Water Contamination as an Important Environmental Issue Essay

We are living at a time of rapid scientific and technological progress, which is accompanied by an ever increasing consumption of the world’s natural resources. Such vital sources of life as air, water, minerals as well as flora and fauna are being wasted and destroyed. The fact that we ruin the world we live in becomes more and more evident as far as the environment is being polluted every day. The contamination of water, air and soil gradually ruins nature, while the permanent growth of earth population leads to the reduction of natural resources. Thus, we see that mankind is its own enemy and it is high time to realize this.

The problem of water contamination is acute nowadays. Especially it concerns drinking water, which is essential in our everyday life. It is a well-known fact that a person cannot live without water and needs to consume about two liters every day. But what to do if water becomes more a source of a large number of diseases than a source of life?

In the context of rapid development of industry, the amount of wastes dumped into water sources increase with a great speed. Underground waters are also polluted, getting harmful substances and bacteria from the contaminated soil. Thus, it is evident that contamination of water is closely connected with the pollution of any sector of the environment. Water contamination of lakes and reservoirs is even more dangerous as there the water is still, which creates favorable conditions for the bacterial growth and increases the pollution level, whereas in rivers it is decreased due to the flow.

People’s health is under the permanent threat because of drinking water. The researches showed that drinking tap water people might get toxic materials, salts, metals, nitrates, which certainly affect the human organism. The scientists have noticed the augmentation of sick people in the recent years in comparison with previous decades.

Many of them see the cause of this event in the contamination of environment, particularly of water. Polluted water can cause infectious diseases, which is especially dangerous for children and pregnant women because of aftereffects.

However, in comparison with such illnesses as cancer, asthma, congenital heart disease, also caused by contaminated environment infectious diseases take the second place.

Besides direct influence on human health, water pollution has dramatic impact on flora and fauna of the Earth as it provokes distinction of species. Ocean dumping, which is widespread nowadays, has far more ruinous consequences.

Hesitation between environmental protection and economic gain usually leads to the choice of the latter factor.

Dumping of toxic wastes poisons thousands of cubic meters of water and gradually exterminates all living creatures in oceans. Another cause of water poisoning is the use of chemicals in agriculture and housekeeping.

The situation has become so appalling during the last century. In the beginning of the twentieth century, before the invention of man made chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, the number of diseases was much fewer.

The statistics shows that in the 1900s one person in fifteen could get cancer while today one in three can expect to be ill with cancer. We should admit that the invention of such a variety of chemicals has made our life much easier, taking into account that we have about 75 000 of chemical compounds in our disposal. However, people should apprehend distinctly the degree of harm done by all these chemicals as well as the fact that using all our household and agricultural substances we damage ourselves.

Fortunately this acute problem worries our society and is actively discussed in mass media in order to attract attention of as many people as possible. Several sources examining this problem are going to be considered in the paper.

The first one is an academic source. It is an article Drinking-Water Nitrate, Methemoglobinemia, and Global Burden of Disease: A Discussion written by Lorna Fewtrell, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. In the article the author discusses the problem of water pollution with nitrates and its influence on the development of methemoglobinemia, which is the inability of blood to transport oxygen from lungs to organs. This article is a typical specimen of an academic resource. We notice it at once, reading the title, which comprises not widely known term methemoglobinemia. As well as the title the whole article abounds in chemical terms, detailed description of experiments, figures and formulas. Therefore, we can make a conclusion that this article is directed at specialists, those people who know the topic and perhaps investigate it themselves. This accounts for the usage of terms, tables, complex sentences and academic voice by the author. At the end of the article we see a list of references and information about the author. The article itself is divided into parts, arranged logically and suggesting the discussion of the current topic. The structure of the article contributes to clear statement of ideas and their explanation. Thus, we see that the author’s conclusion of the interdependency of nitrate polluted water and methemoglobinemia is grounded on numerous researches and experiments. Describing the symptoms of the disease and giving the results of her investigation, the researcher states that there is not direct relation between polluted water and the development of the considered disease, though nitrates in drinking water are one of the factors causing this illness.

In other words, we can say that this article is a kind of report about the held experiments.

Considering the second source, which is the article Oil and Water Don’t Mix by Jennifer Bogo, published in the magazine E, we immediately understand that this article belongs to popular sources and is aimed at average people.

