Water is a fundamental human need. Most living things—humans and ecosystems—depend on availability of clean water.

Water is an amazing all-purpose element that is the foundation of our everyday life. From cooking to cleaning, and a variety of other things, but most importantly survival; water is a fundamental human need. Yet, millions of people in the world are living without access to safe water supply, and thousands die each year from a water-related disease.

Polluted water isn’t just dirty—it’s deadly. Some 1.8 million people die every year of diarrheal diseases like cholera. Tens of millions of others are seriously sickened by a host of water-related ailments—many of which are easily preventable.

The United Nations considers universal access to clean water a basic human right, and an essential step towards improving living standards worldwide.

Freshwater sources around the world are threatened by water pollution. Not only are we managing our resources poorly through wastage, but we are also thoughtlessly dirtying it.

Sources of Water Pollution

Some of the most commonly occurring water pollutants are:

  • Discharge of untreated Raw Sewage from households and factories
  • Chemicals dumped from Factories
  • Agricultural run-offs that make their way into our rivers and streams and groundwater sources
  • Urbanization
  • The rising use of synthetic organic substances
  • Oil Spills
  • Acid Rain caused by the burning of Fossil Fuels
  • Human littering in rivers, oceans, lakes and other bodies of water. Harmful litter includes plastics, aluminum, glass and Styrofoam.

Effect of Polluted Water on Humans

How does water pollution affect humans? Try drinking untreated water nowadays and your body will immediately react to it. You will get a stomach ache at the least. Water-borne diseases account for the deaths of 3,575,000 people a year! Infectious diseases can be spread  through contaminated water. Some of these water-borne diseases are Typhoid, Cholera, Paratyphoid Fever, Dysentery, Jaundice, Amoebiasis and Malaria.

Chemicals in the water also have negative effects on our health.

Pesticidescan damage the nervous system and cause cancer because of the carbonates and organophosphates that they contain. Chlorides can cause reproductive and endocrinal damage.

Nitratesare especially dangerous to babies that drink formula milk. It restricts the amount of oxygen in the brain and cause the “blue baby” syndrome.

Leadcan accumulate in the body and damage the central nervous system.

Arseniccauses liver damage, skin cancer and vascular diseases

Fluorides - in excessive amounts can make your teeth yellow and cause damage to the spinal cord.

Petrochemicalseven with very low exposure, can cause cancer.

These are just to name a few.

MUDA Africa