Water pollution happens when pollutants are discharged directly into water bodies such as lakes, rivers and seas. Water pollution happens due to 2 main causes, which are the improper disposal of industrial or household waste into water bodies and also because of oil spills, which is either caused by the tearing of the hull of an oil tanker or a damaged oil rig.
Hence, water pollution would also cause 3 types of impacts, social, economic and environmental. Water pollution causes social impacts such as health problems and also the loss of jobs for fishermen. When waste is being discharged directly into water bodies or when an oil tanker leaks out oil, the water would become contaminated. When marine animals like fishes and shellfishes consume such contaminated water, they will get poisoned and these poison would accumulate in their bodies over time.
If we consumed these poisoned animals, the poison, the poison would be passed on to us. The example of people contracting the Minamata disease, a neurological disease which is caused by severe mercury poisoning when chemical producing company, Chisso, constantly discharged organic mercury into the sea near Minamata. People who contracted the disease would eventually die in a few weeks times. Furthermore, fishes like the blue fin tuna, would die upon consuming contaminated water.
This would then result a sharp drop in the catch rate for fishermen and in extreme cases of big oil spills, fisheries would be closed down for years due to the polluted waters. This would then lead to several thousands of people losing their jobs. Thus, water pollution brings along social impacts. Water pollution also causes economic impact. When wastes are being directly into water bodies, or when oil spill happens, a lot of money would be needed to clean the waters as a complicated process is required.
For instance, a total of 40 million USD was used to clean up the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill. Another economic impact would be in the great and sharp reduction of tourists visiting the polluted areas as they were in fear of consuming poisoned food and contracting health problems and diseases such as cholera and typhoid. After the BP oil spill at the Gulf of Mexico, there was a great decrease in tourists visiting the affected areas.
Studies there also shown that the number of tourists visiting the affected areas nosedived to as low as 14.7% during th\e period of the oil spills. This would also mean that the country would lose the form of revenue from tourism and thus causing the economy of the country to decline.
Therefore, water pollution also causes economic impacts. Lastly, water pollution also causes environmental impacts. After oil spills, the thick layer of oil would kill the phytoplanktons at the surface of the water. The zooplanktons and larva, which feed on these phytoplanktons would thus lose their source of food and die too.
The fishes and other predators would thus lose their source of food too and ultimately, negatively impacting the entire ecosystem. Furthermore, marine animals such as the sea otters, seals and seabirds will also die upon coming into direct contact with the oil slicks as these animals only have a layer of fur for protection and thus making them vulnerable to oil as when oil comes into contact with the layer of fur, it would clump them up and only allow limited movement.
Also, it would remove the layer of air in the fur, causing the animals to freeze without any insulator. In the case of the Exxon Valdez oil spills at least 140 bald eagles, 302 harbour seals and 2800 sea otters and 250000 sea birds died upon coming into direct contact with the oil slick. Thus, water pollution causes environmental impacts too.