Water contamination And how it affects us and our environment

Oil Spills are a release of oil into an environment, usually a marine environment, that causes damage while on the surface of the water and while being cleaned. Oil harms living organisms because it's contents are poisonous, this hurts them internally and externally. It can also smother small species of fish.

Oil Spills mainly kill seabirds when the oil is ingested or is in their feathers and sea otters who eat oil coated fish and the oil coating their bodies can give them hypothermia. Depending on the oil spilled there will be different affects and clean up processes.

Light fuels, like diesel fuel, are volatile to the environment. They evaporate quickly, but pose two significant dangers. They can ignite or explode or can poison the environment from which they are spilled in. Killing species of birds, fish, turtles, otters, and other organisms that depend on the ocean, lake, river or stream for food or a home.

Heavy oils, used to fuel ships, look black and are sticky in the water. They're less toxic, but stick around for much longer. Heavy oils can cause tumors and other health issues in any organism that consumes the water or something that has been imerged in the toxic water. It can cause birds to lose the warmth their feathers hold and kill them. Heavy oils also smother invertebrates in the water.

Water is a vital part of life, not just for animals and plants, but humans. Without water we would all die, quickly. The people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have been protesting oil pipelines being put near Lake Oahe, a main water source for the tribe, these pipelines would carry 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day next to their lake.

The people of Standing Rock were ignored, and soon the pipelines will be installed. If one of those lines breaks it could spill into their water, it could poison and kill them. These lines will cause a disruption and damage to cultural sites ane the environment. While the government is changing their water source, it doesn't change the fact that the government is risking poisoning a water source that is home to organisms and a food source.

All across Flint, Michigan there have been protests, for a basic human right. Clean water. Flint has gone over 1000 days with toxic tap water, yellow-brown water filled with lead. Many of the residents of Flint are not wealthy, barely getting by. Many can't afford both the water bill for dirty, poisonous water and to go out and buy water to use to bathe, cook, clean and drink.

This picture shows the water coming out of a bathroom sink in a home in Flint. The water is contaminated with lead, so much that it's possible it's killed 10 people. The public health officials refuse to say if it's the water or not. Health effects of lead exposure in children include impaired cognition, behavioral disorders, hearing problems and delayed puberty. In pregnant women, lead is associated with reduced fetal growth. In everyone, lead consumption can affect the heart, kidneys and nerves.

Over three years without clean water. Children are being poisoned. Adults are becoming sick. The water crisis is not being solved, the government is doing nothing for the sick people of Flint.

Both children and adults are vulnerable to the effects of lead. Young children under the age of 5 are particularly vulnerable, because their body, brain, and metabolism are still developing. Exposure to lead can have a wide range of effects on a child’s development and behavior including: lower IQ scores, decreased academic achievement, and increases in both behavioral problems and attention- related behaviors.

When toxic substances enter a body of water, they will be dissolved, become suspended in water or get deposited on the bed of the water body. The resulting water pollution causes the quality of the water to deteriorate and affects aquatic ecosystems. This causes eutrophication, or an increase of chemical elements needed for life. These things are food for organisms like algae, causing an overpopulation and spreading sickness, making it harder for other organisms to live and easily spread diseases. This can also cause damage to organs in the body, and make environments unsafe for people and animals.

Water is such a vital resource we take for granted. Humans pollute and poison water, killing so many species and even themselves. Without taking proper care of our natural resources we will fail as a species.

Sources:

http://gobiidae.com/PN/dumpingsewage.html

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/us/flint-water-crisis-fast-facts/

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/materials/lead_and_your_health_508.pdf

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/09/20/this-is-why-environmentalists-are-targeting-energy-pipelines-like-the-north-dakota-project/?utm_term=.33e8db671fd6

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/oil-and-chemical-spills/oil-spills/how-oil-harms-animals-and-plants-marine-environments.html

http://www.itopf.com/knowledge-resources/documents-guides/environmental-effects/

Credits:

Created with images by Ingrid Taylar - "San Francisco Oil Spill - Closed Beaches" • USFWS/Southeast - "Drilling and recovery at impact site" • skeeze - "oil rig explosion fire disaster" • marinephotobank - "Oiled Bird - Black Sea Oil Spill 11/12/07" • Green Fire Productions - "Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Site" • Fibonacci Blue - "Protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline" • lsgcp - "Oil spill, Grand Isle 06.07.2010 143" • Tim Green aka atoach - "River Kennal 1" • jon57 - "puffin nest hole nesting"

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