Friday, August 31, 2007

"Smelly" Water: Whose Responsibility?

post by Susanne Chi
"Smelly" Water: Whose Responsibility?

The Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP) is concerned about public health crisis and the conflicting accounts of the smelly water contamination in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. We are of the opinion that the smelly water contamination is only possible due to large-scale development upstream of the intake and within the catchment areas and/or negligence of the state government and/or of the water operator.

We reiterate our earlier call that all responsibility – in regulating water management including catchment areas and upstream development be brought under one federal regulator. Such a provision is absent in the draft Water Services Industry and SPAN Bills 2005 which will be debated in parliament later this month.

A) Smelly Water and Public Health – Conflicting Accounts but Whose Responsibility?

a) On March 3, 2006, the Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) reiterated its earlier statement that the smell in the tap water was a chemical reaction involving high levels of ammonia in the raw water and chlorine.

b) On the same day, the Selangor Infrastructure and Public Utility Committee Chairman Datuk Abdul Fatah Iskandar told the press that the smelly water was a result of discharges from pig and dairy farms, oxidation ponds and palm oil mills polluting the river.

c) On March 4th, 2006, the Selangor State Department of Environment (DOE) reported, “pig and cattle farms have been ruled out as the source of the pollution. The Department confirmed that a pig abattoir located near the river, has been cleared after checks and tests and samples returned negative”.

d) On the very same day, the Selangor Menteri Besar was reported to have said: “the release of garbage from the Bukit Tagar landfill in Hulu Selangor could be one reason for the pollution of Sungai Selangor. He further added, “I am not saying that this is a 100% certainty, but there is a strong likelihood”.

e) On March 4th 2006, Natural Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid identified the culprit behind the ammonia pollution of Sungai Selangor. He said, “...The water flowing from a catchment pond at the Bukit Tagar landfill has been identified as the cause of excessive content of ammonia in Sungai Selangor”.

Five separate statements were made in a 3 day period over the ‘smelly’ water contamination affair. Three of the five statements came from various offices of the Selangor State government including the Menteri Besar.

Why was there no coordination between the Federal and Selangor State Government including its various offices and Puncak Niaga/Syabas in uncovering the root cause of the pollution? In fact, both the Selangor State government and Puncak Niaga are owners of Syabas.

Syabas’ explanation on the root cause of Sungai Selangor’s pollution is in sharp contradiction with the Selangor State governments. In addition, the DOE’s report contradicts Datuk Abdul Fatah Iskandar explanation of the problem. Is it possible then that high levels of garbage dumping from the landfill with rotten garbage could have led to an increase in ammonia in Sungai Selangor?

In any case, why has not the Jabatan Kawal Selia Air Selangor (JKSAS) the regulator for the Syabas concession investigated this matter yet? The JKSAS silence is deafening.

However, from a public health standpoint, it is almost 10 days since the pollution was reported and we are still in the guessing game as to the root cause of the pollution of Sungai Selangor. Water consumption with fecal contamination could lead to e-coli bacteria entry into the human body causing severe illness due to diarrhea, fever, vomiting, chills, and stomach pain. The local media reported that residents in KL and Selangor have complained of these symptoms. The level of urgency in what is still be a potential health crisis is much to be desired.

B) Syabas and Quality of Water – Whose Responsibility?

1. Syabas’ Executive Chairman recent statement that - “the quality of water did not fall under the company's jurisdiction” – is a major cause of concern. He further added, "We treat raw water. If the river is polluted, how would you expect us to un-pollute it?" It might be the case that Syabas is not responsible for ‘unpolluting the river’ but surely, it is the concessionaire responsibility to ensure that water it treats must be safe for human consumption. If Syabas were unable to treat the water due to high levels of contamination, one would think that the prudent course of action was to shutdown the treatment plant. Is Syabas negligent?

In the final analysis, the responsibility to treat raw water however polluted for safe consumption lies with Puncak Niaga/ Syabas. Thus, Puncak Niaga/ Syabas cannot blame others for contamination of drinking water that it has treated.

2. Standard operating procedures in treatment plants require the plant be immediately closed:

a. when the quality of the raw water is excessively contaminated;

b. if the raw water cannot be effectively treated; and

c. Intake of new contaminated raw water should not be allowed - into the system under any circumstances.

d. The treatment plant should be shutdown. A chemist should have been called in to study and recommend remedial matters.

The polluted water “under no circumstances” should be allowed into the public water distribution system.

3. The question that both the Federal, State government and Syabas – all parties to the concession agreement - need to answer is the following:

(a) Why was the treatment plant not closed regardless of weather there was excessive ammonia or high levels of discharges from pig and dairy farms, oxidation ponds and palm oil mills?

(b) Why was the existing emergency plan at the treatment plant not activated given the excessive contamination?
(c) Did a ‘loss in revenue’ play a part in Puncak Niaga/ Syabas decision not to close the treatment plant?

(d) Should the residents continue to trust Puncak Niaga/ Syabas on water safety given the potential health implications of smelly water?

CAWP calls upon the government:

(i) to determine if Syabas was:
a) negligent;
b) compromised prescribed water quality standards; and
c) endangered public health in the affected areas;

(ii) to determine if Syabas should compensate water users in the affected areas;

(iii) To ensure, safeguard and protect catchment areas and strictly control any development within the catchment areas, especially upstream of the treatment plants. The government must enact laws to protect catchment areas and any form of developments in these areas;

(iv) to closely monitor of all existing sewage oxidation pond and sewage plant in water catchment areas and introduce warning system in case of pollution discharge;

(v) to declassify the Syabas concession agreement for public scrutiny;

(vi) To revoke the Concession Agreement with Syabas and take over the management of water in the state. The responsibility of supplying clean, safe, clear, odourless water to consumers should be the sole responsibility of the government and not left in the hands of the private sector.

Make money from water

post by Susanne Chi
Make money from water

Make money from water

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor state government will have to fork out a whopping RM70mil every year to buy raw water from Pahang to overcome the shortage in the state.

And that's all the more reason why state governments should work on saving their forests, and concentrate instead on water resources, Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said.

For instance, Pahang only earned about RM7mil from timber but if Selangor agreed to pay RM70mil per year to Pahang for the raw water, the revenue would be10 times higher, he added. He said Selangor would have also to build facilities such as tunnels, pipes and a dam in Hulu Langat before water can be channelled from Pahang.

“All these need RM3bil, excluding maintenance like electricity and pumps. It is not cheap,” he told newsmen after the opening of conference on Managing Challenges Towards Sustainable Water Resources and Environment organised by Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) here yesterday.

Dr Lim said the project was expected to take five years if both states reached a consensus on the price.

State governments, the owners of water resources, should look at their water resources in a fresh way and seek to earn more money from water royalties, he added.

“They must stop logging, must have people to look after the water and protect the water catchments,” he said.

People in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, who now use 4,000 million cubic metres of water per day, required an extra 500 million cubic metres of water per day, he said.

The extra 500 million cubic metres would not be necessary if water loss was reduced by replacing broken and old pipes, finding alternative water resources such as underground water and saving water, he said.

“We appeal to the people to save water. If we all save between 10% and 20% we can already save 400 million cu.m,” he added.

Tapping Rain Water

post by Susanne Chi

Tapping Rain Water
theSun E-Paper

Tapping Rain Water

Ministry to Identify Buildings and Formulate By-Laws

by R. Manirajan

PUTRAJAYA: Certain types of buildings and houses will soon need to have a system to harvest rain water, so that treated water can be reserved for drinking.

The National Water Resources Council, chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has agreed that nationwide by-laws be drafted to make such a system compulsory for bungalows, factories and schools.

After the council met yesterday, Abdullah said the Housing and Local Government Ministry would formulate the by-laws which would then be tabled in the Local Council Cabinet Committee meeting chaired by his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“Once approved, the by-laws will be tabled in the state assemblies for final approval and implementation,” he said.

