Did you know that 80% of India’s water is contaminated?

Water pollution facts show us the detrimental impact on us and the environment. It’s good to know how to make informed decisions that might help the planet in the long run.

Let’s learn the facts together and spread the word, so we can keep our earth clean. 

Little Known Water Pollution Facts

  • Agriculture uses 70% of the earth’s water supplies.
  • One million tons of oil go into the ocean from land sources.
  • 70% of industrial waste in developing countries is disposed of in untreated waters.
  • About 40% of US fishing and swimming lakes are too polluted for humans.
  • Unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation in Africa cause 115 deaths an hour.
  • Half of the Chinese population doesn’t have access to safe water.
  • 80% of India’s water is polluted.
  • 844 million people don’t have access to a clean water source.

What is Water Pollution? 

It’s water contaminated with a harmful substance, such as chemicals or sewerage that makes it undrinkable and toxic to the environment. We’ll explore how water pollution affects you, why it’s happening, and what we can do to stop it. 

Water Pollution Stats

Let’s start with some general statistics on contaminated water.

1. Agriculture Uses 70% of The Earth’s Water Supplies 

(Source: NRDC)

  • 80% of the world’s wastewater returns to the environment untreated, which causes massive pollutants.
  • The US treats over 34 billion gallons of wastewater each day. Unfortunately, the aging system isn’t adequate, with 850 billion gallons still being released into the environment each year.
  • We all know about tanker oil spills. But one million tons of oil makes its way into the ocean from land sources, such as farms and factories.

Water pollution facts show this issue could be affecting your health dramatically, but we’ll get to that later.

2. 70% of Industrial Waste in Developing Countries Is Disposed of in Untreated Waters

(Source: Seametrics)

  • 80% of sewage in developing countries is dumped untreated. Water pollution statistics show this is causing irreversible contamination in lakes, rivers, and oceans. 
  • US abandoned mines have polluted over 40% of the freshwater sources in the West. A total of 500,000 mines have been found leaking toxins that contaminated water. 
  • More people die from polluted water than from any violent activities, including war. 

Let’s have a look at the different kinds of water pollution.

Types of Water Pollution

Dirty water might sound like a no-brainer but there are actually different kinds of pollution and knowing the difference is important. 

  • Groundwater: Rivers and waterbeds flow under the earth, when we put chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers onto the soil it seeps down in the water. 
  • Chemical: These same waterbeds are susceptible to a range of chemicals from industrial sites for metals and solvents. 
  • Surface water: It’s not just underground, surface water is also in danger of contamination from sanitation, trash, and other pollutants. 

Chemical water pollution facts can be scary when you consider how much we rely on water for survival but have very little control over the chemicals that go into it.

Water Pollution Facts in America

You might want to think again about drinking water from the tap.

3. Around 40% of US Fishing and Swimming Lakes Are Too Polluted for Humans

(Source: Do Something)

  • The US is a massive contributor to global pollution. It makes up 5% of the world’s population but uses over 25% of the resources.
  • One and a half million tons of pollution goes from Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico each year. A dead zone of approximately 8000 square miles is established each summer.
  • PFAS is a toxic manmade chemical that can damage your immune system. In 2019, the chemical was found in drinking water across the US. Brunswick County had the highest level, but unsafe amounts were found in metropolitans, such as Philadelphia. 

We all think of the US as one of the most developed countries, but it’s not that advanced when it comes to this issue.

Around 40% of US Fishing and Swimming Lakes Are Too Polluted for Humans

4. 56% of Americans Are Worried About the Quality of Their Drinking Water

(Source: Gallup Inc)

  • Additionally, 53% are worried about other water sources throughout the country like rivers and lakes. 
  • Water pollution remains the biggest concern for Americans but around 40% have concerns surrounding global warming. 
  • Air pollution is also a big worry for 41% of US citizens. Asthma already kills 1150 people a day, so declining air quality is not improving anything. 
  • But can you blame them? Water pollution in Florida peaked at new levels in 2021 when an old phosphate mines storage reservoir began collapsing. In a single night, millions of gallons of contaminated water pumped into Tampa Bay, leaving hundreds in the evacuation zone. Unfortunately, the problem was known about since 2006 and left until it was too late.

That’s just in the US, but water pollution is a global issue.

Global Water Pollution Facts

With all these statistics, it’s no wonder there are still so many deaths due to water pollution in 2022.

