The topic I want to talk about is sewage pollution. The reason why I choice this topic is that our school is located in a sea shore area and I can see the water every time on my way to school. Bearing in mind the importance of water in the existence of human beings, this becomes a great area of interest. Nowadays, sewage pollution has caused public wide concern. Have you ever seen the advertisement on TV? That shows if we don’t care about the water pollution; the last water-drop is the human’s tear. The advertisement sharked my heart when I was a child and it left a deep impression in my heart until now. Recycling of the sewage still stands as a problem to us, such that we have not find a perfect technology to dispose the sewage without polluting the environment. Till now we are employing the convention way of disposing. Therefore this becomes a critical issue for us all and there is need to create awareness of sewage pollution and education.
The sewage usually refers to certain pollution from living garbage, production, and the waste water. Sewage mainly has the human/animal waste, industrial wastewater and early-stage rainfall. Sewage pollution is a discharge of untreated effluents that originate primarily from domestic, commercial, and industrial sources. The discharged material contain toxic that are in various forms either solid, solvents or suspensions (Joseph, 2006). Most of the materials find their way through the rivers, infiltration into the soil, surface run off and overflow into the sea. The main pollutants have pathogenic water contaminants, oxygen contaminants, plant nutrients, toxic pollutant. It is hard for people to decline their daily garbage, so this method is not useful at all. The garbage is boosting, and never stops.
Sewage has also been defined as the unclean water which comes from the life and the activity called sewage, including snow and rain from the town system or also as such by residential, public buildings and dissolution entrainment and other various pollutants or microbial of waste water. From the definitions, we can see, both of them are from our life and have causes in our life. As a consequence, there exist risks to human health, such as Pathogenic protozoa. It also brings about nutrients that can cause algal blooms and encourage weeds to grow and can kill native vegetation; chemicals such as detergents, and increased dissolved solids. The sewage pollution gets worse after rain. Overflows may occur after rain, and then stay in the ground. Serious illness may happen and become a threat to human health. What’s worse, sewage does have a chance to influence the food chain. Seafood contaminated by sewage-related pathogens brings illness to untold numbers of people worldwide.
Sewage pollution is one of the major problems that the world is facing today. Most nations in the world especially the third world nations are striving on how they are going to contain the issue before it gets out off hand. Effects of sewage pollution to the human existence have been frequently highlighted through the media and other communication channels. Most of the problems that we are facing especially climatic changes and global warming are all associated with environmental pollution. Man has also contributed to a great extent on environmental degradation through carelessness and neglect for conserving the environment (Susan, 2009). We have also failed to uphold the moral obligation of protecting our environment through afforestation and reforestations, conservation of water catchment areas and the use of environmental friend resources as a source of energy.
Various parties and individuals feel that the government is doing nothing in holding the issue. In fact it has been said that more emphasis has been laid on other environmental areas such as planting trees and air pollution and less efforts are done on the issue of sewage pollution. It has been a political issue for a long time in America with various debates and opinions but with little being done on the area. Sewage pollution is a common experience mostly associated with urban areas, following an increase in population in the past few decades. It has led to more problems that are inclined towards escalating the levels of sewage pollution in metropolitan areas. Most of the people have been forced to migrate from rural areas to metropolitan areas looking for employment. The movement disposes pressure to the limited facilities that do exist in urban areas and sewage system is not an exception in this case. The sewage system is unable to with stand the pressure from the population in terms of transporting waste materials from towns to treatment plants.
Another problem that is associated with poor sewage system in urban areas is its pathetic conditions. Most of the pipes are too old to continue working effective .The existing pipes were constructed many years ago and most of them due to lack of repair and maintenance are leaking. The condition becomes worse due to high level of poverty experienced in the third world nations. Majority of the developing nations do not have enough money to repair or install new sewage system in place. They also lack qualified personnel who have knowledge and skills in repairing and installing new sewage systems in place. If these nations opt for hiring the personnel, it becomes more expensive for them. The same problem keeps on recurring now and then creating vicious circle poverty.
Poor planning in most urban areas is another contributing factor on sewage pollution. Most urban areas are not well planned to facilitate proper operation of sewage systems (Alyson et al, 2005). The constructed buildings do not take into account the use of proper materials such as piping channels that can transport vast volume of effluents from homes and industries. Due to poor piping it has led to sewage outburst along the roads which in turn finds ways to streams and rivers contaminating drinking water. Planning where water and sewage pipes are installed together poses a threat to human life in case of a burst.
Do we ever think of how many people die of water borne diseases and the amounts of money, energy and time that is spent managing and dealing with the diseases? A report released by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency on Environmental Hazards Conference in Berlin 2007 indicated that in every year about 1.5 million people die of diseases associated with contaminated water. The report further elaborated that most of these deaths are prone during the rainy seasons. Due to heavy down pour experienced during the rainy seasons, flooding is prone to occur in most areas that are low in altitude.
Overflow from the sewage systems contaminate drinking water thus causing deaths accruing from water borne diseases. Further the report indicated that the government of America incurs a medical cost of about $2.2 million to $23 million every year in treating illness associated with consumption of contaminated water (Joseph, 2006). This colossal sum of money can be used by the government to develop the economy and improve living conditions of the American people. The finance if effectively harnessed can improve the state of infrastructure through construction of roads and upgrading the communication network.