Firstly, the categories of buildings to be covered by the proposed law needs to be identified. “Obviously, to harvest rain water, we need a large area ... the roof must be large enough to harvest an adequate amount.

“Smaller houses will not need to do this because we have to make sure the houses have gutters. Low-cost houses do not require such a system as it will raise the cost.”

With the system in place, harvested rain water can be used to wash cars, water plants and wash the porch and toilets. Treated water is saved for drinking and bathing, a move that can reduce the water bill.

The council has also directed a comprehensive study to identify underground water resources. “We want to know how much underground water is available and identify these areas. There has been an effort
to identify underground water resources but it did not proceed as desired. We want detailed information so that we can know the extent of the underground water,” Abdullah said.

The council also decided that an Integrated River Basin Management system needed to be set up in all states to protect water sources from pollution.

There are 189 river basins in the country, of which 17 are highly-polluted. At present, states manage their own river basin, with no one overseeing them. Abdullah said many rivers are polluted, while some are “dead”.

“Much of the pollution takes place in urban and housing development areas. Factories are dumping toxins and people are throwing all kinds of rubbish into our rivers.”

Abdullah said the meeting, which was also attended by mentris besar and chief ministers, had been directed to put a stop to this immediately and take action against the culprits.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

posted by NEO

Pengukuran Tahap Kualiti Air Sungai Untuk 120 Batang Sungai Utama

Sumber-sumber utama pencemaran sungai ialah bahan organik yang merangkumi sisa buangan domestik dan industri, sisa air buangan dari kilang kelapa sawit, kilang getah dan kawasan-kawasan pemeliharaan haiwan ternakan. Aktiviti perlombongan, pembinaan perumahan dan sistem jalan raya, penebangan kawasan hutan merupakan sumber pencemaran bahan enap utama terutama di kawasan hiliran sesebuah sungai. Pencemaran ini telah memberi kesan negatif ke atas hidupan akuatik di dalam sungai mahupun tasik. Di kawasan Lembah Klang sahaja, adalah dianggarkan sebanyak 50 hingga 60 tan bahan buangan terpaksa dikeluarkan dari dalam sungai-sungai utama kawasan tersebut.

Kawasan hiliran sesuatu sungai di Malaysia pada amnya akan dicemari oleh kelodak terutamanya selepas hujan yang lebat. Di kawasan Lembah Klang, adalah dianggarkan secara purata tahunan, sebanyak 2,950 tan setiap kilometer persegi kelodak mengalir ke sungai-sungai kawasan tersebut. Secara tahunan sebanyak 1 juta meter padu kelodak dikeluarkan dari Sungai Klang. Pemantauan yang dilakukan oleh Jabatan Alam Sekitar pada tahun 2003 mendapati 37.5% dari 120 batang sungai yang dikaji dicemari oleh kelodak yang disebabkan oleh kerja-kerja tanah untuk pembangunan.

Langkah-langkah Kerajaan Untuk Menangani Isu Dan Cabaran Dalam Pengurusan Sumber Air

Sungai menyumbang sebanyak 97 peratus kepada bekalan air negara kita. Akan tetapi, pencemaran sungai yang tidak terkawal, di samping fenomena banjir dan kemarau memerlukan suatu sistem pengurusan sumber air komprehensif demi menjamin kuantiti dan kualiti sumber air untuk kegunaan rakyat. Dalam mengatasi cabaran-cabaran ini, pendekatan Pengurusan Lembangan Sungai Secara Bersepadu (Integrated River Basin Management) telah dilaksanakan.

Pengurusan Sungai Secara Bersepadu ditakrifkan sebagai satu corak pengurusan secara bersepadu ke atas sumber-sumber semula jadi (udara, air, tanah, flora, fauna) di dalam sesuatu lembangan sungai sebagai satu unit geografik. Objektif utama adalah untuk mengimbangi keperluan manusia dan keperluan untuk mengekalkan kelestarian sumber-sumber yang ada.

Kaedah ini menjurus kepada penyeragaman dan integrasi di dalam dasar-dasar, program-program dan amalan-amalan. Secara umumnya, kaedah ini memastikan keadaan semula jadi lembangan sungai dapat dikekalkan dan wujud seiring dengan pembangunan dan kemajuan masyarakat setempat.

Pendekatan di bawah Dasar Pengurusan Lembangan Sungai Secara Bersepadu ini melibatkan dua strategi penyelesaian iaitu langkah-langkah pencegahan dan langkah-langkah pembaikan.

Langkah-langkah Pencegahan

Langkah-langkah pencegahan menekankan kepada strategi dan rangka kerja untuk membantu pembangunan, pemuliharaan, pentadbiran dan memudahkan perancangan dan pengurusan sungai secara bersepadu. Kaedah pencegahan ini melibatkan langkah-langkah bagi mengurangkan masalah seperti banjir, hakisan tebing dan dasar sungai, pemendapan sungai, mengurangkan masalah pencemaran sungai, memulihkan ekologi semula jadi sungai dan memelihara kawasan habitat di persekitaran sungai bagi memberangsangkan kepelbagaian biologi sungai. Program-program yang telah dilaksanakan dalam membersihkan dan memulihkan sungai ialah pembersihan sampah sarap; pembersihan dari kelodak; penempatan semula setinggan; pembinaan seperti perangkap sampah; pengolahan kumbahan domestik/ternakan; pemulihan hidupan air dan kawalan pencemaran air.

Rajah 1.4 Langkah-langkah yang diambil dalam mencegah dan memelihara sungai

Langkah-langkah Pembaikan

Langkah-langkah ini melibatkan usaha-usaha pemeliharaan sungai yang meliputi program-program :

mengekalkan fungsi asal sungai dengan pembinaan jeram, lubuk dan ciri-ciri fizikal sungai yang lain;

menstabilkan dan melindungi tebing secara bio-engineering; dan

menguruskan kawasan sungai dan rizabnya supaya tidak dicerobohi.

Prospek Masa Depan Sumber Air

Sumber air akan terus menjadi sumber kehidupan asas manusia dan haiwan serta aktiviti-aktiviti ekonomi dan sosial. Oleh itu, Kementerian Sumber Asli dan Alam Sekitar berazam sentiasa memperkukuhkan usaha-usahanya untuk memastikan air diuruskan dengan cekap dan berkesan melalui stratetegi-strategi berikut:

Menyemak dan mengubahsuai undang-undang yang berkaitan sejajar dengan perkembangan semasa kerana instrumen perundangan memainkan peranan penting dalam mengimbangi perlindungan dan pemulihan kawasan tadahan serta pembangunan ekonomi di samping memelihara ekologi sungai dan lembangan sungai.

Memperkukuhkan jabatan dan agensi yang menerajui pengurusan sumber air, khususnya Jabatan Pengairan dan Saliran serta Insitut Penyelidikan Haidraulik Kebangsaan (NAHRIM). Langkah-langkah ini melibatkan:

Penubuhan mekanisme pengurusan bersepadu atau sebuah institusi khusus yang harus selari dengan sempadan lembangan sungai dan bukannya mengikut sempadan politik atau negeri. Penubuhan mekanisme ini sewajarnyalah berupaya menggembleng semua kumpulan pelaksana utama yang terlibat dalam pengurusan lembangan sungai seperti agensi Kerajaan, majlis perbandaran, badan pengurusan air, institusi pendidikan, industri peladang, masyarakat tempatan, pertubuhan bukan kerajaan dan sebagainya bagi menyumbang kepada pengurusan lembangan sungai bersepadu .

Memperkemaskan River Basin Decision Support System (RB-DSS) iaitu sistem maklumat berkomputer yang merangkumi beberapa pangkalan data supaya pangkalan-pangkalan data ini boleh berfungsi secara bersepadu untuk menyokong pengurusan lembangan sungai seluruh negara.

