What You Don’t Know About Drinking Water Pollution

Drinking water pollution is a bigger problem than most people realize.
While drinking water filters and bottled water has become a staple in our society, most consumers still use unfiltered drinking water for cooking, filling pet water bowls and bottles, and for mixing powdered drink mixes.
Drinking water pollution is a big enough problem within our country to warrant the same vigilance as we give other health hazards.
There are numerous sources that pile up into serious contamination potential for all drinking water.
Whether your water i scoming from a well on your property or if you are using “filtered” city water sources, the chances that you have a problem with drinking water pollution is quite high.
Groundwater testing has shown that in any given area throughout the country as many as 200 variable contaminants have been detected. Long term exposure can create numerous health problems, including lead poisoning.
While not every single contaminant is destined to cause a serious health problem or even any health problem at all, you can not count on your local contaminants to be harmless.
Filtering helps to clear up a great deal of the usual drinking water pollution but what is much more effective and necessary is dealing with the direct sources of the water contaminants and cleaning up the environmental factors that are poisoning our drinking water.
By dealing with the direct sources of water contamination we can not only control our drinking water contaminants but we can also clean up the natural sources of water that house and provide life saving water for the wildlife of the natural environment.
Agriculture practices are one of the largest sources of groundwater contaminants. The chemical used in controlling bugs and other chemically based treatments run directly into the groundwater supply. Pesticides and poisonous agricultural raw waste can contaminate more than 40% of the surrounding groundwater.
Since groundwater contaminants run down with the gravitational pull, poisonous contaminants from agricultural practices can pollute drinking water miles away from its original source.
By teaching farmers and farming coops safer, more natural agricultural practices we can reduce one of the largest sources of drinking water contaminants and make the areas around farms a much healthier environment.
Another major contributor to drinking water pollution is urban run off. Another human based contribution that needs to be controlled at the source in order to save our drinking water supply.
Urban run off used to be considered a rather small contributor to the pollution problem in our drinking water because there was a very large contribution being made by construction and industrial wastes.
Yet with more stringent regulations controlling the pollutants associated with construction and industrial wastes, urban run off has reached a much higher place on the list of problematic situations contributing to the drinking water pollution problem.
When rain washes urban trash, chemicals, and pollutants from the structures and roadways of populated areas, there is no way for the water to filter itself on its way to the groundwater.
Since the pollutants run directly over pavement and other non-porous surfaces that have no filtering capabilities, and thus all pollutants will travel straight to the groundwater supply.
Everything from basic trash, cigarette butts, antifreeze, motor oil, gasoline, pesticides, and other daily use products are all contributing factors in groundwater contamination caused by urban run off. Practicing safer disposal practices of automobile chemicals, putting together trash clean up projects, and using environmentally safe household products can help cut down on urban run off pollutants.
Lead is one of the most concerning urban run off pollutants, as lead poisoning can cause learning problems, chronic emotional and health issues, and is non-reversible. Drinking lead contaminated water is a serious health problem. It does not matter if you live in the city, the country, or an upscale neighborhood, your drinking water can be laden with very dangerous levels of lead.
Lead based paints were outlawed due to their dangers, but older homes and buildings that are remodeled, improperly disposed of older electronics, and construction in older neighborhoods can release lead into the groundwater, creating a significant drinking water pollution hazard.
It takes the cooperation and the education of everyone to help clean up our biggest drinking water threats. The more environmentally friendly everyone becomes, the closer we get to finding cleaner drinking water and protecting our natural environment. Industrial and personal responsibility for our environment is the first and most significant step toward clean drinking water in the country in every community.

