So whats new about this topic right, water pollution has plagued humanity since man decided to settle. All major civilizations and most major cities today exist near some sort of water source, be it a river, a lake, the sea or some underground water structure.
The simple reason is we cant last very long without water, you could go 3 weeks it is said without food but not more than 3 days without water. (Obviously it can depend on your appetite as well :P) Yet mankind continues to be a major source of water pollution.
Technology and a sheer sense of care for the environment has made water pollution less in some areas but with humanity pushing past the 7 billion mark, too many of us either dont care or dont know or cant afford to care or know, about how we pollute our water sources.
Bodies of water continue to be the place we wash our clothes and dump our trash.
So all is not well for water which means its pretty damn crappy for the fish!
Visible water pollution is one thing, at least you can see it, there is also water pollution in the form of things you can smell but worse of all is water pollution that you cant see at all as there are lots and lots of chemicals that are water soluble that are colorless and many as well odorless.
Its like you are walking in thick smoke but you cant see it, you can feel it and breathe it, but cant see it.(to those of you from South East Asia, you know that happens at least once a year, but at least we can see the smoke!)
So what kinds of water pollution are there then. Well, having described the possibilities, perhaps explaining by industry and usage would be descriptive.
From an industrial waste perspective, the obvious culprits are the various industries that result in some sort of chemical effluent that needs to get dumped out. Tons of these and they are fairly obvious.
(Now if you have seen the movie 'Erin Brockovich', you will know that sometimes the culprits arent even obvious. Even worse, big money
is there to protect them. Havent seen it? Well its about time isnt it! :) )
Some are not as obvious, for eg abbatoirs and tanneries. Abbatoirs you ask? Definitely, cos the waste of all the animal slaughter needs to get dumped somewhere. Usually its some flowing river that takes it to the sea.
Along the way, the entire riverine system gets screwed up and once in a while something funky comes out of it, for e.g. the freak shark attacks in the Red Sea a few years ago.
They were traced to abbatoirs dumping slaughter waste into rivers that flow into the Red Sea resulting in attracting schools of sharks.(As you probably know, sharks can detect the most minute amount of blood in vast quantities of water).
I am sure there are regulations on waste from abbatoirs and tanneries in many countries but there are many more that dont have anything at all. Anyway, again look think Erin Brockovich.
Mining can cause huge amounts of water pollution. An obvious suspect is gold mining. With the current world economy as it is and the very high prices for gold, this is only worsening.
Usually vast quantities of water is required, either to wash down the earth (which by the way results in massive deforestation) to get to the gold or as a conduit to get at the gold when they are in rivers and other bodies of water.
The common approach to get at the gold easily is the usage of mercury. As a result loads of this stuff get used whereby not only is the health of the miner themselves severely affected (mercury poisoning), everything downstream essentially gets a great dose of that silver fluid and as a result loads of life, fish included get wiped out.
Probably in some areas in the tropics, such as in the Amazon and the great jungles of Central Africa, tropical fish are getting killed off even before being discovered and described.
Herding animals are also a huge source of water pollution. You wouldnt think it would be right? But the issue is now that there are so many herds of animals that competition for water, be it between different groups/tribes of herders or between herders and animals, has hit an all time high.
The issue is that water will therefore dwindle so much (lets not even talk about global warming) that there isnt much left for fish. The one caveat here is that some animals (not your everyday cow or sheep), such as the Hippopotamus, actually helps feed fish becos they poop in the water and bring nutrients from land that the fish are not able to get access to.
From an individual human usage perspective, water pollution can be of the usual form, direct dumping of trash and human waste into bodies of water, usage of cleaning chemicals that are not biodegradable in our daily activities such as laundry, bathing, etc. that flows into the local water system.
The chemicals are straightforward again in their water pollution capabilities but what about trash and human waste? Shouldnt they degrade over time?
Well sure they do. The problem is there is too much of either stuff!
With 7 billion humans and counting, human waste is getting pretty nasty and a real doo doo situation. Too much of anything clogs stuff up and so nature will not be able to take care of it by itself.
Without us properly ensuring that our waste is treated properly, it will get mighty stinky pretty fast! The problem is, many places in the third world are already stinky and with the income divide only increasing, this aint getting any better.
In terms of general waste, well to those that may not know, the Pacific Ocean now has a huge area somewhere in the middle of it which is made up of a swirling pile of trash.
Most worrying is that plastic has been degraded to microscopic size and is essentially creating a plastic trash soup that wont disappear by itself anytime soon there.
Plastic in all its forms has caused untold deaths of tropical freshwater fish, marine fish, marine turtles, marine mammals and even even marine birds.
So I think I have made the point that water pollution is not only a huge problem for fish but it is also a huge one for mankind.
Well firstly you need to start to train your brain on the 3Rs, reduce, reuse and recycle.
If you have, well good for you, consider yourself a candidate for the next level such as looking at alternative energy, usage of bio-friendly tools, doing compost, lobbying your local politicians to adopt green practices and so on.
If you havent, well its time to put off that wait for that 'free weekend'. You need to start somewhere and you need to do it now.
The main point to me is not what you need to do but more of you 'creating the culture' of the 3 Rs, soon enough you will know instinctively that a plastic bottle should not be thrown away but instead kept somewhere to be sent to a recycling center near you.
Once you have this mentality, everything becomes natural and so you will start to think about how you may be affecting the quality of water yourself.
a drop in the ocean when tackling water pollution but it starts with
you sir/madam,thats right, the person you see in the mirror everyday.
If you arent worried about the fish (which you should if you are reading this) then at least worry about yourself.
Get to it.