Mempertingkatkan program pendidikan dan kesedaran untuk meningkatkan keprihatinan masyarakat terhadap penjagaan dan pemeliharaan sungai dan persekitarannya seperti Program Kempen ?Cintailah Sungai Kita? dan Program ?Satu Negeri Satu Sungai?. Usahasama yang erat dan penglibatan badan terbabit dengan penduduk tempatan adalah mustahak dalam meningkatkan peluang kejayaan dalam mencapai perancangan lembangan sungai yang berkesan.

Penyediaan pelan induk Pengurusan Lembangan Sungai Bersepadu bagi semua lembangan sungai untuk dijadikan asas dan garis panduan pembangunan yang merangkumi aspek tebatan banjir, pemuliharaan lembangan, mempertingkatkan pemeliharaan alam sekitar, kualiti air, pengurusan koridor sungai, keperluan rizab sungai, simpanan sungai semula jadi, penentuan aras platform pembangunan, pengurusan aktiviti pasir, kajian institusi dan perundangan dan aspek-aspek lain yang berkaitan.

Sumber:Kementerian Sumber Asli dan Alam Sekitar (NRE)

Isu dan Cabaran Dalam Pengurusan Sumber Air

posted by NEO

Selaras dengan Dasar Pertanian Negara Ketiga (DPN3), penggunaan sumber air untuk aktiviti akuakultur juga telah menyumbang kepada peningkatan hasil dari 50,688 tan matriks pada tahun 2000 kepada 52,566 tan matriks pada tahun 2004. (Rujuk Rajah 1.2)

Rajah 1.2 Jumlah Pengeluaran Akuakultur Malaysia (Tan Matriks)

Isu Dan Cabaran Dalam Pengurusan Sumber Air
Jumlah permintaan air sebanyak 15.2 bilion meter padu pada tahun 2004 hanyalah merupakan 3% dari jumlah keseluruhan air permukaan tahunan sebanyak 566 bilion meter padu yang ada di Malaysia. Walaupun Malaysia mempunyai sumber air yang terjamin dari segi kuantitinya untuk memenuhi keperluan negara, isu mengenai sumber air sering timbul disebabkan oleh:
Terdapat kejadian-kejadian kekurangan air di beberapa tempat di Malaysia. Fenomena ini berlaku kerana taburan hujan yang tidak sama rata di antara kawasan di negara ini dan di dalam kawasan yang sama. Taburan hujan juga tidak sama rata dari musim ke musim serta dari tahun ke tahun. Akibat dari perbezaan dari segi taburan hujan ini, maka aliran air permukaan terutama di dalam sungai-sungai berbeza dari segi kuantiti dan kelajuannya.
Di kawasan-kawasan yang sedang membangun dan memerlukan bekalan air yang banyak, air permukaan sewaktu musim kemarau gagal memenuhi segala keperluan pengguna di tempat-tempat tersebut. Sewaktu musim tengkujuh pula, bekalan adalah melebihi dari keperluan, manakala jumlah aliran air permukaan gagal ditampung oleh sungai-sungai sedia ada dan seterusnya menyebabkan banjir.

Malaysia terletak di dalam zon iklim Khatulistiwa yang sangat dipengaruhi oleh Monsun Timur Laut dan Monsun Barat Daya. Monsun Timur Laut bermula dari pertengahan November hingga Mac yang membawa jumlah hujan yang banyak dan kesannya dirasai di kawasan pantai timur Semenanjung Malaysia. Monsun Barat Laut lebih memberi kesan kepada pantai barat Semenanjung Malaysia, namun kesannya tidak begitu ketara disebabkan kawasan itu dilindungi oleh Kepulauan Sumatra. Adalah dianggarkan seluas 29,000 kilometer persegi atau 9% keluasan Malaysia berada di dalam kawasan berpotensi banjir yang melibatkan sejumlah 2.7 juta penduduk.

Satu lagi fenomena yang ketara yang mengancam sumber air di Malaysia adalah penurunan kualiti air sungai. Kualiti air terutama di dalam sungai pada permulaannya tidak tercemar. Kualiti air tersebut menurun apabila merentasi kawasan yang ada penduduk. Penurunan kualiti air ini berlaku selari dengan kepesatan pembangunan sesuatu kawasan tersebut. Dari data yang dikeluarkan oleh Jabatan Alam Sekitar mengenai status pencemaran ke atas 120 lembangan sungai utama di Malaysia,didapati 9 batang sungai sangat tercemar, 53 sederhana tercemar dan 58 adalah bersih. (Rujuk Rajah 1.3)

Rajah 1.3 : Trend Kualiti Air Lembangan Sungai (1990-2004)

Mendalami konsep air
Oleh Azlinariah Abdullah (Wartawan Utusan)

posted by NEO

HARI ini sejak tahun 1993, beberapa negara termasuk Malaysia meraikan hari istimewa untuk air, hak asasi manusia paling utama.

Semuanya kerana inisiatif Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu mengenai Pembangunan dan Alam Sekitar (UNCED) mahu air, yang isu-isunya tidak pernah kering diberi perhatian oleh semua pihak.

Setiap tahun dalam tempoh itu pelbagai tema yang sesuai dipilih untuk memperingatinya.
Ambil contoh, tema tahun lalu iaitu `Air Untuk Kehidupan' yang dipilih oleh Pertubuhan Pendidikan Saintifik Kebudayaan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (UNESCO) kerana secara kebetulan tahun 2004 menyaksikan bencana alam terhebat iaitu tsunami melanda sebahagian besar negara Asia sekali gus mengancam kepentingan air untuk kehidupan.

Begitu juga dengan beberapa tahun sebelum itu, tema Hari Air Sedunia kesemuanya dipilih berdasarkan keadaan atau perkembangan semasa.

Sekadar contoh, Air dan Malapetaka dipilih sebagai tema pada tahun 2004 manakala Air Untuk Pembangunan menjadi tema Hari Air Sedunia 2003.

Tema-tema sebelum ini ada kaitan dengan aspek perundangan. Dan secara logiknya, apabila subjek air disentuh, pengakhirannya tentu laras undang-undang.

Analoginya, siapa yang mencemari air atau menyalahgunakan fungsi air akan didakwa dan seterusnya dibebaskan atau didapati bersalah. Ia adalah skop perundangan.

Itu perspektif sebelum ini. Tetapi tahun ini, temanya agak berlainan dan tidak lagi ada hubung kait dengan aspek perundangan. Temanya ialah Air dan Budaya.

Barangkali ada pihak yang mula menyedari bahawa ruang lingkup kepentingan air itu sendiri bukan berdasarkan perundangan semata-mata.

Misalnya begini, dari aspek perundangan di dunia, jika dibebaskan daripada melakukan kesilapan berkaitan air, seseorang itu pastinya tidak dikenakan hukuman. Perkataan mudah: ``Anda seorang yang bijak kerana terlepas hukuman atau didapati tidak bersalah.''Tetapi bagaimana dari aspek keagamaan? Apa pandangan kita jika dikatakan begini: `Di akhirat nanti sesiapa yang mengabaikan tanggungjawab terhadap air akan mendapat balasan.'' Atau diguna-kan perkataan lain: ``Anda berdosa kerana melakukan `penganiayaan' terhadap air.'' Reaksinya barangkali berbeza.

Maka itulah sebabnya tema Hari Air Sedunia tahun ini sedikit `lari' daripada tema-tema biasa. Ia lebih kepada keagamaan dan kepentingan air kepada kebudayaan.

Ini kerana skop kepentingan air itu sendiri bukan sekadar untuk memasak, mandi atau lebih besar bagi kegunaan industri semata-mata.

