Water Degradation in the Pacific

Topics: Water, Water supply, Water resources Pages: 5 (1529 words) Published: May 13, 2012
Discuss four major causes of environmental degradation experienced in your community. Also discuss four major reasons why It’s very important for us to protect and conserve our environments.Use relevant examples and pictures in your essay write up.| |

Fig. 1: A bar graph depicting the distribution of the world’s water.

Source http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/graphics/earthwheredistribution.gif Water is a very precious earthly resource that must be protected for the survival of the entire human race. In fact, according to the United States Geological Survey, only 3% of the world’s water is actually available as freshwater and only 0.3% is accessible for human consumption. This essay will unfold in two parts. Firstly, it will consider some of the main causes behind the degradation of hydrological resources. Then it will go into a number of reasons why we as people desperately need to safeguard our water resources.

Fig. 2: A diagram showing the process by which acid rain is formed.

http://simonmccormack.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/p0013033-acid-rain12.gif To begin with, the industrial sector in Fiji is one of the major causes of water pollution. The World Book Encyclopedia states that industries are the largest consumers of water. Further, many industries dispense harmful pollutants into water systems, which can eventually lead back into homes. In addition, the burning of fossil fuels creates pollutants such as sulphur and nitrogen oxides. These toxins lead to what is called acid rain2, which can poison water supplies, kill plants and harm animals. Therefore, there is a large amount of industrial waste generated by these activities, and this waste is polluting our water, among other things. Secondly, the increasing global demand for water is taking its toll on water supply. Shortages have begun to occur in various places all over the world, and with increments in the population, this problem may only be further compounded. In addition to increases in the population, water shortages can be attributed to the uneven distribution of rainfall. For example, according to The World Book Encyclopedia, south-eastern India can experience as much as 1,000 centimetres of rain, whereas Chile has dry spells lasting years.2 Therefore, water shortages are indeed a real problem, and as such it is important to conserve water resources. Fig. 3: A diagram describing the process of salt water intrusion.

Moreover, global warming and sea level rise are contributing factors to the degradation of water systems. This is especially prevalent in Pacific island countries, where many islands are in danger from sea level rise. One of the obvious problems that global warming poses to the water supply of the Pacific is salt water intrusion. Salt water intrusion is what happens when sea water seeps into the groundwater of low lying atolls and contaminates the water supply. In addition to salt water intrusion, due to the effects of El Niño, the climatic conditions of the islands will be severely compromised. Shifting rainfall patterns will result in some areas receiving excessive rainfall, and this may lead to an increased risk of tropical cyclones. On the other hand, El Niño weather patterns can lead to excessive drought and water shortage in some places. It is without doubt, then, that global warming is a powerful threat to the sustainable use of water. The final chief factor is this: water facilities in Fiji at the moment are in serious need of upgrading. The level of these facilities greatly affects the quality of the water delivered to households, businesses and other areas. In a statement to the Fiji Times, the spokesman of the Water Authority of Fiji, Joe Cava, urged people to pay their water bills. This is because the arrears are now reaching $36 million, and much of that money is needed to upgrade the current water supply...
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