Water pollution can cause serious risks to the health of the environment and therefore to humans and animals. The sources of water pollution are varied, and some wastes are more difficult to separate and therefore more polluting and problematic.
Human activity produces a large number of wastes that must be treated appropriately so that they do not pollute water.
Some are easier to separate from water; however, others are often very soluble and cannot be degraded naturally by humans quickly, so they remain in the water for a long time and pollute more.
These polluting wastes are the worst for water and therefore for the environment, people and animals:
Insecticides, Pesticides, and Fertilizers
Very polluting as well as very prolific, given that they are used commercially and inside the home. Pesticides or fertilizers used in agriculture to prevent insects or fungi, for example, from damaging crops are especially dangerous due to surface runoff or filtration through the soil: they contaminate groundwater and, from there, reach other types of freshwater aquatic ecosystems, altering the natural balance of nutrients needed for aquatic vegetation.
Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals
They are emerging pollutants, and their excessive consumption by humans, in constant increase, has caused their appearance in natural waters. On the one hand, their compositive substances reach the water through our excrements, but also from cultivation areas, as they are used for plant diseases, and through excretion by livestock. It is very complex to remove these substances from the water, so they remain in it for a long time.
These are those that come from fecal waste which, for the most part, can be removed from the water using chlorine or ultraviolet light. However, the presence of antibiotics in the water complicates this, as it helps these microorganisms to become more resistant.
Compounds of Organic Origin
This would include substances such as petroleum, gasoline, plastics, solvents, detergents, etc. These compounds have been created by humans and present complex molecular structures so that microorganisms cannot degrade them. The case of plastics is especially worrying, as their high daily production and consumption have caused their massive presence in water, especially in seas and oceans. On the other hand, hydrocarbons can seep into the subsoil contaminating groundwater, making the water even more difficult and costly to clean.
They are not a substance themselves, but the increase in water temperature is a huge threat to all aquatic ecosystems because it prevents oxygen from dissolving in water and causes the death of animals. It also causes physiological and behavioral changes.
Nitrates and Phosphates
These are two water-soluble substances and also the main nutrients of the photosynthetic organisms that inhabit the water. When they appear in excessive form they generate problems of eutrophication or of enrichment of nutrients in the water, causing the primary producers to proliferate. This growth prevents light from passing through the water and the oxygen in the water is depleted. Its elimination implies the use of a very sophisticated and expensive technology.
Undoubtedly one of the worst pollutants, whose origin is due to the presence in the water of radioactive isotopes soluble in it. The sources of radiation can be diverse such as accidents or leaks in nuclear plants, illegal dumping of radioactive waste, or natural contamination.
In conclusion, it’s important to be aware of potential negative externalities from the residues of certain products and substances as it will not only harm the environment but humans and animals as well.