5. Unsafe Drinking Water and Poor Sanitation in Africa Cause 115 Deaths an Hour

(Source: Global Citizen)

  • One in four people doesn’t have access to proper sanitation. For a quarter of the sub-Saharan Africa population, a trip to fetch water takes more than 30 minutes.
  • 66% live in low rainfall areas, and the rising changes in climate change are making predictions near impossible. The issue affects 300 million people.
  • Surface water on lakes, rivers, and wetlands is incredibly polluted. Sadly, two-thirds of the African population relies on it for drinking.

Water pollution in Africa creates a domino effect. Since populations are growing, less water is available. As a result, rural areas are forced to get unsafe water and risk disease. These parts of Africa have little to no medical help, and millions die from treatable illnesses like diarrhea.

6. Half of the Chinese Population Doesn’t Have Access to Safe Water

(The Borgen Project)

  • 90% of Chinese cities’ groundwater is contaminated. You may even notice a distinct green color in many of the water sources.
  • China is home to cancer villages,’ which have been linked to polluted water. The high arsenic and sulfate levels in it cause stomach and liver cancer. What’s more, only a third of waterways are under the government standard for human consumption.
  • Inadequate regulations allow factories to dump toxic waste in the water. Besides, it doesn’t help that the country produces cheap goods in large quantities. Water pollution in China has doubled the government’s initial predictions. 

Contamination is growing globally and could have a massive impact on future generations.

7. 80% of India’s Water Is Polluted

(Source: Borgen Magazine)

  • According to estimation, by 2030, 40% of the population won’t have access to a clean water source, and 600 million will live in a slum.
  • No access to water has propelled its illegal sale, which can be as high as $50 per 1,000 liters. Most of the population cannot afford it.
  • More than 40 million liters of wastewater go into India’s sources and cause serious illness. For instance, 38 million people are infected with waterborne diseases per year. In 2019, over two million died of contamination in India

Water pollution facts show many go without a vital source that we take for granted every day. Imagine living with no running water, showers, toilet, or even drinking water. 

Globally, two million tons of waste are released into the water every day.

8. 884 Million People Don’t Have Access to Clean Water Sources

(Source: The World Counts)

  • Globally, two million tons of waste are released into the water every day. Plus, over two million additional people don’t have access to sanitation in 2022.
  • Diseases caused by polluted water are the number one killer of children under five years old. 
  • The 2011 Japanese tsunami swept five million tons of debris into the ocean, which we still find across the globe today.

Water pollution statistics may be worse in developing countries but developed countries are adding to the problem. The truth is, we’re all in the same boat and should actively be doing our part to reduce contamination. 

Effects of Water Pollution on Your Health

We know what contaminated water is and where it comes from. But what does this mean for your health?

9. Average US Tap Water Contains Over 500 Chemicals

(Source: The World Counts)

  • We avoid BPA in plastics because we know it’s not healthy. But did you know that nearly a third of US groundwater contains this chemical compound? It can cause congenital issues in babies and hormone imbalance. What’s more, your pet might develop health issues because of it, too, so it might be worth looking into pet insurance.
  • It’s not just the tap you should be worried about. Water is needed to produce millions of products we use daily. To make a mere two pounds of chocolate, it takes more than 24,000 liters of water. 
  • Over 240,000 people have died from contaminated water in the first month of 2022.

Water pollution facts for 2022 show us that humanity needs to make some changes to protect future generations.

What Can You Do to Help?

You could make a difference and save people in underdeveloped countries. Here’s how.

9. Avoid Using Harmful Chemicals 

(Source: APEC)

  • Use eco-friendly alternatives. Thousands of products are available, so do your research and find out what works for you. 
  • Save water. Take shorter showers, use water-saving devices in the house, and turn off the water when brushing your teeth.
  • Recycle. Plastic contributes massively to water pollution. Don’t throw it into the regular trash.

These are just a few ways you can lower the water pollution statistics and make a difference. 

Wrap Up

When it comes to water contamination, underdeveloped countries are the worst affected due to accessibility and economic devastation.

But don’t be fooled. Many developed countries are approaching the consequences, too.

Water pollution facts show us some of the damage we cause to the environment.

Healing the sources takes time and the dedication of each individual. Hopefully, this information will help you make more informed decisions for our planet. 

  1. NRDC
  2. Seametrics
  3. Do Something
  4. Global Citizen
  5. The Borgen Project
  6. Borgen Magazine
  7. The World Counts
  8. APEC

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Emma is a lover of all animals. Her cat Pumpkin enjoys stretching out in the office while mom researches the best information on how to care for their fellow furry friends. Emma’s passion for animals started at a young age. Back then, she dedicated her time to shelters and vet clinics in South Africa. Her enthusiasm for writing and research is behind the most reliable information for pet lovers. She believes in treating animals with the devotion and respect they deserve.