Water Crisis and Global Economy

September, 2019

Water crisis is becoming a major issue affecting the global economic growth and human wellbeing. Certain bacteria and chemicals can drain oxygen from water and transform it into a poisonous form affecting the ecosystem. World Bank has collected a database on water quality from several monitoring stations for studying the effects of water pollution on the global economy and has analyzed that decreasing water quality affects economic growth, human health, and food production. World Bank has alerted governments across the world for taking immediate action as the pollution is getting more severe day by day. Organic pollution in water is measured using a criterion known as Biological Oxygen Demand. When Biological Oxygen Demand crosses a threshold, GDP growth drops due to the impact of the pollution on health and agriculture. Although water pollution is a global issue, developing countries are the worst affected since they don’t have proper resources to deal with water pollution. For instance, raw water in Kenya is heavily polluted with chemicals and is unfit for irrigation, or human and livestock consumption.

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One of the major reasons for poor water quality is nitrogen which enters water mainly in the form of fertilizers. Exposure to nitrate can affect the growth of children, especially brain development. Growing number of industries, agricultural activities near water sources, encroachment of the riparian zones by companies, growing population, and rapid urbanization are some of the major factors driving the global water pollution. Pollution in rivers, especially in upstream region increases the risk of waterborne illnesses to people living downstream.

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There is an increasing need for curbing water pollution worldwide. Accurate monitoring of pollution combined with environmental policies and standards can help to curb the problems associated with water pollution to a certain extent. Other major things required are water treatment infrastructure with increasing participation from private sector and highly effective law enforcement systems.

– Arjun Das
ICT – Research Analyst
Infoholic Research