Surface water and groundwater are the main sources of readily available freshwater. As a result, their contamination will directly affect human health as seen in China and Bangladesh. In China, the deterioration of water quality was caused by the pollution of the environment by emissions and waste products from industries, agricultural runoffs and improperly disposed sewage. In Bangladesh, natural arsenic is majorly responsible for the contamination in the groundwater. In both countries the low quality of water has greatly affected the health and social aspects of their everyday life. For example, skin lesions, lung and skin cancers are common in Bangladesh, while gastrointestinal diseases are dominant in China. The case studies on China and Bangladesh confirm the direct relationship between human health and water quality and need for appropriate remediation techniques. In both countries, extensive remediation and monitoring methods have been established for present cases of contamination, and new regulations such as the payment of fines have been introduced to ensure more water bodies are not contaminated. This practices will also indirectly improve social impacts as well since the rate of occurrence of water borne diseases will be lower.
The hydrologic cycle describes the transfer and exchange of water within and between the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere (UNESCO, 2009). Water, which is usually colorless, tasteless and odourless in its natural state is the only compound known to exist in solid, liquid and gaseous state at room temperature (USGS, 2009). The total volume of water on Earth is 1.4 billion km3, of which 35 million km3 is freshwater including groundwater reserves, lakes, r...
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...ths and other birth defects (Wang et al., 2006). Another issue associated with these heavy metals is their ability to disrupt the homeostasis of living organisms if they are ingested because the organism’s internal organs does not recognise these metals and cannot digest them (Smith et al., 2000). Heavy metals may also change their form within the environment. For example, mercury may react with alkyl compounds such as alkyl halides to form alkyl mercury (Seaton et al., 1995). Lipids and proteins in humans and other smaller organisms have an even stronger affinity for alky mercury than mercury (WHO reports, 2009). As a result, ingested alkyl halides are not easily excreted and they bioaccumulate and biomagnify in these fatty tissues and proteins from which they are transported up the food chain with consumption of contaminated food substances (Seaton et al., 1995).
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