The ‘PQR’ of Water Pollution

maj 22, 2008 at 12:46 am 3 kommentarer


photosynthesisPhotosynthesis is a process that is actually very complex and we don’t actually know everything about it yet. It is essentially the conversion of sunlight energy into oxygen and sugar. The importance of this process is somewhat evident in the fact that nearly all life on earth depends on it. Trees and leafs are the most common organisms that springs to mind when ordinary people think of photosynthesis. But photosynthesis is a process that can occur everywhere where a little green pigments called chlorophyll is present. This pigment is what absorbs the sunlight before it is processed and in the end turn out as oxygen.

6H2O + 6CO2 ———-> C6H12O6+ 6O2

Is the official formula of photosynthesis. To us deadly people this means: six molecules of water plus six molecules of carbon dioxide produce one molecule of sugar plus six molecules of oxygen. Sugar is in fact the prime result of the process, and oxygen just happens to be a waste product in the process. What really happen is that the organism (a water plant for example) absorbs sunlight and mixes it with water and carbon dioxide (CO2) and produces sugars which are food for the plant. During this process oxygen is released keeping the water oxygenated and healthy. As you can see from the process above, this process gives us oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide (the prime suspect of Global Warming).


qanatQanats are a supply of water in desserts and other dry areas. A qanat is essentially and underground river or canal, are man built, can run up to 70 kilometres. The first qanat was built about 5000 years ago in Iran and was about 350 meters deep.

A qanat starts high up, normally in the mountains where a “mother well” is dug. This well is the main water source; obviously it has to be reliable for many years to come. The ability to locate these water sources was seen as being a gift and was a strictly kept secret, normally passed down from father to son. From this mother well, main water source, a tunnel to lead the water was dug. The angle of this tunnel had to be very precise, it obviously had to go down in order to led gravity lead the water, but if it was too steep, pools would be generated and there would be a risk that the tunnel would collapse. At every 30 meters a shaft was dug, this meant that the people digging the tunnels would not have many kilometres if they wanted to get out. But they also provided oxygen so the water would stay clean. Remember these tunnels could run up to 70 kilometres. In the end the water would run out in a village.

Many thousand years ago it took a man with a lot of money to build a qanat, but it could be a good investment. If he had a man that could locate a good water source, the village would have water for many years to come. Most importantly the man paying for the qanat also owned the water and would take payment from people who used it.


riverRivers are very important when talking about water pollution and in fact very important in the whole debate about climate change. Despite being a freshwater source, rivers are actually responsible for about 80% of all marine pollution.

Rivers normally have their beginning on land and normally travel a long way before reaching sea. Rivers will therefore pick up a lot of all the waste products being dumped on land. Fertilizers will run into the rivers and will be carried out into the sea. Rain carries contamination from urban area out in the river; chemicals are sometimes being dumped in rivers causing massive fish death. Abandoned mines can cause pollution and toxic metals can find their way out into the rivers system.

Agricultural pollution is a serious threat to many river systems. Excess fertilizer will run into the river taking up oxygen and causing algae bloom and fish death.

Also check out The ‘STU of Water Pollution about:
S) Sewage
T) Thermal pollution
U) Urban pollution


Entry filed under: ABC Series, Environment, Water. Tags: , , .

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