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When we talk about drinking water contamination, we usually talk about the dangers to human health and what we can do to prevent our tap water from harming us. We look into water filters and other home drinking water systems which are incredibly helpful in removing drinking water contaminants in our homes, but what we don’t talk about enough is the harm it is causing to wildlife. Water pollution is a human crisis but it is also harming other living beings in many situations.
Water pollution in any ecosystem comes in many forms; we see toxic chemicals flowing into streams due to poor industrial practices, farm and agricultural waste are overloading rivers, trash from landfills are blowing into ponds, and the smog from city pollution is landing in waterways. Plus, water pollution doesn’t affect just the immediate area it is found – it can have an impact on wildlife hundreds or sometimes thousands of miles away!
Clean, freshwater is essential to human life but it is also essential to wildlife. About 1.1 billion people lack access to clean water in the world, and 2.4 billion don’t have adequate sanitation for water. But the pollutants that are harming us can make life difficult and sometimes just impossible to animals and other organisms just like it is making life hard for humans.
Human activity, especially when it comes to agriculture, has led to large increases in nitrogen and phosphorus levels in the environment. This can affect wildlife and plants – even creating dead zones where no life can be sustained.
Fish, plants, and mammals are all affected. Medications in drinking water are killing off fish and other species in record numbers. There have been cases where aquatic toxicologists are studying what happens to fish that live in water contaminated with at least 13 different medications — from over-the-counter painkillers to prescription antibiotics and mood stabilizers. The results are saddening.
Whether it is acid rain, toxic plastic waste being ingested, chemical runoff from pesticides and fertilizers on farms, wastewater and sewage being dumped by cruise ships or any of the other forms of serious water pollution, we need to think about wildlife and the impact it is having.
It is evident of the impact of water pollution on wildlife, and sadly the same toxins that are harming them can be harming us as well. Make sure to protect yourself and your family from these potential hazards with a water filtration system. Action starts with each individual. Let’s all try to make more eco-friendly choices and be more considerate of the environment.