In everyday life, living things always need water, including humans. We really need clean water for various activities, including drinking, bathing, washing, cooking, and so on. One of the characteristics of clean water is that it is not polluted. How is the water said to be polluted? What factors cause water pollution? What are the impacts of polluted water? How to deal with water pollution? Water is said to be polluted when the water has changed, both color, smell, and taste. Polluted water has a different acidity than unpolluted water
Water pollution, i.e. the entry of living things, substances, energy, or other components into the water. As a result, the quality of water drops to a certain level which causes the water to no longer function in accordance with its provisions. Water pollution can occur in springs, wells, rivers, swamps, lakes, and the sea. Water pollution materials can come from industrial waste, household waste, and agricultural waste.
Factors and Impacts of Water Pollution
1. Water Pollution Factors
a. Industrial Waste
Industrial wastewater tends to contain harmful substances. Therefore, we must prevent it from dumping industrial wastewater into public channels. Industrial activities in addition to producing the main products (finished materials), also produce unused byproducts, namely waste. Types of industrial waste can be smelly organic waste such as textile mill waste or paper mill waste. In addition, inorganic waste in the form of hot liquids, frothy and colored, and containing sulfuric acid, smells pungent. Such as steel mill waste, gold mill waste, paint plant waste, organic fertilizer plant waste, pharmaceutical plant waste, and others. If the industrial waste is discharged into waterways or rivers, it will cause water pollution and damage or destroy organisms in the ecosystem.
Industrial waste in the form of heavy metals flowed into the river, so the river becomes polluted. The types of heavy metals are mercury, lead, and cadmium where all three are very dangerous to humans when consuming. For example, mercury pollution occurs in Minamata, Japan. Fishermen around Minamata bay eat mercury-tainted fish. As a result, they suffered nerve damage called Minamata disease. More than eighty people died from the disease.
b. Household Waste
Try to pay attention to the activities that occur in households, markets, offices, restaurants, inns, and so on. Activities in the place will produce waste called household waste. Household waste is waste derived from the byproducts of housing activities. Such as household waste, markets, offices, inns (hotels), restaurants, and debris of building materials and scrap metal used machines or vehicles. Household waste can be derived from organic, inorganic, as well as hazardous and toxic materials. Organic waste is waste such as vegetable fruit peels, food waste, paper, wood, leaves, and various materials that can be decomposed by microorganisms. Waste derived from inorganic materials, including iron, aluminum, plastic, glass, used paint cans, and fragrant oil.
In the water, garbage undergoes the process of decomposition by microorganisms. As a result of the decomposition, the oxygen content in the waters also decreased. The decrease in oxygen content in the waters will harm the life of the biota in it.
c. Agricultural Waste
Agricultural wastewater does not actually have a negative impact on the environment. But with the use of fertilizer as a pesticide that is sometimes done excessively, often has a negative impact on the balance of water ecosystems. In the agricultural sector, there can also be water pollution. Mainly as a result of the use of certain agricultural fertilizers and chemicals, such as insecticides and herbicides.
Hazardous and toxic waste, among others, arises due to agricultural activities. Agricultural activities usually use insect repellents such as pesticides, such as insecticides. In addition, agricultural activities use fertilizers, such as urea. Excessive use of fertilizers can also lead to fertile ecosystems in ponds, rivers, reservoirs, or lakes. Fertilizer that is not absorbed into plants will be wasted in the water. As a result, blooming algae or algae thrive on the surface of the water. This algae plant can cover the entire surface of the water, thus reducing the level of sunlight that enters the waters. As a result, the process of phytoplankton photosynthesis is disrupted and the level of oxygen dissolved in the water decreases to the detriment of other living things that are in it.
