Everywhere people are incrasingly concerned with controlling the pollution of both surface and ground water. Ground water is the main problem, especially where cities have to rely on their own ground water for the fresh water provision (i.e. Berlin).
Surface water suffers everywhere mainly from eutrophication, caused by the lack of sewage treatment plants (or even its complete absence as in Milan) in the streams leaving the urban areas. Inside the urban area eutrification is caused by polluted storm water flowing off the sealed surfaces. Also, most river banks are artificially constructed. This causes an important biological corridor to be lost as well as the water clearing function of the vegetation.
The attention to groundwater problems and its protection are very different, depending mainly on its use:
- Except from a general hydrolitological map Athens does not have information about ground water. Fresh water supply comes from distant mountain areas and the main problems until now have been storm water flow off control and sewage treatment. But due to the intense presence of industry in the Attiki Basin groundwater pollution problems are assumed and should be controlled.
- Berlin depends primarily on his own ground water for the fresh water supply, holds precise information on groundwater pollution (i.e. in the old polluted sites cadaster, continuous monitoring in the groundwater catchment protection areas) and on its level. Important maps for planning show the ground water vulnerability to pollution and the water catchment protection zones.
- Milan faces the problem of an extreme groundwater level rise due to the closing of many industrial wells, has data on the ground water level, the quantities extracted from private wells and a monitoring programme for the quality control.
- In Rome there is a complex hydrogeological map giving precise indications on soil permeability, groundwater depth and flow direction. Freshwater supply comes historically from outside, but on the roman territory are many important springs of mineral water which are safeguarded trough a groundwater pollution monitoring programme.
Indications for the most commonly produced and important maps/results for an Environmental Information System
- Discharge network of sewage and storm water; the data are normally available at the city water utilities and are needed for planning control and pollution prevention.
- Groundwater vulnerability to pollution; this map is obtained from the soil permeability and the groundwater depth. It allows a risk evaluation i.e. for the planning of industrial settlements.
- Quality of groundwater
- Quality of surface waters
- Ground water formation; showing sensitive areas to disturbances, soil sealing etc.
- Limnology and waterside ecology; this map expresses the vitality of a water body.
What are the Main Causes and Effects of Water Pollution?
Water is known to be a universal solvent and this means that various substances can get added to water and remain completely or partially dissolved or at times even undissolved. Water pollution is a result of changes in its quality and such changes can occur due to natural reasons or as a consequence of one or more activities by humans (Goel 1). Such changes in quality can render water unsuitable for consumption and also for any other domestic or agricultural purposes.
Causes of Water Pollution
Water can be polluted by various factors which can be physical, chemical or even biological (Goel 2). The causes of water pollution predominantly include washing of agrochemicals into water bodies, spillage of fuels and other chemicals, improper disposal of various types of waste as well as synthetic detergents used both domestically and industrially, natural processes such as volcanic eruptions or biological processes, and so on (Agarwal 38). Physical factors such as radiations also have an impact on water quality and aquatic life (Goel 2).
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Effects of Water Pollution
Pollution is eventually going to reduce the quantity of water that can be used from water bodies. Pollution not only affects human life but also the rest of the animal kingdom and the ecosystem in general. It can result in the shortage of water that can be used for human consumption as well as for agricultural purposes (Agarwal 302). A consequence of water pollution also includes the destruction of aquatic life which can also impact the economy of various countries because aquatic animals such as fish form an important part of the food, and import and export industries.
Therefore, water pollution is indeed a very serious concern because it not only has an impact on health and but also can have negative effects on various industries and agriculture. It is therefore highly important to devise methods to reduce the level of water pollution that we are currently facing.
1. Goel, P. K. Water Pollution: Causes, Effects and Control. India: New Age International,
2006. Google Books. Web. 28 Dec. 2015
2. Agarwal, S. K. Water Pollution. New Delhi, India: APH, 2005. Google Books.
Web. 28 Dec. 2015