Position Paper 2 – Water Pollution
The quality of the earth’s water is vital to our existence. We need ample clean water to quench our thirst,
irrigate our fields, and sustain all life forms in the environment. We must have clean water in our homes,
communities, businesses, industries, and in nature. We need clean water today and we will need it tomorrow.
We rely on clean water in almost every aspect of our lives. We rely on it for drinking, bathing, cooking,
swimming, fishing, and boating. We count on it for growing and processing our food and nourishing the plants
and animals. We count on the aesthetic qualities of clean water to nourish our souls. Unfortunately, we have no
guarantee that clean water, relied on so heavily, will always be available (Keilman, 480). The supply of clean
water on the earth is finite, and it is being threatened by water pollution.
We must keep our water clean.
Water pollution is a serious problem today, in spite of efforts to control it. The Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that approximately one third of all the waters in the United States are unsafe
for swimming, fishing, and drinking (Miller, 22).
Many of these waters are suffering the effects of indirect or
diffuse discharges of pollutants associated with storm water runoff from adjacent lands. This type of water
pollution is called nonpoint source pollution to differentiate it from direct or point source discharges of
pollutants into waterways from pipes and outfalls (Blair, 36).
The polluted waters in the United States include our major waterways and their tributaries. The
Mississippi River, for instance, which drains about half of the continental United States, has serious water
pollution problems (Blair, 41). Water quality degradation caused by erosion and sedimentation, municipal and
industrial discharges, and agricultural runoff threaten its fish and wildlife. Structures constructed on the
Mississippi for navigation and flood control also contribute to the decline in water quality (Umshler, 565).
Even greater problems exist in other parts of the world, where water quality has been a lower priority