Water pollution causes effects and solutions Upsc

Water Pollution Definition

The introduction (directly or indirectly) of substances or energy into the marine environment (including estuaries) results in deleterious effects to living resources, hazards to human health, a hindrance to marine activities” said United Nations, 1971.

Effects of Water Pollution

Water pollution adversely affects the health and life of man, animals, and plants alike. Polluted water is also harmful to agriculture as it adversely affects crops and soil fertility.

Pollution of seawater damages oceanic life. The effects can be catastrophic, depending on the kind of chemicals, concentrations of the pollutants.

The effects of water pollution are varied and depend on what chemicals are dumped and in which locations. Many water bodies near urban areas are highly polluted.

This is the result of both garbage dumped by individuals and dangerous chemicals legally or illegally dumped by manufacturing industries, health centres, and markets.

Death of aquatic animals

The main problem caused by water pollution is that it kills organisms that depend on these water bodies. Dead fish, crabs, birds and seagulls, dolphins, and many other animals often wind up on beaches, killed by pollutants in their habitat.

Disruption of food chains

Pollution disrupts the natural food chain as well. Pollutants such as lead and cadmium are eaten by tiny animals. Later, these animals are consumed by fish and the food chain continues disrupted at all higher levels.


The discharge of untreated and under-treated effluent contributes to severe ecological degradation.
The indiscriminate human activities such as open defecation, solid waste dumping, discharge of drainage water are responsible for the pathogenic bacteria water-borne diseases like Hepatitis-A, Typhoid, Malaria, Dysentery, Jaundice, Dengue fever, Viral fever, and worm infections.

Destruction of Ecosystems

Ecosystems can be severely destroyed by water pollution. Many areas are now being affected by careless human pollution, and this pollution is coming back to hurt humans in many ways.

Remedial measures to Control Water Pollution

  1. Comprehensive water management plan.
  2. Construction of proper storm drains and settling ponds.
  3. Maintenance of drain line.
  4. Effluent and sewage treatment plant.
  5. Regular monitoring of water and wastewater.
  6. Stringent actions towards illegal dumping of waste into the water bodies.

Types of Water Pollution

a. Surface Water Pollution

The poisonous or Hazardous things come in contact with the surface waters of river, lakes, oceans, etc and it gets mixed with water. This is called Surface water pollution.

b. Groundwater Pollution

Groundwater Pollution occurs if human-made things such as Chemical, Petroleum products, or wastes comes into contact with groundwater.

Also, the untreated waste gets leaked from Septic tanks from Homes, hotels, Industries, underground storage tanks with Chemical or Petroleum products, landfills which may contaminate the groundwater.

c. Microbiological Pollution

This kind of pollution happens when Water bodies get affected naturally by microbes such as viruses, bacteria, etc. When this water is consumed without treating its property it might cause illness in Humans, Animals, and also aquatic species.

d. Oxygen depletion Pollution

This Pollution is caused in the water bodies, when the oxygen levels in the water get reduced, due to the aerobic organisms dying and they are replaced by anaerobic micro-organisms. These anaerobic microbes are harmful to animals, aquatic species, and also to humans as they produce harmful toxins such as Ammonic and Sulfides.

Causes of Water Pollution

Causes of Water Pollution
Causes of Water Pollution By Doreen Mbalo – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gtzecosan/6975426427/in/set-72157629202806662, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36322132

There are several factors that water pollution and they are:

Discharge of sewage and wastewater

Sewage, garbage and liquid waste of households, agricultural runoff, and effluents from factories are discharged into lakes and rivers. These wastes contain harmful chemicals and toxins which make the water poisonous to aquatic animals and plants.

Dumping of solid wastes

The dumping of solid wastes and litter in water bodies causes huge problems.

Discharge of industrial wastes

Industrial waste contains pollutants like asbestos, lead, mercury, grease oil, and petrochemicals, which are extremely harmful to both people and the environment.

Discharge of industrial wastes

Industrial waste contains pollutants like asbestos, lead, mercury, grease oil, and petrochemicals, which are extremely harmful to both people and the environment.

Oil Spill

Seawater gets polluted due to oil spilt from ships and tankers while travelling. The spilt oil does not dissolve in water and forms a thick sludge polluting the water.

Acid rain

Acid rain is the pollution of water caused by air pollution. When the acidic particles caused by air pollution in the atmosphere mix with water vapour, which results in acid rain.

Global warming

Due to global warming, there is an increase in water temperature as a result aquatic plants and animals are affected.


Eutrophication is an increased level of nutrients in water bodies. This results in the bloom of algae in the water. It also depletes the oxygen in the water which negatively affects fish and other aquatic animal populations.

Water pollution causes global warming

Water pollution and global warming are two distinct environmental issues with separate causes and consequences. While water pollution can have various negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems and human health, global warming refers to the long-term increase in Earth’s average temperature due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The primary cause of global warming is the excessive emission of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, mainly through human activities like burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes.

However, it is important to note that there can be indirect connections between water pollution and global warming. For example, certain types of water pollutants, such as certain industrial chemicals and agricultural runoff, can contribute to the generation of greenhouse gases.

Furthermore, pollution in the form of aerosols and particulate matter can have both cooling and warming effects on the climate system, depending on their composition and distribution in the atmosphere.

To address both water pollution and global warming, it is crucial to adopt sustainable practices and policies that reduce the emission of pollutants, promote conservation and protection of water resources, increase reliance on renewable energy sources, and encourage responsible waste management.

By addressing these issues holistically, we can work towards a healthier and more sustainable planet for future generations.

Solution of water pollution

Water pollution is a pressing environmental issue that requires collective efforts to find solutions. Here are some measures that can help address and prevent water pollution:

  1. Improve wastewater treatment: Ensuring that wastewater from industries, households, and agriculture is properly treated before being discharged into water bodies can significantly reduce pollution levels. Implementation of advanced treatment technologies and regular monitoring can help in this regard.
  2. Implement strict regulations: Governments should enforce strict regulations and standards for industries, agricultural practices, and waste disposal. This includes setting limits on the discharge of pollutants, promoting sustainable farming practices, and penalizing those who violate environmental regulations.
  3. Promote sustainable agriculture: Encouraging farmers to adopt sustainable agricultural practices, such as organic farming and responsible use of fertilizers and pesticides, can help reduce chemical runoff into water bodies.
  4. Reduce plastic pollution: Plastic pollution is a major contributor to water pollution. Implementing measures to reduce plastic consumption, promote recycling, and properly manage plastic waste can prevent it from entering water bodies.
  5. Protect and restore wetlands: Wetlands play a crucial role in filtering pollutants and preserving water quality. Protecting existing wetlands and restoring degraded ones can help in reducing water pollution.
  6. Promote public awareness: Educating the public about the impacts of water pollution and the importance of responsible water use can bring about behavioral changes. This can include promoting water conservation, proper waste disposal, and reducing the use of pollutants in households.
  7. Encourage green infrastructure: Implementing green infrastructure solutions, such as rain gardens and permeable pavements, can help in managing stormwater runoff and reducing the amount of pollutants entering water bodies.
  8. Invest in research and innovation: Supporting research and development efforts to find innovative and sustainable solutions for water pollution can lead to new technologies and practices that can effectively address the issue.

It is important to prioritize the protection and conservation of our water resources for the well-being of both ecosystems and human populations. By implementing these solutions and working together, we can make a significant impact in reducing water pollution.

* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.
%d bloggers like this: