Over 70% of the earth is made up of water. Oceans and particularly rivers are lifeblood of ecosystems.
Ned Haluzan in his blog writes why we should take our waterways more seriously…
River pollution is form of water pollution that refers to the contamination of rivers. River pollution occurs when waste and different other pollutants are discharged into river without being properly treated.
River pollution has negative effect on aquatic ecosystems. The negative impact on plants and animals often leads to decline in species, and sometimes even to extinction of entire species (Yangtze River dolphin).
River pollution also leads to decrease in freshwater resources because rivers are among most important sources of freshwater in the world. This means that the excessive river pollution could easily lead to global water shortage.
Excessive river pollution could also lead to many waterborne diseases.
China and India are countries notorious for excessive water pollution. This however doesn’t mean that other countries aren’t affected with river pollution issue.
Yangtze and Ganges are world’s most polluted big rivers.
It has been estimated that up to 80 % of India’s urban waste ends up in its rivers.
The holy river Ganges has become an international symbol for excessive river pollution. The recent measuring of pollution in Ganges showed that in some places the level of pollution is 3,000 percent higher than what is considered safe for bathing.
Citarum River in Indonesia is also notorious for pollution because of the combination of untreated household sewage, solid waste and industrial effluents.
Many developed countries are also experiencing worrying levels of river pollution. In Germany, for instance, the river pollution is increasing in its major rivers: the Elbe, Weser, Aller and Ems, mostly because of pesticides and industrial chemicals (study from University of Koblenz-Landau).
In order to tackle river pollution issue people need to show more care for our environment in general. There also needs to be better and far more frequent monitoring of rivers as well as strict punishments for polluters. The data needs to become live, and real-date, as well as being available to general public.
The worst affected countries should create funds and start cleaning their rivers because having polluted river doesn’t only mean huge environmental but also huge economic damage. We must not forget that rivers provide us with many important services.
Improving water quality of our rivers is certainly very important task that needs to be addressed properly on all levels – local, regional, national as well as international. Healthy rivers mean healthy environment, and healthy environment means healthy life.