Purposes of Water
Water forms a high percentage of the world’s external surface compared to dry land. Water resources are contained in rivers, oceans, seas, lakes and other inland water bodies. This provides for a large natural resource that can be used in whichever manner the human population feels like. This has led to the misuse of the resource hence causing pollution of the natural resource. A report by the United Nations in 1971 defines water pollution as the release of toxic substances either directly or indirectly in the water bodies resulting to harm on individuals or the flora and fauna (Stacy, 2002).
The pollution of these natural resources has led to negative environmental impacts and their pollution needs to be controlled by authorities. The pollution of natural resources have in the recent past been seen as a factor to the cause of global warming that changes the seasons and climate in the world. The most polluted natural resource is the water resource. Purposes of Water. Water plays an important role in the daily lives of individuals as it is used in their daily chores. Water is crucial to the manufacturing industries as it acts as a basic raw material for their production process.
It also acts as a coolant for the process in maintaining the heat produced by the machines to avoid their breakdown. This calls for the preservation of the resource in its natural or artificial form. Water bodies provide means of transport for individuals and commodities. This facilitates trade between nations or regions within a local or wide geographical region. Water provides for the generation of electricity supply which fuels domestic and industrial operations. Industrial machinery requires electricity for their running and the efficiency in their operations especially in this technological age.
Individuals in the recent decades have increased their reliance on electronic products that aim at easing their domestic operations thus making electricity more of a necessity. The role played by water resources cannot be completely ignored in our daily lives and activities. Causes of Water Pollution. The conservation process has proved difficult due to the increased human population which adequately requires the scarce resource. With the increased human population, human waste increases where this waste finds its way to the water bodies for example through floods caused by heavy down pour or the bursting of sewers.
This results to the pollution of the water resources and their subsequent contamination. Pollution of water resources is also caused by industries that are established close to the water bodies. These industries avoid expensive methods of disposing their waste products and thus dispose them in the water bodies. This contaminates the water resources making it dangerous for domestic and industrial use. The water bodies contain living species that depend on water for their survival. The contamination of these water bodies threatens the survival of these species which will eventually become extinct.
Water pollution can be controlled by the implementation of policies and regulations that check on the quality of the disposals made to water bodies. The state authorities should develop water management programs that aim at preserving the water bodies. Not all disposals are harmful to water bodies since some provide food for the living species. However, no matter how helpful the disposals are they should not be conducted by the individuals or organizations. The activity should be left to the regulating authority so that they can assess the quality and quantity of the waste.
This waste is known as bio-degradable waste and provides food for the living marine life. The disadvantage of this waste is that it depletes the oxygen levels in the water bodies and thus harmful for the marine life (Fernandez & Carson, 2002). The regulating authority should check on the operations of the industries and how they dispose off their waste. The authority should check the quality of the waste produced by industries to ensure they are not in any way harmful to the environment. If they are not environment friendly, the manufacturer can be requested to further process the waste to remove the harmful components.
Even if disposal was not directed into the water body, chances are high that it will find its way to the water bodies. Manufacturing companies emit gases that are toxic due to the nature of their industrial operations. This emissions mix with water that is evaporating through the air falling as rainfall. The rainfall becomes acidic due to the composition of harmful substances during its formation. The acidic rain falls and finds its way to the water bodies which are then contaminated. Water Pollution Along the U. S/Mexican Border. The Mexican border with the United States is roughly about 2,100 miles.
This is between the eastern wing of the Gulf of Mexico and the western Pacific Ocean. The border region is shared amongst ten states both in the American and Mexican regions of the border. The American region consists of four states and six states on the Mexican region. This states exercise authority on their jurisdictions without the interference by neighboring states. Due to the sharing of a common border, the rise of twin cities has emerged. The twin cities refer to the formation of cities along the border that stretch to the other side of the border (Stacy, 2002).
Despite the fact that the states on both sides of the border have their own distinct governments, they share the natural resources. These resources are used by the several states for their varied purposes and are therefore involved in the management of the natural resources. The natural resources include air, land and water pollutions. The management of these natural resources is not an easy task because they are shared between two nations that have different characteristics. The nations have different national objectives and policies that ensure the objectives are achieved.
