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Inorganic Pollutants: Under Ground Water Reality and Responsibility
Inorganic Pollutants: Under Ground Water Reality and Responsibility

Inorganic pollutants in groundwater come from both natural and anthropogenic (human-made) sources. These pollutants can have significant impacts on human health and the environment. The human made effects of pollutants may be due to sewerage of human, improper waste disposal, and medicines used by human or animals. These all types of effects are leached to under ground water and cases pollution in under ground water and made it unfit for human uses. These may have in low concentration but it's effects on health of living organisms are long term. Pollution in under ground water made it toxic for coming generations making saline and pollute as the time go on. Here are some common types of inorganic pollutants found in groundwater and their sources:

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium can leach into groundwater from natural mineral deposits, industrial activities, mining operations, and improperly disposed waste. These metals can accumulate in the body over time and cause a range of health problems, including neurological disorders, kidney damage, and cancer. Even human waste have heavy metals that were not absorbed in human body, that leached if not properly treated or incinerated.

Research Background

The natural environment and human populations are at danger for health problems due to toxic metals and metalloids. Metals like zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), chromium (Cr), and cadmium (Cd) as well as metalloids like selenium (Se) and arsenic (As) are among the chemical elements commonly found in groundwater. While several of these elements are necessary micronutrients at lower amounts, exposures at high concentrations can cause serious poisoning (Hashim et al. 2011). For instance, He and Li (2020) found that exposure to hexavalent chromium (Cr6+) can raise the risk of cancer. Both the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classify arsenic as a Group 1 human carcinogen.
According to Abbas et al. (2018) and Rebelo and Caldas (2016), As3+ can react with sulfhydryl (–SH) groups of proteins and enzymes to disrupt cellular processes and ultimately result in cell death. When hazardous metals from the environment get into the food chain, they are persistent and can bioaccumulate to a modest degree (He and Li 2020; Hashim et al. 2011).

Nitrate and Nitrite

These compounds are commonly found in groundwater near agricultural areas due to the use of fertilizers and animal waste. High levels of nitrate and nitrite in drinking water can pose a risk to infants and young children, leading to a condition known as methemoglobinemia or "blue baby syndrome." Using higher level of fertilizer to crop results in leaching of nitrate and nitrite to ground water. In rural areas where river water is not available, underground water is used for drinking and also for agricultural purpose. By extracting higher amount of ground water also contaminate it through leaching and made it saline and polluted.

Fluoride

Fluoride occurs naturally in groundwater but can also be added to water supplies as a public health measure to prevent tooth decay. However, excessive levels of fluoride in drinking water can cause dental and skeletal fluorosis, a condition that affects the teeth and bones. To eliminate this issue public should less use of toothpaste and uses natural brush of plants like Neem and miswak.

Sulfates

Sulfates can enter groundwater from natural sources, such as the weathering of rocks and minerals, as well as from industrial discharges and agricultural runoff. High levels of sulfates in drinking water can cause gastrointestinal issues and laxative effects. Sulfates also enters into ground water by sewerage line and affects more in urban areas where mostly sewerage lines are old or blocked and broken.

Chloride

Chloride can come from natural sources, seawater intrusion, road salt, and industrial discharges. Elevated levels of chloride in groundwater can affect the taste and odor of drinking water and can also corrode pipes and infrastructure. Higher level of chloride makes the water saline and unfit for drinking as the EPA has limits of UpTo 250 mg/L is acceptable.

Pesticides and Herbicides

While primarily organic, some pesticides and herbicides can break down into inorganic compounds in the environment. These chemicals can leach into groundwater from agricultural activities, golf courses, and residential areas. To overcome this issue less use of pesticides and herbicides to protect environment and ground water for coming generations and environmental sustainability.

Industrial Chemicals

Various inorganic chemicals, such as ammonia, cyanide, and sulfides, can be released into groundwater from industrial processes, mining operations, and hazardous waste sites. Industries are bound through Environmental Protection Agency of state that they should not store any waste material for long time. Because if any waste material stored for long time it will leached the toxic content to ground water. That will also affects the environment through pumping of underground water for any use.

Monitoring and regulating the levels of inorganic pollutants in groundwater are crucial to safeguarding human health and the environment. Treatment technologies like ion exchange, reverse osmosis, and activated alumina can be used to remove inorganic contaminants from contaminated groundwater sources. Implementing best management practices in agriculture, industry, and urban areas can also help reduce the sources of inorganic pollutants entering groundwater systems. To overcome these issues industries and individuals are also bound for proper disposal of solid waste and liquid waste by treatment or incinerated. The incinerated material should also sent to landfill sites. It is also prime responsibility of environmental protection agency of state to monitor their underground water reality and uses control methods to protect the underground water chemistry. On of the most serious issue of waste disposal is Hospital waste management plan and segregation and disposal for these actions everyone should take responsibility of proper waste disposal.

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