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how many percent of water on earth is polluted

how many percent of water on earth is polluted

how many percent of water on earth is polluted

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how many percent of water on earth is polluted

Distribution of the Earth’s water

Earth is known as the “Blue Planet” because 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Water also exists below land surface and as water vapor in the air. Water is a finite source. The bottled water that is consumed today might possibly be the same water that once trickled down the back of a wooly mammoth. The Earth is a closed system, meaning that very little matter, including water, ever leaves or enters the atmosphere; the water that was here billions of years ago is still here now. But, the Earth cleans and replenishes the water supply through the hydrologic cycle.

The earth has an abundance of water, but unfortunately, only a small percentage (about 0.3 percent), is even usable by humans. The other 99.7 percent is in the oceans, soils, icecaps, and floating in the atmosphere. Still, much of the 0.3 percent that is useable is unattainable. Most of the water used by humans comes from rivers. The visible bodies of water are referred to as surface water. The majority of fresh water is actually found underground as soil moisture and in aquifers. Groundwater can feed the streams, which is why a river can keep flowing even when there has been no precipitation. Humans can use both ground and surface water.

Distribution of the water on Earth

  • Ocean water: 97.2 percent
  • Glaciers and other ice: 2.15 percent
  • Groundwater,: 0.61 percent
  • Fresh water lakes: 0.009 percent
  • Inland seas: 0.008 percent
  • Soil Moisture: 0.005 percent
  • Atmosphere: 0.001 percent
  • Rivers: 0.0001 percent.
how many percent of water on earth is polluted

Water Is Life

Wherever they are, people need water to survive. Not only is the human body 60 percent water, the resource is also essential for producing food, clothing, and computers, moving our waste stream, and keeping us and the environment healthy.

Glaciers and ice caps

Glaciers and icecaps are referred to as storehouses for fresh water. They cover 10 percent of the world’s land mass. These glaciers are primarily located in Greenland and Antarctica. The glaciers in Greenland almost cover the entire land mass. Glaciers begin forming because of snowfall accumulation. When snowfall exceeds the rate of melting in a certain area, glaciers begin to form. This melting occurs in the summer. The weight of snow accumulating compresses the snow to form ice. Because these glaciers are so heavy, they can slowly move their way down hills.

Glaciers affect the topography of the land in some areas. Ancient glaciers formed lakes and valleys. The Great Lakes are an example of this. Glaciers range in length from less than the size of a football field to hundreds of miles long. They also can reach up to 2 miles thick. Glaciers melting can have a tremendous effect on the sea level. If all of the glaciers were to melt today, the sea would rise an estimated 260 feet, according to the USGS. Glaciers have had a tremendous effect on the formation of the Earth’s surface and are still influencing the topography everyday.

Water Is Life

Wherever they are, people need water to survive. Not only is the human body 60 percent water, the resource is also essential for producing food, clothing, and computers, moving our waste stream, and keeping us and the environment healthy.

how many percent of water on earth is polluted


Water is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth’s hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a solvent). It is vital for all known forms of life, even though it provides no calories or organic nutrients. Its chemical formula is H2O, meaning that each of its molecules contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms, connected by covalent bonds. Two hydrogen atoms are attached to one oxygen atom at an angle of 104.45°

“Water” is the name of the liquid state of H2O at standard conditions for temperature and pressure. It forms precipitation in the form of rain and aerosols in the form of fog. Clouds consist of suspended droplets of water and ice, its solid state. When finely divided, crystalline ice may precipitate in the form of snow. The gaseous state of water is steam or water vapor.

Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, mostly in seas and oceans. Small portions of water occur as groundwater (1.7%), in the glaciers and the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland (1.7%), and in the air as vapor, clouds (consisting of ice and liquid water suspended in air), and precipitation (0.001%).Water moves continually through the water cycle of evaporation, transpiration (evapotranspiration), condensation, precipitation, and runoff, usually reaching the sea.

Global Water Pollution

Every day, 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are discharged into the world’s
water (UN WWAP 2003), the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population of 6.8 billion people.
● The UN estimates that the amount of wastewater produced annually is about 1,500 km3, six times more
water than exists in all the rivers of the world. (UN WWAP 2003)

Human Waste

● Lack of adequate sanitation contaminates water courses worldwide and is one of the most significant
forms of water pollution. Worldwide, 2.5 billion people live without improved sanitation. (UNICEF WHO 2008)
● Over 70% of these people who lack sanitation, or 1.8 billion people, live in Asia.
● Sub-Saharan Africa is slowest of the world’s regions in achieving improved sanitation: only 31 percent of
residents had access to improved sanitation in 2006.
● 18% of the world’s population, or 1.2 billion people (1 out of 3 in rural areas), defecate in the open. Open
defecation significantly compromises quality in nearby water bodies and poses an extreme human health
risk. (UNICEF WHO 2008)
● In Southern Asia, 63% of rural people – 778 million people – practice open defecation.

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Human Health Impacts

● Worldwide, infectious diseases such as waterborne diseases are the number one killer of children under
five years old and more people die from unsafe water annually than from all forms of violence, including
● Unsafe or inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene cause approximately 3.1 percent of all deaths
worldwide, and 3.7 percent of DALYs (disability adjusted life years) worldwide.
● Unsafe water causes 4 billion cases of diarrhea each year, and results in 2.2 million deaths, mostly of
children under five. This means that 15% of child deaths each year are attributable to diarrhea – a child
dying every 15 seconds. In India alone, the single largest cause of ill health and death among children is
diarrhea, which kills nearly half a million children each year.


Drinking Water Quality

● Point-of- use drinking water treatment through chlorine and safe storage of water could result in 122.2
million avoided DALYs (Disability Adjusted Life Years, a measure of morbidity), at a total cost of US$
11.4 billion.
● Nearly 70 million people living in Bangladesh are exposed to groundwater contaminated with arsenic
beyond WHO recommended limits of 10 ug/L.
The naturally occurring arsenic pollution in groundwater now affects nearly 140 million people in 70
countries on all continents.
● Even drinking water quality in developed countries is not assured. In France, drinking water testing
uncovered that 3 million people were drinking water whose quality did not meet WHO standards, and 97%
of groundwater samples did not meet standards for nitrate in the same study.

Costs and Benefits of Water Quality

● Sanitation and drinking water investments have high rates of return: for every $1 invested, there is a
projected $3-$34 economic development return.
● Economic losses due to the lack of water and sanitation in Africa as a result of the mortality and morbidity
impacts is estimated at $28.4 billion or about 5% of GDP.

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