Natural and Man Made Sources of Heavy Metals in Water Resources
Human and natural sources are some of the reasons behind availability of heavy metals in water resources. Natural cause lead to natural sources more spontaneously while man-made sources are largely influenced by human activities. Heavy metals therefore originate from the atmosphere and from the soil. The two components from the environment form the basis of many activities generating presence of heavy metals.
Common activities are known to be the mastermind of presence of heavy metals in soil and later dissolve in water. The impact that is associated with the presence of the metals in water habitat undermines aquatic and human lives. For example, dissolved substances are closely linked to cause different respiratory problems to non-humans and humans.
Some of the examples of heavy metals in water resources include copper, iron, lead and manganese among others. This study therefore focuses at how the importance of water deteriorates in the presence of heavy dissolved metals. The presence of such metals is also induced artificially or naturally. Natural causes are highly linked to heavy metal presence in soil, water and the environment at large.
Aquatic and most human activities depend on water directly for their livelihood. In relevance to the importance of water in life, there is a great problem that lowers its esthetics for sustainability of life processes. For example, water plays a crucial role in ensuring continuity of life and humans rely on it mainly for survival (Hotzl & Wolf, 2011). Impure water is quite adverse to survival of humans and in many cases; it leads to health related conditions that are known to have a lethal outcome.
Additionally, presence of heavy metals in water can affect aquatic life a great deal. This also directly affects humans because human beings depend on different aquatic organisms. One of the problems of having heavy accumulation of metals is highly associated to environmental activities and progressions being its natural cause. The first process is known as leaching and is known to be a spontaneous process where underground water and the surface dissolve material deposits and releasing them in the water bodies.
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Leaching is also a major process that causes presence of heavy metals in water (Chatterjee, 2008). For example, rocks with deposits from lead, iron and other metals dissolve water as soon as they are exposed to water reserves. The continuous connection and flow of underground water to surface water also lead to amalgamation of the two solvents.
However, leaching is not considered homogenous based on the fact that soils are more percolated than others. Even so, the natural process it undergoes can be homogenous as a result of soil erosion because most of its content is deposited in another location by running water. The presence of heavy metals in water resources is also associated to rise in aquatic and human accidents therein.
For instance when metals are dissolved into water, they change their chemical and physical composition. Aquatic organisms may die for consuming the substances in large doses. According to an experimental research carried out, heavy metal content is a major cause of suffocation and deaths of aquatic life. Additionally, change of chemical content in water also deteriorates aquatic ecosystem (Sharma, & Sanghi, 2012).
Sustainable environmental conditions also require that saline and fresh water environments maintain their chemical and physical conditions. However, with the presence of the heavy metals and in large quantities contravenes the principle at the end of the day. High intake of lead for instance bearing in mind that fish is an aquatic animal leads to clogging and blocking of its gill glands killing the fish in large numbers.
Research also reveals that fish population in salty and fresh water systems has been decreasing due to presence of heavy metals naturally generated through soil erosion and leaching. Heavy metals also have other effects including reducing of concentration of essential gasses such as oxygen in water thus, affecting aquatic ecosystem. Most aquatic animals are suffocated and end up dying in the process because of the deplorable condition.
Similarly, lack of essential gases and nutrients in water bodies is considered as one of the reasons behind reduced population of aquatic life (Laconte & Advanced Study Institute on Water Resources and Land Use Planning, 2008). Human beings on the other hand are known as indirect consumers of the metals because they depend directly on water for survival.
Lethal human respiratory diseases are also direct consequences associated with intake of heavy metals in large quantities. These substances have lethal dose that cause breathing complications in the body.
Besides the natural processes discussed above, the presence of heavy metals in different water resources is highly associated with the influence of human activities on the environment. The first cause occurs from composed industrial effluents in heavy metals. Emissions from industries contain substances that are not biodegradable and have heavy metal concentrations. The metals are rich in gases and they always get their way into different water bodies especially through acid rain or direct dissolution. There are also heavy metals that are discharged directly into water bodies as industrial wastes.
Environmental management and poor disposal of waste are additionally major causes of presence of heavy metals in high content oceans and lakes. The environment today is believed to be depreciating its value at a high rate because of increase in human activities and it undermines the environment (Tellam, Rivett, & Israfilov, 2006). The accidents generated are also closely related to the discussed cases above.
Generally, poor management of the environment is still to continuously undermine water and more specifically sea ecosystem. With proper environmental management and control, heavy metal effects are expected to reduce a great deal.
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Chatterjee, S. N. (2008). Water resources, conservation and management. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors
Hötzl, H., & Wolf, L. (2011). SMART-IWRM: Integrated water resources management in the lower Jordan Rift Valley: Project report phase I. Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing.
Laconte, P., & Advanced Study Institute on Water Resources and Land Use Planning (2008, Louvain-la-Neuve). (1982). Water resources and land-use planning: A systems approach: proceedings of the Nato Advanced Study Institute on Water Resources and Land Use Planning, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, July 3-14, 1978. The Hague u.a: Nijhoff.
Sharma, S. K., & Sanghi, R. (2012). Advances in water treatment and pollution prevention. Dordrecht: Springer.