Freshwater Pollution: Effects on Aquatic Life and Human Health

  • Rizwana Qadri
  • Muneeb A. Faiq


An all-inclusive academic anecdote on water or freshwater and its role in the maintenance and wellbeing of biological systems is a momentous task which goes beyond mere rattling of statistics. Therefore, a discussion about any aspect of water right from basic chemistry to biochemistry and then to biological realm has to have certain restrictions in terms of their scope and area of focus. Phenomena from basic combustion to all life processes are mediated through production and/or consumption of molecules of water. There are dedicated biochemical processes in the biological systems that are important to regulate life at the fundamental level and these processes have a lot to do with molecular water and water as a solvent. There are even certain channels in the most fundamental parts of cellular life-the cell membranes; these channels are called aquaporins which are dedicated to the flow of water across the bio-membrane system to maintain life. With this view, it becomes easy to understand that the most abundant and ardently fundamental biochemical on earth is water. And it goes without saying that more that 70% of the earth’s surface is water and – curiously- the composition of any living organism is 70% water (or more); and this holds true for humans also. Based on this elementary verity, it becomes a mathematical reality that around 70–80% of the diseases must be waterborne. This gives birth to an enormously important field of medicine dealing with the investigations related to water in health and disease. Rapid advancements of unregulated technology and unchecked lifestyle changes have led to an intense upsurge in water pollution and- as a consequence- water borne diseases. A direct impact of industrialization, radioactive discharge, pesticide use etc. on water is generally encompassed within the umbrella term called water pollution. This phenomenon has ill effects on all biological systems including humans. In this chapter we shall restrict our discussion to ill effects of water pollution on human health and wellbeing with occasional narratives on freshwater aquatic life. Water pollution, to start with, is synonymous with typhoid, cholera, encephalitis, hepatitis, giardiasis, cholera, poliomyelitis, shigellosis, diarrhea, death etc. Diseases like lead toxicity, are also included in this group though they are not pathogen borne. There is, therefore, a dire need to have regulatory interventions to bring down the severity, incidence and prevalence of diseases secondary to water pollution which includes agricultural and domestic waste also.


Human health Water pollution Water borne diseases 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rizwana Qadri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Muneeb A. Faiq
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Laboratory MedicineAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Genetics Unit, Department of PediatricsAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.Medical Biotechnology Laboratory, Dr. B. Ambedkar Center for Biomedical ResearchUniversity of DelhiNew DelhiIndia
  4. 4.Laboratory for Molecular Reproduction and Genetics, Department of AnatomyAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew DelhiIndia
  5. 5.Neuroimaging and Visual Science Laboratory, Department of Ophthalmology, Langone Health CenterNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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