What’s In Our Water? Water is important As a habitat for wild plants and animals To transport things For people to use (like to drink and grow food) and to get food from (like fish) For recreation Pollution damages water resources and ruins the water for people, plants and animals.
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As a habitat for wild plants and animals
To transport things
For people to use (like to drink and grow food) and to get food from (like fish)
About 40% of our nation’s lakes and rivers are not healthy to eat fish from, drink water from, or swim in.
Only 64% of Indiana’s rivers can completely support all aquatic life.
Only 59% of streams surveyed are safe for recreation.
How are these water resources getting polluted?
Where is all the pollution coming from?
Point sources are easy to detect because the pollution comes from one place.
Oil spills, industrial plants and sewers are examples of point source pollution.
Because the source is easy to detect, the government does a pretty good job at controlling this type of pollution.
The majority of pollution comes from nonpoint sources...
Nonpoint source pollution happens when rain, snow or irrigation picks up pollutants and carries them to surface water or down into ground water.
It can also happen when small amounts of pollution come from many sources, like leakage from motor boats or acid rain falling.
Examples of contributors to nonpoint source pollution include runoff from agricultural fields and urban areas as well as changes to the environment due to channeling or habitat destruction.
Pesticides and herbicides
Toxic chemicals into water resources
Acid precipitation, pesticide contamination
Temperatures above or below what is normal
Heated water discharged from power plants
Fertilizers from fields running off into streams
Stresses that are natural
Heavy rains causing erosion or unusually high tides.
While the first three are primarily caused by people, they can naturally occur as well…can you think of examples?
Your group should have:
1 container of punched colored paper
Your Pollution Information Sheets with graphs
Work together to analyze the pollutants of your hypothetical river.
The container of punched colored paper represents the pollution that your research team has sampled from a hypothetical river.
Sort through your sample into pollution types according to color.
Make a bar graph to show the pollutant levels.
The 10 pollutants should be listed along the bottom of the chart, with 1.Sediments on the left and 10.Pesticides on the right.
Any pollutant with more than 2 units is considered damaging to the environment.
When each research team is done, a meeting will be held to discuss the status of our rivers in Indiana.
To prepare for this meeting, discuss your findings within your research team and answer the questions on your paper.
Also think about these questions…
- What pollutants are damaging your river? Which is the worst? What evidence would there be to show that the pollutants were there?
- What could be the potential sources?
- What suggestions can your team give to improve the health of your river?