Water Pollution

Key Facts

  • "Water supplies are falling while the demand is dramatically growing at an unsustainable rate [, and] over the next 20 years, the average supply of water worldwide per person is expected to drop by a third. Over 1.5 billion people lack ready access to drinking water and, if current consumption patterns continue, at least 3.5 billion people — nearly half the world’s projected population — will live in water-stressed river basins in just 20 years.”( Water Facts 1).
  • "Asian rivers are the most polluted in the world, with three times as many bacteria from human waste as the global average. These rivers have 20 times more lead than those of industrialized countries"( Water Facts 1).
  • "Water is becoming scarce due to higher pollution levels and habitat degradation. Contamination denies as many as 3.3 billion people access to clean water supplies. In developing countries, an estimated 90% of wastewater is discharged directly into rivers and streams without treatment. Each year there are about 250 million cases of water-related diseases, with roughly 5 to 10 million deaths"(Water Facts 1).
  • “One liter of wastewater pollutes about eight liters of freshwater. An estimated 12,000 km3 of polluted water worldwide, which is more than the total amount contained in the world’s ten largest river basins at any given moment. Therefore, if pollution keeps pace with population growth, the world will effectively lose 18,000 km3 of freshwater by 2050 – almost nine times the total amount countries currently use each year for irrigation, which is by far the largest consumer of the resource” (Water Facts 1).

What is Water Pollution?

Water pollution contributes to the addition of pollutants or foreign substances to the water resources on earth. These contaminants have a detrimental effect on water quality as well as the harmful effects it can have on aquatic life and all living things.

 Pollution can be introduced to water from both point sources and diffuse sources. Point source pollution reaches a waterway at a localized area like a pipe discharge of man-made industrial waste and domestic sewage, while diffuse pollution takes place when impure and even natural substances seep into groundwater and surface water because of rainfall, runoff, soil erosion and soil infiltration. Point source pollution is a type of pollution that we are more directly capable of preventing, unlike diffuse pollution which we indirectly introduce into our environment. Our blatant ignorance and lack of concern is what keeps point source pollution from subsiding.

There are many different types of water pollution and all have different damaging effects on the environment. Though ethically it does not matter how the organisms die it just matters that they are dying and it is a direct result of human action. Heavy metals from industrial processes and other industrial waste can accumulate in nearby waterways. 

The toxins are stored in the fatty tissue of marine life such as fish and shellfish, and are then transferred to the rest of the food chain. Some of these toxins can also have detrimental repercussions on or completely hinder the reproductive success of marine life. Microbial pollutants from our sewage can introduce many infectious diseases that spread throughout the aquatic life and earthbound creatures by water. They can be responsible for an increase in the death toll of many species within the environment. Likewise, acid rain introduces sulfate particles into the water that can lower the pH causing it to be more acidic causing increase in the mortality rate. 

Organic matter and other nutrients cause an influx of algae that depletes the amount of oxygen within the water column. This phenomenon is eutrophication and can suffocate all oxygen-relying aquatic life. Finally, particles suspended within the water column can disrupt the photosynthetic process of many plants and other similar organisms by decreasing the amount of sunlight filtering through the water.

Contaminated Drinking Water

Are you consuming contaminated drinking water? Some water supplies that were once considered pure are now found to have contaminants. Drinking water impacts many human body functions. Considering that our bodies are almost two-thirds water, eliminating contaminated drinking water can be vital to your health.

Contamination in your drinking water, even small amounts of a chemical, can cause chronic health problems. Examples of potential health issues that can be caused by drinking contaminated water include cancer; liver and kidney damage; disorders of the nervous system; damage to the immune system; and birth defects. It has been reported that our drinking water today may contain more than 2,100 toxic chemicals. Neither earth's natural filtration process nor municipal water treatment is effective at removing these poisons.

The causes of tap water pollution are many, ranging from chlorine to pesticides, herbicides, and everything in between. In our contemporary society more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals bring added convenience and productivity to our daily lives, but at a very high price-drastic increases in risk of degenerative disease.

The tragic health effects of consuming these highly toxic chemicals can be magnified many times over for small children because their systems are more sensitive and still developing. The National Academy of Sciences issued a report in 1993 on this subject and stated, "children are not little adults; their bodies are less developed and simply incapable of detoxifying certain harmful compounds." So what is the answer to protecting yourself against drinking contaminated water?
Is it wise to entrust your health to bottled drinking water? A four-year study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reveals that bottled drinking water sold in the United States is not always pure and not necessarily cleaner or safer than most tap water.

The NRDC's study included testing of more than 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of bottled water. While most of the tested waters were found to be of high quality, some brands were significantly contaminated. About one-third of the waters tested contained various levels of unhealthy elements.

