Facts about water pollution

Water pollution can be harmful to aquatic life
Water pollution can be harmful to aquatic life
  • In April 2010, The Transocean Oil Rig exploded, killing 11 workers. The disaster also damaged the Gulf of Mexico coast, causing one of the biggest environmental disasters in U.S. history. In January 2013, the company paid $400m (£248m) in criminal penalties and a $1bn civil fine after pleading guilty to violating the Clean Water Act. Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13123036
  • More than 2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and more than double that number lack access to safe sanitation.

    Agriculture accounts for about 70% of global water withdrawals, with the vast majority used in irrigation.

    An estimated 80% of all industrial and municipal wastewater is released to the environment without any prior treatment, resulting in a growing deterioration of overall water quality with detrimental impacts on human health and ecosystems (WWAP, 2017).
    SOURCE: WWAP (United Nations World Water Assessment Programme)/UN-Water. 2018. The United Nations World Water Development Report 2018: Nature-Based Solutions for Water. Paris, UNESCO.

  • National Rivers and Streams Assessment 2008-09: 46% of river and stream miles are in poor biological condition; phosphorus and nitrogen are the most widespread of the chemical stressors assessed.

    The National Lakes Assessment 2012: 21% of the nation’s lakes are hypereutrophic (i.e., with the highest levels of nutrients, algae, and plants). Phosphorus and nitrogen are the most widespread stressors in lakes.

    According to the National Coastal Condition Assessment 2010: 18% of the nation’s coastal and Great Lakes waters are in poor biological condition, and 14% are rated poor based on a water quality index. Phosphorus is the leading stressor contributing to the poor water quality index rating.

    The National Wetland Condition Assessment 2011: 32% of the nation’s wetland area is in poor biological condition, with leading stressors including surface hardening (soil compaction) and vegetation removal.
    SOURCE: National Water Quality Inventory: Report to the USA Congress. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. August 2017 EPA 841-R-16-011

  • In March 2011, a powerful earthquake in the sea (tsunami) hit the Japan coast. The sea level rose, and water came into the land, damaging 4 of 6 reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

    World Health Organisation (WHO) experts confirm that there is a slightly increased risk of some cancer types for some people who were exposed to radiation. These included people living in that area and some workers at the plant. Below is a piece of the information given on the BBC website:

    “The biggest lifetime risks were seen in those exposed as infants, compared with children or adults. For girls exposed to radiation from the accident as infants, the report found a 4% increase above the lifetime expected risk of solid tumors and a 6% increase above that expected for breast cancer. Boys exposed as infants are expected to have a 7% increased risk of leukemia above that expected in the normal population.

    The biggest risk was seen in thyroid cancer, which for infant girls could be up to 70% higher than expected over their lifetime.” BBC Website: /news/health-21614722