Water Pollution

Author: Aaradhya Shrivastava, School of Law Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal.



Our survival on this earth is depended on three resources- water, air, soil, nature’s three valuable gifts to mankind.  Among the three resources, water is the most essential and plays a very important part of our day to day life. Life without water is not at all possible on earth. With the passing year, the demand for water has increased by six times. The first serious effort to take note of the environmental issue at the global level was at U.N. Conference held at Stockholm in June 1972, which was projected towards the human environment. Thereafter the concepts like environment, sustainability and carrying capacity of Earth have become the central theme of policymaking around the globe. Various thinkers and researchers have shown their concern about the scarcity of drinking water. In his studies, Falkenmark (1993) has pointed out the importance of pure water and its importance in the near future. In a study conducted by a private agency, it is shown that the urban population requires more water than the rural population and also the discharge of the toxic waste by the urban population is way more than the rural population. A comparative study of chemical characters of surface water conducted in various important rivers of India like- The Ganga, The Yamuna, Kaveri, Krishna, etc. have shown that the quality of the surface water is getting worse day by day.


Monitoring and evaluation of the chemical quality of drainage waters of agricultural land in order to be re-used in agriculture for the purpose of reducing the abstraction of ground and surface waters for irrigation purposes thus protecting groundwater aquifers from salination and pollution from nitrates and pesticide.


As per the data, till 1 January 2017, the annual requirement of water is around 6000 to 7000 Kms. The groundwater reserve globally is about 70, 000, 00 Km3. This surplus amount of water is brought in to the ground annually by the process of precipitation and percolation.  But for the last few years due to overuse and limited rainfall, the groundwater level has subsequently decreased. Concretisation of the cities is also an important factor. Therefore, a shortage of water is occurring alarmingly depending on regional water balance, controlled largely by climate, altitude, soil composition, vegetation cover, precipitation, and percolation. Conjunctive use of surface and groundwater in a judicious manner after due consideration of factors influencing water must be planned.

Thus, it has now become very necessary to use water very judiciously. Also, recycling of water should also be considered. It is easier to located surface water by aerial photography and remote sensing, but in the case of groundwater, it is very difficult to locate it as it requires the whole evaluation of the ground surface.


Water Pollution in India has now reached a very critical stage. Almost every river in India is polluted in some way or another. As assessed by the scientists of the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) Nagpur, nearly 70% of the water in India is polluted. Pollution in the holy river The Ganga is studied by various scientists and thinkers. The works culminate into a common conclusion that the physicochemical properties of Ganga water have degraded continuously and still it is following the same suit. Bacteriological pollution was studied in river Ganga. The reports favor the presence of a large number of pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms in much beyond their excess limit. Biological properties in river Yamuna, in various cities, is very low as compared to Ganga due to the discharge of sewage in it. This is the condition of every river in India. Every river now has a large number of heavy salts contain, presence of algae, and other polluting substances present in it which makes them unfit for drinking due to which water scarcity is increasing day by day. In every study, none of the rivers is found to be free from pollution. This is very disgusting for a country like India where rivers are considered to be a goddess.


There are many sources of pollution, but generally, the pollutants come from the following three sources:-

  1. Sewage discharge into water.
  2. Industrial effluents discharged into the river without any pre-treatment.
  3. Surface runoff from agricultural land, where chemical fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, and manures are used.

This pollutant makes the river water unsafe for drinking and bathing. About 1500 substances are categorized as water- pollutant, which includes acids, salts, alkalies, anions, detergents, domestic sewage and farm manure, food processing water, gases, metals ( cadmium, zinc, copper), nutrients ( phosphates, nitrates), oil and oil dispersants organic wastes, pathogens, pesticides, etc.

Nowadays all these harmful substances get mixed with the water and thus make it unfit for drinking. The major sources of pollution marked by different researches include effluents from large and small scale industries, agriculture runoff and city sewage. The effect of sewage on the quality of river Ganga in Kanpur was studied by Ray and David (1966). In his study, he found that the sewage which is discharged in the river contains heavy metals which makes the water unfit for drinking and other purposes. Crude agriculture practice is considered another important source of water pollution. Farmers nowadays use various pesticides and insecticides in farming. During the rainy season, these chemicals along with rainwater go into rivers thereby polluting them. It also affects the soil very badly. This also has also shown a positive metals test in fruits, vegetables which are grown on such soil. Industries generate a significant quantity of wastewater which ultimately finds its way to stream or rivers. Industrial discharges containing toxic and hazardous substances contribute to the severe kind of pollution in the aquatic systems. Industrial development is large because of the production of chemicals resulting in the generation of toxic and hazardous substances that have been continuously on the increase during the last few decades.


Various reports show that 80% of mortality is due to water pollution. The presence of heavy metals in grains, vegetables, fruit, and milk has shown that nothing has remained pure in this universe. Heavy metals that are causative of a large number of un-understood diseases should be treated carefully. The main source of drinking water is rivers. Due to the pollution of water, people are not able to drink this water. Rivers are the most important source of surface water and since they are polluted we have only groundwater left for drinking. Because of low rainfall sufficient amount of groundwater is also not available. If the present trends continue then it is possible that one day we will not have water for drinking.


From the above-written facts, it is quite clear that the level of water pollution has reached an alarming rate. The quality of water in most parts of the world has degraded, though the situation in India is more severe. Indian philosophers believe that “thought of a person depends on the type of food and water to which he is fed”. The above contention is well scientific because as we ingest contaminated food and water the normal physiology is disturbed. Our body consists of about more than 10000 hormones and enzymes which are very specific in their requirement and kinetics. If any undesired material enters into our body it affects the mechanism of the hormone or enzyme activity in question. 

We are unaware of the fact that we are consuming a considerable amount of DDT, BHC, Aldrin and many other pesticides in addition to a variety of heavy metals along with our diet. The entry of these xenobiotics should be avoided. We must not use pre-seasonal fruits and vegetables as they require a large number of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to develop in adverse situations.

We have conquered nature to pollute it but still, we have failed to understand the nature policy even less than 10%. Daily thousands of casualties are reported, most of them are told to be due to heart attack. It is a big question before the cardiologists that is the only heart, the most sensitive organ in our body? Because the accumulation of the xenobiotic compounds has been reported in different specific target organs which are important causes of deaths nowadays but its actual cycle is unexplored. No compound in nature is medicine or poison, it is only those to which the subject is exposed. Thus, it becomes our responsibility to check the accumulation of a higher dose of any compound in the ecosystem. 

 It is the demand of the time to move towards sustainable development. We should think of even those generations which have still to appear on this earth. We must notice that ours is not the last generation to flourish on this earth, remember, they will be our sons or grand-sons.


  1. International Research Journal of Natural and Applied Science.
  2. www.extranotes.com visited on 06/02/2019
  3. Water Pollution: Causes, Effects, and Control.


  1. Elements of Water Control Engineering.

By:-Om Prakesh Gupta.

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