The best all around option to protect yourself against contaminated drinking water could be to purify your own tap water. A wide range of water filters, purifiers, and methods of water purification is available on the market today. In reality, there is no single filter or treatment that will eliminate 100% of every contaminant from your water. Many technologies target only a specific type of contaminant and may be completely ineffective against others.

Typically, most higher-end water purification systems use a combination of filter technologies to achieve the best results. However, it is important to choose a system that specifically targets the known or potential contaminants in your personal water supply.

Testing your water is the first step in determining the best form of water purification for your particular needs. This will ensure that the filtration system you choose has the capability to filter the toxins in your water.

Take charge of your health and begin now to ensure the water you're drinking is safe. Then join others in recognizing the importance of eliminating contaminated drinking water each year on March 22-World Water Day.

World’s Loveliest and Most Beautiful Beaches

Protect the environment for its beautiful beaches and no pollution!



water pollution in vietnam and Agent Orange

   The National Environmental Agency, a branch of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment, is responsible for environmental issues in Vietnam.
At the provincial level, the Departments of Science, Technology, and the Environment bear responsibility. Non-governmental organizations, particularly the Institute of Ecological Economics, also play a role. Urbanization, planning, industrialization, and intensive farming are having a negative impact on Vietnam’s environment. These factors have led to air pollution, water pollution, and noise pollution, particularly in urban and industrial centers like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. The most serious problem is waste treatment. Land use pressures have led to significant environmental problems, including severe deforestation, soil erosion, sedimentation of rivers, flooding in the deltas, declining fish yields, and pollution of the coastal and marine environment. The use of Agent Orange by the U.S. military in the Second Indochina War, or Vietnam War, (1954– 75) has had a lingering effect on Vietnam in the form of persistent environmental contamination that has increased the incidence of various diseases and birth defects.
    Agent Orange is the code name for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971.
A 50:50 mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, it was manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical. The herbicides used to produce Agent Orange were later discovered to be contaminated with TCDD, an extremely toxic dioxin compound. It was given its name from the color of the orange-striped 55 US gallons (210 L) barrels in which it was shipped, and was by far the most widely used of the so-called "Rainbow Herbicides".
During the Vietnam war, between 1962 and 1971, the United States military sprayed 20,000,000 US gallons (80,000,000 L) of chemical herbicides and defoliants in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia, as part of Operation Ranch Hand. The program's goal was to defoliate forested and rural land, depriving guerrillas of cover; another goal was to induce forced draft urbanization, destroying the ability of peasants to support themselves in the countryside, and forcing them to flee to the U.S. dominated cities, thus depriving the guerrillas of their rural support base and food supply.
Air Force records show that at least 6,542 spraying missions took place over the course of Operation Ranch Hand. By 1971, 12 percent of the total area of South Vietnam had been sprayed with defoliating chemicals, which were often applied at rates that were 13 times as high as the legal USDA limit.In South Vietnam alone, an estimated 10 million hectares of agricultural land were ultimately destroyed. In some areas TCDD concentrations in soil and water were hundreds of times greater than the levels considered "safe" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Overall, more than 20% of South Vietnam's forests were sprayed at least once over a nine year period.
The US began to target food crops in October 1962, primarily using Agent Blue. In 1965, 42 percent of all herbicide spraying was dedicated to food crops. Rural-to-urban migration rates dramatically increased in South Vietnam, as peasants escaped the destruction and famine in the countryside by fleeing to the U.S.-dominated cities. The urban population in South Vietnam more than tripled: from 2.8 million people in 1958, to 8 million by 1971. The rapid flow of people led to a fast-paced and uncontrolled urbanization; an estimated 1.5 million people were living in Saigon slums, while many South Vietnamese elites and U.S. personnel lived in luxury.
According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 people being killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.

U.S. Army Huey helicopter spraying Agent Orange over Vietnamese agricultural land

  Agent Orange by the U.S. war has caused environmental pollution, especially water environments in Vietnam and their impact on the people of Vietnam:


    agent orange baby - vietnam 30th anniversary

    Handicapped Vietnamese boy posing in front of the billboard denouncing Operation Ranch Hand.

