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Water Pollution, Its Factors, and Ways to Reduce

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Pollution
  3. Point-source and Nonpoint Source Pollution
    Factors That Contribute to Pollution
    Methods of Limiting Pollution
  4. Conclusion


The water we have today is the only water we are ever going to have yet through processes such as pollution we are diminishing it and causing problems for our future generations. Through pollution were we letting so many toxic things into our water such as sewage and wastewater, oil and illegal dumpings. We need to improve our wastewater treatment plants to be able to reduce nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus entering our water. We also need to try and reduce pollution by doing small things such as washing our cars away from storm drains or vegetative plantings to help reduce contaminate holding runoff getting into our waterways.


The three main types of pollution are Land pollution, Air Pollution and Water Pollution. This essay is focused on water pollution.

Water pollution is when harmful substances such as chemicals and microorganism contaminants enter our rivers, lakes and oceans which causes a reduction in the water quality and causing it to be toxic. Unlike eutrophication, pollution doesn’t promote plant growth it prevents and restricts it. Water is very vulnerable to pollution due to it being able to dissolve more substances than any other liquid on earth. Substances from farms, towns, and factories easily dissolve and mix into the water causing pollutions.

Point-source and Nonpoint Source Pollution

Point source pollution is when pollution is discharged from a single identifiable source which is continuous with little variability over time. It can be easily monitored by measuring the discharge and chemical concentrations at a site at the source. Examples include wastewater being discharged by manufacturers, oil refineries, chemical and oil spills and illegal dumping. Nonpoint source pollution is when the inputs come from a variety of activities across an extensive stretch of land. Nonpoint source inputs are often intermittent and linked to seasonal activities in agriculture such as planting and ploughing farmland or irregular events like heavy rains or major construction. Examples include agriculture and stormwater water runoff or debris blown into waterways from the land. Nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of water pollution but it is hard to regulate due to there not being a single identifiable culprit.

Factors That Contribute to Pollution

Contaminants that contribute to pollution in rivers, lakes and streams range from agriculture, sewage and wastewater, oil pollution and illegal dumping. The agriculture sector is a big contributor to pollution. Whenever it rains on farmland things such as fertilizers, pesticides and animal waste are washed into the waterways. With them bringing pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Another contaminant is sewage and wastewater. Every day we contribute to wastewater, whether it’s running our sinks, showering, flushing the toilet. Wastewater also includes stormwater runoff when the rain carries pollutants such as oil, grease and chemicals down the drains into our waterways. Over 80% of the world’s wastewater in developed countries goes straight back into our environment without even being treated or reused. This number gets up to 95% in less developed countries. Oil pollution is the water pollution that we here most about on the news, specifically oil spills. But consumers account for the majority of the oil pollution we see in our seas not, ship spills. This is caused by oil and gas leaking from millions of cars and trucks every day which then enters the stormwater drains. Over half the oil that reaches our water comes from land-based sources such as factories, farms and cities.

Methods of Limiting Pollution

Several approaches could be adopted in water pollution management and control. These range from prevention, practise efforts or joining pollution programs/ projects. These range from small things you can adjust in your everyday life or there are bigger things that take time and money. Prevention of the impact of pollution at home can be adopting thing such as: using metal straws, washing your car away from storm drains, avoiding pesticides and fertilizers that can run into water systems, using non-toxic cleaning materials and not washing paintbrushes in the sink. Pollution could also be prevented by things such as recycling, reusing, waste minimization and composting. Methods to reduce nonpoint source pollution could include vegetation buffers. These are permanently vegetated areas of land near waterways which are separate to the rest of the field. This reduces and helps catch the pesticides and pollutants that are trying to make their way into the water.


Pollution is when harmful substances such as chemicals and microorganism contaminants enter our waterways affecting the water quality and causing it to be toxic. The main pollution factors are agriculture, sewage and wastewater and oil pollution. There are lots of ways at home to reduce pollution such as washing cars away from drains, not using plastic bags and straws and not washing your paintbrushes in the sink.

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