Tragic Effects of Water Pollution

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There is a lot of natural resources that are needed to survive, but none can be obtain without water. Water is the main source of life. However, most of the U.S. rivers and streams are polluted largely due to agriculture. Even though there is laws to protect the rivers they are often contaminated by runoff, or illegal disposal of chemicals. The massive amount of runoff caused by agriculture is affecting bacterial growth in rivers as well as algae, which is blooming rapidly endangering aquatic organisms. Contamination of the water due to agriculture and will affect fish, plants, and human health (Maczulak 124-125). In “Water-quality trends in the nation’s rivers” Smith argues that cleaning the water is costly and will not work because of urbanization, and agriculture (Smith), but researchers have found ways to reduce agricultural pollutants from bodies of water by using plants to remove most toxins (Walker). Because agriculture is affecting rivers spreading disease as the water travels downstream, pollution in the water is harming aquatic life, plants, and humans. “festuca arundinacea”(Zhao. Et al.) should be more widely use to reduce water toxins caused by agricultural pollutants.

Moreover, the U.S.A is known for its agricultural industry and for its large consumption of resources, because the country consumes so much there has to be agencies to manage our resources. Unfortunately there is agencies that were made to protect our natural resources, but many of these agricultural agencies focus on soil conservation rather than water. In an article called Take a closer look at what’s impacting the health of our rivers and lakes explains, that in a surveyed done by “the EPA stated that 40 percent of rivers and lakes in the U.S. are too polluted for swimming or fishing” (The Nature Conservancy). Furthermore, most pollution today is due to agriculture and the high use of chemicals such as pesticides, and fertilizers to mass produce food. The CDC (The Center of Disease Control) discusses Polluted runoff and how it is “created by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into watersheds via lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even our underground sources of drinking water.” Agriculture is not only affecting rivers and lakes but might be affecting our underground water, which ultimately means there is no safe water to drink. If any body of water comes into contact with a pollutant it will travel with the water making it all water unsafe (The Center of Disease Control). The rapid spread of blue-green algae just this past summer from Massachusetts to California was cause by farmers. The amount of algae is growing because the high amounts of ammonia in the water; threatening the life of aquatic organisms. Algae take oxygen from the water killing any organism in its proximity. Unfortunately the highly contaminated water does not only affect fish but plants too. The high content of chemicals in water causes the water’s PH level to become acid, which ultimately means the ions attach themselves to H molecules, which causes the PH level to drop. The acidity in the water will cause the tree’s immune system to weaken; consequently, making it more vulnerable to disease (Effects of Acid Rain). Plants and animals are not the only ones affected by polluted water. Humans are also affected by the toxic water full of bacteria, parasites, and disease because the consumption of plants. In an article by the CDC states that “People who consume fruit or vegetables that were exposed to contaminated water are at risk of developing a foodborne illness. Some of the bacteria that are spread through water within the United States include E. coli, Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Toxoplasma, norovirus, and hepatitis A virus”(Centers for Disease Control). The contamination of water is not just affecting fish, or plants is affecting everything in the ecosystem. Citizens are taking a enormous risk by not protecting water, which can cause them their lives. Only we have the power to prevent our water from disappearing.

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In 1972, the Clean Water Act was established by the U.S. Government to regulate water pollution, but regrettably the restrictions of this act only protected waters from dumping. There is not many laws nor regulations which prevent runoff into rivers and streams. However, there has been more regulations on rivers and lakes to prevent pollution from occurring because of large corporations. To make the clean water act more clear the EPA created “The Clean Water Rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined, more predictably determined, and easier for businesses and industry to understand.”(US Environmental Protection Agency). Making the policies clear might help farmers better their techniques for disposing of manure and better ways to farm. President Obama’s administration protected and implemented many policies to protect the environment, but In a article “Donald Trump Could Put Climate Change on Course for ‘Danger Zone’’ Davenport, expresses his concern about the new policies that president trump might implement concerning the environment. The newly elected president has made a lot of statements about global warming, which is caused by the high concentration of carbon in the air. Even Though global warming has been tested and proven by researchers, Mr. Trump has stated, that he does not believe in issues concerning the environment and wishes to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency.

In a study by the University of Ohio conducted by Hal Walker, states that a water filtration system using plants has done better than other methods. This filtering system can remove ninety-five percent of toxins in the water. This system uses “activated carbon” which traps organic molecules and can be use to clean spills. If those plants were planted in rivers to help fight algae that could reduce the presence of bacteria as well as other pathogens. This method should be implemented across the country to reduce and prevent the the growth of algae. This method would help fight runoff due to agriculture and extensive use of pesticides. Preventing the rivers and streams from becoming polluted and aquatic creatures from dying should be a priority. The use of this plan will help preserve the life of fish and other organisms. Additionally it would also extend the amount of time the world has left because without water there is no life.

In an article “Water-quality trends in the nation’s rivers” by Richard Smith disagrees with the idea that pollution from water should not be clean. Smith supports his claim by stating that it is too expensive in the long run. The author suggested that the rivers should be left alone because even if they are clean human activity and agriculture are just going to pollute them again. He expresses his concern about the project and it’s future and how nothing will change. Even though Smith, might be right and it might take a lot of money to clean up the rivers it is better to clean then rather than to lose all water. Furthermore, there is different methods to clean water. In a journal “Enhanced purification of eutrophic water by microbe-inoculated stereo floating beds” published by MOE key lab environmental remediation and ecosystem health, concluded that the use of (DPAOs) “denitrifying polyphosphate accumulating microorganisms” help reduce the growth in algae due to its rich proteins. It is multi purpose and it can also be use to feed livestock not just clean the water. The plant use in this experiment is called “festuca arundinacea” which ensures a balance between organisms. “festuca arundinacea” removed many of the chemicals from the water at a rate of eighty- six and ninety-three percent in 20 days. This plant did not only removed toxins, but also gave nutrition to the water making it drinkable. This process could possibly prevent animals and humans from getting sick because of contaminated food or water.

Ultimately, everything needs water from plants to humans. Water is essential to development and ultimately life itself. Planet earth is about 71 percent ocean and only about 2 percent is freshwater. If the up coming generation is going to have a chance, then people need to start caring about the environment. Once this planet loses all its freshwater there is no replacement the will be the end of life. The high amount of pollution is making it difficult for animals in rivers to survive. People are dying every year from pollutants in the water or disease spread through vegetables and fruits. Citizens are already dying from drinking bad water and the numbers will only increase without action.

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Tragic Effects of Water Pollution. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“Tragic Effects of Water Pollution.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
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