    Dead Vietnamese babies, deformed as a result of prenatal dioxin exposure from Agent Orange

    Vietnamese man born with deformed face as a result of prenatal exposure to Agent Orange

    water pollution in India

        At least 500,000 people were affected by waterborne diseases during 1995-2000 in the union territory of Pondicherry due to the lack of coordination among the government agencies. According to a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the quality of ground and surface water in all four regions of Pondicherry is not in accordance with the prescribed standards. The report also states that the union territory's pollution control committee has shown a lax attitude towards carrying out pollution tests. The water testing was done only when complaints were received. According to the report, the waterbodies of Pondicherry are being polluted as industries are indiscriminately dumping toxic effluents into them.

    Life's a contaminated Beach in the U.S

    Considering that 30% of the US population visits a coastal area beach each year, 42% use recreational water sites and these locales account for 85% of US tourist revenue, you'd think we'd know a lot more about the hazards of recreational water than we do. When a beach is closed, most of the time it is because the waters there have exceeded the state allowed levels of fecal or enteric coliforms (a group of organisms whose presence is thought to signal potential contamination by the feces of warm blooded animals. These organisms are not the pathogens, however, only indicators. Pathogens could be other bacteria, viruses or protozoal parasites. The two papers from the Hopkins group undertook to see if there was a relationship between pathogenic parasites and the number of people at the beach. The answer is not obvious. If the source of pathogens is animals (e.g., aquatic birds or run-off from surrounding land) then there might be little relationship. However even if there is a relationship this does not automatically mean humans are the source. They might just be stirring up the sediment where the bugs are hanging out. The more people, the more the sediment gets stirred up. Wastewater discharges (e.g., combined sewer overflows) is another other possible source.
    The parasites in these two papers were of two categories, the known pathogens Cryptosporidium parvum ("Crypto") and Giardia lamblia ("Giardia"); and the more recently discovered microsporidia, Enterocytozoon bieneusi and Encephalitozoon intestinalis. The latter two have been known to cause human disease, especially (but not exclusively) in immunocompromised individuals, but they are hard to test for and identify so we know little about their epidemiology, including where those infected encountered them. Crypto and Giardia, on the other hand, have caused numerous waterborne disease outbreaks (including the largest in US history in Milwaukee in 1993, from Crypto) and both are highly resistant to chlorination. Their cysts can remain viable in a hostile environment as long as a year.
    These papers are taken up with technical details relating how the samples were taken, handled and analyzed. These are important because much still needs to be worked out and variations in how these things are done is necessary to compare one study with another. But the bottom line is relatively simple: For either class of parasite there was a significant relationship between levels and the humber of bathers. Samples were taken on busy weekends and compared with lightly populated weekdays. Almost half the samples had microsporidia and levels of Crypto ranged from zero to 42 cysts/liter and Giardia from zero to 33 cysts/liter. How much of this stuff does it take to make you sick. For the microsporidia we aren't sure. We'll need human volunteer feeding studies to nail this down. For Crypto and Giardia it depends on the strain. In some cases the answer is less than 10 cysts.
    What is the source? Again, we still aren't sure. These studies show clearly that the turbidity or cloudiness of the water is directly related to bather density. So stirring up sediments is happening and this could be the source. But bathers are also sources. It has been estimated that anal fecal residue shed to water amounts to 0.14 g and may be as high as 10 grams (this is from a paper by Chuck Gerba, Quantitative Microbiology 2:55-68, 2000). Despite this estimates of Crypto and Giardia risk from swimming in lakes is estimated to be pretty low (less than one in ten thousand).
    But one of the things these studies show is that there are pathogens in recreational waters even when they meet standards deemed acceptable by state and federal bacterial standards. These beaches were legally open to the public. Thus the bacterial indicator standards are of doubtful protection. It further underlines the commonsense notion that public drinking water sources should be separated from recreational bathing locales.
    And there are other possible interventions. Limit the number of bathers, prohibit children in diapers and advise anyone symptomatic to stay away