There are a wide variety of diseases caused by water pollution, with their severity ranging from a minor inconvenience to life threatening. These diseases are the result of pollution and can be grouped into two main categories, chemicals and living organisms. Human made chemicals often get into the water system, both intentionally and unintentionally, and accumulate until they are a cause for concern. They usually go unnoticed and are undetected by our senses. Living organisms, in the form of pathogens and algae, can also cause a variety of diseases. It is difficult to detect these organisms as well.
Water pollution can affect us directly or indirectly. We can be subjected to waterborne diseases directly through consumption of contaminated water or through bathing in a polluted area. Conversely, we can be affected indirectly by consuming produce that was irrigated with polluted water or by eating fish or other animals that have been contaminated.
One of the most common groups of waterborne diseases, are those caused by pathogens. These usually originate from contamination by animal feces and include typhoid, glardiasis, and hookworm. There are also many diseases caused by polluted beach water, the most serious of which is Hepatitis A. This is an extremely serious illness that affects approximately 3,600 people each year. In addition, diarrheal diseases are a common occurrence resulting from water pollution. In particular, dysentery is often contracted from contaminated water. These diseases are some of the most common that occur worldwide and pose a dangerous threat to our wellbeing.
In many cases, the affects of water pollution are not immediately noticeable. Sometimes the results can only be seen in long term, as is true of chronic diseases. Liver damage and cancer can be caused by prolonged exposure to certain chemicals. Neurological problems are the result of the build up of pesticides in the water system. Kidney damage is another common problem associated with water pollution. In addition, thyroid system disorders are often the result of the contamination of the water supply. Lastly, reproductive and endocrine damage has been reported after long-term exposure to various chemicals. These diseases can be prevented if more care it taken in protecting the water system.
Increased water pollution creates a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can cause more frequent cases of malaria in tropical environments. Cholera is another waterborne disease that can have a devastating impact. These diseases are easy to avoid but remain a problem in the developing world because of the lack of funding. In addition to more serious diseases, less serious health effects include rashes, earache, and pink eye.
As well as having devastating consequences for the mortality and overall health of a population, waterborne diseases also affect economic life. These diseases have an impact on the economy both locally and internationally. This is especially a problem in the developing world. Here, caring for an individual who has been infected by a waterborne disease, costs approximately 10 per cent of a family’s income. Diseases caused by water pollution are a serious threat to our quality of life.
Category: Water Pollution