Water pollution is a significant and pressing global environmental issue, as it leads to the degradation of various aquatic ecosystems, including fresh water, coastal, and ocean waters. The causes of water pollution are diverse, encompassing a wide range of chemicals, pathogens, and physical alterations, such as elevated temperatures. Interestingly, waterborne diseases resulting from polluted water have been responsible for a staggering 1.8 million fatalities.
Addressing water pollution requires a diverse approach. Municipal wastewater can undergo treatment through centralized sewage treatment plants, decentralized wastewater systems, nature-based solutions, or onsite sewage facilities and septic tanks. For instance, in regions with warmer climates, waste stabilization ponds offer a cost-effective treatment option for sewage.
Additionally, ultraviolet (UV) light, including sunlight, can be harnessed to break down pollutants in waste stabilization ponds, commonly known as sewage lagoons. The utilization of safely managed sanitation services is crucial in preventing water pollution stemming from inadequate access to sanitation. Agricultural waste water treatment plays an important role in controlling pollution from confined animal operations and surface runoffs contaminated by chemicals found in fertilizers, pesticides, animal slurry, crop residues, or irrigation water.
It is particularly essential for continuous confined animal operations such as milk and egg production. Treatment may involve mechanised units akin to those used for industrial waste water, or in cases where land is available, the use of ponds, settling basins, and facultative lagoons. This approach can reduce operational costs in scenarios characterized by seasonal use, such as breeding or harvest cycles. In some instances, constructed wetlands may also be employed to facilitate animal waste treatment.
To address this critical issue, there is a need to establish sanitation-based Agencies. These agencies would play a crucial role in educating the public about water pollution and its far-reaching impact on our environment and lives. By raising awareness and fostering responsible behavior, individuals can be empowered to avoid activities that contribute to water pollution.The importance of preventing water pollution cannot be overstated. The saying “water is life” serves as a stark reminder of the essential role water plays in sustaining all living beings. Controlling water pollution is not only a matter of safeguarding human lives but also of preserving the efficiency and sustainability of our water resources.
In our quest to combat water pollution, embracing innovative technologies and control measures is imperative. These advancements hold the potential to bring about significant benefits for community development and the environment at large. In conclusion, it is incumbent upon all of us to rethink our approach to treating and preserving water. Through concerted efforts, responsible actions, and embracing technological advancements, we can work towards a cleaner and healthier aquatic environment that sustains life and supports future generations.
By Samuel Odame