Groundwater contamination; a hazard to human health and the environment

Groundwater contamination; a hazard to human health and the environment

By Ismaila Trawally, Aminata Sanyang, Ousman Cham

Groundwater is an important and natural source of water for the global population. It is used for domestic, irrigation, and most importantly for drinking. Unfortunately, groundwater is susceptible to pollution by harmful substances known as pollutants which result in groundwater contamination.

Groundwater contamination occurs when artificial substances such as petrol, chemicals and microorganisms get in contact with the water making it unsafe and unfit for human consumption.

It is a global concern that has a significant impact on human health and the environment.

Groundwater contamination has numerous effects on humans, animals and the environment at large. Diseases such as inflammation of the liver and dysentery with blood may result from drinking contaminated water.

Certain cancers may develop as a result of continuous drinking of contaminated groundwater. Chronic groundwater contamination may reduce the availability of freshwater breaking the balance between water supply and demand leading to the social economic crisis.

Water shortage induced by the contamination of groundwater may become a factor causing conflict among citizens in the future.

Groundwater contamination affects the quality of land, crops, and wild animals. It can lead to soil contamination which can affect the entire ecosystem and the relationships that exists within organisms.

Once groundwater is contaminated, it is very difficult and expensive to reuse it. Among the many things that can be done to prevent contamination is proper chemical storage to prevent leaking and proper waste management from homes and industries.

Liquids, solids and particularly plastics should be properly discarded to prevent groundwater contamination.

This story was produced as part of the InfoNile Science Communication Competition- 2022.

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