News about air quality always grabs the headlines, but there’s a silent contender patiently waiting for its turn in the spotlight – water quality. Think about it: Delhi’s notorious air quality struggles often come into the limelight, while news about water quality fluctuations slip through the cracks of public awareness.
The problem is while air pollution is debated and discussed enough, the discussion about why water quality matters goes unnoticed. This is why it is time to break this silence and dive headfirst into the importance of monitoring our drinking water.
In this blog, we will go into detail about the often-overlooked realm of water quality, where we uncover why water quality matters as much as air quality when it comes to our well-being.
It’s high time we gave it the attention it truly deserves!
How does air quality affect drinking water quality?
When it comes to environmental concerns, the spotlight often is on air quality, while the effects of water quality never see the light of the day. The truth is that there is a subtle yet impactful connection between what we breathe and what we drink. Here is how both air pollution and water pollution are connected and why water quality matters
1. Atmospheric Deposition
Why does water quality matter as much as air quality? Airborne pollutants are not confined to the atmosphere alone; they find a second home in water bodies through atmospheric deposition. Heavy metals and particulate matter settling on surfaces of lakes and rivers contribute to water contamination, posing challenges to maintaining clean drinking water sources.
2. Acid Rain Effects
The consequence of air pollution extends beyond smog-filled skies to the phenomenon of acid rain. Resulting alterations in atmospheric pH levels have a direct impact on water bodies. Acidification of lakes and rivers poses threats to aquatic ecosystems, mirroring concerns about the quality of our drinking water.
3. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Some air pollutants, notably VOCs, embark on a journey from the atmosphere to groundwater. This infiltration of volatile compounds into underground water sources poses a direct risk to drinking water quality, potentially introducing harmful substances to our taps.
4. Ozone Depletion and UV Radiation
The atmospheric intricacies linked to air quality include ozone depletion, which, in turn, heightens the level of ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. This intensified UV exposure influences water quality, impacting microbes and challenging conventional water treatment processes.
5. Fine particles
Fine particles present in the air, ranging from soot to dust, travel remarkable distances. Upon settling on water surfaces, these particles introduce pollutants, altering the chemical composition of water and raising concerns about its safety for human consumption.
6. Climate Change Impact
Changes in air quality are not isolated events; they also influence climate patterns. As climate change disrupts precipitation dynamics, the quantity and quality of water resources transform, directly affecting the availability of safe drinking water.
7. Wildfires and Water Contamination
The increasing frequency of wildfires, often increased by compromised air quality, creates a negative situation for water sources. Runoff from scorched areas carries ash, chemicals, and debris, jeopardizing the suitability of water for drinking purposes.
8. Ground-level Ozone’s Effect
Elevated levels of ground-level ozone, notorious for respiratory risks, play a dual role in water quality degradation. Through a complex interplay, ozone-related pollutants seep into water sources, making it necessary to have vigilant monitoring to preserve the purity of our drinking water.
Here is why water quality matters as much as air quality
The health of our water resources is linked to the well-being of ecosystems and, crucially, human health. As we navigate the challenges of sustainability, it becomes important to recognize the critical importance of water quality alongside its airborne counterpart. Here’s why water quality matters as much as air quality:
1. Human health impact
The link between clean water and human survival is undeniable. Contaminated water introduces a wide range of health risks, from waterborne diseases to exposure to harmful pollutants. Just as breathing clean air is essential, the consumption of safe water is paramount for maintaining health and preventing the spread of waterborne illnesses.
2. Ecosystem health
The health of aquatic ecosystems is also tied to water quality. Polluted water disrupts the delicate balance of aquatic flora and fauna, leading to species decline and habitat degradation. Just as air pollution affects terrestrial ecosystems, water pollution affects aquatic biodiversity, emphasizing the significance of maintaining good water quality for overall ecosystem health.
3. Agricultural implications
Agriculture, a cornerstone of human sustenance, is heavily dependent on water quality. Contaminated water used for irrigation introduces pollutants into the soil, impacting crop health and food safety. Sustainable agriculture requires not only fertile soil but also clean water resources to ensure the production of safe and nutritious food for a growing global population.
4. Global water scarcity
With water scarcity becoming a major problem, the preservation and enhancement of water quality become important. Diminishing water resources are increasingly subjected to pollution, accelerating the challenges associated with scarcity. Viewing water quality with the same urgency as air quality is crucial in addressing the broader issue of water scarcity and ensuring access to safe water for all.
5. The connection between air and water
Understanding the interconnectedness of air and water quality is also equally important. Airborne pollutants often find their way into water bodies through deposition, rain, or atmospheric processes. Addressing air pollution without tackling water quality is an incomplete approach. A holistic environmental strategy must take into consideration both water and air quality.
One thing is clear: water quality stands shoulder to shoulder with air quality in its impact on human health, ecosystems, agriculture, and the global water crisis. The need of the hour is to embrace a comprehensive environmental protection approach acknowledging the interplay between these vital elements and prioritizing the preservation of both air and water quality for a sustainable future.