What Are the Effects of Water Pollution on the Environment?

water pollution

The effects of water pollution are far-reaching. Our ecosystem is affected on every level by water contamination. Not only do we have to worry about unhealthy particles reaching our drinking water, but also crops, animals, and our oceans are greatly harmed by this.

Chain of Destruction

When polluted water is found in our ecosystem, it leaves a trail of destruction. Polluted water that ends up in local streams and rivers will damage the life in and surrounding it. Vegetation that feeds on this water for survival can be damaged and killed from polluted streams. This will then affect the animal life in that area that depend on the vegetation for their survival. As the stream or river water dumps into larger bodies, such as the ocean, we will see ocean life suffering. This all has an effect on the entire ecosystem. It isn't limited to just one area or another.

Acid Rain

bare trees from acid rain damage

The term 'Acid Rain' was thrown around a lot in the 80's. Even though the term isn't heard as much today, it's effect's are still very relevant. As pollutants are poured in to our air, our atmosphere takes these and dumps those toxins back down on us in the form of rain. Since so many of our reservoirs and lakes depend on rainfall to remain at adequate levels, the toxins can reach our drinking water supply. Again, trees and sensitive soil based plants will die as a result. Our water can be polluted even without dumping pollutants in our water supply.


Many people won't put much thought in to pollution until it starts to affect them personally. Water pollution can - and will - do this. Farms can suffer as a result. The water used to help the crops will carry any pollutants from the water to the crops themselves. If the crops still produce, then you are putting these toxins on your dinner table every night. The same holds true for animals. The meat you put on your table could very easily be affected by water pollution. Since the animals are depending on water, as well as the other crops, the pollutants are carried in the meat they produce.

Illness in Humans

One of the greatest dangers on a family beach vacation is bringing home unwanted illness. Ear aches, pink eye, gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, as well as Hepatitis can all be transmitted through polluted beach water. These can range from just mild irritations to severe illnesses depending on the age and immune system of the person who contracted it.

What You Can Do

There are several, very simple, things you can do to help the problem. First, make sure you are disposing of cooking oils properly. Pouring these down the drain will not only clog your drain, but also it will add to the pollution problem.

Second, ensure cleaning products and paints are disposed of properly as well. These items can wreak havoc on the local ecosystems when they enter the water supply.

Lastly, consider using organic and natural fertilizers on your lawn whenever possible. This will help to ensure that the water runoff isn't going to decimate the local water supply.

Knowing the effects that water pollution has on the environment is important. This will help to alleviate and prevent future issues.