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What are the Major Causes, Effects, Solution For Water Pollution in India?

What are the Major Causes, Effects, Solution For Water Pollution in India?. Water pollution is one of the biggest issues facing India right now. As may be evident, untreated sewage is the biggest source of such form of pollution in India. There are other sources of pollution such as runoff from the agricultural sector as well as unregulated units that belong to the small-scale industry. The situation is so serious that perhaps there is no water body in India that is not polluted to some extent or the other. In fact, it is said that almost 80% of the water bodies in India are highly polluted. This is especially applicable to ones that some form or the other of human habitation in their immediate vicinity. Ganga and Yamuna are the most polluted rivers in India.

What are the Major Causes, Effects, Solution For Water Pollution in India?

Major Causes of Water Pollution

Water pollution is caused due to several reasons. Here are the few major causes of water pollution:

Sewage And Waste Water:

Sewage, garbage and liquid waste of households, agricultural lands and factories are discharged into lakes and rivers. These wastes contain harmful chemicals and toxins which make the water poisonous to aquatic animals and plants.


Dumping of solid wastes and litter in water bodies causes huge problems. Litter includes glass, plastic, aluminum, styrofoam etc. Different things take the different amount of time to degrade in water. They affect aquatic plants and animals.

Industrial Waste:

The industrial waste contains pollutants like asbestos, lead, mercury and petrochemicals which are extremely harmful to both people and environment. Industrial waste is discharged into lakes and rivers by using fresh water making the water contaminated.

Out of remaining 16,348 mid of wastewater, thermal power plants generate another 7,275 Mid as boiler blowdown water and overflow from ash ponds. Engineering industries comprise the second largest generator of wastewater regarding volume. Under this category, the major polluting industries are electroplating units.

The other significant contributors of wastewater are paper mills, steel plants, textile, and sugar industries. The major contributors of pollution in terms of organic load are distilleries followed by paper mills. Figure 9.8 shows the volume of wastewater from different industries in India.

Oil Pollution:

Sea water gets polluted due to oil spilled from ships and tankers while traveling. The spilled oil does not dissolve in water and forms a thick sludge polluting the water.

If the mineral oils and their by-products mix with the sea water, they pollute the sea extensively. This results in the death of numerous aquatic plants and lives and degradation of the aquatic ecology.

Acid Rain:

Acid rain is pollution of water caused by air pollution. When the acidic particles caused by air pollution in the atmosphere mix with water vapor, it results in acid rain.

Thermal power stations:

The ebullient water that comes out from the thermal power stations, nuclear power plants or from the iron and steel industries to fall into the river or lake or sea make the water of the receiving water bodies so hot that the aquatic life-stream there perishes.

Global Warming:

Due to global warming, there is an increase in water temperature. This increase in temperature results in the death of aquatic plants and animals. This also results in bleaching of coral reefs in water.


Eutrophication is an increased level of nutrients in water bodies. This results in a bloom of algae in the water. It also depletes the oxygen in water, which negatively affects fish and other aquatic animal population

Agricultural runoff and improper agricultural practices:

This is the situation in Punjab and Haryana. In Haryana, the 40 km long drain No. 8 pours 250,000 kg/day of chlorides into the Yamuna to raise the chloride concentration in the river from 32 mg per liter just upstream of the drain confluence to 150 mg per liter just downstream of it. And most of these chlorides are from agricultural return flows.

According to the findings of the CPCB, some of the seepage into the drain contains over 15,000 mg per liter of chlorides. Intensive and ever increasing usage of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides and other chemicals is adding a new dimension to such pollution.

Modern mode of agriculture includes the use of excessive chemical fertilizers, insecticides and many other chemicals to kill the unwanted plants and weeds. These chemical are left lying on the soil. During watering the field on raining, these chemicals go deep down into the soil and pollute the subterranean water.

The water from the ploughed fields washes down the filth and the fatal germ into the ponds and canals and water bodies and rivers and pollute their water.

Radioactive waste:

Nuclear Energy is produced using nuclear fission or fusion. The element that is used in the production of Nuclear energy is Uranium which is highly toxic chemical. The nuclear waste that is produced by radioactive material needs to be disposed of off to prevent any nuclear accident. Nuclear waste can have serious environmental hazards if not disposed off properly. Few major accidents have already taken place in Russia and Japan.

Urban development:

As the population has grown, so has the demand for housing, food, and cloth. As more cities and towns are developed, they have resulted in increased use of fertilizers to produce more food, soil erosion due to deforestation increase in construction activities, inadequate sewer collection, and treatment, landfills as more garbage is produced, increase in chemicals from industries to produce more materials.

Leakage from the landfills:

Landfills are nothing but a huge pile of garbage that produces the awful smell and can be seen across the city. When it rains, the landfills may leak and the leaking landfills can pollute the underground water with the large variety of contaminants.

Animal waste:

The waste produces produce by animals is washed away into the rivers when it rains. It gets mixed up with other harmful chemicals and causes various water-borne diseases like cholera, diarrhea, jaundice, dysentery and typhoid.

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Effects of  Water Pollution in India

Water pollution can have some tremendously adverse effect on the health of any and every life form living in the vicinity of the polluted water body or using water that has been polluted to some extent. At a certain level polluted water can be detrimental to crops and reduce the fertility of soil thus harming the overall agricultural sector and the country as well. When sea water is polluted it can also impact oceanic life in a bad way. The most fundamental effect of water pollution is however on the quality of the water, consuming which can lead to several ailments.

In fact as far as India is concerned polluted water is one of the major factors behind the general low levels of health in India, especially in the rural areas. Polluted water can lead to diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, dysentery, jaundice, diarrhea, etc. In fact, around 80% stomach ailments in India happen because of consuming polluted water.

Solution of water pollution in India

The best way to solve these issues is to prevent them. The first major solution in this context is conservation of soil. Soil erosion can contribute to water pollution. So, if soil can be conserved we can prevent water pollution too. We can follow measures such as planting more trees, managing erosion in a better way and use farming methods that are better for the soil. In the same vein, it is also important to follow the right methods in disposing of toxic waste. For starters, we can use products that have lesser amounts of volatile organic compounds in them. Even in cases where toxic material like paints, cleaning supplies, and stain removers are used, they need to be disposed of in the right way. It is also important to look into oil leaks in one’s cars and machines.

It is said that leaked oil – even from cars and machines – is one of the principal contributors to water pollution. Hence, it is important to look at cars and machines, which run on oil, on a regular basis, to check them for any possible oil leak. It is important after work – especially in factories and production units where oil is used – to clean up the wasted oil and either dispose it properly or keep it for later use. Following are some other ways in which this problem can be addressed adequately:

  • Cleaning up waterways and beaches
  • Avoiding the usage of non-biodegradable material like plastic
  • Being more involved in various measures pertaining to preventing water pollution.

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