Learn the basics about water pollution, whilst learning about environmental chemistry.
The substances mankind throws away have polluted lakes, rivers and even the oceans.
The United Nations estimate that around 10% of the world’s people do not have access to clean drinking water. The main problem with this untreated water is that it can carry diseases, such as cholera, that spread through untreated human faeces. This is particularly serious in shanty towns near big cities and in refugee camps.
Rivers and streams can also be polluted with diseases from water coming from badly managed rubbish dumps. But human sewage is not the only substance that pollutes our water supplies – most of the other substances humans allow to escape into streams, rivers and the oceans, are more a danger to natural ecosystems than to us directly.
Chemical fertilisers are much more soluble in water than organic, manure-based fertilisers, so heavy rain can wash them into streams and lakes, causing eutrophication. The fertilisers cause algae to grow very fast forming a mat on the lake surface, which blocks sunlight from the vegetation deeper down, which then dies. Bacteria feed off the dying vegetation and use up the remaining oxygen supply. Once the oxygen has gone all animal life dies and the lake ecosystem is destroyed.
If heavy metals, such as lead mercury and cadmium, get into rivers and lakes many animals will die.
Radioactive waste is normally stored above ground in water tanks, waiting for a more permanent underground storage where it has to be safe for millions of years. There are fears that these underground stores could fail and contaminate water courses. Following a nuclear disaster, water courses and the oceans can become dangerously polluted with radioactive waste.
During mining and drilling operations to extract minerals from the earth, aquifers, which are underground water courses, can become polluted. Huge amounts of plastic thrown away from ships, and washed out to sea from rubbish dumps on land, have ended up floating in huge islands of waste causing a serious threat to fish, seabirds and other marine animals.
Coal and oil fuelled power stations have been responsible, more so in the past, for causing acid rain.
Fossil fuel and nuclear power stations need large amounts of water for condensing the steam which drives their turbines. This water is usually cooled on site in the great cooling towers that dominate the skyline of power-stations. Even so the water will be returned to the river or sea warmer than before. This can upset the river or sea ecosystems. Although not material pollution this waste heat is a pollutant.
SUBSCRIBE to the Fuse School YouTube channel for many more educational videos. Our teachers and animators come together to make fun & easy-to-understand videos in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Maths & ICT.
JOIN our platform at www.fuseschool.org
This video is part of 'Chemistry for All' - a Chemistry Education project by our Charity Fuse Foundation - the organisation behind The Fuse School. These videos can be used in a flipped classroom model or as a revision aid. Find our other Chemistry videos here:
Access a deeper Learning Experience in the Fuse School platform and app: www.fuseschool.org
Follow us: http://www.youtube.com/fuseschool
Friend us: http://www.facebook.com/fuseschool
This Open Educational Resource is free of charge, under a Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC ( View License Deed: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ ). You are allowed to download the video for nonprofit, educational use. If you would like to modify the video, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tagged under: Science,Chemistry,learn,Revision,GCSE,Alevels,AQA,students free online courses video science videos,student,fuseschool,global education,ict4d,water pollution,drinking water,diseases,cholera,water systems,fertilisers,eutrophication,algae,mercury,bacteria,fungicides,lead,waste,oceans,water,aquafers,rubbish,fossil fuels
Add multiple choice quizzes, questions and browse hundreds of approved, video lesson ideas for Clip
Make YouTube one of your teaching aids - Works perfectly with lesson micro-teaching plans
1. Students enter a simple code
2. You play the video
3. The students comment
4. You review and reflect
* Whiteboard required for teacher-paced activities
Carry out a quickfire formative assessment to see what the whole class is thinking
Create interactive presentations to spark creativity in class
Student teams can create and share collaborative presentations from linked devices
Turn any public video into a live chat with questions and quizzes