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Water Contamination

Water Contamination

Water is the main component of the internal environment of an organism. For people whose work is anchored with intense physical activity, the state of the water-salt metabolism is an important physiological requirement for maintaining optimum performance. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls the attention of all governments of the world to the poor quality of drinking water in most countries. About 70% of the samples from the water supply in Asia and Africa do not meet the sanitary-chemical standards, and about 80% of the bacteriological standards.

In Europe, up to 30% of the samples of surface water sources do not meet health standards for sanitary-chemical reasons, and up to 25% for bacteriological reasons. A serious problem is posed by water distributing systems – a lot of countries have very poor developed systems. A memo of WHO states that out of all the disease outbreaks reported in 2011, 77.3% were of an "AQUATIC" nature and were related to the poor state of the water system. As such, the quality of drinking water may, along with a number of other factors, play a certain role in determining the effectiveness of human activity.

Water is the most important resource of our planet. It maintains the ecosystems, the livelihoods of people, animals and plants. The pollution of our lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers and groundwater reservoirs is a major problem globally and internationally. It is believed that impure and contaminated water is the leading cause of deaths and diseases, and is responsible for the deaths of more than 14,000 people daily. Water pollution is not only a problem in developing countries but also in industrialized countries.

According to the UN about 2 million tons of sewage, industrial- and agricultural waste are discharged into the waters of the world each day, and about 1,500 cubic kilometers of wastewater are produced annually, according to estimates. The lack of adequate sanitation contaminates rivers worldwide and is one of the strongest forms of water pollution. Worldwide, more than 2.5 billion people live without adequate sanitation. The biological condition of inland waters decreases rapidly. 24% of mammals and 12% of birds in inland waters are classified as threatened.

In some regions such as the Mediterranean and Madagascar and other islands in the western Indian Ocean, more than 50% of native freshwater fish species are threatened by extinction, the global amphibian inventory to almost a third. The extinction of freshwater species is five times greater than that of terrestrial species. The freshwater ecosystems hold a large number of species identified, including a quarter of all known vertebrates, and are increasingly threatened by the problems of water quality.

In Bangladesh alone, almost 70 million people are exposed to arsenic-contaminated groundwater, and naturally occurring arsenic contamination in groundwater affects already around 140 million people in 70 countries on all continents. With the Millennium Development Goals, the international community has committed to halving the population without access to safe drinking water and sanitation by the year 2015. According to SIWI, The Stockholm International Water Institute, achieving this goal, at a value of almost U.S. $ 750 million, would create 322 million working days per year, resulting in an annual cost savings in the health sector of $ 7,000,000,000 and an estimated economic benefit of $ 84 billion.

Poor countries with access to clean water and sanitation experience, according to a study to Sachs, faster economic growth than those without: the annual growth rate in poor countries with better access to clean water and sanitation is 3.7%, while similarly positioned countries without access, an annual growth of only 0.1%. According to the UN, investments in sanitation and drinking water have high returns. For every dollar invested, there is a projected return of 3-34 dollars in economic development. The economic losses caused by the lack of water and sanitation in Africa are estimated at $ 28.4 billion, representing about 5% of GDP.

About 70% of untreated industrial wastes in developing countries are discharged into the water where they contaminate the existing water resources further. According to a 2006 Septoff study, 500,000 abandoned mines in the U.S. cost $ 20 billion in management and restoration, and with many of these mines, the necessary duration of the management is still not in sight. According to UNEP, in 1996, chlorinated solvents, sometimes up to 10 km away from the source, were found in 30% of groundwater resources in 15 Japanese cities. For each unit of gold that is produced, a unit of mercury is emitted, about 1000 tons of mercury per year!

Another water contamination problem is the management in agriculture. In a comparison of pollution from domestic, industrial and agricultural sources in the coastal zone of the Mediterranean countries, agriculture was the leading source of phosphorus compounds and sediments. The nutrient enrichment, mostly by nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural runoff can deplete the oxygen and exhaust species with a higher oxygen demand, which in turn affects the structure and diversity of ecosystems.  

The most common chemical contamination of groundwater reservoirs worldwide is Nitrate1. The average nitrate concentration has increased since 1990 by an estimated 36% worldwide, with the worst values ​​in the Eastern Mediterranean and Africa, where the nitrate pollution has more than doubled. According to various surveys in India and Africa, 20-50% of the wells contain Nitrate1 values ​​higher than 50 mg / l, in some cases up to several hundred milligrams per liter.

