Water Pollution and It’s Consequences
Different reports of some UN agencies warn on increasing scarcity of water per capita in many parts of the developing countries. This crises is happening due to population growth which has the highest rate in those countries, as well as the absence of proper sanitation systems and infrastructures. Than, there are also changes in climate, and the pollution factor that brought us were we are now.
As far as water quality, the poor are still under the strongest attack: 50% of the population in developing countries are exposed to polluted water sources. Asia has the most contaminated rivers in the world, that have three times more bacteria than average human waste. Moreover, these rivers also have larger amount of heavy metals than rivers in industrialized countries.
Urban areas without proper infrastructures for water and sanitation are the most dangerous environment for human survival in these countries. According to the survey covering 116 cities, urban areas in Africa are in the worst position, where only 18% of households are connected to savage systems. In Asia that number is 40%, witch is still alarming figure.
Naturally, poor people in these cities are the first victims of diseases related to absence of infrastructure and sewage systems, floods and decontaminated water. As a result, we have a typical example of this issue- Malaria, which is today one of the major causes of illness and death in many urban areas in Africa. Another example in South Asia is this disease transmitter- mosquito Anopheles Stephensi, that adapted its reproductive cycle for many water conditions there.
These facts tell us, how important are the sanitation conditions and proper waste management today. One liter of waste water is polluting 7 liters of fresh water, and the amount of waste water in the world is high above reasonable levels (12,000 km3).
There are several reasons why cities and urban areas should have higher priority from rural parts when it comes to water supply and protection of natural sources. First of all, unit cost of infrastructure in urban areas are lower due to smaller distances and a large number of users. Second, most cities have a better economic base, that provides greater opportunities for the special funds for infrastructure development. Third, in urban areas are concentrated not only the people and industries, but also waste.
Nowadays, the industry takes 22% of the total water consumption (59% is in developed, and 8% in developing countries). This percentage will rise up to 24% in 2025. Each year 300-500 million tons of heavy metals, toxic and other dangerous substances from industrial plants go into water catchments and rivers. More than 80% of hazardous waste in the world is produced in the US and other industrialized countries.
So as we see, the developed countries also have to make smart actions in future to protect water sources and their pollution. In near future water crisis will be felt in all countries around the world with consequences on the health of children, and the opportunity to secure food supplies for everyone. The precise predictions depend on factors such as population growth and political measures, while climate change will be responsible for 20% increase in the level of global water scarcity.
The crisis has occurred because there is no political commitment or adequate measures for prevention of current trends, despite the countless evidences of deterioration in everyday situations. Although many goals and objectives were set in the past years for fresh water supply, sanitation and waste control, practically non of them were achieved so far.
We hope that all the governments will put this on their list of priorities, before its to late to react.