The contamination of our water resources such as rivers, streams, groundwater, seas and oceans because of introduction of various pollutants is known as water pollution.
Water pollution has adverse consequences for all life forms. The disposal of sewage and domestic garbage in rivers, lakes and oceans is harming aquatic life and causing water borne diseases. Frequent oil spills in oceans kills thousands of birds and fishes every year. Lack of proper treatment facilities and negligence of human beings have made water resources harmful for our use.
Here are a few facts about water pollution that might give an idea about the seriousness of water pollution.
- According to a WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme report, 663 million people in the world are still not able to access improved sources of drinking water.
- Eight out of ten people who still lack access to these sources are from rural areas.
- In 2015, 2.4 billion people in the world still do not have improved sanitation facilities.
- Less than half of the total population in 47 countries use improved sanitation.
- One out of eight people in the world, i.e. around 946 million people, practice open defecation.
- In 2012, it was estimated that almost 1.8 billion people used a drinking water source which had been contaminated with faeces.
These facts are based on the WHO/UNIEF Joint Monitoring Programme update report titled ‘Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water.’ The full report can be viewed here.
Some other facts are given below:
- WHO estimated in 2002 that around 3.1% deaths in the world is caused because of unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation and hygiene.
- Approximately 70 million people in Bangladesh live in areas exposed to groundwater mixed with arsenic that is above the recommended limit by WHO.
- According to UN WWAP, natural arsenic pollution affects 140 million globally.
- 778 million people in Southern Asia practice open defecation.
- 320 million people in China don’t have access to safe drinking water.
- 40% of surface water and 20% of groundwater in China is assumed to be polluted.
- The Mississippi River transports about 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen polluted water into the Gulf of Mexico in a year.
- Almost 40% of the lakes found in America cannot sustain aquatic life and are not suitable for swimming or fishing.
- In the US, 1.2 trillion gallons of sewage, industrial discharge and stormwater runoff are dumped into water resources.
- Over 80% of untreated sewage is dumped in rivers and lakes in developing countries.
- In India, around 80% of surface water is polluted because of dumping of domestic sewerage.