There’s nothing more refreshing than a glass of cool water on a hot summer day. And on a cold winter evening, a cup of hot tea can feel like heaven. But did you know that the water we use today is the same water that the dinosaur used millions of years ago? Yes, we can never create new water, we can just recycle it!
Despite knowing the fragility and preciousness of this natural resource, people tend to take water for granted. Industries dump waste products and chemicals in rivers and oceans, and people throw garbage of all kind into the water. Water today has become a chemical cocktail.
Don’t you think it’s high time we take the matter into our hands and educate the current generation about the repercussion of water pollution? Here is the definition and some interesting facts about water pollution for kids that you can share with them.
What Is Water Pollution?
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies likes aquifers, ground water, fresh water, rivers, sea, oceans and so on. It is the second most critical environmental concern after air pollution. Water pollution occurs when pollutants like chemicals, particles, and other substances find their way into the water bodies.
[ Read: Pollution Facts For Kids ]
Types Of Water Pollution:
Here are a few common types of water pollution:
1. Nutrients Pollution:
Fertilizers, wastewater, and sewage containing high levels of nutrients encourage weed and algae growth in the water, making it undrinkable. Besides, an increase in algae formation can also deplete the level of oxygen in the water. This causes other water organisms to die because of oxygen starvation.
2. Surface Water Pollution:
When hazardous substances like chemicals, wastes, and insecticides dissolve or mix with surface water, it is called surface water pollution.
3. Oxygen Depleting:
Water bodies contain both aerobic and anaerobic organisms. An influx of biodegradable matter in the water encourages the growth of anaerobic microorganisms. This in turn can deplete the level of oxygen, leading to the death of aerobic organisms.
4. Ground Water Pollution:
Pesticides and chemicals used to promote the growth of the crops enter into the ground with rainwater causing ground water pollution. They can contaminate lakes and rivers through accidental spills too.
[ Read: Air Pollution Facts for kids ]
Causes Of Water Pollution:
There are many factors that cause water pollution. Here are the major ones you should be aware of:
1. Ocean And Sea Dumping;
In most countries, waste materials like rubber, metal, and plastic waste are deposited in the oceans and seas. These waste take a lot of time to decompose, causing water pollution. Wondering how long waste like these take to wither away? The paper takes about six weeks to decompose while materials like aluminum and glass can take as many as 200 years!
2. Underground Storage:
Most of the liquid products, particularly petroleum products, are stored underground in metal and steel tubes. Most sewage systems too run in underground tubes. Over time, these tubes rust and start leaking. This leads to the contamination of water bodies.
Sewage is one of the leading causes of water pollution. Bacteria present in the water use oxygen to break down the sewage. Too much sewage in the water causes bacteria to use up all the oxygen, leaving very little for the fish and other marine life forms.
Effects Of Water Pollution:
As mentioned earlier, water pollution is very harmful to animals, aquatic life, as well as humans. Its effect can be catastrophic, depending on the concentrations of the pollutants, chemicals, and area. Here are a few ways water pollution can affect the environment.
1. Death Of Aquatic Animals:
The most common effect of water pollution is the death of aquatic animals. Dead crabs, fish, seagulls, dolphins, birds and other marine animals winding up on the beach are a common sight these days.
2. Disruptions Of The Food Chain:
Water pollution disrupts the natural food chain too. Tiny fish absorb pollutants like cadmium and lead. The bigger fish and shellfish eat these small fish and get the chemicals too. This food chain continues, causing health havoc at the higher levels.
Water pollution can cause diseases like hepatitis in humans. In economically backward nations, contamination of water also leads to the outbreak of cholera and typhoid.
[ Read: Tsunami Facts For Kids ]
Water Pollution Facts For Kids:
Statistics can be a great tool when it comes to understanding water pollution.Share these facts about water pollution for kids to understand the problem better.
- Around 14 billion pounds of garbage, mostly plastic, is dumped into water bodies every year. And in the United States, 1.2 trillion gallons of sewage from industries, restaurant, and house are dumped into the water annually. The waste produced in the water contains parasites, bacteria, and viruses.
- Up to 90% of the wastewater flow untreated into lakes, rivers, and coastal zones. Over 70% of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into the waters. 1.2 trillion gallons of storm water, untreated sewage, and industrial waste are discharged into the United States’ water annually.
- According to World Health Organization (WHO), 3.2 million kids under the age of five die because of diseases caused by drinking polluted water and poor sanitation. On an average, 250 million people succumb to water pollution related disease every year.
- According to UNICEF and WHO, more than 894 million people don’t have access to clean water sources.
- Asia has the maximum number of polluted rivers in the world, and most of it contains bacteria from the human waste.
- Plastic is the major water pollutant and cause huge destruction in marine life. It is believed to be responsible for the deaths of 100000 sea birds, mammals and various types of fishes.
- The Ganges River is the most polluted river in the world. It contains trash, food, sewage and animal remains.
- Groundwater in Bangladesh is contaminated heavily with arsenic. And 85% of the total area of Bangladesh has contaminated water.
- Around 320 million people in China do not have access to clean drinking water. About 20% of the groundwater in China is contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals. These water pollution facts for children will help them to understand the importance of water and its effect on the earth.
Fortunately, more and more people are now realizing the importance of clean water and are working hard to protect and restore the waterways.
It is important that each one of us do our part to prevent and minimize water pollution. You can start by educating your children:
- Teach your child to use water wisely. They must not keep the tap running when not in use. You can also instruct them to reduce the amount of water they use when bathing and washing. If they do it efficiently, they can prevent water shortages in the long run.
- Make sure your kids don’t throw paints, oils, chemicals and medicine down the toilet or sink. Contact your local municipality or environment office to get help with the disposal or chemicals and drugs. They will inform you about the chemical disposal plan for the residents.
- Lastly, encourage your kids to plant lots of trees and flower around your homes. This way, when it rains, chemicals from your house will not drain into the water.
What steps have you taken to control water pollution? Share some interesting facts on water pollution for kids with us by commenting below.
Key: 1. D 2. B 3. C
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