Since the advent of the industrial revolution in the 1700’s, environmental pollution has been a problem. Environmental pollution is all encompassing as it includes soil, water, air, noise pollution, etc. Pollution arises from the environment not being able to process and break down natural and unnatural elements (pollutants) that have been released as a result of industrial development.
Since all living things need water, water pollution is a concern for everyone. Water pollution occurs through many ways, some through negligence and some simply inadvertent and due to of lack of education. Examples are the release of waste water that is not properly treated, pesticides from both commercial agricultural operations to the neighbour spreading weed-and-feed on their lawn, organic and inorganic waste from manufacturing processes, pollutants from livestock processes, and improperly released solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Other Causes of water pollution include:
1. Industrial leftovers which contains lethal chemicals which are harmful to health and contribute to air pollution. These leftovers contain pollutants such as sulphur, nitrates and mercury which are released into the sea as a result of lack of suitable waste management systems by these industries.
2. Dumping garbage in the sea is also another cause of water pollution where garbage used by different families are compiled and tossed into the sea. Debris including plastic, food and glass that take hundreds and thousands of years before decomposition happens and this is quite harmful to the aquatic animals who get trapped in the debris or consume it- believing it is food.
3. Oil and gasoline spills from large tankers to personal watercraft is also another cause of water pollution as oil doesn’t mix with water thus generating a problem for the aquatic inhabitants.
Despite environmental pollution being known to cause a number of health related issues ranging from cardiovascular diseases, to cancer, to death, and the tremendous financial cost to society, it has historically been relegated to the poor urban areas. After all, no company would dream of spewing dangerous air emissions onto Park Avenue. Now, despite big industries attempt to get their pollution confined to those that cannot afford help and no one cares about, the pollution is affecting people across economic and geographical divides.
For instance, in the Hamptons of New York, where the social elite fly in and out on private jets at Gabreski Airport, an underground plume of contaminated water caused by firefighting foam used at the airport, is spreading out and affecting the residents. Paul Napoli of Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC said residents have been unknowingly poisoned by the water for years and it is time that those responsible for making and releasing those contaminants into our water system clean it up and help those people who developed cancers from their exposure. Some residents have been forced to disconnect from their private well and join the municipal water system with its treated water. For those who previously enjoyed clean, free water, a monthly water bill is an unwelcome change. While there is no fluoride in the municipal water from Suffolk County, other places in the country where residents are forced to join a treated system are not so lucky.
Although legal remedies are available by the few firms like Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, who have the experience and willingness to undertake these difficult and often expensive cases, other possible solutions that can be employed to solve or greatly reduce the effect of water pollution include:
1. Enlightenment: Educational campaigns need to be done to enable people understand the harmful effects of water pollution and how they can each contribute in small measures to ensure that water is safe for consumption and harmless to the environment.
2. Rules and Regulations: environmental laws need to be put in place to make it difficult for individuals and industrial companies to pollute seas, oceans, lakes and drinking water. For instance more international laws like the United Nations convention on the law of sea should be put in place to serve as a deterrent.
As environmental pollution is no longer confined to the poor urban communities, ultimately, the quality of life and our environment can be better served if everyone from the industrial companies to the individuals can work hand in hand to make the world we live in a cleaner and safer place.