“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” That is a quote by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a French naval officer and ecologist, who closely studied the sea. Sadly, this is the human population’s fault, but may be also be answered by one of the human race’s creations: technology.
For millions of years, planet Earth’s water has been going through constant transformations, it is renewed and reutilized. One of the main transformations water has gone through the past few centuries is the growing problem of contamination, which is something that especially affects coastal areas and large cities, which we can call urban environments. Among the main factors that contribute to this problem, a few are: the launching of domestic sewage and industrial effluents into bodies of water, uncontrolled urbanization, agricultural and mining activities, pollutants present in the atmosphere carried by rain, climate change, among other factors that put the existence of water for consumption on Earth in a dangerous zone.
According to the United Nations (UN) report released on March 12, during the 6th World Water Forum, 80% of the wastewater is not collected or treated and is deposited with other bodies of water or infiltrated underground, resulting in in health problems to the population, as well as damage to the environment.Therefore, one assumes water must be manipulated with rationality and precaution, but the preservation of water resources on the planet is still compromised.
The main source of pollution of surface water bodies is untreated domestic sewage.As for aquifers, besides the waste applied to the soil, we have domestic sewage that is infiltrated and agricultural activity that can also contaminate groundwater by applying organic and inorganic products directly to the soil. Human actions generate several pollutants, which can be divided into large groups according to their composition and their impacts on water bodies. These large groups are:
– Biodegradable organic material: (domestic sewage) in its decomposition process leads to the fusion of dissolved oxygen from the water, which can cause fish mortalities;
– Nutrients: (phosphorus and nitrogen present in sewage and fertilizer), when in high concentrations can cause excessive proliferation of algae;
– Pathogenic organisms: (viruses and bacteria present in domestic sewage) cause waterborne diseases;
– Organic and inorganic chemicals: (pesticides and metals) cause a toxic effect on aquatic organisms and can accumulate in their tissues;
– Solids in suspension: (sediments generated by erosion) increase the turbidity of water affecting aquatic organisms and causing clogging of the body of water;
– Thermal pollution: (release of water used in cooling systems) causes the temperature of the river water to rise, which affects the solubility of oxygen, decreases its concentration and impacts aquatic organisms.
The changes in water quality have economic repercussions that translate into increased hospital costs with hospitalizations related to waterborne diseases, increased costs of treatment of water for domestic supply and industrial use, loss of water productivity in agriculture and livestock, reduction of fishing and biodiversity and loss of tourism, cultural and landscape values related to water.
The solution to such a big dilemma may be technology. Currently the monitoring of water quality can be performed through high-tech equipment, capable of measuring the most diverse parameters of surface and groundwater. For this function, the company Aquaread offers multiphase probes, capable of identifying temperature, turbidity, atmospheric pressure, dissolved oxygen in mg/l, total dissolved solids, salinity, pH, latitude, longitude, altitude and depth, among others. Aquaread probes have the function of measuring water quality in real time, and the Ag Solve logger
allows data storage and pre-treatment, validation and transmission by cellular, radio or satellite to a database for real-time or future analysis. This may be the answer to our worries about future generations and the water they need to survive.