Namun dalam konteks ini, secara sepintas lalu atau sejujur-jujurnya, apa yang tergambar di fikiran apabila menyebut air dan budaya?

Selama ini, apa soal air disentuh, kita lebih gemar membidas pihak pengurusan air atau merungut jika mendapat air tidak bersih.

Selebihnya masalah air itu terbatas kepada soal kekotoran, pencemaran, kemarau serta hal-hal yang akhirnya lebih banyak cenderung kepada soal perundangan.

Tanpa kita menyedari bahawa tanggungjawab terhadap air sebenarnya lebih besar daripada itu.
Dalam setiap lapisan kebudayaan dan agama, air sememangnya memainkan peranan sama penting.

Lihat sahaja dalam agama Islam, umatnya menggunakan air untuk mengambil air sembahyang dan seterusnya membawa pula kepada kebaikan lain, boleh meredakan kemarahan.
Agama Hindu, Buddha dan Kristian begitu juga - menggunakan air untuk tujuan spiritual seperti penyucian dan penyembuhan penyakit serta sebagainya.

``Kita jangan lagi cuba memusatkan fikiran bahawa air adalah untuk kepentingan membasuh atau tujuan industri.

``Benar, air adalah nadi kehidupan, kemudahan asas yang perlu dijaga, tetapi pada akhirnya kita perlu juga akui bahawa selain aspek perundangan, ia penting dari segi tuntutan agama, budaya dan kepercayaan,'' kata Profesor Dr. Zaini Ujang, Pengarah Institut Pengurusan Alam Sekitar dan Sumber Air di Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Skudai kepada Utusan Malaysia.

Beliau yang juga Naib Presiden Persatuan Air Antarabangsa berkata, pemilihan tema bagi Hari Air Sedunia tahun ini amat menarik selain merupakan satu perubahan paradigma yang cukup baik untuk melihat atau mendalami konsep air.

``Ini adalah titik mula untuk kita memperluaskan minda kita tentang air dan kepentingannya.''
Mudah kata, air sama ada dari segi pengurusan, masalah lain yang berbangkit dengannya bukan lagi hal keduniaan sahaja.

Di akhirat nanti katanya, kita juga akan disoal bagaimana cara kita mementingkan air ini dari aspek keagamaan.

Dalam hal ini, kerajaan boleh memainkan peranan penting dalam memusatkan kepentingan dan menanamkan kesedaran mengenai air.

``Semasa ceramah atau khutbah agama, ada baiknya dimasukkan elemen-elemen berkaitan air dan budaya serta kesedaran kepentingan air.

``Ini supaya nanti, isu-isu pengurusan, pencemaran air bukan lagi menjadi tuntutan fardu ain tetapi fardu kifayah,'' kata beliau.

Zaini juga melihat skop air untuk budaya dan agama ini akan menjadi popular sebagaimana air itu sendiri sering dikaitkan dengan urusan undang-undang.

Mengenai sambutan Hari Air Sedunia di Malaysia, pelbagai ceramah, konvensyen dan seminar diadakan bagi tujuan tersebut.

Antaranya ialah AsiaWater 2006, iaitu pameran dan konvensyen terbesar yang turut merangkumi ceramah mengenai air, cabaran dan masalah yang dihadapi.Ia bermula semalam sehingga 24 Mac ini dan dirasmikan oleh Menteri Tenaga, Air dan Komunikasi, Datuk Seri Lim Keng Yeik.

Sementara itu, tidak menafikan kita menggunakan air dalam setiap aspek kehidupan. Ibaratnya, kita membuka mata dan memejam mata bersama-sama penggunaan air.

Dalam lain perkataan, kita menggunakannya setiap hari. Tetapi adakah berbaloi atau adil kita memperingati kepentingan dan jasa-jasa air itu secara khas untuk satu hari sahaja? Justeru, selepas tarikh 22 Mac sekalipun, kepentingan, isu, masalah dan jasa air itu perlu diingati - sekurang-kurangnya setiap hari sebagaimana kita menggunakannya.

* 70 peratus permukaan bumi dilitupi air, tetapi 97 peratus air dunia ialah air masin manakala hanya 2.5 peratus air bersih.
* Lapan peratus sumber air bersih adalah untuk kegunaan manusia dan tujuan pembersihan. 70 peratus diperuntukkan untuk tujuan pertanian manakala 22 peratus digunakan bagi matlamat industri.
* Daripada 191 buah negara di dunia, 10 negara berkongsi 65 peratus sumber tahunan air dunia.
* 18 peratus penduduk dunia kekurangan atau tidak mempunyai akses mendapatkan air bersih untuk diminum.
* 40 peratus penduduk dunia kekurangan asas dalam kemudahan untuk tujuan pembersihan.
* Setiap hari kira-kira 6,000 orang terutamanya kanak-kanak mati akibat penyakit bawaan air.
* Pada tahun 1998, 31 buah negara berdepan dengan masalah kekurangan air kronik dengan menjejaskan 3 bilion orang. Antara negara yang terjejas pada 25 tahun akan datang ialah Habsyah, India, Kenya, Nigeria dan Peru.
* Negara industri yang membayar air paling sedikit ialah Kanada iaitu AS$0.31 untuk setiap meter padu manakala negara membayar paling mahal ialah Jerman dengan kadar AS$2.16 bagi jumlah sama.
Pencemaran air

posted by NEO

Pencemaran air bermaksud perubahan yang berlaku dari segi kandungan,keadaan dan warna sehingga tidak sesuai dan akan memberi kesan terhadap manusia apabila digunakan.Pencemaran ini berlaku sama ada dari segi biologi,kimia dan fizik.Bahan pencemaran boleh didapati dalam pelbagai bentuk iaitu gas,cecair dan pepejal.Pencemaran air boleh berlaku di mana-mana sahaja tempat berair.Oleh itu,pencemaran air merupakan pencemaran yang begitu meluas kerana didapati di seluruh dunia.

Antara punca-punca pencemaran air ialah:

a.Sisa bahan buangan kilang seperti sisatosid yang dibuang ke dalam sungai oleh pihak yang tidak bertanggungjawab.Pembuangan ini dianggap mudah kerana tidak memerlukan kos pelupusan.

b.Pembuangan bahan-bahan buangan seperti sampah,minyak dan najis oleh sesetengah pihak individu juga merupakan penyumbang ke arah pencemaran air.

c.Penerokaan juga membantu menyumbang ke arah pencemaran air.Ini adalah kerana,penerokaan yang dijalankan sudah pasti menyebabkan hakisan tanah berlaku dan seterusnya tanah runtuh akan masuk ke dalam sungai dan menjadi mendakan.Mendakan ini boleh mencetekkan lagi paras air sungai dan seterusnya banjir akan berlaku.

Sesetengah bandar dan kampung mengepam pelbagai bahan buangan yang tidak dirawat,manakala kilang kadang kala membuang bahan beracun ke dalam sungai.Ini boleh membunuh ikan dan tumbuhan seperti haiwan air yang lain.Baja dan racun perosak kimia yang digunakan oleh petani juga dibawa oleh air hujan ke dalam sungai dan anak sungai.Bahan-bahan ini boleh membunuh berbagai-bagai jenis hidupan air.

Rajah 1.4 Gambar Photo menunjukkan pembuangan sampah di sungai berhampiran kawasan pembangunan industri.Sikap tidak bertanggungjawab dan mementingkan keuntungan semata-mata telah membutakan hati dan perasaan manusia terhadap alam sekitar.Pengusaha kilang umpamanya,berusaha menjimatkan kos dengan mengambil jalan mudah,membuang sisa kilang ke dalam sungai walaupun menyedari kesannya terhadap persekitaran.Selain itu,kekurangan pengetahuan menyebabkan pemilik industri tidak mengambil berat serta cuba mengelak piawaian keselamatan yang ditetapkan sama ada berhubung keselamatan manusia atau kestabilan alam sekitar.Pembangunan tidak boleh dipersalahkan sebagai punca kemusnahan alam sekitar.Pembangunan adalah rekaan manusia.Masalah ini harus dipandang serius kerana sungai merupakan sumber air yang paling utama.Kepesatan pembangunan industri,perumahan dan pembukaan tanah baru menyebabkan banyak sungai yang hilang keupayaan untuk memainkan peranan semula jadinya.Sekiranya fenomena ini berterusan,tidak mustahil rangkaian sungai di seluruh negara turut tercemar .

