Water Pollution: Effects and Treatment methods

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water”. The quote validates how precious water is, for lives to sustain. Even though almost 70 percent of the world is covered by water, freshwater amounts to only 2.5 percent of it. Out of the 2.5 percent, only 1 percent is easily accessible.

Water pollution

Water pollution is a major environmental issue, the effects of which are catastrophic. According to studies, 1.8 million human beings died in the year 2015 from polluted water. On an average of 1 billion people fall sick every year as a result of unsafe water.

Disease-causing bacteria and viruses present in water is a major concern that results in sickness and sometimes death. Diseases that include cholera, giardia and typhoid can be life threatening. Accidental or illegal releases from sewage treatment facilities and runoff from farms and urban areas will result in dangerous pathogens in waterways.

Human beings are not the only ones that get affected from water pollution, aquatic animals also do.  Polluted water kills organisms such as fish, crabs, birds, sea gulls and dolphins that reside in these water bodies. It causes serious threat to food chain as well.

Tiny animals devour pollutants such as lead and cadmium present in water and when fish and shellfish consume these small animals, it disrupts the food chain, at higher levels as well.

Treatment Methods

There are a number of treatment plants available, that are effective, budget-friendly and robust. These include;

  • Coagulation
  • Membrane process
  • Absorption
  • Dialysis
  • Foam Flotation
  • Osmosis
  • Photo catalytic degradation

The chemicals present in wastewater is complex, hence traditional treatment methods may not be sufficient to remove them. Moreover, the methods depend on various factors such as processing efficiency, energy requirement, engineering expertise and economic benefit and infrastructure.

Advanced treatment processes the like of Ozonation, and chlorination can control human pathogens to a great extent. Yet another low-cost, environmental friendly and sustainable treatment technology is semiconductor photo catalytic process, which helps in eliminating persistent organic compounds, arsenic metal ions and microorganisms from the water.

A widely used treatment plan is absorption, which has gained the term ‘biosorption’ in the recent years, since biomaterials are used as adsorbent for contaminated water treatment. Magnetic adsorbent technology that separates pollutants in water has garnered attention in the recent years. Magnetic adsorbents are an effective solution for metallic and dye pollutants.

When we know the challenges that water pollution can cause to human beings and environment, the best solution is to take precautions and avoid it. But this is not as easy as it sounds. Preserving our natural resources is the responsibility of each and every one of us. But not many realize its importance and take them for granted. Ensuring that the polluted water gets treated is the least we can do.