Causes of Water Pollution

There are several causes of water pollution - organic, inorganic, as well as municipal, industrial and agricultural. We'll discuss these very causes, in brief.
Quick Fact
According to the World Water Development Report, 2012, up to 90 % of wastewater in developing countries flows untreated into rivers, lakes and highly productive coastal zones, threatening health, food security and access to safe drinking and bathing water.
The addition of harmful or toxic material that results in degradation of the quality of water is termed as water pollution. Today, it has become a global concern, with an annual average of 5 million people dying because of water-related problems. The most abundant resource (water) on our planet Earth has been adulterated by mankind to a great extent for various personal gains.

The pollutants are effluent outputs from refineries, factories, waste treatment plants, water supply from groundwater systems that have fertilizers, pesticides, and industrial wastes. Also, the emission projected into the atmosphere through bakeries, factories and automobiles play a big role in contaminating the water all around.

Industrial Waste
Industrial Waste

One of the major causes of water pollution is the discharge of waste from industries. It is a common observation that industries find rivers and oceans a convenient place to dump their waste material into. The waste contains toxic substances and also includes elements like lead, mercury, nitrates and sulfates. They are quite harmful for humans as well as aquatic animals. A large amount of money is spent on treating the water bodies that get contaminated and making them suitable to use for drinking purposes again. Moreover, there are still risks of various diseases after consuming the water containing such toxic material. Often, hot or contaminated water is also released into the rivers from industries, which increases the overall temperature of the rivers, thus making them unfavorable for the aquatic flora and fauna to thrive.


This is another major cause that leads to the pollution of water bodies. Human settlements along the banks of rivers result in human and animal waste to be discharged into them. Sewage contains feces, urine and chemical wastes released by millions of people every day. The maltreated sewage is discharged in a wrong manner, besides there being leakages too. Sometimes, the sewage seeps through the ground and contaminates the groundwater. Instead of treating the sewage properly, most of the time, it is simply released directly into the sea or the rivers, thus polluting the marine life and habitat.

Fuel Combustion
Vehicle Fuel

As the world continues developing, there has been a rise in the use of vehicles as well. There are millions of vehicles running on our roads and releasing toxic fumes of sulfates and nitrates every day. When released into the air, they come in contact with the water vapor present in the air, and become mild corrosive acids such as hydrochloric or sulfuric acid. They then return to the ground as acid rain. The acid percolates through the ground and mixes with the groundwater, which is then used by humans for consumption.

Burning of Coal
Burning of Coal

When coal is burned, it leads to the release of mercury into the atmosphere. This mercury reverts back to the Earth's surface and enters the rivers, lakes, and groundwater. As a result, all these water bodies get polluted, and are unsuitable for safe use. Consumption of water containing mercury is hazardous, more so for pregnant women and infants.

Farming Practices
Farming Practices

Slash and burn farming practices are a component in shifting cultivation agricultural systems. Fertilizers used for farming contain a large quantity of nitrogen and phosphorus. They enrich the soil near the lakes and rivers, and help algae grow at a considerable rate. The algae use all the oxygen and do not leave anything for the rest of the aquatic life around. Also, algae formation blocks the passage of light and air for the other aquatic animals. This has an adverse effect on the biological life of these aquatic animals, which is termed as Eutrophication.

Animal Rearing
Animal Rearing

Cattle and pig rearing results a significant amount of nutrient-filled waste. A lot of waste is discarded into the water bodies that are close by, and virulent pfiesteria toxin collects in these water masses. This makes it next to impossible for the aquatic animals there to survive.

Radioactive Waste
Nuclear Waste

Radioactive substances from nuclear power plants and industrial, medical and scientific use are also considered as contributors to the pollution of water. As the world is becoming more and more dependent on nuclear energy, there has been a tremendous increase in the amount of radioactive waste dumped into the aqueous regions. Uranium and thorium mining and refining are some of the examples. This kind of waste has a lot of side-effects on humans as well as aquatic life, and it is advisable to refrain from consuming water which has traces of radioactive substances. It has been proved that water containing radioactive substances causes genetic disorders.

Oil Spills
Oil Spill

In recent times, with the increase in traffic in all the oceans of the world, oil spills have become common, and are one of the major causes of water pollution. There have been numerous examples of large tanker ships spilling millions of gallons of oil into the seas. Sometimes, it is an accidental spill, but most of the time, waste, which is in form of oil is deliberately released into the seas and oceans. The spilled oil spreads to huge areas to form oil slicks, making it impossible for marine life and plants of the aqua to get proper sunlight and air. This causes the possibility of extinction of some of the already endangered species. If there are trials to sink the oil or chemically treat it, the marine and beach ecosystems also face further disruption.