3. Pencemaran laut Antara punca-punca berlakunya pencemaran ini ialah:a.Sungai yang tercemar akan mengalir ke laut,dan membawa pencemaran bersama-samanya.b.Sesetengah bandar dan bandar raya di tepi pantai mengepam kumbahan terus ke dalam laut.c.Minyak yang tumpah daripada tangki minyak dan pelantar minyak merebak di lautan lalu membunuh burung laut,kerang-kerang dan hidupan liar yang lain.d.Pencemaran yang berpunca daripada pembuangan sisa kilang.Industri memproses serbuk pencuci pakaian memberikan kesan terhadap sistem air di laut.Bahan kimia,asid dan bahan organik seperti nutrien,bahan radioaktif dan gas semakin berleluasa mencemari laut.
Takungan air bawah tanah saiz Singapura ditemui
Oleh Sazarina Shahrim

posted by NEO

KUALA LUMPUR: Kawasan takungan air bawah tanah dipercayai seluas Singapura, ditemui dekat Tapah di daerah Batang Padang, Perak, yang boleh dijadikan sumber alternatif bagi menangani masalah bekalan air di Selangor.Menteri Tenaga, Air dan Komunikasi, Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik (gambar), berkata takungan air bawah tanah itu dijangka mampu mengatasi masalah bekalan air di Selangor menjelang 2009 jika proses penyalurannya dilakukan dalam masa terdekat.

“Takungan air bawah tanah yang dijumpai itu sangat besar, mungkin lebih besar daripada Singapura dan boleh menjadi sumber alternatif jika masalah air,” katanya pada sidang media selepas merasmikan Sidang Kemuncak Utiliti Kebangsaan Keempat 2007, di sini, semalam. Dr Lim bagaimanapun berkata, laporan penemuan kawasan takungan air bawah tanah itu memerlukan kajian lanjut sebelum sebarang projek penyaluran dilakukan.“Air bawah tanah itu bermutu tinggi dan mudah disalurkan ke Selangor kerana kawasan berkenaan terletak berdekatan Lembah Klang. Penemuan itu juga menyangkal dakwaan bahawa negara akan kekurangan sumber air pada masa depan,” katanya.Mengenai projek pemindahan air mentah Pahang-Selangor, Dr Lim berkata, pihaknya membuka tender terbuka antarabangsa, bulan depan, yang akan mengurangkan kos projek dianggarkan menelan belanja RM3.8 bilion.

“Kita mungkin dapat kurangkan kos itu menjadi RM3 bilion melalui pembukaan tender seperti ini. Kita sudah jalankan prakelayakan. Kementerian mahu tender terbuka ini dibuat dalam tempoh sebulan ini. Semua ini dijangka disiapkan dua atau tiga bulan lagi dan pembinaannya bermula awal tahun depan,” katanya.Projek yang dijadual siap dalam tempoh lima tahun lagi itu, membabitkan pembinaan Empangan Klau dan terowong sepanjang 44.6 kilometer yang dikorek menerusi Banjaran Titiwangsa untuk mengangkut air dari Sungai Pahang ke Selangor.

Dr Lim juga berkata, Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd (KDEB) dipilih untuk membina dan menguruskan loji rawatan air bernilai kira-kira RM2 bilion bagi merawat bekalan air mentah dari Pahang ke Selangor.Beliau berkata, KDEB akan turut membina rangkaian paip untuk mengagihkan air yang dirawat.Dalam ucapannya, beliau berkata, kerajaan merancang menggunakan kuasa hidro untuk menjana 30 peratus daripada keperluan elektrik negara dalam tempoh 10 tahun akan datang bagi mengurangkan pergantungan ke atas bahan fosil.“Sabah dan Sarawak berpotensi untuk melaksanakan tanggungjawab itu. Kita juga sedang mengkaji kemungkinan mendapatkan kuasa hidro dari Lembangan Sungai Rejang seperti Murum dan Baleh untuk jangka masa panjang,” katanya.Mengenai projek Kuasa Hidro Bakun, beliau berkata, projek itu dijangka siap menjelang 2011.Bagaimanapun, katanya, projek Bakun masih memerlukan kabel dasar laut untuk menyalurkan tenaga elektrik ke Semenanjung.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Older men's blood pressure sensitive to alcohol

Posted by: Marina Mohamad

Reuters HealthMonday, August 27, 2007
By Amy Norton
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Regular drinking is known to raise blood pressure in some people, but the effect may depend largely on age and cholesterol levels, a study of Japanese men suggests.
The study found that unlike younger men, men in their 50s who drank even moderate amounts of alcohol generally had higher blood pressure than non-drinkers. Among men in their 20s, only heavy drinkers showed elevated blood pressure, and even then the effect depended on a man's levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.
In contrast, HDL levels had no bearing on the blood-pressure effects of alcohol in older men.
The findings suggest that older men's blood pressure is more sensitive to the effects of drinking, according to study author Dr. Ichiro Wakabayashi, of Hyogo College of Medicine in Japan.
Still, that doesn't mean that older men should universally abstain from alcohol, Wakabayashi told Reuters Health. Though drinking can boost blood pressure, moderate amounts of alcohol also have heart-protecting effects, he explained.
Besides raising heart-healthy HDL levels, modest drinking may help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and inhibit blood clotting. In addition, numerous studies have linked moderate alcohol intake to a lower risk of developing heart disease.
However, Wakabayashi said, older drinkers who see none of the HDL benefits, but do have higher-than-normal blood pressure, may want to cut back.
For the study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, Wakabayashi used data from more than 21,000 men in their 20s and 50s who underwent periodic workplace health exams. As part of their checkups, the men reported on their average weekly drinking habits.
Those who drank less than 30 grams of alcohol per day -- roughly equivalent to three drinks -- were considered light-to-moderate drinkers. Men who drank more than that were considered heavy drinkers.
In general, young men who drank heavily had higher blood pressure than their peers who drank moderately or not at all. This effect was only seen among young men with average or high HDL levels, however; drinking had no apparent effect on blood pressure among those with low HDL.
On the other hand, drinkers in their 50s tended to have a higher blood pressure -- and a higher risk of overt hypertension -- than non-drinkers. The effect was seen even among men who drank moderately, and HDL levels showed no influence, Wakabayashi found.
All of this, according to the researcher, suggests that older men are typically more sensitive to alcohol's blood-pressure effects than younger men are -- possibly because of age-related changes in the nervous system's response to drinking.
For some men, Wakabayashi noted, any HDL benefits may be "weak" in comparison to the negative effects on blood pressure.
SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, September 2007. Reuters HealthCopyright © 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Harvesting rainwater on roofs

post by Susanne Chi

Harvesting rainwater on roofs

Harvesting rainwater on roofs

PUTRAJAYA: The sky is the limit for the country's latest water conservation initiative. It will soon be mandatory for owners of buildings to install “rainwater harvesting” systems on rooftops and use the collected water for purposes other than consumption or bathing.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the move was to reduce the wastage of precious treated water to wash cars, flush toilets, clean drains or water plants.

He said a by-law to enforce water harvesting and storage systems would be formulated by the Housing and Local Government Ministry for adoption by local authorities.

