Chemical Pollution in Our Sea

We all use chemicals in the home and gardens. Some chemicals like house cleaning agents and detergents, may be released directly and legitimately to the drains and thus enter water bodies. Others, such as artistic paints, solvents or surplus pesticides, may be discarded with little thought for the environment, and enter water bodies after diffusing through the soil or by means of surface water drains.

There is concern that a number of the products used by the average household may pose a threat to health and the environment, particularly in the long term. Legislation to protect both health and the environment is constantly being re-assessed and improved. Nonetheless, we are still ignorant of the chemicals found in household products and the kinds of risk they might pose to the environment. General public ignorance is understandable; a vast range of chemicals and formulations of chemicals is utilized in the home because of their active chemical properties.

Our aquatic environments are made up of rivers, streams, lakes, underground aquifers and the sea. These water bodies get water runoff and percolation from farmland, moorland and urban areas; they may likewise receive waste waters treated in sewage and other effluent treatment plants. If the run-off, percolated water or wastewater is polluting the receiving water may be affected easily and clearly (for example, the extermination of all fish in a river reach).

However, the impact may be less apparent and long-term, affecting the growth and diversity of plants and aquatic fauna; an instance is the feminizing of fish, which has been reported as a result of the alleged endocrine disrupting chemicals. Moreover, a few chemicals may jeopardize the use of water bodies in the environment, such as for drinking-water supply, recreational bathing or water sports.

The intent of the article is primarily for non-specialists and those with an interest in promoting environmental responsibilities, considering the number and scope of household chemicals; you should consult a professional house cleaner for advice on toxic chemicals and correct procedures on disposing harmful cleaning agents to prevent chemicals reaching our waterways and into the sea environment. It is limited to products that are added to the water purposely (such as cleaning agents), substances that make their way into water indirectly (such as cosmetics or pharmaceuticals) and those that are not planned to reach water bodies but often do (such as automotive fluids and garden chemicals). The review evaluates the dangers these chemicals pose to the aquatic environment and to our water resources, and the means of controlling these risks.

Categories: Pollutants