The Effects of River Pollution

River pollution has a devastating effect on both the environment and human health, and we could face serious consequences if we do not start looking after our rivers better than we did so far. Unfortunately, river pollution problem still is not receiving as much attention it should which makes it more difficult to solve.


Another serious problem is the fact that river pollution is typically associated with factories releasing toxic chemicals into rivers. Industrial pollution is indeed highly problematic but just as problematic are everyday actions of an individual. The thing is that just about everything that ends up in toilets and drains is a potential threat to rivers as most sewage and waste water go to the nearest river.

River pollution has an instant effect on aquatic life. It does not always cause mass fish death, however, the fish living in severely polluted rivers are unsuitable for human consumption. In the long term, a continuous pollution can disrupt the natural balance between the creatures that live in rivers which in turn can seriously affect a number of wildlife species which are directly dependent on the rivers. This eventually leads to loss of biodiversity and even disappearance of some species from particular areas which can seriously disrupt the ecosystem which affects humans as a part of the ecosystem as well. We are still heavily dependent on the nature and anything that threatens the environment threatens ourselves as well.

Besides making fish and other sources of food from rivers unsuitable for human consumption, river pollution also affects the supply with drinking water. Rivers are an important source of drinking water worldwide and if they become too polluted, we could face serious problems with water shortage. Water is available in limited amounts only, while most earth’s water is either salty or polluted.


River pollution also seriously threatens human health both directly and indirectly. Skin contact with polluted water can cause a skin reaction in the form of rashes, swallowing even the tiniest amount of polluted water such as during sport activities can lead to serious illness, while consumption of fish from polluted rivers can cause a number of health problems with severe consequences. A potential flooding further jeopardises human health both directly and indirectly as it contaminates farmland and gardens.

In the end, river pollution affects the economy. Although it is often considered as the unavoidable “side effect” of economic growth, river pollution can seriously hamper economic growth of the nearby areas especially those that depend on tourism and fishing. However, it is important to be aware that river pollution does not only affect the communities that live nearby rivers. On the contrary, it affects us all. Things have started improving in the last few decades but in order to keep our rivers clean and healthy, we all need to start behaving environmentally responsible by avoiding pouring into the drains and toilets any substances that threaten the environment as well as talking about the problem because everyday actions have a greater impact on rivers than most people are aware of.