Published:  04:13 AM, 13 October 2021

Safe Water for All

Safe Water for All

Shahrin Tabassum

Our environment is made up of both visible and invisible elements. Every element of the environment is driven by precise natural laws and regulations. Water is one of the most important natural resources in our planet. Water plays an important role in maintaining the balance of the environment because three-fourths of our planet is water. Huge bodies of water cover about 61% of the earth's surface.

Even though we have huge reservoirs of water, we cannot use most of the water because about 98% of our total water is saline or seawater. Which we cannot use directly. The amount of water we use is very limited which is about 3% only. Of this, 0.01% is stored in the atmosphere, 1.625% in glaciers, 0.0012% in soil, 0.141% in land and 0.4-1.6% in groundwater.

We can drink safe water directly from the groundwater. Except ground reserved water, water from all other sources has to be processed. Rain water is also called safe water but rain water also cannot drink directly. We usually get water from three sources - rainwater, surface water and groundwater, but over time, all sources have become polluted and many are dead.

The total water body of Bangladesh is 11 percent of the total area of the country. Our country is the land of thirteen hundred rivers including Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Brahmaputra, Karnafuli. But as a result of rapid urbanization, factories, industrial plants, housing, etc. have been built by filling the rivers as well as other water bodies. As a result, safe sources of water are facing destruction today.

Invaluable resources water is being polluted due to various natural and man-made causes. Whether water is safe to drink or not can be ascertained through various physical, chemical and biological indicators. Temperature, clarity-opacity or turbidity and visual tests are important as physical indicators. It measures how clear the water is and whether it is usable or not.

Chemical indicators are very important and include pH, taste, odor, COD or amount of dissolved oxygen or DO. Safe water contains less bacteria so we don't get sick if we drink it. Drinking contaminated or unsafe water can lead to various water borne diseases like diarrhea, typhoid, jaundice. In some cases that is even fatal. So drinking and using safe water is a big regulator of staying healthy. But it is facing pollution for various reasons.

Water can be contaminated from various identified or point and unmarked or non point sources. Any unwanted and unhealthy substance in the environment mixes with water and pollutes it by altering the physical, chemical and biological properties of the water. Some of the notable sources of water pollution are industrial waste, household waste, agricultural pesticides, various radioactive substances, hot water from power plants, silt, arsenic pollution, septic tanks, oil spillage, waste dumping etc. 

All this is our tradition. Ammonium chloride, cyanide, zinc, mercury, lead are found in large quantities in petrochemical industry, polythene and plastic industry, fuel, mineral oil refining, small and medium electrical industry and vehicle manufacturing industry which can contaminate usable water by mixing with water very quickly.

Various pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used in agriculture including. These agricultural wastes mix with the rain water and fall into the nearby rivers or water bodies and cause water pollution. Many times oil from oil tankers accidentally falls into the water and contaminates the water and creates a thin film over the water body.

In addition, mixing mineral oil from sea ports can also waste water. The radioactive materials used in nuclear reactors and scientific laboratories are dumped in the surrounding ponds which eventually merge into the sea water. The warm water emitted from the power plant also contributes to water pollution.

This water is low in oxygen which is an obstacle to the survival of aquatic animals. In addition, uncontrolled extraction of water from the soil layer results in arsenic reacting with air to form volatile metal compounds, contaminating the water, and prolonged exposure can lead to a disease named arsenicosis.

Contaminated and waste water from factories having a huge impact on the ecosystem and fish are dying. Plankton-like organisms phytoplankton and zooplankton are being born in excess and in some places the amount of algae is increasing and losing balance. Increasing in phosphorus and nitrogen are also occurring, such as eutrophication. Toxic substances like various heavy metals like lead, mercury are entering the human body unintentionally which is not desirable at all.

This toxic water mixes with the sea through the river and affects the sea creatures. It is also blamed for incidents like coral bleaching. Many species of birds suffer from digestive problems as a result of drinking contaminated water. The hard surface of their eggs is getting thinner as a result many species of birds are on the verge of extinction today.

As a result of cultivation by contaminated water, contaminant enters the food chain and becomes a threat to every level. Safe drinking water is now almost scarce. Safe drinking water is essential for our healthy and normal survival. Sustainable quality of water is very important not only for human beings but also for the healthy survival of every animal in the animal kingdom.

Water is being uncontrollably polluted due to rapid urbanization, industrialization and many other reasons. As responsible citizens, it is our responsibility and duty to conserve water. In order to prevent water pollution, the Water Prevention and Pollution Act 1974-1998 and 1981-1999 have been enacted. Various plants or filters can be installed in the way of discharge of polluted water of factories and industries in a technical way so that the polluted water does not pollute the water of the reservoir in any way.

Solid and liquid wastes should always be disposed of at designated places. Excessive alkaline soap lowers the normal pH of the water so the use of this type of soap should be reduced and banned as per need. Above all, we need to be aware of thyself and start storing water from our own home. Unnecessary wastage of water must be prevented.

The extraction of water from the groundwater should be reduced and the extracted water should be used properly. We can use aerators in our every water tap so that the water wastes can be reduced as aerators help to save water by adding air on the water flow. Rain water should be stored and used. Many developed and coastal countries are artificially extracting natural rainwater through cloud seeding. Different kinds of salts are used in it. This method is extremely expensive for developing countries like ours. So we need to save naturally harvested rainwater.

According to environmentalists and geologists, water will be the cause of the next world war. The reason, they say, is that the groundwater level has dropped as a result of over-pumping and extraction of groundwater, which is not good news for the future. Extreme water shortages have already occurred in many parts of Africa, resulting in crop production losses.

Famine has hit those areas. Sinkhole are emerging in many areas of the world. Through this we can get an idea of what dangers are waiting for us in case of water crisis.This invaluable resource must be saved without being misused and wasted. For this we have to create public awareness. Everyone must abide by the laws and only then will it be possible to preserve nature, its elements and the existence of mankind.

Shahrin Tabassum is a Student of Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University

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