Freshwater Pollution

Three Quirky Projects Make Art Out Of China's Polluted Air loading...
Three Quirky Projects Make Art Out Of China's Polluted Air
Filthy air has inspired Chinese citizens to speak out—and in some cases, to create art.
How an Uninhabited Island Got the World’s Highest Density of Trash loading...
How an Uninhabited Island Got the World’s Highest Density of Trash
Isolation protects the island from human intrusion—but not 18 tonnes of plastic.
Mysterious Shark Killer (Partially) Identified loading...
Mysterious Shark Killer (Partially) Identified
Scientists have discovered a surprising culprit behind a rash of shark strandings in California and elsewhere, but many questions remain.
Three Reasons to Believe in China's Renewable Energy Boom loading...
Three Reasons to Believe in China's Renewable Energy Boom
It has atrocious air pollution. It fears climate change. And it wants to be a "manufacturing monster" in renewables too.
China's Surprising Solutions to Clear Killer Air loading...
China's Surprising Solutions to Clear Killer Air
More than a million people are thought to die a year from air pollution in China, but now the country is fighting back with innovative solutions.
This Bug Can Eat Plastic. But Can It Clean Up Our Mess? loading...
This Bug Can Eat Plastic. But Can It Clean Up Our Mess?
Scientists have discovered that wax worms can eat plastic bags. Could that help us reduce plastic pollution?
See the Best and Worst Places for Breathable Air in the U.S. loading...
See the Best and Worst Places for Breathable Air in the U.S.
New rankings of air quality in cities show the cleanest air isn't always rural.
Quirky Portraits of One Town's Trash—And the People Who Take Care of It loading...
Quirky Portraits of One Town's Trash—And the People Who Take Care of It
A photographer’s work spotlights waste management workers in southern Italy.
The World's Most Polluted River Revealed in Photos loading...
The World's Most Polluted River Revealed in Photos
A recent high court ruling in India that gives the Ganges personhood status may lead to environmental redemption.
Straw Wars: The Fight to Rid the Oceans of Discarded Plastic loading...
Straw Wars: The Fight to Rid the Oceans of Discarded Plastic
Americans use 500 million straws daily. Citizen activists want to shrink that number.
About Freshwater Pollution

As technology improves, scientists are able to detect more pollutants, and at smaller concentrations, in Earth’s freshwater bodies. Containing traces of contaminants ranging from birth control pills and sunscreen to pesticides and petroleum, our planet's lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater are often a chemical cocktail.

Beyond synthetic pollution, freshwater is also the end point for biological waste, in the form of human sewage, animal excrement, and rainwater runoff flavoured by nutrient-rich fertilisers from yards and farms. These nutrients find their way through river systems into seas, sometimes creating coastal ocean zones void of oxygen—and therefore aquatic life—and making the connection between land and sea painfully obvious. When you dump paint down the drain, it often ends up in the ocean, via freshwater systems.

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