Water pollution is a major problem these days, as more and more industrial waste, human waste, chemicals, oils and sewage are getting emptied in large water bodies, be it a lake or ocean. This waste is resulting in disease-causing pathogens that are very harmful for fishes, whether big or small. Their health, physical development and even mortality are being affected at a significant level. Deformities, physical asymmetry, unusual developments and changes in color are some of the results of water pollution and the scenario is getting worse every day.
How does water pollution harm fishes?
The effect of water pollution on a certain species of fish may be direct or indirect, or gradual or sudden. But it does alter the genetic composition of many fishes and causes frightful aberrations at times. Firstly, increasing levels of pollution make a fish stressed and its skin starts losing the protective slime. Over time, wounds and rots form and gills and liver start getting damaged. Moreover, water plants that produce oxygen start dying. Thus, fishes don’t get the amount of oxygen they used to get before. Naturally, they become more prone to diseases, and their growth stops unnaturally. Genetic mutations start occurring to cope with the rising pollution.
Fishes that are known to be affected
Two head sharks have been sighted in some oceans recently, and scientists believe they are the result of over-fishing and pollution. Also, in southern Idaho, scientists chanced upon two headed brown baby trout. The mutated fish was found in a creek that is near a mining zone and this creek contains high amounts of selenium which may be the reason behind the deformity. On the other hand, Atlantic Killfish has evolved surprisingly to become more adapted to polluted water. But not all species can fight heavy metals, dioxins or hydrocarbons, which are often a part of industrial waste.
What to do to prevent water pollution?
Though local governments need to be more vigilant to prevent water pollution, you can contribute by doing your share. Avoid using pesticides in your garden or throwing plastic and other items in ponds or lakes. Find out how you can recycle grey water in your house or office to conserve water levels. Avoid pouring fat or grease down a drain. Medicinal pills or even liquids shouldn’t be poured in sinks or flushed away in toilets. Their pharmaceutical composition may not be right for the fishes.
Instead of adding vegetable scraps to the garbage disposal, you can use them for the compost pile. When you are washing clothes, make sure you use soaps and detergents that don’t have phosphate. Try to use as little bleach as possible. Never dispose automotive fluids in sewage water. A waste basket should be ideally used for disposing paper products or dusting cloths. If you notice people dirtying your local water body like a lake or pond, inform the authorities. With a little care, you can not only help fishes live a healthy and normal life, but also save the lives of animals and birds that drink polluted water.