“However, not all types of buildings will be required to have

the systems. It will only affect buildings with a considerable size of roof so that adequate rainwater can be collected. We are talking about larger buildings like facto-ries and institutions of higher learning.

“Small buildings, including low-cost houses, will not be required to harvest rainwater as it would be costly to install gutters for collection,” he said after chairing the National Water Council meeting yesterday.

Under the proposed system, water will flow from gutters into ponds or tanks from where they can be drawn for uses other than drinking, cooking and bathing.

Asked when the by-law would be enforced, Abdullah said once the draft had been prepared, it would be tabled at the Local Government Council, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Water pollution, a grim reality?

post by Susanne Chi

Water pollution, a grim reality?

Beau Baconguis
Mar 22, 07 11:50am

Today's celebration of World Water Day with the theme "Coping with water scarcity" is a reminder of the need to conserve and protect the world's fresh water sources if we are to avert an impending crisis concerning humankind's most valuable resource.

Water sustains life. The extremely rich biodiversity of Southeast Asia is a testament to the abundance of freshwater systems and high rainfall that support life.

The Mekong River of Mainland Southeast Asia, Chao Phraya of Thailand, and the other rivers and lakes of the region are important sources of food, water for various uses, medicines, energy, minerals, etc. More importantly, these surface waters as well as the underground aquifers provide communities with drinking water.

Unfortunately, the development path that countries in Southeast Asia have taken is one that is highly disruptive to the hydrological cycles. Aquifers, which store precious ground water, have lost their water-holding capacities due to massive deforestation such as those experienced in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Over-exploitation of water sources for industrial and domestic purposes has contributed to the rapid depletion of already limited freshwater resources. These disruptions have severely compromised the ability of the forests to "catch" and then "shed" the water into streams, rivers and reservoirs, as well as the capacity of aquifers to recharge.

Wide disparity

Data from the World Bank shows global per capita renewable freshwater resource of 7,045 cubic meters per year. Within Southeast Asia, there is a wide disparity among countries.

Lao PDR and Malaysia have the highest per capita renewable freshwater resource per year at 35,049 cubic meters and 26,074 cubic meters, respectively. Thailand and the Philippines are among the lowest with 1,907 and 1,854 cubic meters, respectively. Meanwhile, Singapore has no renewable freshwater resource and is importing its water to meet its demands.

Thus, water scarcity is an issue that communities and governments must face and address in the next few years. Some quarters speculate that the next world war will be fought over water. Hostilities are starting to erupt not only in water-starved regions in the world but also in areas where abundant freshwater sources have conflicting uses such as in the Mekong River. At a smaller scale, communities are now battling companies for rights and access to drinking water.

But an equally alarming reality is that water quality has been steadily declining through the years. Siltation from deforestation, mining and other land conversion activities, saltwater intrusion from over-extraction of water from underground aquifers, biological pollution from untreated sewage, chemical pollution from industrial and agricultural sources, as well as indiscriminate dumping of garbage on water bodies, have all contributed to degrading water quality.

Pollution has made already scarce water resources even scarcer. According to the Asian Development Bank, one out of three Asians still do not have access to a sustainable source of safe drinking water and 50% still do not have sanitation services.

With dirty, polluted water come increasing cases of water borne diseases as well as other sickness caused by chemical pollution. In 1992, the World Health Organization pegged the number of infant deaths per year from exposure to contaminated waters at 500,000 in Southeast Asia, while a study in 1997 by the ADB identified lead from industrial sources as the major contaminant in water sources.

Must make changes

While there have been many efforts to clean up dirty bodies of water and waterways, and many governments have made attempts to enforce water
standards (such as the Philippines' Clean Water Act, or Thailand's Pollution Control Act), these can be at best only interim measures.

If we are to protect our valuable water resources, changes have to be made in the way we see and treat our environment. The real solutions to protecting water quality must begin at the sources of pollution. One such effective and lasting measure is the implementation of clean production processes. By eliminating the use of toxics from the very first steps of production, pollution of water sources can be effectively prevented.

Our constant exposure to polluted fresh water sources—clogged, or foul smelling river and lakes, as well as contaminated groundwater—have made water pollution a given, a reality we have learned to accept. Thus, we focus on technology meant to "clean up" pollution rather than prevent it, and draft laws that merely regulate the extent of toxicity in water, rather than prohibit it completely.

We must learn to unlearn this 'reality.' Clean water is the given we must protect if we are to ensure that our water will continue to sustain life well into the future.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Posted by Liew May Cian @ Raymer Liew

Water Pollution

So that you can become a water pollution expert, first we'll investigate different kinds of water pollution. And when you're ready, you can help clean up an oil spill!

One kind of water pollution, which is usually the most common, is called CONVENTIONAL and is made up of conventional pollutants. Conventional pollutants are solid particles and matter found in our water. Most of the pollution you can see is conventional. Cans, bottles, paper--just about anything--can be a conventional pollutant. You can see conventional pollutants in the picture above.

Conventional pollutants cause a wide variety of environmental problems. The solids suspended in the water can block the sun's rays, and this blocking disrupts the carbon dioxide/oxygen conversion process. This process is vital to an aquatic food chain. Sometimes the solid pollution is so bad, the water becomes unusable to humans and animals. The best way to remove conventional pollutants is to run the water through a treatment plant. In treatment plants the water is skimmed, run through several filters, and settled. This removes about 60 percent of the pollutants. The remaining pollution is decomposed by tiny pollution-eating microorganisms. Microorganisms are living things that are so tiny you need a microscope to see them.

Another type of pollution is called NON-CONVENTIONAL and is made up of non-conventional pollutants. Non-conventional pollutants are more dangerous to the environment than conventional pollutants. Non-conventional pollutants are dissolved metals, both toxic (harmful) and nontoxic (not harmful). Many factories dump these pollutants into the water as byproducts of their production process. The most devastating type of non-conventional pollution is an oil spill. More than 13,000 oil spills occur each year in the United States.

Non-conventional pollutants are difficult to remove because they are dissolved in the water. Even though you can't see them most of the time, they are dangerous. Microorganisms, like the ones used to eat pollution in water treatment facilities, are the best way to get rid of non-conventional pollution. However, not all pollution can be removed from the water -- even with the most advanced technology.
Posted by Liew May Cian @ Raymer Liew

Water quality pollutants

Non-persistent (degradable)
  • domestic sewage
  • fertilizers
  • some industrial wastes

These compounds can be broken down by chemical reactions or by natural bacteria into simple, non-polluting substances such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The process can lead to low oxygen levels and eutrophication if the pollution load is high. But this damage is reversible.

Persistent (degrade slowly)
  • some pesticides (e.g., DDT, dieldrin)
  • some leachate components from landfill sites (municipal, industrial)
  • petroleum and petroleum products
  • PCBs, dioxins, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • radioactive materials such as strontium-90, cesium-137, radium-226, and uranium
  • metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium

This is the most rapidly growing type of pollution and includes substances that degrade very slowly or cannot be broken down at all; they may remain in the aquatic environment for years or longer periods of time. The damage they cause is either irreversible or reparable only over decades or centuries.


  • warm water from cooling towers (thermal pollution)
  • floating debris
  • garbage
  • foam

These are examples not of chemical pollution, but of physical pollution which interferes mainly with the usability and/or aesthetic appeal of the water. In certain cases, thermal pollution can kill fish.

