According to the United Nations, water pollution is responsible for more deaths worldwide than all types of violence (including war) combined annually. This shows just how large of an issue water pollution has become and why it is so important for us to do what we can to help to reduce it.
Spills or Releases
Spills or releases usually come along unexpectedly and can very quickly cause harm to bodies of water. Even if a spill is not directly into a body of water, fluid can flow into storm drains or nearby streams which can quickly become very harmful to the environment. When oil spills into a body it floats on top because it is less dense than the water. This oil sheen can block sunlight from going into the water causing plants and other organisms to die. Considering food chains are critical to the success of an ecosystem and the fact that plants are usually at the bottom of this food chain, the death of these plants can destroy these water-based ecosystems.
One of the biggest water-related oil spills in the world was known as the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. This spill lasted for 87 days and approximately 134 million gallons of oil was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. This not only had a horrible effect on wildlife, but also 300 people in Louisiana were treated for excessive exposure to hydrocarbons. This shows just how badly and fast these spills can affect our environment.
Oil spills are not the only cause of water pollution. Sewage and marine dumping are just a couple of the other causes. Most of the time this pollution is the result of an accident. However, there are also instances when companies or individuals intentionally dump trash or chemicals to cut costs or for other reasons. Whether it be intentional or an accident, many people do not understand just how damaging to the environment their actions are.
Agricultural runoff is also another very large cause of water pollution. It may sound odd that something like farming could be bad for the environment. However, many famers use chemicals and fertilizers that are very harmful to the environment. These chemicals and fertilizers can help with plant growth and keeping animals from eating these plants but when they get washed into a body of water through rain or another form of water, they can be very damaging to water-based ecosystems.
There are many other causes of water pollution that we will not be able to get into today. But the big picture here is that it’s important to understand that even the little things make a big difference over time and something you may never expect could have a major impact on the environment as well.
There are many ways that you can prevent water pollution or really and pollution for that matter. One of the best ways to do so is by simply being conscientious. Reducing litter and recycling when you can may not seem like a big deal, but if you do both of these things as much as possible you will be making a much bigger dent than you think. If you’d like to help even more, you could consider volunteering with a local organization to help to pick up trach or to participate in another environmentally friendly activity.
If you or your company hauls any substance it will also be extremely important for you to have a plan in place to respond to an emergency spill or release as quickly as possible. Having a plan will likely not only largely reduce the cost of this incident but can also can massively reduce the environmental impact. Almost every spill is unpredictable so it will be crucial for you to plan as best as you possibly can.
Water pollution has become a major issue for our planet. Although 71% of Earth is water, only about 1% of this water is actually drinkable. Therefore, it is extremely important for us to protect the water that is available to us. To learn more about how your company can save money and protect the environment by preparing for a spill please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.