2. Impact of Water Pollution
Poorly managed wastewater will have an unfavorable impact on the environment, such as the following.
a. Decrease in Environmental Quality
The disposal of polluted material directly into the water can cause pollution in those waters. For example, the disposal of organic waste can lead to increased microorganisms or fertility of aquatic plants, thus inhibiting the entry of sunlight into the water. This leads to a decrease in the oxygen content dissolved in the water, thus disrupting the balance of the ecosystem inside.
b. Health Problems
Poorly managed wastewater will cause a variety of diseases. It does not cover the possibility that the wastewater contains viruses and bacteria that cause disease. Wastewater can also be used as a nest of mosquitoes and flies that can carry (vectors) certain diseases. The following are described some diseases caused by water pollution.
c. Biological Attachment
Think about it when water is contaminated with toxic substances. The toxic substance can seep into the body of algae, or other microorganisms. Furthermore, small animals (zooplankton) will eat the algae, then zooplankton will be eaten by small fish and large fish will eat small fish. If the large fish are caught by humans and eaten, then the toxic material will enter the human body. Zooplankton eats not one alga, but many algae cells. Thus, zooplankton already contains a lot of toxic substances. Similarly, small fish eat zooplankton, and large fish eat not just one small fish. The more small fish eat, the more pollutants enter the body of large fish. What about the human body if it often eats these poisonous fish?
d. Disturbing the Scene
Sometimes wastewater contains pollutants that do not interfere with health and ecosystems but interfere with the cityscape. Although polluted water does not cause odors, the discoloration of the water interferes with our eyesight. This certainly disturbs the comfort and beauty of the city.
e. Speeding Up the Process of Property Damage
There are some wastewaters that contain substances that can be converted by bacteria into damaging gases such as H2S. This gas can accelerate the process of damage to iron. Preferably before disposal, wastewater must be processed first and meet the provisions of WasteWater Quality Standards.
3. How to Combat Water Pollution
Waste treatment aims to neutralize water from suspended and floating materials, decompose organic matter that can be decomposed by the activity of living things, minimize pathogenic bacteria, and pay attention to aesthetics and the environment. Wastewater treatment can be done as follows:
a. Stabilization Pool Making
In stabilization ponds, wastewater is treated naturally to neutralize contaminants before the wastewater has flowed into the river. Commonly used stabilization ponds are anaerobic ponds, wastewater treatment ponds contaminated with concentrated organic matter, and pathogenic microorganism extermination ponds. This stabilization pool can be used by all circles because it is easy to have and cheap.
b. Wastewater Treatment Plant
This wastewater treatment uses special tools. This processing is carried out through three stages, namely the first processing, the second processing, and advanced processing.
Primary treatment is the first treatment that aims to separate solids and liquids by using filters and sedimentation tubs.
Secondary treatment is the second treatment that aims to regulate, eliminate colloids, and stabilize organic substances in waste.
Tertiary treatment is a continuation of the second treatment, namely the elimination of nutrients or nutrients, especially nitrates and phosphates, as well as the addition of chlorine to destroy pathogenic microorganisms.
c. Excreta Management
Excreta is widely contained in household wastewater. Excreta contains many disease-causing pathogenic bacteria. If not managed properly, Excreta can cause a variety of diseases. Excreta management can be done by accommodating and processing it on latrines or septic tanks around the residence flowed to the management site, or done collectively.
To prevent the permeation of Excreta wastewater into wells or water infiltration, the latrines made must be healthy. The condition is, do not contaminate the surface of the soil, the surface of the water, and the surrounding groundwater, do not cause odors, are simple, out of reach of insects (flies, mosquitoes, or cockroaches), cheap, and accepted by the wearer. Excreta management in the septic tanks can be processed anaerobically into biogas that can be used as a source of gas for households. In addition, proper management of Excreta will keep us away from waterborne diseases.
In minimizing waste from household waste, in particular, efforts can be made to reduce waste. This is as mentioned by Kistinnah (2009) that the way to handle liquid and solid waste is expected not to cause pollution with ecological principles known as 4R, namely recycle, reuse, reduce, and repair.
Recycle process for example for garbage that can be decomposed into compost. This compost is combined with the maintenance of earthworms, so that good results can be obtained. Earthworms can fertilize the soil and compost is used for fertilizer.
The reuse process is done for garbage that cannot be decomposed and can be reused. For example, used bottles of syrup can be used again to store drinking water.
Reduce is to make material reduction/savings. For example, if you’re going to shop at a market or supermarket, it’s best to bring a bag from home. Do not ask for plastic bags from stores or supermarkets if they are eventually just thrown away.
Repair means to perform maintenance. For example, littering is not indiscriminate, especially not dumping waste in the water.