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Global Perspective Individual Research

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2166 words Published: 2nd May 2017

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Water – the most important and basic necessity required for life to exist on this planet. From microscopic organisms to giant mammals, from algae to angiosperms, every living thing needs water to survive.

It is universally known that clean, potable water is extremely essential for a healthy living but it’s also very scarce in today’s polluted world. Statistically, dirty water is one of the deadliest killers. UNO has estimated that 10 people die every minute from contaminated water. The WHO estimates that 80% of all sickness and disease in developing countries is due to unsafe water. I believe water pollution is one of the most widespread problems and it has deadly effects which could be mitigated if the right actions are taken in a timely fashion. Thus, I think this is a relevant topic to tackle.

Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies such as lakes, rivers, oceans and groundwater. Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly into water bodies without removing harmful compounds. By this project I will know more about what are the different perspectives regarding this issue.


Water pollution is prevalent all over the world. Several countries are suffering from intense pollution. The irony is that the highly industrialized, developed countries suffer from the highest margin of pollution. Many factors are held responsible for these problems- industrialization, population and poor water treatment plants. The top five polluting countries are China, USA, Russia, India and Japan.

Globally, the water and sanitation crisis claims most lives. Some 6,000 children die daily due to lack of safe drinking water. The death tolls are equal to those who die due to 20 aircraft crashes.

UN statistics show 2 million tons of human waste is disposed in water bodies daily. Developed countries dump 70% of industrial wastes untreated leading to contamination.

The following are the sources of water pollution:

Fertilizers: Synthetic fertilizers leech into rivers through rainwater or improper irrigation. Drained fertilizers give enrichment of nutrients which gives rise to algae; causing Eutrophication. This disrupts the life cycle of marine animals by using up oxygen. If continued it will lead to 15% global increase in nitrogen flow into rivers in 30 years.

Chemical industries: Untreated chemical when released affects marine life, as sewage contains a high amount of pathogens which spread disease.

Oil Spills: While huge oil tankers leak during transit, massive quantities of oil are spilled into oceans resulting in deaths of marine life. They die of hypothermia as oil sticks to their scales/feathers and they are not able to breathe and fly. As the water temperature fluctuates aquatic animals die. Oil spills have greater effects because of the fact that they are difficult to clean up.

Continentally, Africa has highest amount of polluted water, having its greatest impact on South-Africa. African government has taken action by implementing laws and measures but they are not just enough. Africa being a developing continent, cannot afford the cost of treating all the waste. Some industries dispose the waste directly in water bodies.

Even if a country is developed it can suffer from water pollution. Lithuania and Estonia (Europe) have 70% of all surface water polluted due to industrial activities. Due to Poland’s water polluted it is in shortage for water for industrial use. Baltic Sea is the most polluted sea in the world.

In Asia most polluted waters are to be found in China, having 80% of its water polluted due to industrial waste. Japan’s majority populace is affected by Mina-Mata disease caused by methyl-mercury from the industrial wastewater of the Chisso Corporation’s chemical factory. This is a highly toxic chemical that can kill fishes. The fishes when eaten by the local people result in mercury poisoning. The possible outcomes are insanity, paralysis, coma and eventually death.

Clean tap water is not available across USA, mostly up north, while other states receive contaminated water. The Senate and the Congress in America passed The Water Act in 1974 that could set national limits on certain contaminants in tap water.

Australia has a comparatively low rate of water pollution. Many water projects are underway in Australia and people are enthusiastically helping to solve the problem of unsafe drinking water. Main source of pollution at Sydney’s beach is affluent discharge from Bodi and Malabar waste water treatment plants. Waste water treatment plants collect waste water and remove solids and then treat waste water before realizing it into the environment.

Water treatment can lead to greater life expectancy and deaths caused by contaminated water can be reduced.


I’m privileged to live in a country which has adequate water. By adequate, I mean there is enough for need, but unfortunately not enough for greed. Regrettably, India is amongst the top water polluters in the world. Since several decades, industrial wastes like chemicals, oils, carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals) and other poisonous substances are discharged into the rivers in large quantities.

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It’s a fact the water shortage will be the world’s most serious issue in the coming years. Fights have already begun for water. Indian states are involved in legal battles over the rivers which they consider a part of “their” state. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Karnataka are fighting over the river Kaveri, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are fighting over river Krishna.

In India, rivers have a great religious importance as well as are holy. People travel miles to bathe in sacred rivers. Due to water pollution, the water which was considered ‘Amrita’ (Elixir) has now become poisonous. To some extent, bathing in the river does cause water pollution. Imagine thousands of people diving into rivers for a “holy and spiritual” bath. This does contaminate water and gives way to spread of infection.

