Are you afraid of water pollution?
Have you heard a lot of very bad news lately about water pollution getting worse around the world?
Do you find yourself thinking often of people in your country and others who suffer from water pollution problems every day?
Would you like to learn how to save water from pollution?
If you think about this problem often, you might be wondering how to overcome water pollution problems. You might be concerned with cleaning up water pollution in your own home or neighborhood, and you might wish you could find a way to help out around the world and improve the quality of water for your fellow human beings.
So how can water pollution be reduced, improved, or stopped altogether? In this article, you’ll find out answers to all these questions and more. You’ll learn about the general idea of water pollution and where it comes from, and you’ll be taken through six how-to steps that can help you clean up the water in your neighborhood. You’ll even find out what can be done on a larger scale to improve water quality everywhere.
If you’ve been waiting for a good time to start learning about water pollution, you’re in the right place. Below, you can find out how to solve the problem of water pollution no matter where you live. You’ll learn how water pollution can be reduced and methods for better water health you can implement right away. In no time, you’ll be so well-versed in good water practices you’ll be ready to educate all your friends and family about them too.
Read on to learn more.
You probably already know that the term “water pollution” refers to water that’s dirty or full of things that shouldn’t be there. However, there’s a lot more to it than that, and fully understanding what water pollution is can make a big difference in learning more about it.
To begin with, water pollution does involve a given substance finding its way into water that isn’t ordinarily a part of that water. However, when this happens, these substances aren’t always pollutants. If the substances present in water aren’t dangerous or toxic to human beings, then they aren’t often labeled as pollutants. They are simply called contaminants in this situation.
Water pollution can cause a lot of problems other than just detriments to human health. When water is seriously polluted in a certain area, the soil, plants, animals, fish, and even insects suffer. Fish that live in a polluted water source die off quickly, which in turn causes widespread death in animals that eat those fish for survival. Of course, this can also affect humans who rely on those fish as well.
Now that you know what water pollution is and how to recognize it, you can find out more about what causes it in the first place. Understanding the causes of water pollution can help you better recognize them when you see them in your city, county, or neighborhood, and you’ll be better able to take a stand against them too. So how does water pollution occur? Below are four of the most common ways.
Runoff is a huge contributor to water pollution around the world. Anywhere toxic substances are present, runoff has the potential to cause problems. For example, if a construction site uses toxic chemicals or heavy metals and doesn’t take proper precautions, rain that falls on that site will wash these substances away from the area and into the soil or surface water nearby.
While runoff is one cause of groundwater pollution, there are many others. When groundwater is polluted, that pollution is carried through the water table below the Earth’s surface and eventually makes its way to surface water sources.
This is the type of water pollution people are most familiar with. This type of pollution is caused by objects that are left on the banks of rivers and lakes, wastewater that’s dumped into rivers from factories and power plants, and a host of other types of contamination that get out of hand fast.
Although this article focuses mostly on problems with freshwater pollution, remember that marine water isn’t safe from pollution either. When oil spills take place in the ocean, it may take years for those to be completely cleaned up. Sometimes, they are never cleaned, and they continue to cause widespread damage forever.
In this section, you’ll find out some of the most common sources of water pollution. There are three different categories of water pollution, and each source falls into one of them.
Below, you’ll find plenty of how-to tips to help you make the most of the water in your neighborhood and beyond. Remember that, while not all of these tips may apply to every area—and some may not apply to the place where you live—many of them are nearly universal in their practicality. Pick your favorite tips to put into practice right away, and choose a few to work toward in the future too!
1. If you want to learn how to protect water from pollution and improve the quality of water around your home, don’t flush or wash garbage down the toilet or sink. Washing or flushing garbage is a sure way to cause a blockage or leak in your water line that will eventually seep into the groundwater around your home. Garbage washed down drains can lead to bacterial buildup and may spread illness.
2. Add trenches around hard surfaces in your yard to improve runoff and keep it from traveling too far. Runoff carries sediment, dirt, and chemicals from driveways and other paved surfaces and allows it to enter the groundwater surrounding your home every time it rains. However, if you have a lot of trenches or plant lots of plants around your yard, these can help catch this runoff and keep it from getting too contaminated before it finds its way through the soil.
