Water becomes polluted (dirty) when people put things (pollutants) in the water that make it unsuitable to drink or swim in – such as chemicals, sewage, oil, litter and even plastic. If people dump waste when they visit the beach or camping sites near water, then the waste ends up in the water.
Most waste we dump on land ends up in the sea.
People may get sick from drinking contaminated water.
Oil spills from shipwrecks or industries can cause the death of many seabirds and fish. Birds covered in oil cannot fly or look for food.
Plastic waste in the sea is very bad for marine animals, who think that plastics are edible (can be eaten). Living organisms can die when they swallow plastic. Plastic fills up the stomach and makes the animal think it is full but plastic has no nutritional value and the animal eventually can starve to death. Plastic can also do physical damage inside the animal’s body, like blockages in the gut or cuts, which can cause a painful death.
Plastic may also strangle animals. Birds will not be able to fly or find food when they get strangled in waste.
Polluted water is not safe to drink or to use in the house and it costs more money to purify the water to make it use-able. Water that is safe to drink is called potable.
When people get sick, the government has to spend money to treat people in hospitals. The same happens to animals when they are sick, treatment is required.
Plants and animals that have to live in polluted areas will grow weaker and die.
Organisations like SANCOB and the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary treat oil-polluted birds.
A polluted environment is not attractive to tourists and may result in fewer visitors – which means less income for the people who work in areas that are polluted.