Effects of Water Pollution

Water is life, and yet, people pollute it without care. Wastewater gets dumped, trash gets dumped, and it all finds its way into the water that keeps life going.

Pollution not only jeopardizes the health of the human population, but it also affects flora and fauna all over the world.

Water Pollution Is Not Somewhere Else

Contaminated water kills people every day, and there is a limited supply of potable water compared to the amount that the population requires.

You might believe that water pollution doesn’t affect you because you have a trash pickup service, but the truth is it does. Most people in developed countries have access to water that is safe to drink.

Even still, there are harmful contaminants that are sometimes found as close as your local tap water. Arsenic might not be present in what is considered unhealthy numbers, but it is still there.

With that in mind, it helps to understand the different types of water pollution to get an idea of how to deal with it.

Types of Water Pollution and Their Causes

With so many ways to pollute the water, it helps to know that your actions may have consequences that you didn’t expect.

Oxygen Depletion

Water naturally has both aerobic and anaerobic organisms, and when there is a lot of decay, these microorganisms thrive.

As they grow, the oxygen is depleted, leading to the death of aerobic organisms and production of harmful gases and toxins like ammonia.


Thinking about nutrients causing pollution almost seems like it’s an impossibility. The truth is that it happens every time fertilizer ends up getting washed downriver from the rain or flooding.

Nutrient pollution is also caused by wastewater and sewage that isn’t treated. Water becomes undrinkable, algae grows, and the result also ends with oxygen depletion.

Groundwater Pollution

Pesticides and chemicals are applied every day to crops and soils. These toxins filter through the ground when it rains and eventually makes it into the water found underground.

Now, you’ve got polluted groundwater. When wells are dug to reach the groundwater, you need to verify whether or not the water is contaminated before you use it.

Chemical Water Pollution

You’ll find that many chemicals end up in your water like those used to control pests. The solvents found in these chemicals pollute multiple water bodies.

It ends up getting washed out to open water or in your groundwater. Even worse, this type of water pollution is hazardous to aquatic life and can cause significant growth and development issues for them.

Surface Water Pollution

Surface water pollution is the most obvious type of water pollution. It’s what you see when you think about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

This type of pollution also affects rivers, lakes, and any other surface of water that is visible to the naked eye.

Microbiological Pollution

In underdeveloped countries, clean water is hard to come by, and pollution occurs naturally, too. Viruses and bacteria can naturally live in water.

From there, fish can feel the effects, as can people when they drink the water. Many of them end up ill, and can even die from the protozoa or other bacteria,

Oil Spills

Oil spills are likely one of the best-known types of water pollution. Unfortunately, oil spills are not localized to where they happen.

On the contrary – oil can spread for hundreds of miles beyond the initial spill. Oil kills the fish and seabirds that end up getting stuck in the sticky substance.

The Effects of Water Pollution You Can’t Ignore

Pollution is the cause of approximately 9 million deaths as of 2017, according to The Lancet. 

Most recently, waterborne diseases account for over 3.5 million deaths per year. That’s over a third of the total deaths worldwide every year.

Diseases like typhoid, dysentery, and cholera are commonly spread via contaminated water, which adds to the issues experienced at the hands of pollution.

Beyond effects to humanity, the naturally existing biodiversity is disappearing. Aquatic ecosystems are being irreparably damaged by water pollution.

Sustainable Goals Are Crucial for the Future

The United Nations is working towards sustainable goals with deadlines reaching into the 2030s. One of their main goals is to ensure environmental sustainability.

Their focus is to protect the oceans as well as terrestrial ecosystems, but they can’t do it alone. That’s where everyone needs to pitch in, like a Kansas City trash service as an example, and do their part to make the world a better place.