In many industries, liquid waste disposal is a necessary and inevitable process. Most companies use proper liquid waste disposal methods that are in compliance with environmental standards. Unfortunately, other companies are negligent and do it in a way that is harmful to ecosystems and those who inhabit them.
Also contrary to popular belief, such pollution is not done only by industries. It can occur even at the residential level. Below are 5 ways unsafe liquid disposal practices can harm the environment.
1. Scorching of the soil
Scorching to soil is like bleaching to skin. Hazardous chemicals that are recklessly poured out without any precautions or treatment can contaminate the soil and enter lakes, streams, and drinking water supplies.
Scorching kills all the nutrients and organisms found especially on the top layer of the soil therefore reducing the soil’s fertility. When this happens, the chances of crop production are significantly reduced creating a chain reaction that ends with drought and starvation.
2. Acid rain
Hazardous chemicals, especially those with an acidic nature have the potential of changing the pH of the bodies of water that they infiltrate. This is especially true if it has no outlet or if the chemical disposal is done on a consistent basis.
Acidic rain occurs when a water body becomes acidic. When evaporation takes place and the clouds form after condensation, acid rain falls. Acid rain is harmful to human beings as it may lead to cancer. It also negatively affects vegetation as it has the potential to burn holes in plant leaves and affect the soil.
3. Contamination of aquifers
Poisonous chemicals easily permeates the soil through osmosis and diffusion. When soil and water bodies become saturated with these chemicals, the toxins tend to easily spread to the neighboring environment. This means further penetration into the soil beds with the possibility of reaching the aquifers laying beneath. These aquifers are natural water sources such as springs and streams and their contamination will result with the eventual pollution of the bodies that they connect to such as oceans, ponds, and lakes.
Contamination of aquifers also means that the people who depend on these water supplies for their daily use may get affected leading to health complications and in extreme cases, death.
4. Loss of biodiversity
As stated previously, harmful liquid disposal practices at one centralized place can lead to gradual effects to parts further away. Due to the flowing nature of liquids, the spread of hazardous liquids occurs much easier than that of their solid counterparts.
It is important to note that in the case of a river being used as the point of chemical disposal, downstream effects are unavoidable. For example, if a river is an inlet stream to a lake or an ocean, most organisms are bound to be affected. Either they will flee from this new change in their environment, or they will stay and die from contamination. Whichever the case may be, there will be a significant loss in animal and plant life leading to an imbalance in the ecosystem due to biodiversity loss.
5. Health complications
Needless to say, the careless and uncontrolled disposal of harmful liquids will lead to the occurrences of health complications. This can be from the foods consumed by people and animals, or from the water they drink which might have come into contact with the toxins. Cancer, viral and bacterial infections are among the diseases that may arise in such cases.
When liquids are disposed of without treatment or precautions, there is no limit to the amount of damage and destruction that it can cause to anything in its path.