Reading articles on water pollution is a depressing and a very complicated subject to get into, but even the quick facts on water pollution are enough to give any conscientious person the chills:
Researcher Larry West estimates that every day, 14,000 people die because of water pollution.
According to official classification, 41.3% of the United States’ water is polluted.
China is the latest victim of impure water tragedies. Emissaries around the globe are working nonstop to help China prevent a polluted-water epidemic before their contaminants spread even further. Some facts on water pollution in China:
70% of Chinese lakes and rivers are polluted, not to mention 90% of their groundwater (which constitutes most of the “potable” water people use for drinking, cooking, etc.) This pollution means that 320 million Chinese citizens have no clean drinking water.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently estimated that 75% of all disease in China comes from water pollution.
WHO puts the number of Chinese water-pollution-related deaths at 100,000 per year.
Water pollution in China is largely due to lax restrictions. In 2005 a Chinese petro-chemical plant exploded, shooting 100 tons of benzene into the Songhua River—and as usual, the company would have gotten off scot-free if the international community had not noticed something amiss and raised the alarm.
International distress is well-placed. Consumers of Chinese goods, who number in the millions, are upset by reports of unhygienic practices because of the overwhelmingly numerous Chinese imports distributed worldwide.
Children’s toys are largely made in China and this is a particular concern. Many people are smart enough to realize that sources of water pollution have an extremely pervasive vehicle in which to transmit toxins. Citizens of the USA’s Pacific Coast are especially worried that China’s polluted water will reach them in tidal currents.
The environment is extremely fragile. Recent pollution offenses include mountaintop mining in the Appalachians, oil drilling at both the Arctic and Antarctic poles which results in massive wildlife death, and oil spills that sicken people, as was recently the case in Puerto Rico.
So, after all of this sobering and unpleasant information, one question remains: how to stop water pollution? There are many technicalities involved, but the most comprehensive and pressing solution is better regulation. Government oversight needs a dramatic facelift.
A recent, disgraceful slump is due to a 2002 ruling by British courts which, incredibly enough, stated that heavy industrial mining waste was not dangerous and could be dumped into any water source at any time without permission. Articles on water pollution in the news reflect the consequences.
This ruling has given rise to a scandal currently unfolding in the Appalachian Mountains—West Virginian senator Robert Byrd, backed by profit-hungry mining companies and the Corps of Engineers, are literally “blowing the tops off mountains” to get at the ore inside and then dumping their poisonous leftovers directly into nearby streams, making them direct sources of water pollution.
They have even insulted public intelligence with their ludicrous claim that there is no better way to dispose of this waste. Well, if ultimately drinking it is the best solution, then here’s a toast to Senator Byrd. But if it turns out that putting heavy mining slag into our bodies isn’t the best solution, then here’s hoping that the government steps in to regulate pollution—and soon.