel, gets into the world's lakes, rivers and streams and is harmful to animals and people. Air pollution makes breathing difficult and is the leading cause of acid rain, which damages many things on the planet's surface.

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  • Q:

    What does acid rain do to the environment?

    A:

    Acid rain causes a number of ecological effects, including the acidification of lakes, streams, wetlands and other aquatic landscapes. Acid rain also accelerates the decay of buildings, destroys trees at high elevations and damages forest soils.

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