Towns along the coast, like the case of our town, tend to discharge waste material from homes and industries direct into the sea without having to take the effluents through the treating plant and still even if we to treat the water, traces of treatment chemical that are non- biodegradable find their way back into the sea and interfere with the ecosystem. Most of the discharged material has been the main cause of diseases and death of marine life (Clark, 21). The discharged effluents contain harmful chemical and other solid material that find their way into sea and oceans. Waste material from homes in form of grey waste contains toxic chemicals that emanates from the use of antibacterial soaps which contain triclosan. The accumulation of triclosan in water bodies is the main cause of cancer disease which affects most people today.
Sewage overflows especially during the rainy season is another problem that is mostly associated with outbreak of water borne diseases (David, 2008). Along the coast most of the pipes are old, cracked, corrugated and even leaking. During the overflow season water which is contaminated finds its way into pipes containing drinking water thus causing the emergence of diseases. Overflow also sweeps harmful substances that can destabilize the ecosystem of aquatic life. While we appreciate the transport vessels some of them not well equipped with sanitation facilities that reduce the accumulation of waste in water. It has been noticed that most boats along the coast pump waste materials to the sea or lakes. Sewage pollution leads to environmental degradation. When our industries and homes discharge waste directly into water bodies without treating them it poses a challenge to the environment.
Some of the waste material has been identified to contain harmful materials, chemicals and other solid materials that affect the balance in ecosystem. Lead and mercury are among the harmful effluents (Robert et al, 2009). Accumulation of these materials in water has been found to be the probable causes of chronic illness such as cancer in many people. Mercury due to its metallic nature causes heart diseases to man. But how do we come in contact with such compounds? There are various ways but the common one is through consumption of sea foods that contain traces of these elements. When raw sewage is directly discharged into water bodies without treatment it may allow accumulation of such materials in water. Some of the lead element is synthesised by the tiny microorganisms in the sea to as food. Fish on the other hand absorb small amounts of lead through feeding on these plants.
Contamination of drinking water as I had earlier cited is the main cause of many water borne diseases such as malaria and cholera. According to a research done by WHO in America, one-fifth of the global population drink unsafe water. The consumption of impure water is the main contributing factor that leads to emergence of such illness. The majority of people who are mostly affected are children below the age of five and pregnant mothers. On other hand accumulation of non-biodegradable materials from sewage discharge interferes with the normal growth of marine life and other organisms.
Solid materials form turbidity which has an effect on light penetration. Micro living plants such as planktons are found deep in the sea. They are green plants that use sun light energy in manufacturing their food. Due to reflection and blockage of light by the suspension they are unable to synthesis their food hence killing them. The accumulation of these materials can also cause deoxygenating to the marine life through suffocation. Some of the discharged materials contain elements that are highly reactive in presences of oxygen. This process deprives marine life some oxygen that is vital for their survival thus leading to death.
Most of the materials from industrial effluents contain some chemical that kill the soil micro-organism. These materials are less volatile to the environment either in moisture or dry state meaning that they have long effect in the soil. A good example is triclosan which is found in antibacterial products such as soaps. Again the materials from sewage discharge are non-biodegradable in nature. They cannot be broken down by living organism and in case they are broken down it should be through aerobic. Aerobic reactions use oxygen thus leading to suffocation of marine life.
Are there positive benefits that are associated to sewage pollution? The other to this question is yes. Sewage pollution has other constructive implication in the environment and to a greater extends the survival of man. Sewage material after treatment can be used to make composite manure which can be applied in farms as fertilizers. This improves the soil texture and soil fertility that in turn increases the yields of crops. The water obtained after treatment can be recycled and be useful in irrigating crops or be used to perform other healthy activities. Some nations have generated energy power from sewage pollutions that is used to run machines in industries and other domestic uses such as lighting. Sewage pollution like any other kind of environmental pollution should be viewed as a threat to the human existence and stabling block to the achievement of the millennium goals. The government should be in the fore front in addressing this issue for sustainable economic development.
The government through the various arms of government should formulate policies and by laws that should aim at conserving the environment especially the sewage pollution.The government should construct treatment plants in every town that will facilitate the reduction of environmental pollution via sewage. The plants should be effectively managed and well equipped with treatment reagents that are environmental friendly. Urban planning strategies that will enhance proper disposal of waste material through the sewage system should be implemented. All building in urban areas should be inspected by government engineers to ensure that all procedures relating to construction are followed. Laws are formulated under the parliament pertaining to how waste material should be disposed (Alyson et al, 2005). The government through its concerned parties has the obligation to inspect each industry on various issues relating to environmental pollution before a certificate of commerce is issued to the industry. Again industries are prohibited on using chemicals that are harmful to both marine life and human beings.
The government has signed some treaties with other nations pertaining to how sewage pollution should be contained. All the sea vessels in transport sector should be equipped with facilities that can prevent pollution of water. The treaty also outlines the sanctions that are applicable to the member states if they fail to oblige to it. At the grass root level we all have a significant role in conserving the environment. People should at all times obey the laid down rules and laws that help in conserving the environment. This will make the world to be a good place to live to both us and for generations to come. It will also guarantee life since without a balance in the ecosystem there is no life. We should all sacrifice today for a better tomorrow or better said lets live today and die tomorrow.