3. Don’t leave pet waste in your yard (or in anyone else’s). Aside from being simply inconsiderate due to the smell, leaving pet waste in your yard for a long time causes a lot of bacteria to build up on the decomposing waste. That bacteria is then much closer to seeping into groundwater in your yard or in your neighbor’s yard, and doing this often can cause pollution in the groundwater surrounding your home.
4. Don’t wash or work on your car at home. Doing so can cause oil spills in your own yard and may lead to a lot of chemicals used for cleaning and repairs to build up in the groundwater in your yard. In residential neighborhoods where many people work on and wash their cars in their yards or driveways, groundwater is much more heavily polluted than in places where they don’t do this.
5. Recycle harsh materials like batteries and paint. These types of products are some of the top contributors to water pollution runoff from landfills. They shouldn’t be thrown in landfills at all but should be recycled at dedicated facilities. Unfortunately, most people don’t know this or simply don’t do it, and these products are left to leak and ooze into groundwater surrounding landfills all over the country.
6. Keep a fat jar under the sink instead of pouring cooking oils down the drain. When you dispose of oils down the drain, you encourage bacteria to build up in your water supply. Fill up the fat jar and simply throw it out with your solid wastes when you’re finished with it.
7. Make the switch to water-saving t oil ets in your home. Many old toilets use way too much water, and you can help conserve clean drinking water for the whole neighborhood by using low-flush ones instead.
8. Don’t use a garbage disposal. It might be tempting to just throw your solid food waste down the drain, but the disposal doesn’t make a difference when it comes to bacteria buildup. Try starting a compost pile instead.
9. Don’t run the dish washe r or washing machine until you have a full load. This can help conserve water and may even make your appliances run better, too.
10. Pitch in and help plant bushes and other plants along the banks of fresh water sources in your area. This can help reduce erosion and improve the health of the water. The less the soil erodes, the fewer chances there are for water to be polluted from sediments.
11. Don’t forget: recycle! You probably already know recycling is good for the environment, but did you know it can help improve water too? When you recycle, you keep plastics and other chemical materials out of landfills. This cuts back on chemical pollution in groundwater surrounding those landfills.
12. So how can we avoid water pollution altogether? One tip to always keep in mind is to avoid drinking water from a natural source without filtration. If you’re hiking or camping in the woods, for example, you should always bring along a personal water filter to clean up your water before you drink it. At the very least, try to boil it first.
13. Do you know how to avoid water pollution at the ocean too? Don’t go to a beach that’s closed or flying red flags. Beaches are always closed for a reason, and most of the time, it’s because there’s red tide or another type of water pollution in the area. Avoid closed beaches to keep from getting sick from this type of pollution.
14. If you have a boil water advisory in your neighborhood, listen to it. Once again, these are usually in place for a good reason, and boiling your water may keep you from getting sick from bacteria or chemicals that might be present in the water.
15. Test the water in your home often. Nothing makes it easier to avoid water pollution at home than testing your water on a regular basis. Test your water at least once a year, or up to twice a year. You can send water samples off to labs across the country for detailed quality testing.
16. Don’t use hot water unless you absolutely have to. Hot water is more likely to contain lead than cold water is, so avoid using it for cooking and washing clothes. Wash your hair in cold water, and don’t use very hot water for washing your skin either.
17. If you’ll be traveling out of the country, especially to developing countries or those with known water pollution problems, do some research ahead of time to find out what the locals do to combat their water issues. If nothing is done, find out what other tourists do to find fresh drinking water while in the area.
18. If you have a swimming pool at home, take care with your treatment of the water. While it’s important to treat your pool water to keep it free from bacteria and its own pollutants, be careful with harsh chemicals like chlorine. Store them properly and never dispose of them by dumping them in the yard.
19. If you’ll be kayaking or otherwise interacting with water in natural places, such as in the mountains, look for information about possible water pollutants in the areas where you’ll be traveling. The National Parks Service usually offers plenty of up-to-date information about water pollution in their parks. State parks may not always have this information listed online, but should be able to help if you give them a call.
20. If you’ll be visiting a water park or a theme park with a lot of water-based rides, do a little research ahead of time there as well. Some water parks have been known to have parasites and bacteria in their water. If this has been a recurring problem at the park you’re considering visiting, you might want to make other plans.