River water is used for hygienic purposes such as washing clothes, bathing etc. It has been found that expired medicines and used injections are thrown into the rivers. Out of the 1400 km of the river Yamuna, 600 km from Panipat to Etawa has been officially declared to be dead (this means this stretch of the river has 0% dissolved oxygen meaning that neither can water support any type of life nor is it suitable for any kind of use.

Experts have found out that the level of coliform (harmful bacteria) in water is dangerous if its 50/100ml of drinking water. For bathing water, it is an approximate of 500 per 100ml is considered harmful. More than 500 means that the water is not even fit for bathing. It has been found that Delhi’s level of coliform is between 9,000,000 and 10,000,000. If this is the condition of the capital city; it can be assumed that in other parts of the country the conditions are worse. Even though the Indian government has introduced many Acts outlawing water pollution, it is unable to enforce it strongly. Industrial wastes are dumped into the ground by injecting them deep inside. This practice pollutes the underground freshwater.

In India, water pollution is impacting on the health of the people. The industrially polluted water is treated by ordinary techniques, which still are not able to filter out the heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. This water is used in agricultural practices, and the produced crops like the fruits and vegetables contain these poisonous substances. This water can cause diseases after consumption like:


Bacterial Infections

Typhoid, Cholera, Bacillary-Dysentery


Viral Infections

Infectious Hepatitis (Jaundice), Poliomyelitis


Protozoan Infections

Amoebic Dysentery

Aji River flows nearby Rajkot and a dam is built on it to sustain it. An analysis of different water bodies in downstream of Aji dam indicates the most of water bodies within city limits are contaminated. Pollution of underground water due to electro-plating industries and sari-printing industries is also observed. These small- scale industries are proliferating but are also causing severe damage to underground, potable water which is becoming increasingly scarce.


Perspective – the word itself means the way one looks at things. I believe perspectives, opinions, ideas and viewpoints change when we are encountered with something new.

I have started believing that a day will come when we will be left with no fresh water. But I also feel that we can start with something small. My town, Rajkot has consistently good rainfall since the past years therefore we should collect and harvest the rainwater. This water can then be utilized in several ways.

India celebrates Festival of colors called “DHULETI”. It used to be celebrated with only colours traditionally but now colored water and colored sprays have also been a part of the celebration. People in Rajkot including me waste gallons and gallons of water within 3 hours of celebration. There is high amount of water shortage in the city. I personally have had water problems that day.

Personally I accept that statistics already show devastating effects but they can be lowered if all of us develop a different thinking.


Today, water has become a major world issue which is predicted to rise even further due to industries, agriculture and many other contributing factors.

People’s health is already affected badly. There is massive outbreak of diseases and infections. I agree that there are vaccinations present for almost all of these diseases but the saddest part is that not all of the affected population can afford to get vaccinated. And worse, some people are not even aware.

If this continues many diseases will spread even quicker via water. Clean water won’t be available for drinking. If states today will fight for water, tomorrow individual people might fight for water and a small issue about water may start a fight that might be difficult to contain or halt. If not acted upon now, the future of the world is going to be very dry.


Water pollution needs to immediately be reduced. By taking simple measures, we can alleviate the levels of contamination and with constant and consistent effort, probably remove contamination altogether.

The following are some ways in which that could be done:

Wise usage of water and a sense of responsibility while using it.

Spreading awareness to industrial firms and trying to make them relocate their sewage plants if they are depositing it untreated into water.

Stricter laws about minimum usage of pesticide, fertilizer and herbicide per annum which will reduce surface run off.

Passing Government Laws and Water Acts about treatment of drinking and sewage water.

These are some primary steps which can at least help jump start the conservation process. Soon, if this is kept on-going, my may well be living in a contamination-free world. Thus, I believe to change some of this big and major issues, all we have to do is accumulate the courage to take the first step.


After realizing the need for judicious use of water, I have reduced the use of water in cleaning my bicycle and bathing. The household help had been instructed to use less of water in washing utensils and clothes. She has been advised to not keep the tap running I think the use washing machines and dishwashers would be beneficial in saving a good amount of water. My father owns a chemical industry and he ensures that his industry does not deposit waste directly in the water body before sufficient treatment.

I have decided and also gave notice of “no water availability during Dhuleti celebration time” in my apartment with the help of management committee

To spread awareness in the society I have stuck poster on my society’s notice board.

I believe these small steps, if taken by everybody will make a drastic change in the overall picture of this nation. And for that, I do talk to my friends about saving water and its importance. I am convinced that spreading awareness is the ONLY way to tackle is increasingly prevalent problem.


[Word count: 1971 Words]


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