Presence of undesirable materials in water which is harmful for the human beings and plants is known as water pollution. Normal properties of the water can be changed by the presence of these foreign materials.
Causes of Water Pollution:
Pathogens are the bacteria and the other organisms that enter water from domestic sewage and animal excreta.
Human excreta contain bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Streptococcus faecalis. It causes gastrointestinal diseases.
The other major water pollutant is organic matter such as leaves, grass, trash, etc. They pollute water as a consequence of run off. Excessive phytoplankton growth within water is also a cause of water pollution. These wastes are biodegradable.
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
- It is defined as the amount of oxygen required by bacteria for the breakdown of the organic matter present in a certain volume of a sample of water.
- The amount of BOD in water is a measure of the amount of organic material in the water.
- Clean water has BOD value of less than 5 ppm.
- Highly polluted water could have a BOD value of 17 ppm or more.
- Industrial Wastes: Chemical reactions carried in the industrial units also pollute water to a great extent. For example, lead, mercury, nickel, cobalt etc. These chemicals give very bad effect to the groundwater and waterbodies are polluted due’ to the chemical reactions known as leaching.
- Pesticides: These are mostly chlorinated hydrocarbons, organophosphates and metallic salts etc. They dissolve in water to small extent and pollute it. Since all the pesticides are toxic in nature, they are injurious to both plants and animals.
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): These are the chemical compounds used as fluids in transformers and capacitors. These are released in atmosphere as vapours. They mix with rain water and thus contaminate the water.
- Eutrophication: The process in which algae like organisms reduce dissolved oxygen in water is called as eutrophication. It is harmful for aquatic life.