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Common Water Pollutants and Their Effects on the Environment

Some of the most commonly abused pesticides, known as pesticides, get into water via runoff. Insecticide DDT is one of these compounds. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are also pollutants. Organo-metallic compounds form when metals react with organic compounds, forming toxic chemicals. Common examples include As and Hg poisoning water bodies.

The World Health Organization defines water as polluted when it has been altered to such an extent that it is no longer usable for essential purposes such as drinking. It can also be contaminated with disease-causing chemicals. Approximately 500,000 people die every year as a result of water pollution. Most common types of water pollutants are chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, pharmaceutical products, and industrial waste. Others are not visible and are even invisible.

Various pollutants are found in water, and some are more damaging than others. Nutrients are nitrogen-rich products that can wash into waterways. These nutrients can contaminate the water and cause water-borne diseases. Other pollutants include wastewater from factories and the runoff from highways. Similarly, plastic is a major source of pollution. This type of pollution contains a variety of different substances, and the majority of these pollutants are not biodegradable. Nevertheless, one plastic bottle can survive in water for up to 450 years.

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Common water pollution occurs from a variety of sources. One of the most important culprits is the depletion of oxygen in water bodies. Fertilizers also contribute to the problem of algae blooms. If not addressed quickly, these blooms can be deadly and lead to the extinction of many species of fish and underwater plants. Oil leaks and spills also contribute to water pollution. They are mixed with groundwater and end up in streams.

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