Contaminated Drinking Water

1349 Words 6 Pages
Covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface and comprising two-thirds of the human body, water is essential to the sustenance of life (CDC, 2016a). However, only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater (WHO, 2015). Due to the limited availability of freshwater, 663 million people in the world lack access to safe drinking water (WHO, 2015). Contaminated drinking water can contain pathogenic bacteria from human and animal waste, harmful metals, and dangerous chemicals from the improper disposal of industrial wastes. Water-related diseases affect more than 1.5 billion people each year and result in a global loss of $260 billion each year due to the lack of safe water and sanitation (WHO, 2015).
The majority of the Earth’s freshwater exists in frozen
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The hydrological cycle is the natural cycle in which water evaporates from the ocean and other bodies of water, accumulates as water vapor in clouds, and returns to the ocean and other bodies of water as precipitation (AWWA, 2009). Water that is not recharged by the hydrological cycle, such as groundwater, or sources that require a significant amount of time to recharge is characterized as non-renewable water (AWWA, 2009). Therefore, substantial withdrawal of non-renewable water can ultimately deplete these sources causing water scarcity (AWWA, 2009). Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet the demands of water usage within a region (WHO, 2015). Currently, water scarcity affects more than 40% of the global population and is projected to rise as the population increases (WHO, …show more content…
Suspended particles from wastewater releases can reduce the amount of sunlight penetrating the water; thus, disrupting the growth of photosynthetic plants and microorganisms (NRDC, 2016). Additionally, increased urbanization and agriculture can increase the presence of organic matter and nutrients in the water, stimulating excessive plant growth (NRDC, 2016). This increase in plant growth decreases the amount of oxygen in the water, suffocating fish and other aquatic organisms (NRDC, 2016). Meanwhile, industrial waste impacts the ecosystem by interfering with the reproductive functioning of marine life (NRDC, 2016). Toxins from the environment can also bioaccumulate within aquatic organisms; thus, contaminating the food chain, as manifested in Minamata disease (NRDC,

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