What are the hazards of using polluted water?
These can be classified under two broad groups as biological and chemical.
Biological Hazards are caused by the presence of an infective agent or an aquatic host.
The presence of virus, bacteria, worms etc. causes:
- Gastric Problems
- Dysentery (both amoebic and bacterial)
- Round worm infestation
- Guinea worm infestation
The pollutants include various chemicals, such as detergents, solvents, cyanides, heavy metals, mineral and organic acids, nitrogenous substances, bleaching agents, dyes, pigments, sulphides, ammonia, toxic and biocidal organic compounds of great variety. Chemical pollutants may affect our health not only directly but also indirectly by accumulating in aquatic life such as fish that are consumed by humans.
Some of the diseases that can be spread by chemical pollutants are:
- Skin infections
- Intestinal disorders (by Polychlorinated biphenyls)
- Disorders of liver, bone and circulatory system, birth anomalies (by Vinyl chloride)
- Anaemia, bone marrow damage, leukaemia (by Benzene)
- Damage to central nervous system (by Phthalates)
- Carcinogenic problems (by Nitrosamine)
Though pollution seems to be an inevitable consequence of modern industrial technology, the challenge is to determine the level of pollution that permits economic and social development without causing hazards to health.