The title should attract readers’ attention and make them read this article. The author discusses the problem of leaking oil tanks buried underground. Contamination of underground water is in the focus of this article. Jennifer Bogo considers the issue and tells the readers about the situation with oil tanks and their keeping in the country. She does not make any investigation or experiments. Being an associate editor of the magazine she only informs people about the current danger of underground water contamination and calls upon readers to be aware of it. Therefore at the end of the article the web-address of the governmental site where people can find more information about this problem. We see that this article is not structured and is rather a short commentary of the issue.

Another popular source of information, considered in this paper, is the article Can We Drink the Water We Live With written by Paul S. Mankiewicz and Julie A. Mankiewicz. Though this article is published in the magazine Whole Earth and as well as the above mentioned one is aimed at average people, it is very similar to an academic one by its structure and language. The authors of the article cover a wide range of questions concerning water pollution, discussing the causes of water poisoning and the ways out of this problem. The article embraces such polemical issues as environment protection in the context of economic development and the degree of water treatment control.

As well as the author of the article Oil and Water Don’t Mix, Paul and Julie Mankiewicz overview the situation and warn the readers about the danger. They structure the article logically so that the readers could estimate the situation. Also they add related articles, which can help people to analyze the problem and make their own conclusions. However, again they do not make any their mown researches, being journalists and not scientists.

If to consider the forth source of information, which is a visual media source, we can definitely say that it is the most impressive one. It is a video Water Pollution Final retrieved from www.youtube.com, which is devoted to the problem of water contamination. In fact, it is a slide show, which presents contrast images of nature and polluted areas. Mary Gotllieb-Hollis and Dan Silverman, the authors of the video, start with general facts about water and the rate of its pollution and end with the solutions of this problem at all levels. Their slogan Think Global, Act Local makes us think over this issue. The combination of inscriptions and pictures impresses on, as vivid photos alternate.

The main aim of the authors is not only to draw people’s attention to the problem, but to make them act. In contrast with all mentioned above sources, only this video actively appeals people to solve the problem. In my opinion, due to its vividness, clarity and simplicity, it achieves the goal set by the authors. In general, people are always more attracted and impressed by visual effects as they save in people’s memory and shape their opinion better that read information.

Having analyzed three different types of sources, we can say that the problem of environment protection and water pollution is actively discussed in media. Academic, popular and visual sources under consideration are united by one topic the influence of contaminated water, particularly drinking water, on people’s health. However, all these sources are directed at different kinds of audience. Academic articles are based on researches and comprise a large amount of terms and tables, which are meant for those who know the subject. Popular sources are written for average people and their task is usually to inform people and to attract their attention. Almost the same function is fulfilled by visual sources, such as advertisements, films or videos. Their impressiveness is more evident due to visual impact on people.

All things considered, the problem of water contamination cannot be left as it is. Nowadays it requires a complex approach and a set of solutions. As it is not the problem of one country but of the entire world, people and especially governing bodies all over the world should realize the urgency of this issue and take measures.

Water covers 70 % of the planet and is our source of life, at least it has always been. Today we should think several times before drinking tap water. Poisoned water kills people every day, causing incurable diseases and slowing down the development of children. Containing heavy metals, nitrates, chlorines and other chemicals, water shortens our life and what is more appalling, it ruins lives of children. According to certain researches, the content of arsenic and fluoride in water causes slow children’s mental development and growth, while lead in water provokes high rate of diseases.

Unfortunately, though today laws are passed and different kinds of activities are initiated, few of them give the result and really reduce water pollution. Because of rapid industrial development and race for economic gain, people do not hesitate to dump industrial waste and sewage to water sources, thus destroying their microflora. A great amount of factories are not equipped with special filters for sewage treatment. We dump wastes in the oceans as if they are somewhere outside our planet and will never prove useful to us; we do not pay attention to leaking oil tanks as if they are not buried in our gardens and not poison our soil and water; we throw away litter everywhere and are surprised to see littered streets or forests. Perhaps, it is high time to remember that the world we live in is ours and we should at least try to save it for our children.

Water contamination is just an issue out of many others. We should remember that soil and air are also poisoned equally with water. The pollution of environment gradually destroys us and soon it might be too late to do anything.

Eventually, as Benjamin Franklin said We know the worth of water, when the well is dry.

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