7 Water Pollution Facts that Have Us Worried

Almost every form of life depends on water. From the smallest insect all the way up to humanity. Even plants need water to live. Water isn’t just about drinking either. It’s also what provides for food that every form of life needs.

This importance should be understood when considering the following water pollution facts. These sobering items impact almost every aspect of one’s life. And as we examine them, one should consider what might safeguard against it.

7. Crustaceans in the New York Water Supply

Bugs are an easy way to scare people. But the object of so much disquiet and fear might be closer than people think. People in New York became understandably upset by the news that they’d been drinking bugs for years.

Some people decided to take a closer look at the New York drinking water. And they found vast amounts of microscopic crustaceans. It’s an issue that’s heavy on the yuck factor. But it raises some other concerns. In particular some people need to avoid shellfish.

But people are more concerned with the overall implications. Finding a fairly benign but unknown microorganism in the New York water supply suggests other possibilities. One can easy see how easy pathogenic organisms could sneak in as well.

6. Flint’s Water Crisis

Tap water in a Flint hospital

Contaminated tap water in a Flint hospital.

Many people only became aware of water issues after hearing about the Flint water crisis. It was such a significant event that people began wondering about other water pollution facts. The city changed their water supply system in the hope of saving money. But instead they ended up with water tainted by toxic levels of lead.

It drives home some important water pollution facts. One should remember that it took years for anyone to notice the problem. Despite the severity, official action took far too long. This drives home the importance of safeguarding water quality. One needs to ensure water never even has a chance to become so polluted.

5. 40% of Lakes in the US Are too Polluted for Fishing or Swimming

People often find themselves taken aback by the numbers seen in various water pollution facts. Here, one can see that a full 40% of lakes in the US are too polluted for fishing or swimming. Those numbers are high enough to cause more than a little concern.

If a lake shows this level of contamination than it’s essentially a danger in almost any respect. When it’s unsafe for humans than even animals which can still live within it are at significant risk. And animals drinking from it move that risk into other parts of the overall ecological landscape.

Thankfully, this fact also showcases that the stats can improve over time. Many water improvement efforts show impressive results. This level of pollution is treatable under the right circumstances.

4. More than 80% of Sewage in Developed Countries Goes Untreated

waste water

It’s easier to see how things get so bad when one looks at water treatment. The current stats have over 80% of raw sewage from developed countries going untreated. These water pollution facts showcase some good and bad about the current situation.

Industrial runoff is one of the larger underlying causes of both raw sewage and pollution. By reducing the overall impact of these processes one can create large improvements in water quality.

Almost anything which creates consumer goods will contaminate water to some degree. But larger changes to industries as a whole stand a chance of bringing the numbers down.

3. 10% of American Beaches Don’t Meet Minimum Standards

Sometimes water pollution facts need extra consideration. When people hear that 10% of American beaches are too polluted to use they might not see the significance. But what people often forget is that these numbers are on the increase. The 90% of usable beaches aren’t necessarily 100% clean.

Instead, those beaches tend to show signs of pollution. But pollution at a level below critical marker points. Or in other words, it’s not unusable yet. Many of the beaches are on the tipping point and can easily fall into the unusable category.

2. Over 20,000 Abandoned Waste Sites in the US

Heavy metal contamination in Tar Creek

The effects of mining at Tar Creek Superfund site.

Sadly, waste control is only possible under certain conditions. Most importantly, waste control efforts need corporation from a site’s owner. But this highlights a surprising and disconcerting fact. Over 20,000 waste sites in the US have no active maintenance or ownership.

Abandoned waste sites are hazardous for a number of reasons. Containment efforts tend to decrease in overall effectiveness over time. As such, they usually worsen without active oversight. But most concerning, there’s nobody to even take action when that happens.

1. More Deaths from Contaminated Water than War

One water fact above any other should make people really take notice of the problem. People are rightfully concerned about war. It’s often held as the single worst thing that can happen to people in any given area. The toll it takes on people’s lives is inarguable.

But contaminated water results in more fatalities every year than war. And the ultimate reason for these large numbers comes from a combination of every other item on the list.

This cumulative effect is one of the most important facts to consider. The horrors of war are inarguable, but there’s little anyone can do to stop it. But water pollution is something everyone can have some measure of impact on. And by doing so it’s possible to save a huge amount of lives.

The Bottom Line

All of these facts lead to a simple conclusion. Water pollution is one of the most significant risks to human life. It impacts health, natural beauty and the future of everyone on earth. But at the same time one can see that improvement is always possible.

That’s why discussing these issues is so important. People can weigh in with things they’ve done to help fight water pollution. In doing so readers can help each other help the world’s water supply.

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