3. What is water pollution?
A pollutant is a substance or an object that is found in an environment to which it does not belong or that is present at such significant levels that it causes adverse effects.
Water pollution is the accumulation of various materials and products that negatively affects the life of humans and almost all other species. In a higher percentage is of anthropogenic origin. The contradiction is that the human being is the one who makes the water unsuitable for its own consumption, as well as for other animals, for use in industry, agriculture, fishing, and other activities.
Relationship between pollution and water scarcity
These two factors are closely related to each other, since each cubic meter of contaminated water is one cubic meter less for consumption, unless a sanitation process is subsequently carried out to convert it into drinking water, which is expensive and not viable in low-income countries. It is much cheaper to prevent pollution, which involves the education and awareness of consumers and polluters who use rivers and lakes as dumps for garbage and other wastes. It is also to consider the imposition of fines to those who pollute the waters.
The big water polluters
Industries are one of the biggest polluters of water, due to their voluminous generation of waste, much of which is discharged irresponsibly into the water. The river and maritime transport sectors are also big polluters, which tend to dump all kinds of waste into the water. Also are the tanker ships that leave their polluting trails in rivers and seas and in some cases produce large fuel spills.
Contamination by fracking of aquifers or underground streams
An aquifer is a volume of water that is housed under the surface of the Earth. It is found on all five continents. The total mass of the aquifers is greater than the visible water of lakes and rivers. The vital subsoil liquid is an important resource, providing one third of the world’s drinking water.
An aquifer can be polluted in a number of ways. One of them corresponds to fracking or hydraulic fracturing, an unconventional method of oil and gas extraction that requires vertical and horizontal drilling at great depths. The first commercial hydraulic fracturing was achieved as recently as 1998. Fracking is a technology highly questioned due to the enormous volumes of water used to drill each well and the possible contamination of aquifers, through the wide variety of chemicals used in the process. Also, as a side note, fracking prolongs the use of greenhouse gas emissions, contravening the Paris Agreement.