Types of water pollution
There are many types of water pollution because water comes from many sources. Here are a few types of water pollution:
1. Nutrients pollution:
Some wastewater, fertilizers, and sewage contain high levels of nutrients. If they end up in water bodies, they encourage algae and weed growth in the water. That will make the water undrinkable, and even clog filters. Too many algae will also use up all the oxygen in a water body, and other water organisms in the water will die out of oxygen starvation.
2. Surface water pollution:
Surface water includes natural water found on the earth’s surface, like rivers, lakes, lagoons, and oceans. Hazardous substances coming into contact with this surface water, dissolving, or mixing physically with the water can be called surface water pollution.
3. Oxygen depleting:
Water bodies have micro-organisms. These include aerobic and anaerobic organisms. When too much biodegradable matter (things that easily decay) end up in the water, it encourages more micro-organism growth, and they use up more oxygen in the water. If oxygen is depleted, aerobic organisms die, and anaerobic organisms grow more to produce harmful toxins such as ammonia and sulfides.
4. Groundwater pollution:
When humans apply pesticides and chemicals to soils, they are washed deep into the ground by rainwater. This gets to underground water, causing pollution underground. That means when we dig wells and boreholes to get water from underground, it needs to be checked for groundwater pollution.
In many communities in the world, people drink untreated water (straight from a river or stream). Sometimes there is natural pollution caused by microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. This natural pollution can cause fishes and other water life to die. They can also cause serious illness to humans who drink from such waters.
6. Suspended matter:
Some pollutants (substances, particles, and chemicals) do not easily dissolve in water. This kind of material is called particulate matter. Some suspending pollutants later settle under the water body. That can harm and even kill aquatic organisms that live at the bottom of water bodies.
7. Chemical water pollution:
Many industries and farmers work with chemicals that end up in the water. This is common with Point-source Pollution. These include chemicals used to control weeds, insects, and pests. Metals and solvents from industries can pollute water bodies. These are poisonous to many forms of aquatic life and may slow their development, make them infertile, and kill them.
8. Oil spillage:
Oil spills usually have only a localized effect on wildlife but can spread for miles. The oil can cause death to many fish and get stuck to the feathers of seabirds, causing them to lose their ability to fly.
Do you remember the BP Oil spill in 2010? (Read about it here) Over 1,000 animals (birds, turtles, mammals) were reported dead, including many already on the endangered species list. Of the animals affected by the spill, only about 6% have reported as cleaned, but many biologists and other scientists predict they will die too from the stress caused by pollution.