Dangers of Contaminated Water Essay

Pages: 3 (928 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Urban Studies

¶ … Fouling our nest" from Unquenchable: America's water crisis and what we can do about it

According to Robert Glennon's book Unquenchable: America's water crisis and what we can do about it, for many years the supposed benefits of modern agriculture have actually resulted in environmentally unsound practices and the chemicals that we have used to supposedly 'improve' our lives have actually resulted in environmental degradation to the planet and to our own health (Glennon 65). To support his overall thesis claim, Glennon notes how synthetic products such as agricultural fertilizers and added chemicals to gasoline have caused significant water contamination of which most Americans are unaware. Government attempts to reign in big agriculture and big businesses' assault on our water supply in the name of profits have been relatively weak and inconsistent.

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Despite the fact that by all measures America is considered a developed nation, there are significant problems with the quality of its water supply, such as the Colorado River, which has high concentrations of nitrogen and fecal bacteria (Glennon 66). Untreated sewage dumping is an epidemic problem across North America. Storms frequently cause wastewater overflows. 3.5 million Americans every year become ill from contact with contaminated water, sometimes fatally, including in one instance cited by Glennon of an admittedly rare but still horrifying case of a brain-eating amoeba that killed a young boy after water got up his nose swimming in a lake (Glennon 67). Glennon thus uses a mixture of scientific and anecdotal evidence to bolster his subclaim that the lakes and rivers of America are dangerous for human use, both drinking and otherwise. While some states have created commissions and oversight boards to improve water quality, overall the growing trend reported by Glennon is one of degradation.

Essay on Dangers of Contaminated Water Assignment

As well as the hazards posed by human waste, many other potential dangers are posed to the water supply of a manmade nature. No body of water, according to Glennon, can escape contamination from nitrogen-laced runoff that is the result of pesticides, fertilizers and other agricultural contaminants. These agricultural products may make food cheaper and easier to obtain in the short-term, but in the long-term they are extremely dangerous. This is also true of meat-based products: the antibiotics fed to cattle along with the arsenic in chicken feed have all found their way into the water supply (Glennon 72). The sheer volume of animals and their waste products that are produced from factory farming is astounding: furthermore, phosphorous in the water supply creates algae bloom, reduces oxygen, and affects the fish population's ability to breathe, thus impacting another source of human protein in the long-term (Glennon 73).

Pollution has profoundly changed our relationship to the land. Some of the most famous bodies of water in the country such as the Mississippi… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Dangers of Contaminated Water.  (2014, April 14).  Retrieved November 24, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/dangers-contaminated-water/1965708

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"Dangers of Contaminated Water."  Essaytown.com.  April 14, 2014.  Accessed November 24, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/dangers-contaminated-water/1965708.