Posted by Liew May Cian @ Raymer Liew
Water pollution
Water pollution is a large set of adverse effects upon water bodies such as lakes, rivers, oceans, and groundwater caused by human activities.
Although natural phenomena such as
volcanoes, algae blooms, storms, and earthquakes also cause major changes in water quality and the ecological status of water, these are not deemed to be pollution. Water is only called polluted when it is not able to be used for what one wants it to be used for. Water pollution has many causes and characteristics. Increases in nutrient loading may lead to eutrophication. Organic wastes such as sewage impose high oxygen demands on the receiving water leading to oxygen depletion with potentially severe impacts on the whole eco-system. Industries discharge a variety of pollutants in their wastewater including heavy metals, organic toxins, oils, nutrients, and solids. Discharges can also have thermal effects, especially those from power stations, and these too reduce the available oxygen. Silt-bearing runoff from many activities including construction sites, deforestation and agriculture can inhibit the penetration of sunlight through the water column, restricting photosynthesis and causing blanketing of the lake or river bed, in turn damaging ecological systems.
Pollutants in water include a wide spectrum of
chemicals, pathogens, and physical chemistry or sensory changes. Many of the chemical substances are toxic. Pathogens can obviously produce waterborne diseases in either human or animal hosts. Alteration of water's physical chemistry include acidity, conductivity, temperature, and eutrophication. Eutrophication is the fertilisation of surface water by nutrients that were previously scarce. Even many of the municipal water supplies in developed countries can present health risks. Water pollution is a major problem in the global context. It has been suggested that it is the leading worldwide cause of deaths and diseases,and that it accounts for the deaths of more than 14,000 people daily.

