Causes and Sources of Water Pollution

Water pollution. the gravest of pollution that affects each and every living organism. Identifying and eliminating the source and cause is must for life to exist and extend on this planet of ours.

Causes of Water Pollution

Waste from industries

Industries are a major source of chemical waste and other pollutants that are discharged into water resources. Industries without a proper waste disposal system tend to dump their wastage directly into water sources near them that brings adverse effects on the environment.

The discarded chemicals such as lead, asbestos, sulfur, mercury etc. can change various parameters of water such as color, mineral content, and temperature and is hazardous to the aquatic life.

Oil spills

Oil spills from tankers is only responsible for the 12% of the total oil pollution in the world. In fact, more than 70% of the oil pollution in water is due to regular shipping and the oil poured down the drain by people. However, tanker spills are extremely hazardous because of the vast quantity of the spill.

oil spill


Eutrophication is the response of an ecosystem to the addition of nutrients like phosphates. It may cause water pollution by increasing the number of phytoplankton which leads to algal blooms. This disrupts ecosystem by using up oxygen necessary for the survival of other organisms. Some of these algae also produce toxins. Eurtophication increases the level of turbidity and can result in loss of aquatic life.

polluted water

Mixing of sewage

The sewage from residences and industries are polluting several water resources, causing a range of water borne diseases. Lack of proper sewage disposal management is a critical problem in several countries. The sewage collected at some sewage treatment plants are pumped into the sea every year.

garbage on the beach

Burning of fossil fuels

When fossil fuels are burnt, ashes and smoke are released into the atmosphere. These particles produce toxic chemicals when they react with water vapor in the air, resulting in acid rain.

Use of fertilizers and pesticides

The chemical fertilizers used in fields mix with the water from the rain and flow to rivers. It poses a threat to the survival of aquatic life.

Global warming

Global warming leads to the increase in temperature of the water in various water resources. This results in death of aquatic life and disrupts aquatic habitats.

Ocean dumping 

This kind of water pollution is caused because of the littering in water bodies. Different substances have different degradation period and these substances harm marine animals.

Sources of Water Pollution

There are generally two types of source of water pollution.

Point Source

It is the pollution caused from a single identifiable source such as a pipeline dumping sewage into a river.

dead fishes due to waste dumping

Nonpoint Source

Nonpoint source pollution is different from point source because unlike point source the pollution is caused from various contaminants. Urban runoff is an example of nonpoint source.