Hydrosphere and water pollution

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Hydrosphere and water pollution

  1. 1. Hydrosphere<br />A hydrosphere (from Greekὕδωρ - hydor, "water" and σφαῖρα - sphaira, "sphere") in physical geography describes the combined mass of water found on, under, and over the surface of a planet.<br />The total mass of the Earth's hydrosphere is about 1.4 × 1018tonnes, which is about 0.023% of the Earth's total mass. About 20 × 1012tonnes of this is in the Earth's atmosphere (the volume of one tonne of water is approximately 1 cubic metre). Approximately 75% of the Earth's surface, an area of some 361 million square kilometres (139.5 million square miles), is covered by ocean. The average salinity of the Earth's oceans is about 35 grams of salt per kilogram of sea water (35 ‰).[1]<br />
  2. 2. Other hydrosphere's<br />A thick hydrosphere is thought to exist around the Jovian moon Europa. The outer layer of this hydrosphere is almost entirely ice, but current models predict that there is an ocean up to 100 km in depth underneath the ice. This ocean remains in a liquid form because of tidal flexing of the moon in its orbit around Jupiter. The volume of Europa's hydrosphere is 3 × 1018 m3, 2.3 times that of Earth.<br />It has been suggested that the Jovian moon Ganymede and the Saturnian moon Enceladus may also possess sub-surface oceans. However the ice covering is expected to be thicker on Jupiter's Ganymede than on Europa.<br />
  3. 3. Water Cycle<br />
  4. 4. The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle or H2O cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. Water can change states among liquid, vapour, and ice at various places in the water cycle. Although the balance of water on Earth remains fairly constant over time, individual water molecules can come and go, in and out of the atmosphere. The water moves from one reservoir to another, such as from river to ocean, or from the ocean to the atmosphere, by the physical processes of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, runoff, and subsurface flow. In so doing, the water goes through different phases: liquid, solid, and gas.<br />
  5. 5. This cycle is made up of a few main parts:<br />evaporation (and transpiration)<br />condensation<br />precipitation<br />collection<br />
  6. 6. Evaporation<br />  Evaporation is when the sun heats up water in rivers or lakes or the ocean and turns it into vapor or steam. The water vapor or steam leaves the river, lake or ocean and goes into the air. <br />
  7. 7. Condensation:    Water vapor in the air gets cold and changes back into liquid, forming clouds. This is called condensation. <br />You can see the same sort of thing at home... pour a glass of cold water on a hot day and watch what happens.  Water forms on the outside of the glass.  That water didn't somehow leak through the glass!  It actually came from the air.  Water vapor in the warm air, turns back into liquid when it touches the cold glass. <br />Precipitation:  Precipitation occurs when so much water has condensed that the air cannot hold it anymore.  The clouds get heavy and water falls back to the earth in the form of rain, hail, sleet or snow. <br />
  8. 8. Collection: <br />When water falls back to earth as precipitation, it may fall back in the oceans, lakes or rivers or it may end up on land.  When it ends up on land, it will either soak into the earth and become part of the “ground water” that plants and animals use to drink or it may run over the soil and collect in the oceans, lakes or rivers where the cycle starts<br />
  9. 9. WATER POLLUTION<br />
  10. 10. INTRODUCTION<br />   Comprising over 70% of the Earth � surface, water is undoubtedly the most precious natural resource that exists on our planet.  Without the seemingly invaluable compound comprised of hydrogen and oxygen, life on Earth would be non-existent: it is essential for everything on our planet to grow and prosper.  Although we as humans recognize this fact, we disregard it by polluting our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Subsequently, we are slowly but surely harming our planet to the point where organisms are dying at a very alarming rate.  In addition to innocent organisms dying off, our drinking water has become greatly affected as is our ability to use water for recreational purposes.  In order to combat water pollution, we must understand the problems and become part of the solution. <br /> <br />
  11. 11. Water Pollution<br />Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies (e.g. lakes, rivers, oceans and groundwater). Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds.<br />Water pollution affects plants and organisms living in these bodies of water; and, in almost all cases the effect is damaging not only to individual species and populations, but also to the natural biological communities<br />
