Q:

What is water pollution?

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Quick Answer

Water pollution occurs when water is contaminated with chemicals and foreign substances that are harmful to humans, plants and animals. Water pollutants include chemical contamination from waste sites, chemical wastes from industrial discharges, heavy metals such as mercury and lead, sewage waste, food processing waste, fertilizers and pesticides.

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Full Answer

Water pollution is a serious ecological threat. Drinking contaminated water is hazardous to human and animal health. When toxic substances dissolve in bodies of water, such as oceans, rivers and lakes, the water becomes polluted. Pollutants tend to lie suspended in the water or deposited on the bed. They degrade the quality of water over time. This results in disastrous effects to aquatic ecosystems. Pollutants even contaminate the groundwater, which poses a serious threat to households that use the contaminated water.

Pollutants are classified into different types, including organic, inorganic and radioactive. Human activities are the main causes of pollution. The major sources of water pollution are industrial waste discharge and city sewage. These are disease-causing agents that carry bacteria, viruses and parasitic worms. Some pollutants are oxygen-demanding wastes that deplete oxygen and cause organisms in the water to die. There are also contaminants that mix with the water supply from soils and groundwater systems that contain agricultural residues and industrial wastes that are disposed of improperly. Contaminants from the atmosphere also enter groundwater systems through rainfall.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the effects of industrial pollution?

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    Industrial pollution can negatively affect public health by distributing harmful chemicals into water, the air and the soil. The quality of the environment is also at risk, as industrial pollution can impact climate change, hinder the growth of natural plants and grasses, cause the loss of species and aid in the erosion of buildings.

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  • Q:

    Why is air pollution a problem?

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    Air pollution is a problem because it can cause damage to animals, trees, plants, crops and water sources in the environment. Pollution in the air causes problems for aviation because it reduces visibility, while also being responsible for damaging buildings and other structures. Pollutants in the air can end up in natural water supplies that humans use for drinking, which can result in water that is toxic and unhealthy for humans to consume.

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  • Q:

    What are some solutions to air pollution?

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    Air pollution can be reduced both inside and outside the home by avoiding the use of chemicals or not allowing a car to idle. Air pollution is caused by the deposits of harmful gases into the atmosphere that include carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, sulfur and chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs.

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  • Q:

    What are some causes of soil pollution?

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    Soil pollution is caused by a variety of anthropogenic activities, but mining activities, chemical spills and improper disposal of toxic chemicals are the most common causes. Some contaminants, including salts, metals and alcohols, are present in the soil naturally. However, if these chemicals build up to toxic levels, they may become a natural form of soil pollution.

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