Skymet weather

It’s Almost 2024. Why is Water Contamination Still a Major Concern?

August 15, 2023 7:35 PM |

Why is drinking water so important

As we approach 2024, one might assume that in our advanced technological era, concerns about water contamination will be a thing of the past. However, the harsh reality is that water contamination remains a pervasive and pressing issue worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2022, around 1.7 billion people across the world used drinking water sources contaminated with feces. That year, almost 27 percent of the global population didn’t have access to safely managed drinking water services.

Despite numerous advancements in science and technology, access to clean and safe water is still a luxury for many communities. Even the US is struggling to ensure safe drinking water for the majority of its population. CNN reports that almost half of the country’s tap water is contaminated with chemicals. As we approach a new year, it’s truly shocking to learn that water contamination is still a major concern.

All that being said, in this article, we explore a few reasons why water contamination persists as a major concern.


Industrial Pollution

As industries continue to grow and expand, the discharge of harmful chemicals and pollutants into water bodies has become an alarming issue. Industrial activities often involve the use of hazardous materials. Improper disposal or accidental spills can result in the contamination of rivers, lakes, and groundwater sources.

Despite regulatory measures in many countries, enforcement and compliance with environmental standards remain inconsistent, allowing industrial pollutants to find their way into water supplies.

Take the case of the Camp Lejeune water contamination incident in North Carolina as an example. According to TorHoerman Law, around one million people were exposed to the contaminated drinking water in that area. The source of the contamination included spills from industrial sites as well as underground storage tank leaks.

Although regulatory measures were in place, the Camp Lejeune water contamination incident happened anyway. It was also found that this incident led to many residents developing cancer, which, in turn, led to the Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit. The settlement amount for the Camp Lejeune lawsuits is expected to be over $1 billion, which tells volumes of how devastating the situation was.


Aging Infrastructure

In many developed and developing nations, aging water infrastructure is a significant factor contributing to water contamination. The deterioration of pipes, water treatment plants, and distribution systems can result in leaks and breaches, allowing contaminants to enter the water supply. Some regions still rely on outdated and inefficient water infrastructure that is ill-equipped to handle the challenges of the 21st century.

Upgrading and maintaining water infrastructure is crucial to ensure the delivery of clean and safe water to communities. However, budget constraints, bureaucratic hurdles, and competing priorities often hinder the necessary improvements. As a result, water infrastructure projects are frequently delayed or inadequately implemented, perpetuating the risk of contamination.


Agricultural Runoff

As reported by Successful Farming, agricultural runoff is one of the leading causes of water pollution in the US. Evaluating over 700,000 miles of rivers and streams, it was found that half of these American water bodies are polluted. In most cases, agricultural runoffs were to blame for this pollution.

The use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in modern farming practices poses a significant threat to water quality. Rainfall and irrigation can wash these chemicals into nearby water bodies, leading to contamination. Nitrogen and phosphorus, common components of fertilizers, contribute to nutrient pollution, causing issues such as algal blooms and dead zones in water ecosystems.

The cultivation of genetically modified crops and the use of certain pesticides have also raised concerns about the long-term impact on water quality. Despite efforts to promote sustainable farming practices, the widespread adoption of such methods remains a challenge due to economic considerations.


Climate Change

Changes in precipitation patterns, rising temperatures, and extreme weather events can lead to water quality issues. For instance, heavy rainfall and flooding can overwhelm sewage systems, leading to the release of untreated wastewater into water bodies.

Moreover, altered weather patterns can influence the distribution of pollutants, affecting the balance of ecosystems and introducing new challenges for water management. The interconnected nature of climate change and water contamination requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both the causes and effects of these complex issues.

In conclusion, even as we stand on the brink of 2024, water contamination remains a major global concern. From industrial pollution to the challenges posed by climate change, each contributing factor needs to be dealt with through a thoughtful and comprehensive approach. The responsibility lies not only with governments and regulatory bodies but also with industries, communities, and individuals to enact positive change.

For accurate weather forecast and updates, download Skymet Weather (Android App | iOS App) App.

Other Latest Stories

latest news

Skymet weather

Download the Skymet App

Our app is available for download so give it a try