  12. 12. POINT AND NONPOINT SOURCES<br /> <br />    According to the American College Dictionary, pollution is defined as:  �to make foul or unclean; dirty.�  Water pollution occurs when a body of water is adversely affected due to the addition of large amounts of materials to the water.  When it is unfit for its intended use, water is considered polluted.  Two types of water pollutants exist; point source and nonpoint source.  Point sources of pollution occur when harmful substances are emitted directly into a body of water.  The Exxon Valdez oil spill best illustrates a point source water pollution.  A nonpoint source delivers pollutants indirectly through environmental changes.  An example of this type of water pollution is when fertilizer from a field is carried into a stream by rain, in the form of run-off which in turn effects aquatic life.  The technology exists for point sources of pollution to be monitored and regulated, although political factors may complicate matters. Nonpoint sources are much more difficult to control.  Pollution arising from nonpoint sources accounts for a majority of the contaminants in streams and lakes. <br />
  13. 13. CAUSES OF POLLUTION<br /> <br /> <br />    Many causes of pollution including sewage and fertilizers contain nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates.  In excess levels, nutrients over stimulate the growth of aquatic plants and algae.  Excessive growth of these types of organisms consequently clogs our waterways, use up dissolved oxygen as they decompose, and block light to deeper waters. This, in turn, proves very harmful to aquatic organisms as it affects the respiration ability or fish and other invertebrates that reside in water.      Pollution is also caused when silt and other suspended solids, such as soil, wash off plowed fields, construction and logging sites, urban areas, and eroded river banks when it rains.  Under natural conditions, lakes, rivers, and other water bodies undergo Eutrophication, an aging process that slowly fills in the water body with sediment and organic matter.  When these sediments enter various bodies of water, fish respiration becomes impaired, plant productivity and water depth become reduced, and aquatic organisms and their environments become suffocated.  Pollution in the form of organic material enters waterways in many different forms as sewage, as leaves and grass clippings, or as runoff from livestock feedlots and pastures.  When natural bacteria and protozoan in the water break down this organic material, they begin to use up the oxygen dissolved in the water.  Many types of fish and bottom-dwelling animals cannot survive when levels of dissolved oxygen drop below two to five parts per million.  When this occurs, it kills aquatic organisms in large numbers which leads to disruptions in the food chain.<br />
  14. 14.  CLASSIFYING WATER POLLUTION<br /> <br />
  15. 15. The major sources of water pollution can be classified as municipal, industrial, and agricultural.  Municipal water pollution consists of waste water from homes and commercial establishments.  For many years, the main goal of treating municipal wastewater was simply to reduce its content of suspended solids, oxygen-demanding materials, dissolved inorganic compounds, and harmful bacteria.  In recent years, however, more stress has been placed on improving means of disposal of the solid residues from the municipal treatment processes.  The basic methods of treating municipal wastewater fall into three stages: primary treatment, including grit removal, screening, grinding, and sedimentation; secondary treatment, which entails oxidation of dissolved organic matter by means of using biologically active sludge, which is then filtered off; and tertiary treatment, in which advanced biological methods of nitrogen removal and chemical and physical methods such as granular filtration and activated carbon absorption are employed.  The handling and disposal of solid residues can account for 25 to 50 percent of the capital and operational costs of a treatment plant.  The characteristics of industrial waste waters can differ considerably both within and among industries.  The impact of industrial discharges depends not only on their collective characteristics, such as biochemical oxygen demand and the amount of suspended solids, but also on their content of specific inorganic and organic substances. Three options are available in controlling industrial wastewater.  Control can take place at the point of generation in the plant; wastewater can be pretreated for discharge to municipal treatment sources; or wastewater can be treated completely at the plant and either reused or discharged directly into receiving waters. <br />
  16. 16.