By the excessive extraction of groundwater in specific regions, the groundwater is already saline, sometimes several kilometers away from the coasts. And in some regions groundwater reservoirs such as the Disi aquifer in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, a 30,000-year-old reservoir, 320 kilometers long and 500 meters deep, from which 90 million m³ of water are extracted per year, are so exhausted that by natural uranium deposits the water now radiates up to fifteen times higher than the limit values of the WHO.

Also to high concentrations of naturally occurring substances can have negative impacts on the aquatic flora and fauna. Oxygen-depleting substances, for example, can be both natural vegetative, such as leaves, and artificial chemicals. Other substances can produce a haze that blocks light and disrupts plant growth. The impurities, which lead to water contamination, include a wide range of chemicals, pathogens and various organic substances, and while many of the chemicals and substances are a natural occurrence, as for example, calcium, sodium, iron, uranium, etc., an overly high concentration can lead to a contamination of the water.

The basic drinking water supply and hygienic sanitation remains one of our biggest challenges. Contaminated water is a major cause of illness, death, human poverty and war, and the quality of the water disintegrates with frightening speed due to global population growth, progressive urbanization, land use, the increasing use of chemicals and drugs, and factors resulting from climate change. According to subsequent reports, the water supply per capita has declined since 1970 by more than a third, while the water consumption has doubled in the last 50 years. And, the quality of water decreases rapidly!

According to the Millennium Development Goals Report 2012, 783 million people or 11 percent of the world's population lacks access to clean drinking water, and according to the UN, over 2.7 billion people in 46 countries, more than a third of the world population, are without sanitary facilities and no sewage systems. Although the MDG drinking water target was reached five years earlier than planned, another 1.5 billion people in 56 other countries could soon be faced with the same situation in which there is no access to potable water any longer, especially in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa where even now, more than 40% of the people live without clean drinking water.

Diarrhea is the most common cause of illness and death, and 88 percent of the resulting deaths are due to a lack of access to sanitation facilities, together with inadequate availability of water for hygiene and unsafe drinking water. Around 2,000 children under five die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated drinking water and lack of sanitation facilities, with 24 percent of the deaths in India alone.

In 2010 alone, over 800,000 children died from diarrheal diseases caused by contaminated water. According to UNICEF, in the 2010-2011 cholera epidemic in Haiti alone, more than 500,000 illnesses and 7,000 deaths occurred. Overall, the number of cholera cases for the decade 2000-2010 increased by 130% and according to the WHO, the provision of modern medical facilities and clean drinking water could reduce diarrheal diseases by 90%.

According to UNICEF, about half the deaths of children under five, occur in just five countries: India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Pakistan and China. With the general water availability, Kuwait, the Gaza Strip and the United Arab Emirates are the worst affected. But water-rich countries are not spared. Unclean and polluted water can cause a number of diseases with serious consequences that often break out years after consumption of contaminated water.

Clean and healthy drinking water is a worldwide shortage and the situation of the water supply is getting worse rather than better, and the long-term effects of pollutants, drug residues and other chemicals on our bodies are not yet fully tested. The pollution of our drinking water is increasing at a phenomenal rate: lead detaches from pipes and fittings. Result: developmental disorders in children. City water is chlorinated. Result: cancer, hardening of the arteries, skin rashes, asthma, allergies, etc., Pesticides, pharmaceutical residues, chemicals, etc. increase the overall risk of cancer, and nitrates from sewage and fertilizers reduce the oxygen supply to the blood. Further effects of pollution of potable water include tooth loss and bone loss, can alter the human blood structure, antibiotic resistances in specific pathogens, embryonic abnormalities in humans and animals as well as the risk of infection by bacteria such as Legionella and E. coli.

Organic carbon compounds as well represent various problems: mineral oils, pesticides, solvents and chlorinated organic compounds whose faster effects are nausea, headaches and blindness, while the long-term effects on the body can cause cancer. Even "modern" industrial countries such as Germany and the U.S. are dealing with a lack of water quality. According to a study by the UNESCO about the global water quality, for example, Germany is number 57, the U.S., number 12, and Belgium, the EU's headquarters, on the last place in the world, which is largely due to pesticides and drug residues.

The world waters cover about 70% of the earth's surface and every chemical, waste and sewage at some point returns back to nature. Conclusion: It is the time to rethink!


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