When you think of problems in the world today, water pollution isn't one that would normally come up. In fact it is one of the worst problems in the world today. Water pollution, by definition, is the contamination of streams, lakes, underground water, bays, or oceans by any substances harmful to living things. All living things contain it, live in it, and most need it to survive, so water pollution is a big problem, if not the biggest. If severe, the pollution can kill off birds, fish, and any animals that use the water source. In some cases even killing an entire species.
Keeping the pollution to a minimal isn't the easiest thing in the world to do. The major water pollutants are chemical, biological, or physical materials that degrade water quality. Pollutants can be classed in to eight categories, each of which presents its own set of hazards.
Petroleum products are one of the most toxic substances to the ecosystem. Oil and chemicals derived from oil get into the water mainly by means of accidental spills from ships, tanker trucks, pipelines, and leaky underground storage tanks. Many petroleum products are poisonous if ingested by animals, and spilled oil damages the feathers of birds or the fur of animals, often causing death.
Pesticides and herbicides are toxins that are used to kill of unwanted animals and plants. These may be collected by rainwater runoff and carried into steams, rivers, lakes, and even into the ocean. More than 14 million Americans drink water contaminated by with pesticides. Nitrates, a pollutant often derived from fertilizer runoff, can cause methemoglobinemia in infants, a potentially lethal form of anemia that is also called blue baby syndrome.
Heavy metals, such as copper, lead, mercury, and selenium are another group of toxins that pollute the water as well as the rest of the environment. The source of many of these pollutants are industries, automobile exhaust, mines, and even natural...
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