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OUR MISSION - NOT A DROP OF SEWAGE IN GANGA IN THE RELIGIOUS BATHING AREA AT VARANASI

Water Pollution
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WHAT CAUSES WATER POLLUTION

There are many causes of Water Pollution-- some natural, some man-made. Great strides have been made in cleaning up our fresh water resources, but other problems persist, from massive hog farms which poison rivers in the American southeast, to the unregulated dumping of filth into India's Ganges River. Some of the major agents of fresh water pollution are given below. This list is by no means comprehensive.

 

Sewage


The run-off from human settlements along the banks of rivers contain human, animal and industrial waste. While the developed world can invest in and depend on sewage treatment plants to treat waste before discharging it into rivers, rivers in less developed countries run filthy, often serving as open sewers themselves. India is among such countries and the most glaring example is the river Ganga, which while flowing through one of the most densely populated areas on earth, absorbs millions of gallons of raw human, animal and industrial waste every day. This pollution increase the Biological Oxygen Demand and disrupt the aquatic ecosystems. The water has high fecal coliform count and is a source of water borne diseases like cholera and gastroenteritis.

 Animal waste 


Cattle and pig rearing activities generate enormous amount of nutrient-rich waste. This causes accumulation of virulent pfiesteria toxin in water masses. This toxin killed the fish in Neuse River of North Carolina by the hundreds of million. In humans, this toxin is known to cause breathing problems and cognitive impairment. "There are more pigs in North Carolina than people, and they are generating more waste than all the people in California," says Kevin Madonna, an official with Riverkeeper Inc. Unregulated dumping and seepage of hog waste into rivers is a particularly dangerous form of pollution in the United States.  

Fertilizers and Pesticides


Most of the chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides used in farming eventually end up in rivers. Fertilizers are rich in Nitrogen and Phosphorus, which causes a high Biological Oxygen Demand in the water. Severe depletion of oxygen chokes the life out of water and ultimately only anaerobic life-forms thrive. The area of  the Gulf of Mexico where the Mississippi flows into it has been declared a "dead zone" because of agricultural pollution. Pesticides, on the other hand, are long life toxins and can render water unfit for human or animal consumption.

Mercury 

All coal contains mercury, which is released into the atmosphere upon combustion of coal. This mercury finds its way into rivers and lakes and even ground water. Mercury while toxic to all is a serious health hazard for pregnant woman and infants. According to the National Wildlife Federation, coal-burning power plants in Ohio emit mercury into lakes, rivers and streams in Ohio and the Great Lakes region. Societies generating power from thermal power plants are at a great risk as compared to those depending on gas-turbines or hydroelectric power.

 

Click here for a guide on fresh water pollution

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