1. Start by looking for visual signs. Many of the visual signs of water pollution have to do with the color of the water. If it turns red or yellow, for example, it may be polluted with high numbers of heavy metals like copper or it may even contain iodine in some rare instances.
2. If everything looks okay, check the smell of the water. Water that has a strange smell may be polluted. If it smells like decaying material or has a strange mushroom sort of smell, there might be a lot of bacteria in your water supply. If you smell gas in your water, there may well be gas polluting it, and you need to get in touch with your water company right away.
3. Taste the water if all else fails. If the water doesn’t taste right, there may be a pollutant present. Water that tastes old or musty may be polluted with bacteria, and water that tastes metallic may be polluted with high numbers of heavy metals.
4. Remember that the feeling of the water may be a sign of pollution too. Sometimes, the water feels gritty and harsh when you run it over your skin or even when you drink it. In these cases, it’s probably polluted with some type of sediment, and it may need to be properly filtered before you can use it again.
5. Find out if water pollution issues are going on in areas surrounding yours. Sometimes the best way to detect water pollution in your area is to keep your eyes and ears open for problems in the neighborhood. If you notice your neighbors complaining of dirty or colored water, or if you hear about spills or dumping that might be taking place in the area, don’t be afraid to have your water tested.
6. If you’re afraid you’ve been in contact with polluted water, there are a few symptoms you can be on the lookout for to help you detect any potential problems. For example, if you have a badly upset stomach, you might have ingested contaminated or polluted water. Learn more about water borne disease symptoms HERE.
7. Skin rashes may also be a sign of contact with polluted water. If you wash or go swimming in water polluted with certain types of chemicals or even organic substances, they might cause your skin to have a reaction.
8. In much more serious circumstances, people who have been drinking severely polluted water for years may come down with various types of cancer. This won’t happen overnight, but if you or someone you love has cancer and you fear it could be from polluted water, it’s worth looking into that possibility.
9. Water that is polluted with high nitrate levels can cause blue baby syndrome. This causes baby to turn blue and may be very fatal if not treated properly. This can be a very grim sign of exposure to polluted drinking water.
10. Certain types of pollutants might also cause respiratory problems. Especially if you’ve visited a developing country or have otherwise been drinking untreated water and soon develop trouble breathing, seek medical attention, as you may be suffering from an illness brought on by the water.
1. So how can we reduce water pollution instead of just avoiding it? Start by staying away from harsh cleaning chemicals and those that contain antibacterial pesticides. When these are washed down your drains, they eventually end up at water treatment facilities or leaking through pipes into groundwater.
2. Always turn off the water when you aren’t using it. A lack of water often leads to many types of pollution, so turn off the water to conserve it whenever possible. For example, after wetting your toothbrush, turn off the water until you’re ready to rinse and spit. This can save a lot of water over time!
3. Don’t flush medication or wash it down the drain, and don’t run it through the garbage disposal. This can cause the same problem that washing garbage down the drain can: seriously polluted groundwater in your own yard and surface water in your area. Many cities offer specified locations where medication (and even sometimes illegal drugs) can be disposed of correctly with no questions asked.
4. Don’t use fertilizer or pesticide in your yard, and reconsider buying from local farmers who use these products. Always try to support local farmers who use natural pesticides instead of relying on chemical treatments. These sustainable practices are much safer for groundwater.
5. For yet another great idea on how to reduce water pollution, just get out there and start talking to others! The more you spread the word about water pollution, the better off your neighborhood will be. Your friends and family will be more inclined to remember your words and cut back on using harsh products in their homes, and they’ll remember to turn off the water when they aren’t using it too.
6. If you’re wondering how to fix water pollution, you can start by finding a local community cleanup project in your area. Most neighborhoods have cleanup projects, but if yours doesn’t, it’s easy to organize them on your own. Get in touch with nonprofit organizations to find out more.
7. Aeration basically means introducing air to water and allowing natural processes to occur. This is a proven very effective way to remove gas pollutants and vapors from the water. The most common type of aeration is performed by a waterfall aerator, which breaks up polluted water into small droplets that allow gasses to escape. The other type of aeration is diffusion, which means water is forced against more water flowing in the opposite direction.
