The leading world’s water crisis is water pollution according to a United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report in 2018. Human activities like agriculture, deforestation, industrial wastes, marine dumping, mining, chemical contamination, and uncontrolled urbanization are some of the leading contributors to water pollution. Water pollution has numerous destructive implications not only on aquatic systems but also on human health and the natural environment at large.
The consumption of contaminated or polluted water, for example, is a major cause of many human diseases including typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, and skin infections among many others. Furthermore, almost all deaths associated with sanitation and hygiene are as a result of water pollution.
Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.
~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
In addition to global water-borne diseases, water pollution has well known and serious short-term and long-term aquatic system effects such as the death of ocean/sea wildlife, interference with aquatic breeding cycles, destruction of coral reefs, and the development of dead zones in water bodies.
Thankfully, there are actions that can be undertaken to prevent or even reduce water pollution or clean already polluted water systems. Some of the water pollution remedies that could be implemented, therefore, include:
15 Amazing Remedies to Prevent Water Pollution
1. Responsible use of herbicides, fertilizer, and pesticides
Agriculture is a major cause of water pollution. Improper use of chemicals like fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides can create a situation where they will run off to water bodies affecting the quality of water.
Furthermore, livestock excrement, methane, and manure can also run off to water bodies negatively affecting the quality of water.
In aquaculture, the use of excess food and fertilizers causes pollution directly in the water. Farmers can minimize pollution by reading and explicitly following the directions for mixing and use, use organic options, and prevent spills.
Farmers should also avoid leaving unused chemicals as well as leftover chemicals and containers exposed to the weather. The farmers should also avoid applying chemicals near wells, lakes, and streams.
2. Proper construction and management of stormwater drainage systems
Whether a small or a major construction project, digging can leave loose soil exposed. When it rains, the loose soil gets transported to water systems like wells, streams, and oceans. The goal should be to minimize leaving any loose soil exposed. When the soil is transported into water bodies, it creates sediment that screens out sunlight resulting in changes in water temperatures.
The sediment can also disrupt the food chain and ultimately lead to death and the decline of species in the water ecosystem. For any construction project, therefore, the primary objective should be preventing exposed soil from being carried away by stormwater.
Construction of the area with a properly installed Silt Fence can aid in containing and controlling erosion. Other alternatives can include the use of natural fabric such as straw netting, coir coconut fiber, blankets, and rolls to cover the exposed areas.
3. Filtration of runoffs
In situations where stormwater lands in culverts or ditches, a ditch check or a check dam can be used to filter the runoff. Filtering the runoff prevents trash and sediment pollution from exiting the property and into water sources.
Dewatering products can also be used to filter standing waters such as trenches, ponds, and holding areas. The water should be pumped into a holding area to capture any sediment and then released into the water body.
4. Containing and managing spills
Small leaks from cars, engines, or storage drums can seem minor, but it is necessary to contain such spills to prevent them from entering the watershed as harmful pollutants. It is always good to use secondary containment basins to help catch and contain spills and leaks for proper disposal.
Taking advantage of foam wall spill beams to contain leaky cars or mini spill berms to store paint containers, store drums, hazmat materials, and fuel tanks can prove handy. In cases of land and water-based spills, products like absorbent boom, socks, and pads can be used to contain spills.
Furthermore, when using any hazardous material, spill kits and absorbents should be nearby to help quickly absorb oil, fuel, and chemicals to prevent further spreading. If not properly contained, the spills and leaks can suffocate fish; cling to feathers of marine birds, ingested by marine mammals, or block sunlight for plants.
5. Management of floating pollution, especially plastic and floating papers
Floating pollution like plastic bottles and papers can make water sources look unattractive and dirty. The floating pollutants should be trapped and properly managed. Measures to prevent floating pollutants from reaching waterways should also be put in place to reduce the increasing menace of plastic pollution.
6. Industrial water treatment
Raw sewage and industrial waste should not be released into water bodies without proper treatment. Passing the water through a treatment plant reduces the amount and toxicity of the waste. The treatment plant has various handling chambers and chemical processes.
The process of proper industrial wastewater treatment involves the removal of solid particles, reduction of organic waste material, and the use of allowed and safe chemicals to get rid of any leftover impurities or chemical contaminants.
This guarantees the safety of wastewater before its release into water bodies or the environment thereby acting a very effective remedy for water pollution.
