Freshwater Pollution

Why 'BPA Free' May Not Mean a Plastic Product Is Safe loading...
Why 'BPA Free' May Not Mean a Plastic Product Is Safe
Alternatives to the now infamous compound keep popping up. But researchers aren’t convinced they’re any better for us.
Only One-Eighth of the Ocean is Free of Human Impact loading...
Only One-Eighth of the Ocean is Free of Human Impact
Thirteen percent of the world’s oceans is considered marine wilderness—crucial areas of water mostly undisturbed by humans where biodiversity is able to flourish.
A Running List of Action on Plastic Pollution loading...
A Running List of Action on Plastic Pollution
The world is waking up to a crisis of ocean plastic—and we're tracking the developments and solutions as they happen.
Why Jack Johnson Sailed The Sargasso Sea Searching For Plastic loading...
Why Jack Johnson Sailed The Sargasso Sea Searching For Plastic
The artist and surfer, who grew up in Hawaii, is driving awareness of ocean pollution.
We Made Plastic. We Depend on It. Now We’re Drowning in It. loading...
We Made Plastic. We Depend on It. Now We’re Drowning in It.
The miracle material has made modern life possible. But more than 40 percent of it is used just once, and it’s choking our waterways.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Isn’t What You Think It Is loading...
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Isn’t What You Think It Is
It’s not all bottles and straws—the patch is mostly abandoned fishing gear.
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.

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit