Clean water is vital for a person’s wellness. They need H₂O to help their bodies function. Moreover, water is the main constituent of Earth’s hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms. Drinking or cooking with unfiltered polluted H₂O can lead to illness.
As a result, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) warned that people get sick from polluted water with high germs and chemicals. However, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s warning is harsher. Its website indicates that pollutants may cause disease or act as poisons.
Additionally, more than 3.4 million people die from waterborne diseases yearly. Drinking polluted H₂O exposes people to contaminants leading to water-related illnesses. These diseases are caused by pathogens — viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. Some of these sicknesses also stem from toxins, harmful algae, and cyanobacteria.
Furthermore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that limiting germ and chemical levels is not 100% effective. According to the EPA website, the agency sets legal limits on over 90 contaminants to prevent drinking water from being polluted.
Other primary pollutant sources include chemicals from industrial and manufacturing facilities, agricultural and farming methods, human activities, etc.
People may come in contact with these pollutants when drinking, wading, or swimming in polluted H₂O. Finally, each agency suggests people learn what pollutes water. Perhaps, become an advocate for clean water.
How To Prevent Polluted Water
Preventing polluted H₂O begins with proper disposal of trash, motor oil, prescription and over-the-counter medications, furniture, etc.
The City of Raleigh website says the best way to protect streams from water pollution is to prevent it at the source. That means using appropriate cans or bags to throw away litter and other trash.
To ensure litter is not blown into storm drains or streams when it rains, make sure to take your debris away when leaving places such as campsites, trails, and picnic grounds and dispose of it properly.
The city also advises people to refrain from fertilizing grass right before it rains and to blow or sweep it back onto the grass if it gets on paved areas. The chemicals will wash into storm drains and waterways. Additionally, mulching or composting grass or yard waste is suggested. If composting is not possible, leave it in the year. Refrain from blowing leaves into the street, clogging and damaging storm drains.
Instead of soapy water running into the street, the website says, “Wash your car or outdoor equipment where it can flow into a gravel or grassy area.” Also, never pour motor oil down the storm drain. Find out the nearest recycling location at Earth911.com.
Earth 911 matches an item with the location of disposal or recycling based on zip code and the maximum distance a person is willing to drive. For example, the results for where a couch (sofa) can be recycled within 25 miles from 97024 showed 11 locations, including Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, and Deseret Industries.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Spring Well: 15 Dangerous Diseases Caused by Contaminated Drinking Water; by Tommy Stricklin
CDC: Water Contamination and Diseases
Eastern Water and Health: Contaminated Water Can Lead to Illness; by Josh Silk (Press Release)
Harvard T.h. Chan School of Public Health: Water Pollution