Is The Water We Drink Really Safe?

Brad Hull

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The amount of safe clean drinking water that we are able to obtain is limited, and polluting the water sources and wasting water has decreased the amount of safe drinking water. Only 2.5 percent of water in the world is freshwater in the world and two thirds of that is still glaciers, snow, and permafrost. The other 97.5 percent is land and ocean water. Other nations in Asia and Africa don’t have the access to safe clean water or any water like we do here in the United States. The world needs to put forth stronger efforts to try and stop water pollution in many regions so that the water supply does not disappear.

An article posted on the Gale Cengage database says that there are two types of pollution, point and nonpoint. “Point pollution is a harmful substance that is directly emitted into the water source and nonpoint pollution is a human caused environmental change or development that indirectly contributes to water pollution.” An example of point pollution is an oil rig that ruptures and spills into the freshwater system on accident, and a nonpoint pollution is anything that the rain picks up from the farms, streets and highways and washes it into the waterways such as gas, oil, garbage and other harmful waste. The Clean Water Act, or the CWA for short, has stopped most of the pollution from the factories that would dump the waste into the fresh water streams or rivers. The CWA created laws to stop untreated sewage from being dumped into the fresh water supply and it also stopped factories from dumping the waste that they create into the water. Farms also have a substantial impact on the water pollution as well. As stated in an article on the  Gale database, “Fertilizers that are used on farms are carried by rain from the field to streams and into lakes.”

Pollution in the water is also caused by sewage and household “garbage” or pollution. Gale says that “Water pollution can be caused by untreated sewage and human waste.” “In developed nations, almost 100 percent of the population has access to improved or treated water and sanitation facilities” Gale says. However, every day there are about two million tons of sewage being dumped into fresh water throughout the world. The US government has been trying to stop water pollution with regulations and enforcement. In the twentieth century, concerns about water pollution have led to changes in the policies of waste and industrial runoffs. “US government agencies have been tasked with monitoring and addressing the issues to major factories and sewage plants, to try and get them to stop dumping unwanted sewage and factory wastes into the fresh water systems” (Gale).

The decrease of freshwater caused by pollution can also be caused by global warming. Global warming is another issue that is caused by pollution entering the stratosphere and destroying it, causing the temperature to increase. Due to the raising temperature, deserts are becoming bigger and the glaciers are melting and the fresh water that glaciers have is running into the oceans.

Many undeveloped countries around the world would die to have the availability to water and sanitation facilities that developed countries have. According to the team at DoSomething.org,  “884 million people in the world lack access to safe water supplies.” More than 840,000 people die each year from a water-related disease. The most common death from untreated  sanitized water is diarrhea. “The women in developing countries spend several hours a day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources,” states the team at DoSomething.org. More than eighty percent of sewage that is dumped in developing countries  is untreated and goes into their clean water (ESchooltoday).

Many people would argue the fact that the factories need a place to dump the waste that they produce. But that just means that they are getting rid of our clean water sources. Another counterclaim that people will use is about the fertilizers that farmers use on their fields. They might say something along the lines of farms need to use fertilizers to grow their crops. But there are other safe alternatives such as starting an aquaponics system. An aquaponics system uses water fish and the fish waste. People who use this put these things called grow beds up higher than the water level and a pump pumps the water from the fish tank up to a giant filter. The filter takes the fish waste uses the ammonia turns it into nitrate and then bacteria eats the nitrate turning it into nitrite which the filter then pumps the water back into the growbed and the plants use the nitrite as nutrients and it just keeps reusing the same water.

If we keep the pollution up, we won’t have any more safe water to drink or use for plants. Another way that this can affect the world is that there won’t be any more food for anyone. There is little water as it is: do we really want to turn the 2.5 percent into zero percent? Factories and farms need to find another way to use the waste and sewage systems need to figure out what they can do to treat the water that gets dumped.

 

Works Cited

ESchooltoday. Important Facts and Tips on Water Pollution for Children. Web. 10 May 2017.

“11 Facts About Water in the Developing World.” DoSomething.org | Volunteer for Social Change. Dosomething.org, 2017. Web. 10 May 2017.

“Water Pollution.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, 10 May 2017.