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Water/river pollution and its attendant danger

By Kenneth Uzoma Agwasim
05 November 2021   |   2:32 am
Sir: It is certain that over two thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by water; less than a third is taken up by land. As earth’s population continues to grow, people are putting ever-increasing pressure on the planet’s water resources. Our oceans, rivers here in Nigeria and other inland waters are “squeezed” by human…

Residents of Owerri Municipal, Imo State, have been cautioned on the risks they face from the emerging high level of pollution from the multi-faceted degradation of the Otamiri River.<br />

Sir: It is certain that over two thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by water; less than a third is taken up by land. As earth’s population continues to grow, people are putting ever-increasing pressure on the planet’s water resources. Our oceans, rivers here in Nigeria and other inland waters are “squeezed” by human activities, not so they take up less room but so their quality is reduced. Poorer water quality means water or river pollution.
 
We know that pollution is a human problem because it is a relatively recent development in the planet’s history. Before the 19th century industrial revolution, people lived more in harmony with their immediate environment. As rapid industrialisation has spread around the globe, so the problem of pollution especially water/river has spread with it.
 
Today, with about ten billion people on the planet, it has become apparent that there are limits. Pollution is one of the signs that humans have exceeded those limits. Perhaps, the main problem associated with water or river pollution is that it kills life that inhabits water-based ecosystems. Dead fish, birds, dolphins and many other animals often wind up on beaches, killed by pollutants in their habitats.

 
Pollution disrupts the natural food chain as well. Pollutants such as Cadmium and lead are eaten by tiny animals later, these animals are consumed by fish and shellfish, and the food chain continues to be disrupted at all higher levels. Eventually, humans are affected by this process as well; people can get diseases such as hepatitis by eating sea food that has been poisoned. Ecosystem can be severely changed or destroyed by water pollution.
 
Sometime ago, some Ecosystem scholars stated that some people believe pollution is an inescapable result of human activity: they argue that if we want to have industries/factories, cars, ships, cities, oil and coastal resorts, some degree of pollution is almost certain to result. In other words, pollution is necessary evil that people must put up with if they want to make progress. Fortunately, not everyone agrees with this point of view. One reason people have woken up to the problem of pollution is that it brings costs of its own that undermine any economic benefits that come about by polluting.

Take oil spills, for instance. They can happen if tankers are too poorly built to survive accidents at sea. The main problem is that the people who bear the cost of the spill (typically a small host or coastal community) are not the people who caused the problem in the first place, but the people who operate the tanker (typically the oil company or oil explorer). Yet everyone who puts petrol (gasoline) into his/her cars or uses almost any kind of petroleum fueled transport contributes to the problem in some way; so oil spills area problems for everyone.
Finally, the environment is everything that surrounds us that gives us life and health often.
Kenneth Uzoma Agwasim.

 

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