Levels of economic development in the nations vary widely and so does their national priorities. The depletion of these resources is mainly caused by pollution from the human inhabitation and the increased activities from manufacturing industries. The most polluted natural resource is the water resource found on the border region. The pollution of the water resource impacts both the underground and surface waters. Due to the increased population across the border, the surface water resources were not sufficient and the states were not able to provide the citizens with adequate water supplies.
The nations resolved on the development of aquifers which are water reservoirs established below the ground (Ganster & Lorey, 2007). These aquifers were developed to provide the residents with enough water resource for their needs. The main disadvantage with the aquifers is that they heavily depended on the rainfall patterns. The pumping of the water should be done depending on the amount of rainfall to ensure the water resource is not depleted. The use of water from these natural resources is therefore limited and heavily dependent on the weather patterns.
Disposals made by the human population on the ground infiltrates through the ground. The dangerous chemicals and other wastes infiltrate through the ground thus contaminating the underground water resources. The underground mining facilities also contaminate the water reservoirs leading to their pollution. The pollution of these underground water resources may have adverse impacts on the population. Aquifers have the ability to store the harmful chemicals for indefinite periods of time as they are not self cleansing.
The high costs and difficulty to maintain the underground water resources may allow for the contamination to go undetected. The Mexican government allowed for the establishment of foreign owned industries in their nation. These foreign industries are largely American oriented where the industries are of American origin or export their produces to America. The program to allow foreign direct investments was initiated in 1965 to increase the involvement of the international trade and develop the border region (Fuentes &Mac Adam2001). These industries had an agreement with the Mexican government on the disposal of their waste.
According to the agreement, wastes generated by the foreign industries were to be shipped to the source of origin for the raw materials. This proved to be an expensive task for the industries and they therefore opted for cheaper means for disposal. This hazardous waste is dumped in the local water bodies and underground water sources causing harm to individuals and aquatic life. The Mexican government has noted the release of toxic waste in the water bodies but is not able to identify the sources of the contaminated water resources. Identification of the quantity of toxic amounts dumped in the water bodies has also proved futile.
Pollution of water across the border is as a result of shipping activities in the Pacific Ocean. Shipping vessels sailing through the Pacific Ocean involve in various activities including tourism, trade or transport. Wastes from these vessels eventually find their way into the water bodies which may result to harmful effects to the marine life and the use of the resource by human beings. Sea vessels are coated with different metal substances that protect it from harmful elements in the sea. The sea vessel can be coated with zinc to avoid the corrosion of its part by the alkaline sea water.
These coatings harm the sea and its dependents due to the release of toxic substances from these metals. The waste can be disposed in the ocean due to ignorance on the part of the tourists on the importance of having clean water. These vessels dispose toxic waste generated from their engines into the ocean. The ships may either knowingly or unknowingly spill oils in the water bodies resulting to contamination of the water. Sea vessels dispose off harmful waste in the ocean which results to the pollution of the water. These wastes contain harmful elements that arise from the operations of the vessel.
The development of the border region has led to increased activities that have seen an increase in the population. The higher population is also as a result of the high number of industries providing opportunity employment to the local inhabitants. With higher population, the amount of waste generated is high. The state authorities through the local government should identify ways in which to destroy the waste or process it to remove the harmful substances. This should be done at a central point where all the collected waste is delivered.
With the high population comes the problem of disposing sewage waste. The inefficient disposal of sewage waste leads to the break out of diseases such as cholera and hepatitis. The sewage waste finds its way into the water bodies that is used for domestic purposes. This contaminated water contains germs that spread disease with ease. The treatment process of sewage waste might not be complete by the time the waste is disposed off thus contaminating the water. The classic example of water pollution across the border is the New River that flows through the border.
