Water pollution is a worldwide threat to our health. In many respects, government regulations, environmental protection laws and the decline of manufacturing have resulted in reduced water pollution; but safe, clean water can be a rare commodity depending on where you are. Here are a number of water pollution facts from Conserve Energy Future:
- Fresh water is only about 2.5% of the total water available on the planet.
- About 70% of all industrial waste is dumped into the water bodies, where they pollute the usable water supply.
- At least 320 million people in China do not have access to clean drinking water.
- An estimated 14 billion pounds of garbage (mostly plastic) is dumped into the ocean every year.
- An estimated 15 million children under the age of five die each year worldwide due to diseases caused by contaminated drinking water. That’s equivalent to almost twice the population of New Jersey.
- On an average, 250 million people worldwide suffer illnesses related to water pollution each year.
- According to the WHO (World Health Organization) and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), around 2.5 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation.
- In the U.S., 40% of the rivers and 46% of the lakes are polluted enough to be considered unhealthy for swimming, fishing or aquatic life.
- According to a study by Food & Water Watch, about 3.5 billion people in 2025 will face water shortage issues caused by a growing population needing more clean water and increased pollution contaminating available water supplies.
- Canada, known for its clean image, has ten of the most polluted rivers in the world, including the Petitcodiac River, Okanagan River and Eastmain River.
- The United Nations reports that 27% of the world’s urban population does not have water piped into their homes.
- Each year an estimated 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, storm water and industrial waste are dumped into U.S. waters.
Closer to home in New Jersey:
- The New York Times states there are 3,866 facilities that have received government permits to legally put pollutants into the state’s waterways. As you can see from the Times’ list, some of them have been cited over a hundred times for water pollution violations but have never paid a fine.
- NJSpotlight came out with a list of the state’s ten most polluted beaches in 2014. Topping the list is Beachwood Beach in Ocean County. More than a quarter of all water quality tests over the previous five years exceeded the national pollution standard for bacteria in place at the time. This and other polluted beaches are near storm water pipes whose run-off can create problems due to bacteria. Swimming in polluted water can cause stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, meningitis and hepatitis.
Water pollution can come in many forms. Some students in many of New Jersey’s schools drink lead-contaminated water from fountains and sinks every day. If you believe your child has been injured due to exposure to lead in drinking water, call the Law Offices of James C. DeZao at 1-866-813-4516 or fill out our contact form so we can talk about the situation, how the law may apply and how you may be able to collect compensation for your child’s injuries.