Friday, October 5, 2012

Water pollution in 2012 – Talking points

Here are some talking points for water pollution in 2012, with the special emphasis on India and China, as well as some other negative examples from several interesting studies:

Rivers and other water bodies in China will continue to be heavily polluted, mostly for the sake of rapid economic growth. It will be extremely difficult for China to find the balance between the rapid economic growth and adequate environmental protection. Without effective environmental regulation the Chinese will continue to have major water (and air) pollution issue on their hands.

India, on the other hand is in even worse environmental condition regarding the water pollution. The rapidly growing industry is only part of the problem here with other part referring to lack of even basic sanitation in many of India's rural areas. The sewage disposal issue is one of the main reasons why India is having tremendous river pollution issue to deal with.

Many river around the world are heavily polluted, offering this ugly sight

Many people do not put coffee in context with water pollution but scientists have already discussed about „caffeinated coastal waters“. One of the recent interesting studies on this topic came from the U.S. scientists at the Portland State University. By analyzing the water off the coast of Oregon they have discovered elevated levels of caffeine at several different sites in Pacific Ocean. According to them the waste water treatment plants are not a major source of caffeine in waters but this was rather the combination of high rainfall and combined sewer overflows that flush the contaminants out to sea.

Oceans are becoming increasingly polluted with carbon dioxide (CO2). In the last 250 years CO2 levels in our oceans have increased by about 40 percent. This is not only happening because our carbon emissions from fossil fuel fired power plants and traffic continue to grow but also because of increased water pollution with nutrients (nutrient runoff from fertilizer, human and animal waste).

Our seas and oceans are also experiencing increased levels of plastic pollution. The plastic pollution is no longer an ugly site just at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch but is rapidly spreading into new areas such as northwest coast of North America. The countries are yet to agree some sort of deal that would mean annual monitoring of trends in plastic pollution.

Shale gas industry is rapidly growing which sadly opens the door to more water pollution. Hydraulic fracturing of gas wells could lead to severe water pollution and reduce the amount of drinking water in many areas of the United States. The problem lies in the current shale gas frocking techniques that include pumping fluids underground into shale formations to release pockets of natural gas that are then pumped to the surface. This practice could lead to drinking water contamination from salts and several naturally occurring radioactive materials.

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