The Causes and Effects of Water Pollution to Human Health

Hyundai Motorstudio Senayan Park 2022.05.25
The Causes and Effects of Water Pollution to Human Health
As a source of life, the quality of clean water cannot be ignored. Mainly for drinking and daily needs. Clean water is also used in social and economic development.

But unfortunately, according to the United Nations (United Nations) 2.2 billion people do not have proper clean water. Facts:

  • Half of the world's population does not have proper sanitation services.
  • About 2 billion people live in countries with inadequate clean water facilities.
  • Experts predict that by 2025, half of the world's population will live in an environment that lacks clean water.

It's really lucky if you can still drink, bathe, wash clothes, and toilet activities with clean running water. Because, maybe our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, consider clean water as a luxury that is hard to come by.

Source of water pollution

Actually, why is clean water so hard to come by? What causes water pollution? Here are some sources of water pollution:

1. Domestic wastewater

According to the United Nations, domestic water waste, such as toilet water, sinks, showers, water used for washing clothes, is generally directly discharged into waterways without being treated or recycled.

In 2017, the United Nations found that 2 billion people in the world do not have a toilet or latrine. In fact, there are about 673 million people in the world who open defecation in rivers, at sea, or in sewers.

2. Agriculture

Furthermore, the cause of water pollution is agricultural waste. Examples include fertilizers, livestock manure, pesticides, and others, which are carried when it rains into waterways, resulting in water pollution.

3. Plastic waste

It is estimated that around 12.7 million tons of garbage enter the ocean every year. This staggering figure goes through landfills, dropped from boats, food packages, or beach debris that is dragged into the ocean.

4. Oil

Water pollution can also occur due to oil spills from tankers or shiploads. In addition, from factories, farms, and residential areas.

Impact of water pollution on health and the environment

The following are some of the impacts of water pollution that can directly affect health and the environment:

1. Disruption of marine animal ecosystems

In 2016, scientists found that about 77% of the digestive systems of fish in Tokyo Bay were contaminated with microplastics. If someone eats contaminated fish or drinks, it will be very dangerous for health.

Not only that, in various countries, there are also worrying conditions for marine animals that die due to their natural habitat being exposed to oil spills from the shipping industry. For example, in 2010, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the devastating Deep Horizon, 82,000 birds, 6,000 turtles, 25,900 marine mammals and countless fish and invertebrates.

In addition, many animals such as turtles, sharks, whales, or other animals are trapped by plastic waste in the oceans for years.

2. It Causes various diseases

Diseases such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and polio, can infect humans through contamination of drinking water. According to the United Nations, around 297,000 children under five die from diseases related to poor sanitation.

In fact, in 2014, residents in Flint, Michigan, experienced contamination of water containing lead levels from factories. Thus, triggering itching, rash, and hair loss. More than 100,000 people experienced health problems, and 12 people died.

3. Soil fertility decreases

Another impact of water pollution is a decrease in soil fertility. When the soil is contaminated with toxic waste such as chemicals or metals. Thus, the quality of groundwater sources is also contaminated, thereby reducing oxygen levels and soil pH balance.

4. Contaminated drinking water supply

A supply of clean drinking water is critical to supporting healthy and strong future generations. On the other hand, if the water supply is polluted, then everyone is also at risk of drinking polluted water.

We live on the same planet, so we should take care of and protect the earth so that the impact of water pollution can be minimized or even prevented.

5. Disturbance of the food chain

The impact of water pollution can be seen in terms of disruption of the food chain. Water pollution in the Pacific Ocean, for example. There are tiny microplastics, chemicals, heavy metals, and other contaminants that can be digested by microorganisms and irritate their internal organs.

Furthermore, microorganisms will be consumed by larger animals, and so on until the top of the food chain, namely humans.

6. Contaminate agriculture

The balance between water and agriculture will be very important for the environment. If the water is used for irrigation of crops and fodder, it is clean. Thus, the nutritional value of agricultural crops also increases.

On the other hand, if the water used in irrigation agriculture or livestock is contaminated with toxic waste, it also has a bad impact on humans.

7. Economic downturn.

All impacts of water pollution focus on health. However, basically, it can also affect the financial economy. This happened to the Japanese government announcing that they were running out of space to maintain a supply of contaminated water from the Fukushima power plant disaster.

Studies show that the Japanese government may lose at least $660 billion to cope with the water pollution impacts of the Fukushima incident.

How to deal with the impact of water pollution

The best way to prevent the effects of water pollution is to try and reduce the harmful effects. There are various small changes we can make to prevent clean water scarcity, including:

1. Save water

Keep in mind, in other countries, clean water is a luxury. So, if clean water is abundant in your area, then make sure to keep thrifty. Thus, the availability of clean water is maintained for future generations.

2. Waste treatment

Treating waste products before they are discharged into water bodies will greatly reduce water pollution on a large scale. Agriculture, industry, and households must reduce water pollution by recycling wastewater and reducing its toxic levels.

3. Use environmentally friendly products

By using environmentally friendly products that are made from natural ingredients and are not pollutant, we can reduce the amount of water pollution caused by households.

Water pollution is a serious environmental problem caused by various contaminants. Human health is at stake, if the impact of water pollution is not immediately addressed. Therefore, any irresponsible behavior that pollutes the water, then everyone will suffer the consequences.

Let's continue to preserve our environment, so that we can always provide clean, fresh, and healthy water for our children and grandchildren in the future.