A few other noteworthy sources of water pollution are:
  • Atmospheric Deposition (Water body pollution caused by air pollution)
  • Underground Storage (Pipelines and sewage systems below the surface, which leak, polluting the soil and nearby water bodies)
  • Marine Dumping (All kinds of waste like paper, plastic, rubber, metal, etc., dumped into the oceans)
  • Forest Fires (Uncontrolled fires in the wild pollute the water bodies nearby)
Water pollution has become a prime concern for most nations, and there is a shortage of quality drinking water all round the globe. It is high time that each one of us contributes towards making our environment clean and healthy. We can all provide a helping hand by minimizing the waste material in our own households, especially with the proper utilization of water. The governments of many countries have gone in for purification schemes of rivers and lakes. Only with a collective effort can this grave problem be tackled, before it is too late!
Last Updated: February 25, 2013
Post a Comment
my science project is great because of this website. - olga [July 24, 2014]
ammaazing info - annu [June 6, 2014]
nice - Aaditya [March 3, 2014]
you have good information and a lot of diffrent problems. you also made it so that younger people can understand it easier then looking for a sientific jurnal where we might not be able to understand what they are talking about. i apreciate that. it would be helpfull though if you could add a little more info. thank you for the web site and i hope my science project will be better because of it. XD - sarafina [December 11, 2013]
Turtles look really cool in the air! Lovin' the support from You guys! Love you guys - Rasheeder [November 11, 2013]
THANKS BUZZLE ... - KARUNA [July 4, 2013]
ya that cool it's can download the MP3 to hear.
well I like it
- michael [July 2, 2013]
very usefull - kimi [March 8, 2013]
Very good detail - KuangRui [February 8, 2013]
hey wats up! - sara [September 17, 2012]
is very good because it help as reash our work - akwasiasamoah [August 26, 2012]
its correct we should stop water pollution - sweety [August 16, 2012]
i make the project of science - SOOFIA WAHEED [July 12, 2012]
so good - sandilya [July 7, 2012]
stop washing cloths in the seas
stop bathing in the seas
try to aviod wasting water
stop water pollution
- vruti [June 26, 2012]
very useful information was provided here. i got all the points i needed. please make more such pages, it is extremely helpful. - Anushka [June 7, 2012]
excellent - sano vai [May 21, 2012]
I THINK ALL IS GOOD - MASHA [April 13, 2012]
i like the notes given... - masha [April 13, 2012]
now i now what causes water pollution and now i will care invironment.So that there willnbe no soil polluton again - cristine dulfo [February 19, 2012]
It is good and educative for children.BRAVO. - ELLA [November 9, 2011]
bakit ayaw non gumana youn - ralph emer mont [October 17, 2011]
vryy gud information...i lykd it...! - Nidhi [September 12, 2011]
water pollution s a problem and it causes disease so we as the people we hav to stop littering in the dams and rivers - lejoy [August 20, 2011]
very nice information thank u thus is very useful for me - nikita [August 18, 2011]
very nice information thank u - nikita [August 18, 2011]
I LIKE THIS SITE - BUZZLE [August 11, 2011]
I was doing a research on water pollution, when i noticed that water is the most important thing of our lives but yet we still do not understand the great difference it makes. - nthabiseng [August 3, 2011]
ITS A GREAT PAGE KEPP DOIN A GREAT JOB WELL DONE :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) - sarah [July 30, 2011]
i Like it ! ♥ - denise trinidad [July 27, 2011]
god information and important lines this are - manish kumar [June 11, 2011]
awesome info, i did my homework only because of you! - malay memani [May 29, 2011]
this is like the best website ive benn on its helped me here at Grace lol thankyou - ILOVEYOU [May 9, 2011]
THANKYOU - hELEN [May 9, 2011]
good information for every human person...tan very use ful for human life - ashima [May 5, 2011]
water pollution is too much effectble for human being life... - ashima [May 5, 2011]
thanks,it's so good,really good - shanne doherty [May 4, 2011]
boncry acivites and oil abuse sabotag has make water becom useless in orashi river especialy in OKARKI AHOADA WEST LGA OF RIVERS STATE causing alort disease out break in COMMUNITY - AKE ATOUKARITO [April 29, 2011]
water pollution is a major causes of human disease misery and death especialy in nigeria in nembe l g a of bayelsa state - ake atoukaritou [April 29, 2011]
very nice information from your side. its superb mindblowing fantastic. - VAISHALI SHARMA [April 23, 2011]
this is greattt - devano [April 9, 2011]
thank's - yasmina [March 26, 2011]
good information! - Sally [March 21, 2011]
this information is very useful for me - akhitha [March 17, 2011]
awesome - prince 07 [March 16, 2011]
seriously i highly recommend this - vampkat [March 11, 2011]
i think that this info of yours deffinetly - vampkat [March 11, 2011]
tnx... for this article , because we learn a lot... - marielle [March 10, 2011]
very informative and very usful towards my project. it has bn a great help, tnkx alot. - Rianna R [March 8, 2011]
explain the five main water pollutants indicating their major sources and effect on aquatic environment - Sam Okyere [February 28, 2011]
ok information - TARU [February 15, 2011]
too good, n really nice info - alya dobrial [February 14, 2011]
