Health Impacts of Contaminated Water and Potential Control Strategies

clean-water-menaDrinking dirty or contaminated water causes numerous health problems, all of which one should be aware of. The contamination of water sources can start from the main water sources such as city water supplies, rivers, streams, and lakes, or well water supplies. Moreover, the main water source such as groundwater might get contaminated from toxic chemicals found underground, such as fluoride or arsenic, if the water is not filtered properly. Furthermore, contamination can occur from something as dangerous as a badly designed hazardous waste site or industrial site, exposing the water to numerous dangerous chemicals.

As previously mentioned, contaminated water has several health effects on its consumers. Here are a few effects that occur due to the consumption of contaminated water.

Effects of Drinking Contaminated Water

Unfortunately, the health effects of drinking contaminated water can’t be detected or seen immediately. Additionally, components such as age, health, and physical conditions of those affected define the extent of the effects experienced. Some of the physical effects experienced due to consuming contaminated water include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal cramps
  • Stomach pains
  • Dehydration
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and skin

These are the immediate effects that can be experienced in the short term. But, as previously mentioned, not all people experience effects right away.

In addition, some long-term effects can be experienced that don’t show until later on. These include, but are not limited to:

  • E. coli bacterial infections
  • Coliform bacterial infections
  • Lead poisoning
  • Arsenic poisoning
  • Radium poisoning
  • Exposure to unwanted pharmaceuticals
  • Exposure to herbicides
  • Infections caused by microbial pathogens

All of the above mentioned contaminants can enter water supplies through different means. The chemicals can be absorbed into the ground, broken pipes can cause the entrance of unwanted pathogens into the water, and the dumping of waste into water sources can do the same. Some of these contaminants can be avoided through the use of a quality sediment filter. But, what are some other steps we can take to reduce water contamination?

How to Control Water Contamination

  • Do not throw any household chemicals or cleaning agents down the sink or toilet. The chemicals can directly affect water supply in the case of a leakage or pipe breakage. Instead, dispose of the chemicals in a nearby hazardous waste facility.
  • Do not flush pills, powder medications, or any other medical waste down the toilet or throw it down the drain. As aforementioned, medical wastes in water can be a serious issue. What you should do is search proper disposal methods for different types of medical waste and follow through with them.
  • Avoid usage of garbage disposals. Garbage disposals can be a main component of water pollution. Keep your solid wastes as they are. Don’t throw vegetables down the garbage disposal, but instead make a compost pile from your vegetable scraps.
  • Install water efficient apparatuses in your home. For instance, invest in a water-efficient toilet or sink in order to reduce water usage. This can actually help reduce water contamination issues.

Summary

Water contamination can be brought about by several means; all equally dangerous. Through doing the steps mentioned above, you don’t only ensure your own safety from water contamination, but the safety of others as well. Keep yourself and others free from the effects of water contamination and spread the word!

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
Tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Share your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.