What are the Cons of Hazardous Waste Being Dumped in Bodies of Water?
Hazardous wastes dumped in the open ocean have been known to have caused occupational injuries and caused skin infection among beach goers. The contaminated waters produced deformed and toxic marine life unfit for human consumption. It went on to cause food poisoning to humans, who were initially unaware of its toxic contamination. In other countries, toxic contamination of the ocean resulted in “fish kills". The latter referred to thousands of dead fish mysteriously floating to the surface and then were washed ashore. Waste water run offs came from industrial businesses, mining sites and agricultural sectors as their hazardous waste flowed into creeks and rivers until it merged with the ocean. This caused high levels of acidification which affected the reef communities, as evidenced by the dwindling numbers of species and the bleaching of corals.
In fact, the EPA declared that 40% of the US nation’s waterways are overly polluted and not fit at all for swimming and fishing activities. Most diseases have been traced to contaminated drinking water that carried different types of viruses, parasites and bacteria.
Surface contamination on the other hand promoted algal growth resulting in a condition called eutrophication. This meant bodies of water, including slow-moving streams, received excessive amounts of harmful substances and nutrients that led to too much algal growth. This occurrence reduced the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, a condition that has currently endangered marine life’s existence. Since the 1950s, one-fifth of the world's coral reefs have disappeared. Due to the poor condition of the coral reefs' ecosystem, the entire Coral Triangle of the Pacific Ocean is expected to vanish at the end of the century.
As an indirect consequence, acidified water precipitates into acid rain and falls back to the ground in the form of acid rain or snow. Countries and different European regions that receive great amounts of acid rain found most of their forests become sparse and dwindling, to the point where some of their forests have eventually died.
Please proceed to the next page to learn about the consequences of hazardous waste brought by incinerators and low-level waste burial grounds.