Research Paper on Water Pollution

Topics: Water pollution, Water quality, Waterborne diseases Pages: 7 (2426 words) Published: March 17, 2011
Comprising over seventy percent of the Earth's surface, water is undeniably the most valuable natural resource. Life on Earth would be non-existent without water because it is essential for everything on our planet to grow. The human body is composed of 50-80% water. Blood and muscles contain significant amounts, and approximately 95% of the brain is water. All body systems and organs need water to function properly, and will shut down without it. Most of the chemical reactions that take place in our body need water as their medium. We can live without food for a few weeks, but can survive only a few days without water. It's essential because unlike other nutrients, water isn't stored in the body. Typically, everyday, we lose around 10 cups of water, just living; urinating, perspiring and breathing. All organisms contain water; some live in it; some drink it. Plants and animals require water that is pure, and they cannot survive if their water is loaded with toxic chemicals or harmful microorganisms. Yet even though humans recognize this fact, the population has disregarded it by polluting the rivers, lakes, and oceans of the world. Consequently, we are harming our planet. In addition to organisms vanishing due to lack of polluted water, the drinking water has become greatly affected, as has the population's ability to use water for farming and recreational purposes. We have lived on this planet for millions of years and we have come to rely on its ability to support and sustain human and animal life indefinitely. The world survives by way of an ecosystem and that system is the core of all living things. For many years now scientists have warned that our cavalier attitude toward preservation of the eco system will cause it to begin breaking down, however, their warnings often fell on deaf ears. In order to combat water pollution, we must understand the causes of water pollution, and ways in which water pollution can be prevented. “The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future” (Marya Manes, pg. 18). Manes brilliantly describes the mistakes of humans all over the world in the few choice words she used. The crisis of water pollution is a global problem that is often payed attention to when it is too late. If problems were addressed in a timely manner, many of these issues would have been diminished before we became labeled in a “state of crisis”. “We face a water crisis that threatens to limit economic growth, undermine living standards, endanger health and jeopardize national security. We live on the edge of water bankruptcy” (George H. Buehler, pg. 11). I believe water bankruptcy is near. Although water is everywhere and looks clean, contamination is lying on the surface. It’s a shame America, the nation of opportunities, isn’t doing its part to safeguard our future. The quality of drinking water has been gaining a great deal of attention lately, especially as our water delivery infrastructure continues to age. Particles of various metals such as lead and copper, and other substances like radon and arsenic could be entering our drinking water supplies. Spilled-on-the-ground hydrocarbon-based substances are also leaking into water supplies and pose a significant hazard. Insecticides are another common weapon that contributes to pollution. “These chemicals are absorbed in the earth, and then run off into water- lakes or rivers and streams, and eventually into the oceans. The most recent catastrophe on Chesapeake Bay which contaminated almost the entire shrimp and scallop crop was presumed to have been caused by a chemical spill which began a "fouling" process that was like a fatal domino effect. From the pristine water of the Bay it then ran off into nearby farmland, not only damaging crops, but also polluting one of the largest poultry producing areas in the country" (Rachel Carson, pg. 49). However, despite this obvious...

Bibliography: Patrick, Ruth. Groudwater Contamination in the United States. 2nd ed. University of Pennsylvania, 1987.
Buehler, George H. The Water Crisis. New York: Norton, 1966.
Manes, Marya. More in Anger. Littlehampton Book Services Ltd, 1972.
Sinderman, Carl J. Ocean Pollution: Effects on Living Resources and Humans. CRC Press, 1995.
Adler, Robert. The Clean Water Act 20 Years Later. Island Press, 1993.
Gross, Joel M. Clean Water Act: Basic Practice Series. American Bar Association, 2006.
Boyd, James. “ The New Face of the Clean Water Act”, 2002
Johnson, Kristi
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