really informative... keep up improving with more facilities - yusra junaidi [February 14, 2011]
plz show 10 causes of water pollution - jennifer cyrus [February 2, 2011]
this is an amageing disturbabce of thepeople - prasanna [January 31, 2011]
Its really nice but there are so many hard words that children can't read. - Tia [January 26, 2011]
i hope we do the 3 RRR recycle,reducing,recycling so for example the plastics we used it again! - queen diane [January 6, 2011]
hindi na sana tayo magtapon ng basura kahit saan para hindi na tayo sapitan ng water pollution? - queen diane [January 6, 2011]
it's good, very resourceful.. - andrei [December 13, 2010]
I have storm water runoff coming across my backyard from a farm pasture and fields that empties into a creek along my property. I'm looking for any information I can gather on this matter to eventually prevent it from happening. Thank You. - Teresa Weaver [December 1, 2010]
fine! but i want causes in points - aryan [November 30, 2010]
I think that you can elaborate these things by giving headings and more details on it, then it will be more useful to us - Isha [November 29, 2010]
It's really helpful to me for school project. - Sandeep [November 19, 2010]
i think that all of this is dum and you need more facts about water pollution because your rong - jeff [November 17, 2010]
It is a very nice n comprehensive article.kudos - Funmi.F [October 25, 2010]
It's very knowledgable. - Stephen [October 23, 2010]
i think the wastage of water and in yamuna cause very water pollution in delhi - komal [October 20, 2010]
nice i liked it but not use for an eassay!/... - muktai [October 10, 2010]
true points - anagha [October 9, 2010]
nice and gud website ...
it's help's to complete student esigment easier ... gud job ...
- vengdesvaran [September 28, 2010]
i dont think this is the answers of water pollution - E [September 10, 2010]
cool info... - NOOR MUJAHID [September 6, 2010]
cool - ethan [August 24, 2010]
very, very useful details - sids [August 14, 2010]
why this information is very big?Can you give me this information very small! - S.Jegatiswaran [August 9, 2010]
Thank you very much for your updates. - abubakar [August 5, 2010]
water in bindusagar lake has become a more problem for the people living in bbsr... - rupa [August 4, 2010]
HELLOW - LARA MAE [August 2, 2010]
hey! this website helped me to do my project. Keep going onnnnnnnnn... - shiviiiii [July 24, 2010]
food procesing waste, include pathogen - salehe [July 14, 2010]
mr.abhay burande is helping a lot of students ,in creating a sense of concern for the environment and also a desire to fight against water pollution,through this page.a big thank you to him i would like to wish best of luck to him for his future.good work dude. - sourav debsarma [May 29, 2010]
thanks. it has really helped me in the eve project - sourav debsarma [May 29, 2010]
i thnk u shuld add more stuff lyk what damages theyll do 2 the environment! - LADY. NNKO [May 24, 2010]
u shuld add more causes of water pollution but it cull i luv it thanx so much
lovin it
- V.T.T.T.K.Kayz [May 24, 2010]
DUDE - tatiana [May 11, 2010]
is this really true - tatiana [May 11, 2010]
i think you are very smart and this helped alot with my project, thank you very much. ps:im going to be as smart as you one day - sorry cant tell [May 5, 2010]
MORE INFOR - HILDA [April 29, 2010]
i think that it need more then meaning to it and some more informatant - astley [April 29, 2010]
Nedds more info - adher [April 28, 2010]
excellent details - aderha [April 28, 2010]
be green and stop water pollution - kelly [April 27, 2010]
Dude my B-day was on the 14th - ttTT [April 19, 2010]
Awesomeness! - TT [April 19, 2010]
Dudes more info is needed. i'm so gonna fail science project! - TTTTTTTTTTTTTTT [April 19, 2010]
I think was really useful. - Buggs [April 15, 2010]
i think you should write more about causes, effects and sollutions of water pollution that cause by human. - Nick [April 2, 2010]
more info - Joe H [March 31, 2010]
its - Joe S [March 31, 2010]
what ploblem does water causes - hattie [March 18, 2010]
what is the quandary of water pollution - kc [March 13, 2010]
i want full information about this - alisha [February 22, 2010]
hello! me again! very nice as before. - sameera [February 1, 2010]
CONTROL MEASUR OF WATER POLLUTION - KARIM [January 20, 2010] - faiza [December 31, 2009]
effects of human body? - lim [November 22, 2009]
how to prevent water pollution - lim [November 22, 2009]
the information given was ok... - vandana arora [November 9, 2009]
cool! - joe sas [November 7, 2009]
i think it is very important to save water because there i no life without water - john cena [September 23, 2009]
Quite informative. This article has everything in brief Nice one! - Ritvik Tuteja [September 20, 2009]
good - harini [September 18, 2009]
almost minimum use by water. - prajapati Raj [September 15, 2009]
i think more should be done to acquatic life, especially beached whales - Gugulethu Tsuki [June 4, 2009]
more book - justice [May 1, 2009]
i want more - justice [May 1, 2009]
Read a book you retarts - Jaydyn hazelwoo [February 11, 2009]
you could have even the natural disasters caused by water pollution - praneeth.d.v.s [December 28, 2008]
Are there Drugs in Your Drinking Water? - Janielle [November 12, 2008]
how does water filtration plants cause pollution and effets the water?

can you answer?

- Sakura [November 12, 2008]
how does water filtration plants cause pullution and effect the water? - sana [October 16, 2008]