Water Pollution- Definition, Sources, Causes, Effects Prevention and control

Water is the most important natural resource. It is vital for the maintenance of all forms of life and vegetation. We depend on water for the irrigation industry, domestic needs, drinking purposes for sanitation, and disposal of waste.

Our water bodies are ponds, lakes, seas, rivers, and oceans which have become polluted due to industrial development and urbanization.

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The topic of today’s article is all about Water Pollution. In this article, We will go through the various aspects of Water pollution including Definition, Sources, Causes, Effects Prevention and control, and more.

If you are ready to get in then, Let me start the journey of this water pollution with you.

So, Let’s dive into the mainstream-

Water pollution

Water Pollution-

Definition of water pollution-

 “The contamination of water with soluble sewage and industrial waste is called water pollution.”

“Water pollution may be defined as an alteration in physical, chemical and biological properties of water may cause harmful effects on human and aquatic life.”

Water pollution is defined as a natural or induced change in the quality of water which renders it unsuitable or dangerous as regards food, human and animal, health, agriculture, fishing, or leisure pursuits.

Water pollution refers:

  • Deteriorate the physical, chemical, and biological quality of water.
  • Causes harmful effects on man, animals, and vegetation and also the quality of the environment due to natural and human activities, etc.

Sources of Water Pollution-

There are two main sources of water pollution as follows:

  1. Natural sources
  2. Man-induced sources

1. Natural Sources-

Natural sources of water pollutants include soil erosion, volcanic eruption, landslides, coastal and cliff erosion, floods, and the decomposition of plants and animals.

2. Man-induced sources-

Man-induced sources of water pollutants include industrial development, urbanization, agricultural sources, and cultural sources.

Here are some other sources of water pollution given below-

The other main sources of water pollution are:

  • Sewage and other waste in cities.
  • Industrial effluents and waste products.
  • Agricultural discharge, chemical fertilizers used.
  • Thermal power plants and nuclear plants waste.

sign of water pollution

Causes of Water Pollution-

The causes of water pollution vary and may be both natural and anthropogenic. However, the most common causes of water pollution are anthropogenic ones including:

  1. Agriculture runoff
  2. Stormwater runoff
  3. Leaking sewer lines
  4. Mining activities
  5. Foundries
  6. Burning of fossil fuels
  7. Leaking Landfills
  8. Animal waste
  9. Global warming
  10. Marine Damping

1. Agriculture Runoff-

In the Agriculture field excess presence of fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, and other pollutants in water bodies such as lakes.

The usual effect of this type of pollution consists of algae growing in affected water bodies. This is a sign of increased nitrates and phosphates in water that could be harmful to known health.

2. Stormwater Runoff-

The Stormwater runoff Carries various oils, petroleum products, and other contaminants from urban and rural areas.

3. Leaking Sewer Lines

Leakage of sewer lines is the main cause of water pollution.

Trihalomethanes as well as contaminants in groundwater end up contaminating surface water too. Discharge of chlorinated solvents from dry cleaners to sewer lines is also a recognized source of water pollution and harmful solvents.

4. Mining Activities

Mining activities involve crushing rocks that usually contain many trace metals and sulfides. The leftover material from mining activities may easily generate sulfuric acids in the presence of precipitation water. 

5. Foundries

Foundries have direct emissions of metals Hg, Pb, Mn, Fe, Cr, and other particulate matter into the air.

6. Burning of fossil fuels

The emitted ash particles usually contain toxic metals. Burning will also add a series of oxides including carbon dioxide to air and respectively water bodies.

7. Leaking Land Fills

Leaking landfills may pollute the groundwater below the landfill with a large variety of contaminants.

8. Animal Waste

Contribute to the biological pollution of water streams. 

9. Global Warming

An increase in the earth’s temperature due to the greenhouse effect results in global warming. It increases the water temperature and results in the death of aquatic animals and marine species which later results in water pollution.

Related Read: Global Warming – Definition, Causes, Effects, Control And Prevention

10. Marine Dumping-

The garbage produced by each household is in the form of paper and aluminum. rubber, glass, plastic, and food are collected and deposited into the sea in some countries.

It is the cause of water pollution.

Effect of Water Pollution-

Humans have established communities and flourished around sources of clean drinkable water since the beginning of time.

It is vital to our survival. Waterborne diseases account for the deaths of 3,575000 people a year. In infections, diseases can be spread through contaminated water.

Effect of Water Pollution on Human Health includes some of these waterborne diseases- typhoid, cholera, paratyphoid fever, dysentery, jaundice, and malaria.

Chemicals in the water also have negative effects on our health. Some of them are-

  • Pesticides
  • Nitrates
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Fluorides
  • Petrochemicals


Pesticides can damage the nervous system and cause cancer because of the carbonates and organophosphates that they contain.


Nitrates are especially dangerous to babies that drink formula milk. It restricts the most of oxygen in the brain and cause the “blue baby” syndrome.


Lead can accumulate in the body and damage the central nervous system.


Arsenic causes liver damage, skin cancer and vascular diseases.


Fluorides in excessive amounts can make your teeth yellow and cause damage to the spinal cord.


Petrochemicals even with very low exposure can cause cancer.

Some other Health risks associated with polluted water-

  • Health risk associated with polluted water includes different diseases such as respiratory diseases, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Contaminated water has large negative effects on those women who are exposed to chemicals during pregnancy.
  • Nitrogenous chemicals are responsible for cancer.
  • Poor quality water destroys crop production and infects our food which is hazardous for aquatic life and human life.
  • Heavy metals, especially iron, and heavy metals especially iron affect the respiratory system of fish. An iron clogs into fish gills and it is lethal to fishes when these fishes are eaten by humans leading to major health issues.
  • Fever, abdominal pain, nausea, and headache are major symptoms of diarrhea. Diarrhea comes from polluted water.
  • Hepatitis is a viral disease caused by contaminated water and infects the liver, jaundice, loss of appetite, fatigue, discomfort and high fever are symptoms of hepatitis. Polluted water is the main reason for this disease.

Prevention and Control of Water Pollution-

Control of water pollution requires several remedial measures and central water control Acts.

The following measures are suggested to control water pollution:

  1. Maintaining the stability of the ecosystem
  2. Reutilization and recycling of waste
  3. Removal of water pollutants

1. Maintaining stability of the ecosystem-

It is the most scientific method to control and prevent water pollution. The basic principles are the reduction in waste input.

Thus water pollution is controlled at the source. Several methods biological as well as physical can be used to restore species diversity and maintain ecological balance in the water bodies.

2. Reutilization and Recycling of Waste-

The various types of waste include industrial effluents and pollutants which may be reutilized. The carbon waste is reused to generate cheaper fuel gas and electricity.

Efforts are being made in the development of suitable technology for wastewater so that it can be utilized in agriculture and prepare some useful products.

3. Removal of Water Pollutants-

There are various types of pollutants present in water bodies which can be removed by suitable methods e.g. absorption, electrolysis, ion exchange, and reverse osmosis.

This process in used for purifying water from sewage. Solar power can also be used for cleaning up polluted water cheaply.


Wrapping Up-

This is all I have for Water Pollution. I hope you have found your desired information from this article.

If so, Consider sharing this blog post with needed ones and bookmark Engineer Rail for further convenient readings.

Till then take care of yourself and your loved ones. I hope to see you in the next session.

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