Main Water Pollutants (Examples)

The water contamination or Water pollution refers to the alteration of its chemical properties, usually a direct or indirect product of human activities, making it unsuitable for consumption by animals and humans, and even for recreational, industrial, agricultural and fishing use. For instance: hydrocarbons, radioactive waste, mining tailings.

There are numerous polluting sources that currently besiege rivers, seas and lakes, and even rainwater, and that unbalance the biological cycles that take place inside them, causing extinctions, mutations, migrations and irreversible ecological damage that, in turn, entail other environmental damage secondary.

There are numerous initiatives to combat water pollution, but they are insufficient for the daily injection of polluting elements that we submit to the planet.

Water pollutants

  1. Hydrocarbons. Not only the large and dramatic oil spills, outright ecological tragedies that kill animals, plants and microorganisms alike, but also the small emissions of diesel, diesel, oils and other petroleum-derived fuels used in maritime automotive transport, make people feel its presence in the chemical balance of the waters, from the introduction of harmful substances that are difficult to eliminate by the ordinary biotic chains of the seas.

oil hydrocarbon spill

  1. Urban discharges. All the liquids that we dispose of from our houses through the drainage will, sooner or later, enter the rivers or the ocean. In this sense, our daily way of life throws them tons of organic waste, industrial solvents, chemical cleaners and consumer oils, which often unbalance the food chain of the seas, promoting the proliferation of certain species over others, or whose decomposition deoxygenates the water, preventing the reproduction of the weakest species.
  2. Construction materials. The construction and cement industries often dump waste materials into the water (through cleaning or waste disposal routines), which leads to the suspension of toxic elements (metals, dense powders) in the water, altering little lowering their pH levels and making them less compatible with life.
  3. Agricultural substances and wastes. Much of the waste material from the agricultural and livestock industry is dumped into rivers, which lead to the sea. This includes organic matter, leftover compost, and often pesticides, pesticides, and agrochemicals of a toxic nature, which leach into groundwater or are washed away by rain and then poison the water. Many of these substances are then found inside fish and shellfish that we gladly eat.

pesticides soil contamination

  1. Discharges from power plants. The waters taken by electricity generation plants are often at temperatures other than those of the sea or rivers. Once these waters return to their course, the total temperature of the environment varies, causing ecological damage to the species that depend directly on the temperature of the water, and indirectly on those that feed on them.
  2. Mining tailings. Often the result of illegal mining activities and therefore difficult to control, the spillage into rivers of mercury and other substances used in the extraction of precious minerals has a serious effect on the local fauna and flora, in addition to which leads to destruction. soil and indiscriminate logging, activities common to this illegal industrial area.
  3. Solid commercial waste. Much of the material we discard goes to the sea or lakes, where it becomes a harmful agent for the local fauna and flora, due to its chemical or physical properties. Metals, for example, oxidize in water and react by altering its chemical balance, while plastic, difficult to biodegrade, accumulates and often enters the body of fish, turtles and birds, causing death. .

plastic polluting water

  1. Radioactive waste. The big point against nuclear power plants is that they generate radioactive material that is highly harmful to life in all its forms and that it can only be contained in lead barrels. Many of them are then discharged into the water in deep seas or ocean trenches, where the lead oxidation cycle releases them before their active life has ended, spreading radioactivity to all local species.
  2. Industrial chemical waste. Most of the manufacturing and material procurement processes by-produce substances that are then discharged into the river or lakes, where it reacts in uncontrolled and unforeseen ways with local habitats, and can even indirectly contaminate the inhabitants with highly carcinogenic substances. toxic or simply destroying the local chemical balance.

Industrial water pollution.

  1. Substances that produce acid rain. The pollution of the air and water leads to the phenomenon of acid rain, in which toxic substances accompany the water in its cycle or are integrated into it in the atmosphere and then precipitate together with the raindrops, deteriorating the health of local and often population species.