The river is highly polluted and contains chemical wastes from industries operating in the agricultural and chemical sectors. Farm irrigation accounts in the United States account for 18. 4 per cent of the pollution while Mexico accounts for 51. 2 per cent. The untreated sewage from Mexico accounts for 29 percent of the river’s pollution while 1. 4 per cent is accounted for by the manufacturing industries operating in Mexico. The new river saw increased pollution in the 1990s with the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that saw the increase in industrial operations (Davidow , 2006).
The operations meant increase in waste produced by manufacturing plants. The Mexican government has relaxed laws on preserving the environment. This saw the manufacturing industries use the river as a drainage system that they could use to discharge their harmful wastes. The United States and Mexican governments have laws that stipulate on the legal way to dispose and treat waste. This provides individuals and organizations with the rightful ways to dispose off waste to ensure the protection of the environment and especially the water bodies.
The implementation of these laws is in the very early stages where the issue is not taken seriously by the individuals and organizations. The laws involve a number of organizations in implementing them and thus the coordination of the organizations proves futile to the enforcement of the laws. The different organizations deal with transportation of waste, the efficiency of the sewerage systems and the collection of wastes among the neighborhoods. The two nations lack the concerted government effort to address the issue of pollution management.
The nations do not engage in forums that will identify common laws that will manage the pollution activities along the border. There is also the impossibility of tracking the shipment of hazardous wastes due to the uncertain amount of waste produced by the American industries (Maquiladoras) using raw materials from the United States. While this was the agreement between the two governments, this clause is impossible to implement since the quantification of the produced waste materials is impossible. The type of the hazardous waste was hard to determine as well as the original disposal location (Camp, 2007).
The existence of illegal dumping sites in these nations has contributed to water pollution. Rain water that impounds these dumping sites facilitates the migration of the harmful elements into the soil thus finding their way to the underground water systems. The location of these dumping sites may be known but the extent of the contamination is unknown making it difficult to control the pollution of underground water systems (Stacy, 2002). The United States manufacturing companies operating in Mexico have poorly built sanitation systems which easily let waste discharge into the water bodies.
These systems are often shallow which are easily contaminated by the disposal of waste. The companies also exercise illegal dumping where they dump their toxic waste substances by the roadside or drainage systems. This exposes the human beings to health risks due to the emission of toxic vapors. To control the water pollution along the border, the United States and Mexican governments have signed several agreements. The 1944 Treaty was aimed at giving the two nations a fair share of the water bodies and take up responsibility of their preservation.
The treaty created the International Boundary Water commission and served to show the importance of resolving the water pollution problems along the border. It gave the commission the mandate to handle water works as well as interpret the sections of the treaty. The treaty was however flawed in that it only considered water bodies as only the rivers along the border. The most recent agreement is The Border Environmental Cooperation Agreement which aims at ensuring coordination of the issues surrounding sanitation along the border and water quality (Davidow, 2006). Effects of Water Pollution.
The effects of pollution are felt not only by human beings but also impact the environment. The effects can be analyzed depending on the core pollutant and the size of the polluted water body. Chemicals and garbage have the most hazardous effects on the dependents of water bodies. Pollution of the water bodies causes the death of life dependent on the marine eco-systems. Some species of marine life are edible by humans and their contamination put the human life at risk. The death of marine life will result to the lowering in the standards of living for the people who depend on sea life for their income for example fishermen.
Water is used for sporting and recreational facilities and the pollution of rivers and other water bodies deprives the communities around them of good livelihoods besides posing a great danger on their lives. Pollution of water bodies become expensive in the long run since funds have to be utilized to oversee the cleaning exercise. The exercise may take long thus increasing on the cost of the exercise. The pollution of water resources changes ecosystems. The large water bodies contribute to the rain formation process where the water evaporates and condenses to form rainfall.
The evaporation stage of the rainfall involves the ascending of water in gaseous form to the skies. The polluted water rises into the sky and condenses. It later falls as acidic rain that is harmful on human beings and often leads to the corrosion of metallic substances. The infiltration of harmful substances through the soil to the water bodies can cause harmful health effects on human beings. The effects can also be noticed on unborn babies as a result of consumption of contaminated water by the mother. Cases of babies being born with deformities are most common around the border region as a result of contamination.