  17. 17. Wastewater Treatment<br />Raw sewage includes waste from sinks, toilets, and industrial processes. Treatment of the sewage is required before it can be safely buried, used, or released back into local water systems. In a treatment plant, the waste is passed through a series of screens, chambers, and chemical processes to reduce its bulk and toxicity. The three general phases of treatment are primary, secondary, and tertiary. During primary treatment, a large percentage of the suspended solids and inorganic material is removed from the sewage. The focus of secondary treatment is reducing organic material by accelerating natural biological processes. Tertiary treatment is necessary when the water will be reused; 99 percent of solids are removed and various chemical processes are used to ensure the water is as free from impurity as possible.<br />
  18. 18. Agriculture, including commercial livestock and poultry farming, is the source of many organic and inorganic pollutants in surface waters and groundwater.  These contaminants include both sediment from erosion cropland and compounds of phosphorus and nitrogen that partly originate in animal wastes and commercial fertilizers.  Animal wastes are high in oxygen demanding material, nitrogen and phosphorus, and they often harbor pathogenic organisms.  Wastes from commercial feeders are contained and disposed of on land; their main threat to natural waters, therefore, is from runoff and leaching.  Control may involve settling basins for liquids, limited biological treatment in aerobic or anaerobic lagoons, and a variety of other methods.   <br />
  19. 19. GROUND WATER<br /> <br />     Ninety-five percent of all fresh water on earth is ground water.  Ground water is found in natural rock formations.  These formations, called aquifers, are a vital natural resource with many uses.  Nationally, 53% of the population relies on ground water as a source of drinking water.  In rural areas this figure is even higher.  Eighty one percent of community water is dependent on ground water.  Although the 1992 Section 305(b) State Water Quality Reports indicate that, overall, the Nation�s ground water quality is good to excellent, many local areas have experienced significant ground water contamination. Some examples are leaking underground storage tanks and municipal landfills.   <br />
  20. 20. LEGISLATION<br /> <br />     Several forms of legislation have been passed in recent decades to try to control water pollution.  In 1970, the Clean Water Act provided 50 billion dollars to cities and states to build wastewater facilities.  This has helped control surface water pollution from industrial and municipal sources throughout the United States.  When congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, states were given primary authority to set their own standards for their water.  In addition to these standards, the act required that all state beneficial uses and their criteria must comply with the �fishable and swimmable� goals of the act.  This essentially means that state beneficial uses must be able to support aquatic life and recreational use.  Because it is impossible to test water for every type of disease-causing organism, states usually look to identify indicator bacteria.  One for a example is a bacteria known as fecal coli forms.(Figure 1 shows the quality of water for each every state in the United States, click on the US link). These indicator bacteria suggest that a certain selection of water may be contaminated with untreated sewage and that other, more dangerous, organisms are present.  These legislations are an important part in the fight against water pollution.  They are useful in preventing Environmental catastrophes.  The graph shows reported pollution incidents since 1989-1994.  If stronger legislations existed, perhaps these events would never have occurred. <br />
  21. 21. How do we know when water is polluted?<br />Some forms of water pollution are very obvious: everyone has seen TV news footage of oil slicks filmed from helicopters flying overhead. Water pollution is usually less obvious and much harder to detect than this. But how can we measure water pollution when we cannot see it? How do we even know it's there?<br />There are two main ways of measuring the quality of water. One is to take samples of the water and measure the concentrations of different chemicals that it contains. If the chemicals are dangerous or the concentrations are too great, we can regard the water as polluted. Measurements like this are known as chemical indicators of water quality. Another way to measure water quality involves examining the fish, insects, and other invertebrates that the water will support. If many different types of creatures can live in a river, the quality is likely to be very good; if the river supports no fish life at all, the quality is obviously much poorer. Measurements like this are called biological indicators of water quality.<br />
  22. 22. Our clean future<br />Life is ultimately about choices—and so is pollution. We can live with sewage-strewn beaches, dead rivers, and fish that are too poisonous to eat. Or we can work together to keep the environment clean so the plants, animals, and people who depend on it remain healthy. We can take individual action to help reduce water pollution, for example, by using environmentally friendly detergents, not pouring oil down drains, reducing pesticides, and so on. We can take community action too, by helping out on beach cleans or litter picks to keep our rivers and seas that little bit cleaner. And we can take action as countries and continents to pass laws that will make pollution harder and the world less polluted. Working together, we can make pollution less of a problem—and the world a better place.<br />

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