Denitrification is an ecological process that is used to prevent the leaching of nitrates in the soil, ensuring that the underground water is not contaminated with nutrients. This can be done by intercropping plants to ensure that the excess nitrogen is converted into gas like nitrous oxide, nitrogen, and nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen nutrient contamination usually results in nitrogen pollution, which is associated with eutrophication or algal blooms.
8. Use of septic tanks
In areas that do not have treatment plants, individual homesteads should use septic tanks. The sewage from individual buildings should flow into a septic tank where it is treated before water can flow out of the tank.
The first step is usually the separation of liquid and solid matter. The biological processes are then used to degrade the solid materials.
9. Ozone wastewater treatment
Ozone wastewater treatment is the use of an ozone generator to break down pollutants in the water source. The generators use ultraviolet radiation or an electric discharge field. The ozone is a highly reactive gas that can oxidize bacteria organic material, molds, and other pollutants found in water.
Using ozone to treat wastewater is more effective as it kills bacteria effectively, it oxidizes metals like iron and sulfur to enable their filtration, and it does not leave nasty odors. The ozone treatment also converts back oxygen quickly without using any trace.
10. Clara Pur (CP) treatment
Clara Pur is the use of solar thermal energy to treat saltwater and untreated ground and surface water to make it safe for human use. It is a sustainable self-supply method that can be used by estates, villages, hotels, and business establishments. The process also removes inorganic arsenic present at high levels in groundwater.
The solution is a good remedy for regions that struggle with water supply and distribution. The technology can also be used in sewage treatment, desalination, purification, water recycling, and water recycling.
11. Use of solar boats to replace gasoline-powered boat engines
The use of solar boats as an alternative to river and lake transportation is increasingly gaining popularity in most cities. Boats that use fuel and gas release harmful toxins to the environment that still finds their way into the water. Besides, the boats may experience leaks and spills that happen directly in water.
The use of solar boats as an alternative can save about 15kg of CO2 per hour compared to the use of fuel boats, further acting as a mechanism for reversing climate change. Furthermore, replacing gasoline-powered boat engines with solar would mean 100% natural or eco-friendly boating activities.
12. Sustainable dredging
Whenever siltation occurs, the sediment is extracted to remove dirt out of the water and to also augment water quality. On most occasions, however, the sediment is not recycled. It is left in open spaces.
When left in open spaces, the soil is transported back to the water body by floodwater resulting in water pollution. Instead of only dredging the lake, it is of utmost significance to also adopt sustainable remedies that allow the recycling of the sediment.
13. Proper management of used household water
On most occasions, people habitually just put their dirty utensils into their kitchen sink after use. What they fail to recognize is that cooking oils and fat are also water pollutants that can negatively affect life in water bodies.
Instead of pouring cooking fat, oil or grease down the kitchen sink, one should have a jar to collect all the fats, oils and grease and discard in solid waste.
14. Dispose of harmful and poisonous products safely
At one point or another, it comes a time to get rid of a certain product, perhaps after its shelf-life or use. It could be expired drugs, pills, synthetic materials, paper wastes, synthetic materials, dust clothes, paints, or contaminated liquids like chemical solvents. Most people sometimes flush the products down the toilet.
Some of these products contain toxic materials that can affect the quality of water systems. Instead, the use of the right disposal methods is recommended. The right methods or channels for disposing of used materials, especially the toxic ones are often indicated in their containers or holding material.
These can be explored or used for the safe disposal of such waste, used, or expired materials to improve the quality of water systems.
15. Ensure minimal use of detergents or bleach products
If it is a must to use detergents and bleaches, the use of the effective amount or natural bleach products and detergents can serve as great alternatives.
Contaminated water will always end up finding a way into water bodies, affecting the quality of water, especially if it is through channels such as the domestic wastewater drainage systems that are not well managed.
16. Never dump wastes into water systems policy!
Sometimes throwing wastes into streams can seem like a good way to get rid of what someone no longer needs. But once something is thrown into the river, it contaminates the water body putting the life of fish and other aquatic animals at risk. All people should instead adopt and stick to the rule of never dumping any form of waste into the water systems.
Moreover, in whatever anyone does, there is always something an individual can do to prevent water pollution, and practicing this at an individual level is among the best self-initiated solutions. Although remedies like treatment can be used to reverse water pollution, it is cheaper to prevent water pollution than it is to treat polluted water.
Thorough sensitization and public awareness need to be done for the successful implementation of this policy.