Sources of water pollution
Some of the principal sources of water pollution are:
Geology of aquifers from which groundwater is abstracted
Industrial discharge of chemical wastes and byproducts
Discharge of poorly-treated or untreated
Surface runoff containing pesticides or fertilizers
Slash and burn farming practice, which is often an element within shifting cultivation agricultural systems
Surface runoff containing spilled petroleum products
Surface runoff from construction sites, farms, or
paved and other impervious surfaces e.g. silt
Discharge of contaminated and/or heated water used for industrial processes
Acid rain caused by industrial discharge of sulphur dioxide (by burning high-sulphur fossil fuels)
Excess nutrients are added (
eutrophication) by runoff containing detergents or fertilizers
Underground storage tank leakage, leading to soil contamination, and hence aquifer contamination
Inappropriate disposal of various solid
wastes and, on a localized scale, littering Oil spills
Contaminants may include organic and inorganic substances.
Some organic water pollutants are:
Insecticides and herbicides, a huge range of organohalide and other chemicals
Bacteria, often is from sewage or livestock operations;
Food processing waste, including pathogens
Tree and brush debris from logging operations
VOCs (Volatile organic compounds), such as industrial solvents, from improper storage
Some inorganic water pollutants include:
Heavy metals including acid mine drainage
Acidity caused by industrial discharges (especially sulfur dioxide from power plants)
Chemical waste as industrial by products
Fertilizers, in runoff from agriculture including nitrates and phosphates
Silt in surface runoff from construction sites, logging, slash and burn practices or land clearing sites
Transport and chemical reactions of water pollutants
Most water pollutants are eventually carried by the rivers into the oceans. In some areas of the world the influence can be traced hundred miles from the mouth by studies using hydrology transport models. Advanced computer models such as SWMM or the DSSAM Model have been used in many locations worldwide to examine the fate of pollutants in aquatic systems. Indicator filter feeding species such as copepods have also been used to study pollutant fates in the New York Bight, for example. The highest toxin loads are not directly at the mouth of the Hudson River, but 100 kilometers south, since several days are required for incorporation into planktonic tissue. The Hudson discharge flows south along the coast due to coriolis force. Further south then are areas of oxygen depletion, caused by chemicals using up oxygen and by algae blooms, caused by excess nutrients from algal cell death and decomposition. Fish and shellfish kills have been reported, because toxins climb the foodchain after small fish consume copepods, then large fish eat smaller fish, etc. Each successive step up the food chain causes a stepwise concentration of pollutants such as heavy metals (e.g. mercury) and persistent organic pollutants such as DDT.
The big gyres in the oceans trap floating plastic
debris. The North Pacific Gyre for example has collected the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch that is now about the size of Texas. Many of these long-lasting pieces wind up in the stomachs of marine birds and animals.
Many chemicals undergo reactive
decay or change especially over long periods of time in groundwater reservoirs. A noteworthy class of such chemicals are the chlorinated hydrocarbons such as trichloroethylene (used in industrial metal degreasing) and tetrachloroethylene used in the dry cleaning industry. Both of these chemicals, which are carcinogens themselves, undergo partial decomposition reactions, leading to new hazardous chemicals.
Groundwater pollution is much more difficult to abate than surface pollution because groundwater can move great distances through unseen aquifers. Non-porous aquifers such as clays partially purify water of bacteria by simple filtration (adsorption and absorption), dilution, and, in some cases, chemical reactions and biological activity: however, in some cases, the pollutants merely transform to soil contaminants. Groundwater that moves through cracks and caverns is not filtered and can be transported as easily as surface water. In fact, this can be aggravated by the human tendency to use natural sinkholes as dumps in areas of Karst topography.
There are a variety of secondary effects stemming not from the original pollutant, but a derivative condition. Some of these secondary impacts are:
Silt bearing surface runoff from can inhibit the penetration of sunlight through the water column, hampering photosynthesis in aquatic plants.
Thermal pollution can induce fish kills and invasion by new thermophyllic species freaking
Regulatory framework
In the UK there are common law rights (civil rights) to protect the passage of water across land unfettered in either quality of quantity. Criminal laws dating back to the 16th century exercised some control over water pollution but it was not until the River (Prevention of pollution )Acts 1951 - 1961 were enacted that any systematic control over water pollution was established. These laws were strengthened and extended in the Control of Pollution Act 1984 which has since been updated and modified by a series of further acts. It is a criminal offense to either pollute a lake, river, groundwater or the sea or to discharge any liquid into such water bodies without proper authority. In England and Wales such permission can only be issued by the Environment Agency and in Scotland by SEPA.
In the
USA, concern over water pollution resulted in the enactment of state anti-pollution laws in the latter half of the 19th century, and federal legislation enacted in 1899. The Refuse Act of the federal Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 prohibits the disposal of any refuse matter from into either the nation's navigable rivers, lakes, streams, and other navigable bodies of water, or any tributary to such waters, unless one has first obtained a permit. The Water Pollution Control Act, passed in 1948, gave authority to the Surgeon General to reduce water pollution.
Growing public awareness and concern for controlling water pollution led to enactment of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972. As amended in 1977, this law became commonly known as the
Clean Water Act. The Act established the basic mechanisms for regulating contaminant discharge. It established the authority for the United States Environmental Protection Agency to implement wastewater standards for industry. The Clean Water Act also continued requirements to set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters. Further amplification of the Act continued including the enactment of the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002.
Posted by Liew May Cian @ Raymer Liew
Comprising over 70% of the Earth?s surface, water is undoubtedly the most precious natural resource that exists on our planet. Without the seemingly invaluable compound comprised of hydrogen and oxygen, life on Earth would be non-existent: it is essential for everything on our planet to grow and prosper. Although we as humans recognize this fact, we disregard it by polluting our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Subsequently, we are slowly but surely harming our planet to the point where organisms are dying at a very alarming rate. In addition to innocent organisms dying off, our drinking water has become greatly affected as is our ability to use water for recreational purposes. In order to combat water pollution, we must understand the problems and become part of the solution.
According to the American College Dictionary, pollution is defined as: ?to make foul or unclean; dirty.? Water pollution occurs when a body of water is adversely affected due to the addition of large amounts of materials to the water. When it is unfit for its intended use, water is considered polluted. Two types of water pollutants exist; point source and nonpoint source. Point sources of pollution occur when harmful substances are emitted directly into a body of water. The Exxon Valdez oil spill best illustrates a point source water pollution. A nonpoint source delivers pollutants indirectly through environmental changes. An example of this type of water pollution is when fertilizer from a field is carried into a stream by rain, in the form of run-off which in turn effects aquatic life. The technology exists for point sources of pollution to be monitored and regulated, although political factors may complicate matters. Nonpoint sources are much more difficult to control. Pollution arising from nonpoint sources accounts for a majority of the contaminants in streams and lakes.
Many causes of pollution including sewage and fertilizers contain nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates. In excess levels, nutrients over stimulate the growth of aquatic plants and algae. Excessive growth of these types of organisms consequently clogs our waterways, use up dissolved oxygen as they decompose, and block light to deeper waters. This, in turn, proves very harmful to aquatic organisms as it affects the respiration ability or fish and other invertebrates that reside in water. Pollution is also caused when silt and other suspended solids, such as soil, washoff plowed fields, construction and logging sites, urban areas, and eroded river banks when it rains. Under natural conditions, lakes, rivers, and other water bodies undergo Eutrophication, an aging process that slowly fills in the water body with sediment and organic matter. When these sediments enter various bodies of water, fish respirationbecomes impaired, plant productivity and water depth become reduced, and aquatic organisms and their environments become suffocated. Pollution in the form of organic material enters waterways in many different forms as sewage, as leaves and grass clippings, or as runoff from livestock feedlots and pastures. When natural bacteria and protozoan in the water break down this organic material, they begin to use up the oxygen dissolved in the water. Many types of fish and bottom-dwelling animals cannot survive when levels of dissolved oxygen drop below two to five parts per million. When this occurs, it kills aquatic organisms in large numbers which leads to disruptions in the food chain.
Pathogens are another type of pollution that prove very harmful. They can cause many illnesses that range from typhoid and dysentery to minor respiratory and skin diseases. Pathogens include such organisms as bacteria, viruses, and protozoan. These pollutants enter waterways through untreated sewage, storm drains, septic tanks, runoff from farms, and particularly boats that dump sewage. Though microscopic, these pollutants have a tremendous effect evidenced by their ability to cause sickness.
Three last forms of water pollution exist in the forms of petroleum, radioactive substances, and heat. Petroleum often pollutes waterbodies in the form of oil, resulting from oil spills. The previously mentioned Exxon Valdez is an example of this type of water pollution. These large-scale accidental discharges of petroleum are an important cause of pollution along shore lines. Besides the supertankers, off-shore drilling operations contribute a large share of pollution. One estimate is that one ton of oil is spilled for every million tons of oil transported. This is equal to about 0.0001 percent. Radioactive substances are produced in the form of waste from nuclear power plants, and from the industrial, medical, and scientific use of radioactive materials. Specific forms of waste are uranium and thorium mining and refining. The last form of water pollution is heat. Heat is a pollutant because increased temperatures result in the deaths of many aquatic organisms. These decreases in temperatures are caused when a discharge of cooling water by factories and power plants occurs.
The major sources of water pollution can be classified as municipal, industrial, and agricultural. Municipal water pollution consists of waste water from homes and commercial establishments. For many years, the main goal of treating municipal wastewater was simply to reduce its content of suspended solids, oxygen-demanding materials, dissolved inorganic compounds, and harmful bacteria. In recent years, however, more stress has been placed on improving means of disposal of the solid residues from the municipal treatment processes. The basic methods of treating municipal wastewater fall into three stages: primary treatment, including grit removal, screening, grinding, and sedimentation; secondary treatment, which entails oxidation of dissolved organic matter by means of using biologically active sludge, which is then filtered off; and tertiary treatment, in which advanced biological methods of nitrogen removal and chemical and physical methods such as granular filtration and activated carbon absorption are employed. The handling and disposal of solid residues can account for 25 to 50 percent of the capital and operational costs of a treatment plant. The characteristics of industrial waste waters can differ considerably both within and among industries. The impact of industrial discharges depends not only on their collective characteristics, such as biochemical oxygen demand and the amount of suspended solids, but also on their content of specific inorganic and organic substances. Three options are available in controlling industrial wastewater. Control can take place at the point of generation in the plant; wastewater can be pretreated for discharge to municipal treatment sources; or wastewater can be treated completely at the plant and either reused or discharged directly into receiving waters.
Agriculture, including commercial livestock and poultry farming, is the source of many organic and inorganic pollutants in surface waters and groundwater. These contaminants include both sediment from erosion cropland and compounds of phosphorus and nitrogen that partly originate in animal wastes and commercial fertilizers. Animal wastes are high in oxygen demanding material, nitrogen and phosphorus, and they often harbor pathogenic organisms. Wastes from commercial feeders are contained and disposed of on land; their main threat to natural waters, therefore, is from runoff and leaching. Control may involve settling basins for liquids, limited biological treatment in aerobic or anaerobic lagoons, and a variety of other methods.
Ninety-five percent of all fresh water on earth is ground water. Ground water is found in natural rock formations. These formations, called aquifers, are a vital natural resource with many uses. Nationally, 53% of the population relies on ground water as a source of drinking water. In rural areas this figure is even higher. Eighty one percent of community water is dependent on ground water. Although the 1992 Section 305(b) State Water Quality Reports indicate that, overall, the Nation?s ground water quality is good to excellent, many local areas have experienced significant ground water contamination. Some examples are leaking underground storage tanks and municipal landfills.
Water quality is closely linked to water use and to the state of economic development. In industrialized countries, bacterial contamination of surface water caused serious health problems in major cities throughout the mid 1800?s. By the turn of the century, cities in Europe and North America began building sewer networks to route domestic wastes downstream of water intakes. Development of these sewage networks and waste treatment facilities in urban areas has expanded tremendously in the past two decades. However, the rapid growth of the urban population (especially in Latin America and Asia) has outpaced the ability of governments to expand sewage and water infrastructure. While waterborne diseases have been eliminated in the developed world, outbreaks of cholera and other similar diseases still occur with alarming frequency in the developing countries. Since World War II and the birth of the ?chemical age?, water quality has been heavily impacted worldwide by industrial and agricultural chemicals. Eutrophication of surface waters from human and agricultural wastes and nitrification of groundwater from agricultural practices has greatly affected large parts of the world. Acidification of surface waters by air pollution is a recent phenomenon and threatens aquatic life in many area of the world. In developed countries, these general types of pollution have occurred sequentially with the result that most developed countries have successfully dealt with major surface water pollution. In contrast, however, newly industrialized countries such as China, India, Thailand, Brazil, and Mexico are now facing all these issues simultaneously.
Clearly, the problems associated with water pollution have the capabilities to disrupt life on our planet to a great extent. Congress has passed laws to try to combat water pollution thus acknowledging the fact that water pollution is, indeed, a seriousissue. But the government alone cannot solve the entire problem. It is ultimately up to us, to be informed, responsible and involved when it comes to the problems we face with our water. We must become familiar with our local water resources and learn about ways for disposing harmful household wastes so they don?t end up in sewage treatment plants that can?t handle them or landfills not designed to receive hazardous materials. In our yards, we must determine whether additional nutrients are needed before fertilizers are applied, and look for alternatives where fertilizers might run off into surface waters. We have to preserve existing trees and plant new trees and shrubs to help prevent soil erosion and promote infiltration of water into the soil. Around our houses, we must keep litter, pet waste, leaves, and grass clippings out of gutters and storm drains. These are just a few of the many ways in which we, as humans, have the ability to combat water pollution. As we head into the 21st century, awareness and education will most assuredly continue to be the two most important ways to prevent water pollution. If these measures are not taken and water pollution continues, life on earth will suffer severely. Global environmental collapse is not inevitable. But the developed world must work with the developing world to ensure that new industrialized economies do not add to the world's environmental problems. Politicians must think of sustainable development rather than economic expansion. Conservation strategies have to become more widely accepted, and people must learn that energy use can be dramatically diminished without sacrificing comfort. In short, with the technology that currently exists, the years of global environmental mistreatment can begin to be reversed.