The Growing Epidemic of Water Pollution


Water is a liquid found on earth that is colorless, tasteless, and odorless but is completely essential to almost all known life in the universe with some exceptions. As humans, we use water for countless things such as bathing, drinking, hunting, and for entertainment. Even though humans gain so many beneficial things from water we still continue to tarnish the small percentage of freshwater sources we have available to us. Whether we destroy our water sources via over-fishing and pollution there is still only a limited amount of water on our planet we are capable of consuming. When we do things to ruin what we have we are basically contributing to the end of the human race without even acknowledging it.

Earth, also known as the blue planet, is found in the Goldilocks zone which means it is the perfect distance away from the sun to have a proper atmosphere for life and allows for water to be found in liquid form. Though Earth is made up of about 70 percent of water, only 2.5 percent of that water is capable of consumption. Each year humans dump about 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage into waterways all over the United States and even more throughout the rest of the world. In 2019, 40 percent of lakes in America are so polluted that the water can no longer be consumed. Also most fish cannot survive so people cannot fish to provide for their families or for sport. The lakes are so polluted that people can’t even swim in them without getting sick.

The Mississippi River is a massive contributor to agriculture in the United States but since 12.7 million gallons of sewage was dumped into the river in 2010 it has been on a slow decline. Today, the area around the mouth of the river is widely known as the dead zone because a species of algae grows there that absorbs all the oxygen from the surrounding area and stops any other organism from living there. Though pollution is a large problem in the United States it is an even bigger problem world wide. A river in China is even worse than what has happened to the Mississippi River in America. The Yellow River is the sixth longest river in the world, it begins in Western China and spans 3,395 miles until it ends in the Bohai Sea. The Yellow River was once the main source of drinking water, and fish for the people of China that resided by it but it is now on the list of the top 10 most polluted rivers in the world. In 1996, a recorded 4.29 billion gallons of industrial waste was dumped into the river which killed a lot of the inhabitants of the river and made the water toxic when consumed.

Though large scale agriculture is needed to feed the population of the world it is both affected and the cause of water pollution. Most large scale farms use pesticides on their food to make sure insects don’t interfere with their crops and they can have a good harvest to both make money and keep people from starving. When it rains these pesticides are absorbed by rain water which then runs off into bodies of usually fresh water and contaminate it. Agriculture is also affected by water pollution as well. The contaminated water is entered into the precipitation cycle so when it rains it comes down as acid rain which kills the crops that absorb the contaminated water. Though water is more important than food when it comes to survival we still need to eat so when water pollution both affects our food and water there is obviously a problem that needs to be fixed.

Though large scale agriculture, big organizations, the government, and average people cause a lot of damage by dumping waste into waterways, there are a lot of organizations out there that try to eliminate this issue. One organization that is native to New Jersey is Clean Ocean Action which is an organization created to help keep our oceans clean. Clean Ocean Action organizes beach sweeps across all of New Jersey that allows anyone to sign up and help clean garbage from the beaches. A larger scale organization such as the Clean Water Fund focuses more on teaching people ways to reduce water pollution in their own homes and spread awareness of how detrimental water pollution really is. Even though most people don’t realize they are contributing to the growing epidemic of water pollution, they are being informed on how they too can make a difference.