Environment and Drinking Water
Water is the most important component needed for the sustainability of human life. It is used in virtually all aspects of life. It is used for domestic purposes, in industries, for agricultural purposes and for recreation and sports. The value of water in human life cannot be disputed. Many areas have insufficient drinking water and in such cases, people and animals are forced to use polluted water. Water is polluted by industrial and chemical waste products and domestic sewage from septic tanks. When it rains, the rain carries the fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides that have been used in the field. The polluted water ends up in rivers, lakes and other water bodies. This exposes them to various health problems and it causes water related diseases. The environment also suffers greatly when the available water is not sufficient to sustain it or when it is exposed to polluted water.
When there is no water, human activities such as agriculture are affected. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion people lack access to drinking water. It is estimated that ninety million people in America do not have ready access to water (Free Drinking Water). It is not possible to irrigate and this means that there is lack of food. Plants and other vegetation dry up and die when they lack water and this only leaves plant that can survive in dry conditions. There are many areas where people lack food and they suffer and die from starvation. In other areas, the people rely on poor diets because they can only feed on plants that survive in arid areas. These foods lack the nutrients needed for normal human growth. People in these areas end up suffering from diseases such as malnutrition and kwashiorkor yet these diseases can be prevented easily. Animals are not exempt and they suffer and die because they do not have enough food. Those who feed on vegetation end up dying and the ones that feed on meat also die because they lack food.
Insufficient water causes people to use any available water regardless of the quality. People and animals drink contaminated water and this causes many diseases and other health problems such as health defects. It is estimated that 1.6million children die annually because they lack clean drinking water. Lack of drinking water causes illnesses such as eye ailments and skin diseases (Boesak and Hansen 176). Polluted water causes ailments and diseases such as dysentery, cholera and typhoid. This problem does not affect developing countries only. In America and Canada, infectious waterborne diseases were reported that were caused by cryptosporidium and giardia (Free Drinking Water). 1.8million people die annually around the world because of diarrhea complications. Contaminated rainwater that ends up in water bodies affects the living organisms in seas and lakes. Many fish and other water creatures die because of contaminated and polluted water.
Industries release industrial waste, which may contain chemicals and heavy metals. When these pollutants are exposed to water, they enter the food chain and they cause chronic diseases such as liver disorders. They also cause developmental abnormalities, cancers. The presence of mercury in water can cause a lot of damage to humans, animals, birds and fish. It damages the human brain and nervous system and alters the behavior of different animals. Rain is usually a welcome relief especially after a dry spell. Rainwater was for a long time considered the purest form of water. This changed when it was noted that air pollutants had an effect on rainwater. Acid rain causes the soil to have a lot of acid and deprives it of important elements such as calcium and magnesium. Forests that have acidic soils are affected since they grow more slowly since they lack sufficient nutrients and renders then susceptible to insects and other pathogens. Acid deposition destroys buildings and facilities made from calcium carbonate and other metals such as copper (Sharpe).
Human beings, animals, birds and fish suffer when there is insufficient water and when the available water is contaminated. Children are especially susceptible to diseases and waterborne diseases are responsible for many deaths. Lack of water for irrigation causes human suffering in arid areas since people do not have food and in some instances, they end up fighting for the minimal resources that are available. Industrial and chemical pollutants cause birth defects especially in developing areas where there are no strict environmental regulations and laws. Some children are born without limbs and the adults suffer terminal diseases through no fault of their own. Malnourished animals end up dying because they have no food to eat. They do not produce to their capacity and this reduces their number. Insufficient water affects the aesthetic beauty of a place. Dry grasslands are vulnerable to fires and this fire spreads to other areas where it causes a lot of damage. This also affects the tourism industry. Many tourists are attracted to the wildlife and other natural features. When there is no water, animals and birds migrate to other areas, and the affected areas suffer because there are no tourist attractions.
People need to realize the importance of water and especially clean water. If everyone had access to clean drinking water, many deaths would be prevented. Waterborne diseases would be eradicated. Everyone has a role to play to realize this goal. Contaminated water affects all areas of life and even though industries are responsible for polluting water with industrial and chemical waste, they cannot function without water. People need to control all types of pollution and this will reduce chances of acidic rain. They should avoid household products that have harmful ingredients. People will then be able to harvest rainwater and use it for irrigation and domestic use. Minimizing the use of fertilizers and using organic fertilizers will reduce the pollutants carried by rainwater to other water bodies and this will conserve the living organisms in the water.
Boesak Allan and Hansen Len. Globalisation II – Global Crisis, Global Challenge, Global Faith. South Africa: AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2010. Print
Free Drinking Water. Where do Waterborne Diseases Rank in Causing Human Health Problems. 2011. Web. 26 May 2011
Sharpe E William. Acid Rain. 2011. Web. 26 May 2011.
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