Comprising over 70% of the Earth's surface, water is undoubtedly the most precious natural resource that exists on our planet. Without the seemingly invaluable compound comprised of hydrogen and oxygen, life on Earth would be non-existent: it is essential for everything on our planet to grow and prosper. Although we as humans recognize this fact, we disregard it by polluting our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Subsequently, we are slowly but surely harming our planet to the point where organisms are dying at a very alarming rate. In addition to innocent organisms dying off, our drinking water has become greatly affected as is our ability to use water for recreational purposes. In order to combat water pollution, we must understand the problems and become part of the solution.
IN DEEP WATER
" Wa-ter : The liquid that descends from the clouds as rain, forms streams, lakes, and seas, and is a major constituent of all living matter."
The amount of water used by humans has tripled since 1950, and irrigated cropland has doubled. About one-fifth of the worlds population lacks sufficient water, a figure that could reach 40 percent by 2025 by some estimates, in part because growing world economies like India, which is closing in on one and a half billion people.
In India the worlds second largest population the demand for potable water is growing at an alarming rate and may outstrip supply in coming years. The urban population has doubled over the past 30 years, and is expected to reach 50 percent of the total population by 2025. The situation is not so different in the rural areas were currently 30 percent of the population lacks access to drinking water. The problem in India isn't just a matter of drought or global warming, its also a man-made problem, with poor management and lacking regulation India's water sources are being contaminated and dying as its population continues to grow. Many of India's cites have made the list of most polluted in the world, Vapi a city located in the Valsad district of Gujarat has seen levels of mercury in the cites ground water that are 96 times higher the World Health Organizations safety levels. Kanpur India's ninth most populated city and is known for its leather products and cotton wears. Unfortunately its also know for the high levels of arsenic, cadmium, nickel and chromium, this toxic effluent is being discharged into the Ganges and being used to irrigated farmland. Illegal Chromium waste sites are the most worrisome, the sludge from these sites leaks into subsoil and groundwater, the primary source of drinking water for surrounding communities. Industrial pollution has become a bitter reality and proof of the Indian Governments failure to enforce penalties and regulate polluters and protect its people.
It's clear that with their current infrastructure and water management polices, India's water problems are only going to continue. The Central and State Governments need to educate people on the importance of water as water has become a precarious and expensive resource that everyone must conserve, otherwise this crisis could easily turn into a disaster.
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Michael F. McElroy
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