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Water Pollution – Definition, Causes, Prevention

Last Updated : 30 Nov, 2021
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We can survive for some time without food, but we cannot survive even for some minutes without air. This easy fact tells us how important fresh air is to livings. It is well known that air is a mixture of a variety of gases. By volume, about 78% of the mixture is nitrogen and about 21% is oxygen. Carbon dioxide (CO2), argon, methane, ozone, and water vapour are also present in very small amounts. When air is contaminated by unsought substances that have a harmful result on the living and also the non-living organism, it’s remarked as air pollution.

Air Pollution

The substances which contaminate(add impurities) the air are called Air pollutants. Sometimes, these substances may come naturally like smoke and dust from forest fires or volcanic eruptions. Pollutants are mostly added to the atmosphere by human activities. The sources of air pollutants are multi factories, automobiles, power plants, and burning of firewood and waste. Vehicles produce high levels of pollutants like carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NO), and smoke. Incomplete burning of fuels such as petrol and diesel produces harmful carbon monoxide gas. these are poisonous gases. such gases reduce the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood in our body. 

Fact to grasp: If the vehicles registered in Delhi state are lined up one after the other in a row, the total length would be nearly equal to the sum of the length of the longest rivers of the world i.e. Nile and Amazon!

Many big or small industries are also responsible for causing air pollution. Petroleum refineries are a major source of gaseous pollutants like Sulphur and nitrogen dioxide. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is produced by the combustion of fuels like coal in power plants. It can cause respiratory problems, including permanent lung damage or asthma. Other pollutants are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which are used in refrigerators, air conditioners (ACs), and aerosol sprays. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) damages the ozone layer of the atmosphere.  the ozone layer protects us from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun., these harmful gases lead to the ozone hole.

Various Measures to Reduce Air Pollution

  • Remove or lessen the number of pollutants before they are released into the atmosphere. air purify must fit in the exhaust of vehicles so that it leads to less pollution.
  • It is the duty of the state government and other focused agencies to monitor the quality of air. We can use this data to generate awareness about air pollution among friends and school students.
  • small drives can be organized by schools and institutes to aware students of the cleaning of the air, with a small contribution on our part can make a big difference in the state of the environment.
  • Instead of using personal automobiles daily to go for work one can use a bicycle or can use public transport which can improve quality of the air we can think that this is our task to do.
  • Do not use plastic bags which pollute the environment and can increase the heat on earth, by burning these wastes they produce harmful gases which lead to air pollution.

 Water Pollution

When harmful substances such as sewage, kitchen waste, toxic chemicals, silt, etc., get mixed with water, contaminate the water, and become polluted, this phenomenon is known as water pollution. The substances that pollute water are called water pollutants, and the pollution is called water pollution. 

Water pollutants are bacteria, parasites, fertilizers, plastics, faecal waste, Sewage, agricultural chemicals, and industrial waste are some of the major contaminants of water.

How does Water get Polluted?

  • Sewage that is untreated and effluents from cities and big industries are discharged into this river.
  • Rivers are used by many people for bathing and washing their clothes, also for bathing their cattle and other animals.
  • Cremation of dead bodies on the banks of the Ganges is a very old practice, and this practice leads to pollution of the river water.
  • Rivers are preferred for immersing flowers, idols, and many other residues of rituals and worships.
  • Many industrial towns and big cities are situated on the banks of this river, e.g. Kanpur.
  • There are about 4000 industrial units in Kanpur; which include fertilizer, chemicals, tanneries, and paint industries. these factories emit unwanted chemicals into this river.
  • weedicides such as Rampant, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers pollute river water and groundwater.

How to Prevent Water Pollution?

  • Direct discharge of untreated sewage in water bodies should be strictly prohibited/restricted.
  • Every state should have a sewage treatment plant government to initiate such projects like the government of India initiate Namami Gange to purify the Ganga river.
  • Human awareness about the harms of idol and flower immersion should be increased.
  • The crematorium method should be done far away from the fresh sources of water.

Potable Water

Potable water, which is fit for drinking. Potable water is water that is safe to drink or use for food preparation. 

The amount of drinking water required to maintain good health varies differently for different persons. Such conditions are age, environmental condition, level of work, etc.16 litres of water are needed for a person who worked in a hot climate, and a normal human must drink 10 to 12 glasses of water per day. 

Methods of Water Purification

  • It is a major duty of the municipality to treat industrial water before supplying drinking water to households.
  • One of the common methods for the purification of water is Filtration. Numerous sorts of filter area units are utilized in households.
  • Boiling is another common method of water purification. It kills the germs and bacteria in water.
  • The chlorination process also helps in killing the germs present in water. Chlorine tablets must distribute through the government.

Sample Problems 

Problem 1: Describe the ‘Green House Effect’ and name some greenhouse gases.


The greenhouse effect is a natural process that warms the Earth’s surface. When the Sun’s energy reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, some of the radiation reflects back to space, and the rest is absorbed and re-radiated by greenhouse gases. greenhouse gases are methane, carbon dioxide, ozone, nitrous oxide, etc.

Problem 2: What is the threat to the Taj Mahal?


Acid rain has one of the major threats to the beauty of the Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal is made up of various eye-catching marbles. When acid rains fall on the Taj Mahal or other monuments made of marble, Acid reacts with marble to form a powder-like substance that is then washed away by the rain and makes marbles decolourized. This phenomenon is known as marble cancer. Also, the particles emitted from the Mathura oil refinery established near Agra are leading to the yellowing of the marble of the Taj Mahal.

Problem 3: What are water cleansing agents that can be used in the home?


Baking Soda, Soap, Lemon, Borax, White Vinegar, Washing Soda or SAL Soda, Cornstarch all are effective water cleansing agents that can be used in a home.

Problem 4: What is Potable Water?


Potable water is that water that is safe for drinking and comes from surface and ground sources and is treated to levels that meet some standards of pure water. 

Problem 5: Define air pollutants with some examples.


The agents which contaminate the air of the atmosphere that agents are called air pollutants. e.g. Smoke, dust, carbon monoxide, lead, etc.

Problem 6: What are water pollutants and water pollution?


When some impurities are added to water and make it contaminated is known as water pollution. The substances which contaminate(add impurities) the water is called Air pollutants. e.g. bacteria, parasites, fertilizers, plastics, faecal waste, etc.

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