Air, Water & Soil: Water Pollutants, Properties of Water, Organic and Inorganic Chemical Pollutants

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  • Water is the basic requirement of all living organisms.

  • It is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and colorless chemical substance,

  • Chemical reactions inside the living cells occur due to water as the medium.

  • It covers 71% of the Earth’s surface. Oceans, seas, rivers, lakes are the major sources of water.

  • In atmosphere it is found as vapour and in snow, glaciers, etc.

  • Water is responsible for flushing out toxins and wastes from the human body thereby regulating the body temperature.

Properties of Water

Properties of Water

Properties of Water

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Organic Chemical Pollutants

  • Organic chemical pollutants including oil, gasoline, pesticides, and organic solvents.

  • Industrial discharge and runoff from farms and urban areas are the sources of these pollutants.

  • These pollutants degrade the water quality.

  • Harmful health effects are cancer, damage the central nervous system and cause birth defects in humans, etc.

Inorganic Chemical Pollutants

  • These include toxic metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, etc.

  • Industrial discharge, chemicals in household wastewater and seepage from municipal dumps are the major source.

  • Harmful effects are cancer and birth defects, can also affect aquatic life, plant damage and metal corrosion.

Oxygen Depleting Wastes

  • This includes animal manure in feedlot and farm runoff including the urban sewage.

  • These wastes are consumed by anaerobic bacteria and their excessive growth can deplete water of dissolved oxygen.

  • Eutrophication and death of oxygen consuming aquatic animals may be caused.

Plant Nutrient Pollutants

  • These pollutants are found in urban sewage, runoff from farms and gardens including household water.

  • Excessive algae growth is caused due to too much plant nutrients in water.

  • Eutrophication in the lakes and ponds is caused due to the subsequent loss of dissolved oxygen.

Radioactive Materials

  • Ionizing radiation can cause cancers, especially in the thyroid and bone.

  • These materials me get introduced into food chain through plants.

  • Further they become incorporated in body tissues of humans and animals.

  • For e.g. iodine-131 and strontium-90 which are found in nuclear power plant effluents.

Thermal Pollution

  • This is also known as Thermal enrichment.

  • Disposal of heated industrial wastewater or water from the cooling towers of nuclear power plants.

  • Dissolved oxygen may get depleted due to the increased temperature of the water thereby exceeding the range of tolerance of some aquatic species and disrupting the local ecosystem.

  • The amounts of infectious agents, oxygen-depleting wastes, inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals, and plant nutrients can be reduced by processing water in treatment plants.

  • Other ways of reducing the chemical release in the environment.

    • Bans and restrictions on chemicals.

    • For e.g. DDT and hexavalent chromium compounds.

Water Borne Diseases

Water Borne Diseases

Water Borne Diseases

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