Polluted rivers have grown to be a great concern to countries around the world. With the bodies of water being contaminated because of human activity, river pollution has caused tragic effects on animals and people. From chemicals to waste and plastic, the water that surrounds the world and gives life to all is being taken over with very little understanding of how to take of the problem seriously. With polluted water being more deadly than war, the coming years will only become more fatal if pollution in the rivers is not taken care of. The problem of water pollution will continue to become more of a concern if there is nothing done by 2050. Without the proper awareness of how to prevent river pollution, future generations stand to be at risk of having clean water become deadly. The solution to the end of water pollution can only come if there is a collaborative plan around the world of how to end it.
Causes of River Pollution
Contaminating a stream, lake, river, or any other body of water, river pollution often occurs when harmful substances, such as chemicals and microorganisms contaminate the body of water. However, there are many causes as to why it is that the bodies of water around the world have become a growing concern from pollution. Some of these causes are:
- Dumping – There have been big problems and health concerns that have come from the dumping of waste and litter into bodies of water around the world. One litter that has grown to be a great danger to animals around the world, is plastic. Glass, aluminum, and styrofoam are just some of the litters that are harmful to plants and animals as well.
- Oil Pollution – Polluted rivers have lost the life of many aquatic animals over the years, because of the spilling of oil in the bodies of water. Forming a thick sludge, oil from tankers and ships does not dissolve.
- Global Warming – When the temperatures warm up in the water, aquatic animals sometimes die off and coral reefs are even bleached. This change in life in the water can change the water source for all plants and animals.
- Acid Rain – Air pollution creates acid rain when water is polluted. This is a danger not only to the aquatic plants and animals but to people as well.
- Industrial Waste – Asbestos, lead, and mercury are just some of the pollutants that are discharged into lakes and rivers by big corporations. These pollutants are very dangerous to people and the surrounding environments.
- Sediments – The flow of sediments can be disrupted when water dams are built to be water reservoirs. The decrease of formation of beaches and nutrients are reduced, while the coastal erosion is increased because of the disruption of sediments.
- Increased Sediments – The increase of sediments can bring just as many problems as having a decrease in sediments. Soil, rocks, and construction can get into rivers, making the increase of sediments hard for the fish to live in. The increase of sediments can block the gills of the fish and suffocate them.
Effects of River Pollution
Along with the some of the effects of river pollution being a great danger to plant and aquatic life, there are many other effects that come from river pollution, making it hard for any other life around it to live and survive. Some of these effects include:
- Diseases – Polluted water causes disease and outbreaks all of the time with humans. Hepatitis poisons the fish and cholera is spread throughout many countries because of the water being polluted.
- Dying Ecosystems – Ecosystems depend on water sources to survive and reproduce. With polluted water, many ecosystems die. The polluting of the water sources are affecting humans in the worst ways because of the dying ecosystems. For many species, if there is not a solution to the pollution of water, then they may face extinction. This would not only bring a change to the habitats, but to food chains around the world.
- Disrupted Food Chains – The food of chain of all living things are affected around the world when water is polluted. Tiny animals that eat food that is contaminated by water pollution soon become food for bigger animals and humans. This causes many health risks for those who eat smaller animals with the food chain being contaminated with polluted water if the problem is not solved.
- Eutrophication – Algae is formed from river pollution on the top of ponds and lakes. This algae causes bacteria to eat it and also affects the life of the aquatic plants and animals that live around it. Oxygen is decreased from algae being in the water, which makes it hard for plants and animals to survive. Climate change, wastewater runoff, and poor farming practices increase the chance of algae taking over rivers and lakes.
- Contamination – The contamination of groundwater, causes damage in the wildlife ecosystems. The pesticides in the water make it hard for wildlife to be healthy. Contamination of water not only damages plants and animals but people who live around those water sources as well.
- Flooding – Soil erosion and the accumulation of waste has been known to cause flooding due to water pollution. This affects the life of plants, animals, and people greatly. Flooding makes it hard for people to rebuild and protect the plants and animals as well.
- Suffocation – 6-pack plastic rings have become a danger to many aquatic animals over the years. Once they get caught around the necks of these animals, they can suffocate and die.
Solutions for River Pollution
Even though the passing years have seen the destruction of aquatic life become even more endangered with the pollution of water, there are ways to solve the problem of river pollution. It may take people becoming more aware and doing more work, but with dedication, the problem can be solved. Some of the solutions to help get rid of river pollution includes:
- Proper Disposal – Factories and construction sites that create a large amount of pollution should make sure that their waste is being disposed of properly. Waste disposal should also be of high consideration with other large buildings and chemical plants.
- Renewable Energy Sources – Companies that do have high waste disposal, can start using renewable energy sources. This eco-friendly way of not polluting the rivers and the atmosphere is a good way to keep all life healthy and safe.
- Disposal of Motor Oil or Automotive Fluids – If motor oil or any other automotive fluid is being used on a car, it is best to not pour them down any sanitary sewer or any storm systems. These are a danger to aquatic life because once these chemicals are poured down these systems, they go straight to the river.
- Clean Up Litter – Picking up litter that is scattered near a river or lake cuts down on litter being blown into the water. This also cuts down aquatic plants and animals being in danger. Cleaning up litter around rivers and lakes also motivates others to help with keeping a natural and beautiful area clean. Keeping a clean environment for all aquatic plants and animals gives future generations hope of how to care for the plants and animals that live in the aquatic world.
- Ashes in River – While dumping the ashes of a deceased person in the river is a religious belief for many, it is dangerous to plants and animals that live in or near the river. The water quality also affects those who drink or bathe from the water source being used to immerse cremated ashes in the water. Stopping this practice is better for the aquatic life and their environment because the natural resources of everything in its environment are more protected.
- Faunas and Trees – Living near a river or lake has its benefits if trees or faunas can be planted near them. These natural sources help with protecting the rivers and lakes from pollution. Faunas also limit carbon dioxide in water.
- Medicine Disposal – Flushing pharmaceutical medicine down the toilet is very dangerous to all life. A lot of medicine can dissolve in water or can be taken in by the aquatic animals that live in the water, making it dangerous for these animals. People can also be in danger of medicine being in water resources.
River pollution may not be something that many think about when cleaning up the planet, but it is something that is vital to life. Making sure that the rivers and lakes are clean is something that will help future generations and even save many animals from coming close to extinction. Creating a plan to be better at stopping river pollution is just the beginning. Being someone who encourages not polluting natural water sources helps with saving aquatic life. Whatever plan that is chosen, preserving the natural beauty of the aquatic world should be a priority when cleaning the rivers and lakes.