Water pollution caused the harmful substances to corrode with the exterior part of the sea vessels leading to their breakdowns. This further leads to the sinking of the vessels once they start leaking releasing more toxic waste in the ocean. This not only affects the marine life but also trade that is conducted through the sea. Take for example an oil tanker that sinks due to leakages. The vessel will dump oil in the sea negatively impacting on the aquatic life. This will be transferred to human beings through consumption of the marine life species causing health complications. Solutions to Water Pollution.
The solutions to water pollution in the United States and Mexican border will be by addressing the fundamental causes of the problem. The pollution of the water bodies along the border is mainly due to the activities of manufacturing industries. These industries should be inspected before commencing their operations. The inspection will be conducted to ensure the assessment of the environmental impact of their operations. The inspection authority should scrutinize on the sanitary systems of the company and its suitability to handle the waste generated from the company’s operations.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should identify the impact of the raw materials imported from the United States on the environment. It should also identify the semi products of the processing of the raw materials to determine the content of the waste. This will allow for further processing of the waste if it’s harmful to ensure its neutral or negative impact on the environment (Fernandez & Carson, 2002). The Mexican government should get a copy of the raw materials and their output wastes to be able to determine the industries involved in producing such wastes.
The company’s sanitation system should be regularly inspected to ensure that it’s working efficiently. The governments should also establish institutions that implement the disposal laws which govern the acts of disposing waste. The laws should be clarified and duly implemented to caution individuals and companies on their waste disposal acts. Industries involved in the production of agricultural products such as fertilizers should undertake the social responsibility of educating the farmers on the need to carefully dispose the waste products to avoid contamination.
This act will go a long way assisting in avoiding the pollution of water resources. Sea vessels should be thoroughly inspected to ensure no leakages occur in the high waters. Ship crew caught disposing off waste materials in the ocean should be arrested and sentenced to avoid such acts in the future. The American and Mexican governments should build proper sewerage systems that do not allow leakages of human waste into the water bodies. The governments through the local governments should ensure that the sewerage system is functioning properly and that no untreated waste is finding its way into the water bodies.
The government should also construct sewerage treatment plants where human waste is first treated before being released into the environment. The treatment process plays a critical role in the preservation of the natural resources because it removes all the harmful components of the waste. The local authority should educate the individuals on the need to dispose their waste carefully to avoid the infiltration of the waste into the water bodies. The environmental agencies should be well equipped to ensure the successful conduction of operations and the capture of the environmental violators.
The agencies should have access to equipment to detect the amounts of toxic waste in the water and their source. Conclusion. Water bodies are the most polluted natural resource on the U. S Mexican border due to the development of the area. Most industries that operate within the region discharge their waste in the rivers and other water bodies. These wastes mostly contain harmful components that negatively affect the marine life and the general environment. The pollution of the water resources is further compounded by the increase in the population.
High disposal of human waste is noted due to the high population and the disposal of this human waste should be done carefully to ensure it does not find its way in the water bodies. Human sewerage should be treated before being let in the environment. Water pollution results to major environmental problems including the change in climate patterns and other ecological systems. Reference. Camp A. R. 2007. Politics in Mexico: The Democratic Consolidation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Davidow Jeffery. 2006.
The Bear and the Porcupine: The U. S. and Mexico. Mexico: Markus Wiener Pub. Fuentes Carlos and Mac Adam A. J. 2001. The Years with Laura Diaz. Michigan: Harcourt Pub. Fernandez L. and Carson R. 2002. Both Sides of the Border: Transboundary Environmental Management Issues Facing Mexico & the United States. New York: Springer Pub. Ganster P. and Lorey D. E. 2007. The U. S. -Mexican Border into the Twenty-first Century. Chicago: Rowman & Littlefield. Stacy L. 2002. Mexico and the United States. South Carolina: Marshall Cavendish Pub.Sample Essay of PapersOwl.com