8. Filtration is used by most water treatment plants to reduce the number of pollutants in water sources. Filtration works for many different types of pollutants, but it doesn’t work for all of them. Sometimes, when pollutants reach high levels, these facilities simply can’t do anything about it anymore.
9. Home filtration is a good option for dealing with less devastating but still troubling water pollution problems. Set up a home water filter to reduce heavy metals, organic pollutants, and even some types of gas that might find their way into your water. These filtration systems can also keep bacteria and parasites from reaching your drinking water.
10. So how can we save water from pollution around the world? If you’re not able to volunteer with clean water organizations that focus on other countries, consider donating money, supplies, or even your talents in areas like web design or advertising to some of these groups.
11. But how can we solve water pollution anyway? The first step is education. The more people know about water pollution and its causes and effects, the more likely they’ll be to practice safer water habits. We can all work together to improve the quality of water around the world by educating others about pollution.
12. Recycling wastewater can help you figure out how to solve water pollution problems too. Wastewater can easily be recycled in most instances, and instead of just dumping it into freshwater sources, it can be repurposed for other industrial uses, even if it can’t be used for drinking.
13. Working toward better, more efficient irrigation is an important next step around the world. Irrigation uses up a lot of fresh water every year, but if it can take place in a more efficient manner, this water may be more available for clean drinking water purposes instead.
14. Improving the infrastructure that helps move water from place to place may, in turn, make the quality of water better in the long run. In some places, water pipes are so heavily contaminated with lead and other heavy metals that they pollute water as it travels from treatment facilities to individual homes and businesses. In other places, sewage and septic pipes leak so badly they allow human waste to pollute groundwater and spread diseases and parasites.
15. Utilizing rainwater may be a good step to take toward better and more plentiful water around the world. Using rainwater to water plants and even for industrial purposes can allow freshwater sources to be more readily available for drinking.
16. Helping to provide clean drinking water to developing countries can improve health around the world. Polluted water is one of the leading causes of widespread diseases in developing countries.
17. Pushing for cleaner and more environmentally-friendly practices in factories and power plants may make a huge difference in the future. Only in recent years have some of these industrial sites begun working toward safer, cleaner water practices.
18. Encouraging local farmers to use natural forms of pesticides and fertilizers instead of relying on chemicals can change things for the better very quickly. Pesticides are the leading cause of water pollution in the United States and in many other countries, too. By moving toward safer methods of pest control in agriculture, we can cut down on water pollution immensely across the country.
19. Enforcing stricter regulations about wastewater and dumping may help improve the quality of groundwater. While there are plenty of regulations in place already, they aren’t very heavily enforced. With stricter enforcements in place, factories would be forced to clean up and improve their operations.
20. Working toward cleaner sources of fuel may help clean up water sources in the long run. Although clean fuel sources may be a controversial subject, it’s true that they would be safer for water overall. If oil and gasoline spill during transportation or storage, they can be next to impossible to completely clean up from the environment.
Have you learned a lot about water pollution? Now that you’ve worked through this article, you should have a much better understanding of what constitutes water pollution and the many ways in which it might present itself. You should be more informed about the types of water pollution you might encounter in your neighborhood as well as the types that affect people around the world.
Best of all, you’ve also been introduced to several how-to tips that can help you improve the quality of water wherever you are. You’ve found out how we can reduce water pollution by working together, how to cut back on the effects of pollution, and how to clean up water that’s been seriously polluted already. You even know how to figure out if water is polluted in the first place and how to avoid exposure to water that might be polluted.
All in all, you should be more than ready to start fighting back against the problem of water pollution. Whichever way you choose to get involved, there’s something you can do to help fix water quality. You can pitch in with efforts around the world by donating time, money, or supplies to nonprofit organizations that work to provide clean drinking water to developing countries. You can also clean up closer to home by joining in efforts to improve rivers and wetlands in your area. Barring that, you can even help by cutting back on the number of harsh chemicals you use around the house and making sure to recycle whenever possible.
The more you do to help improve water quality, the better off the environment will be. Get started today and you’ll see yourself making a difference in no time!