Water Pollution in the United States (Can We Do Something About This?)

water pollutionWe humans are polluting our planet every day. Seldom do we realize that our actions are ruining the natural fabric of this planet. Soon enough, the natural ecological conditions will be affected beyond a point of return. After that, the climate, as well as the environmental balance of the planet, will be impacted. We need to do something about the pollution which we are causing on this planet.

Many people think that when we are speaking about pollution, we’re just talking about air pollution. There are many different types of environmental pollution which are being caused by humans. One such pollution type is water pollution.

What is water pollution?

We are consistently releasing chemicals as well as other harmful materials into our rivers and streams. The release of these toxic substances into the rivers, streams as well as oceans is causing water pollution. The problem is, it is not just harmful to humans if water bodies turn toxic, but also to marine life and other animals.

Almost all the living beings rely on water bodies to quench their thirst. As a result, when the water bodies turn toxic, the water is not safe for consumption. While we humans can treat it to a certain extent, but the animals and marine life cannot. For the marine life, water is their natural habitat. When toxins and chemicals amalgamate with the water, the oxygen levels can deplete. In such a case, marine life cannot survive. Thus, water pollution has far-reaching effects. The effects are not just limited to humans.


Causes include:

♦  Releasing untreated water in water bodies

♦  Disposing of waste in the water bodies

♦  Releasing inorganic material in water bodies

♦  Releasing contaminated water in water bodies

♦  Releasing oil contents in water bodies

Eliminate these causes to prevent pollution of water bodies. Even if you’re able to only minimize some of these pollution causes it makes an enormous difference.


There are different categories of this pollution. We will highlight these categories below.


The pollution of groundwater can take place due to the seeping of unclean water into the ground table. When the groundwater table is affected, the water for irrigation and agriculture gets impacted. In most of the cases, rural areas draw water from the groundwater table. Thus, if it gets polluted, it will be very difficult for people living in rural areas to gain access to clean water.

Moreover, the extensive use of insecticides and pesticides also impacts the groundwater table. The water containing these pesticides and fertilizers finally percolates into the groundwater table. Thus, the water in the groundwater table turns toxic.

Surface water

Surface water refers to the water bodies which are easily accessible. These include lakes, rivers, streams as well as oceans. Whenever we release any untreated water or dispose of the garbage in water bodies including rivers, it eventually reaches our oceans. The entire marine ecosystem gets impacted due to the pollution of the surface waters. The leading cause of this pollution is the release of untreated water by industries and factories into the rivers and streams.

This percentage of toxins in such water are pretty high. It is not fit for human consumption. It can not even nurture marine life. Thus, multiple ecosystems are severely affected when surface water gets polluted.

Ocean water

Oceans cover 80% of the Earth. The problem is that the rivers, streams and other flowing water bodies often reach the beaches. If the water channels get polluted, the pollution eventually reaches the oceans.

Plastic is one of the main problems of our marine life and our oceans. We dispose off plastic directly by throwing it into the rivers and the streams. Plastic is not disposable. As a result, it reaches our oceans. The presence of plastic not only disturbs the delicate ecological balance of our oceans but also poses a danger to marine life.

Point source pollution

Point source pollution happens due to illegal activities as well as accidental oil and chemical spills. The reason why it is known as the point source is that it originates at that single point. The best thing about point source pollution is that we can tackle it. However, it is important for the governments and authorities have firm rules and regulations to control point source pollution.

Nonpoint source pollution

NonPoint source pollution does not originate from a single source. It can be percolation of the agricultural water consisting of fertilizers and pesticides. It is challenging to find the exact cause of the nonpoint source of pollution.

Transboundary pollution

Transboundary pollution is a political as well as a geological issue. When one country pollutes a river or a stream flowing from it to another country the water contamination takes place. It can be due to a disaster or due to the industries in the country draining off industrial waste or chemicals into the rivers or streams.

Thus, pollution of water bodies and oceans does not comprise a single category. These additional categories cover various types of pollution.


Water  contamination can result from a wide variety of causes.

Agricultural pollution

As we stated above, the water used in the fields and farms percolates along with the traces of pesticides and fertilizers into the groundwater table. The water eventually reaches the oceans through the rivers and streams. Thus, agriculture is one of the primary causes of pollution of water.

Sewage water

Many industries, as well as residential premises, directly release untreated water into the rivers. The rivers amalgamate with the oceans eventually. As a result, the sewage and the wastewater reach the beaches. The sewage water consists of debris, chemicals as well as other pollutants.

Oil pollution

Every once in a while, there is an oil spill due to a damaged tanker or damaged pipeline. Oil cannot dissolve in water. As a result, it will pollute the water for a long time. Oil spills also wreak havoc on marine life. Most of the marine life in the area of the oil spill is not able to survive.

Radioactive pollution

In the past few decades, radioactive contamination has become a reality rather than just a myth. With radioactive testing gaining more and more speed, radioactive pollution of water is becoming a reality. The problem is that there is no way to treat radioactive contamination of water rather than to avoid it altogether.

Causes of pollution of water are numerous as shown above.


The effects of polluted water are pretty drastic and not just limited to human life. We highlight some of these effects below.

Effects on human health

In 2015 there were 1.8 million recorded deaths due to water pollution. Most low-income countries and communities are not able to gain access to purified water. As a result they drink contaminated water which is directly or indirectly responsible for such deaths.

Effect on the environment

The effect is much more disastrous on the environment including plants and animals. In polluted water, fungi and bacteria are often present. The presence of such extra living organisms in the water causes an imbalance in the aquatic environment. The proliferation of algae and bacteria reduces the oxygen levels in the water. As a result, the natural marine ecosystem is not able to survive.

Thus, pollution of water has far-reaching effects on every type of life on planet Earth.

How can it be prevented?  We highlight some of these ways below.

Prevent pollution of water with your actions

Actions include:

♦  Reduce plastic consumption.
♦  Stop releasing untreated water into the sea.
♦  Stop releasing liquids consisting of oil, grease, and other chemicals into the sewage system.
♦  Avoid use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn.

Reduce pollution of water through increased awareness

You can also work towards reducing water contamination by making others aware of the disastrous impact of same. Various NGOs and organizations are working towards increasing awareness. You can contribute and volunteer through these organizations to do your bit for our planet.

It is high time that we start recognizing the dangers of polluted water. We can easily prevent this problem from growing out of hand by following some of the steps we have highlighted.

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