Natural Water Pollutants - Summary

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Water is a liquid substance of vital importance for every human being, since 65% of the human body weight is water. It is the largest part of our entire blood system and is responsible for cleaning our kidneys of toxic substances, among other functions. In the same way that water keeps us alive and afloat, it is also responsible for many of the human activities, such as industry or mining. It is important for all types of life and therefore care must be taken with its use and maintenance, since there are pollutants, both artificial, caused by humans, and natural that can put it at risk.

If you want to know more about what are the main natural pollutants of water, do not hesitate to continue reading this article by Ecologist Verde.

What are natural water pollutants

Although it may not seem like it, all kinds of components are present in water. For this reason, it is not surprising that even those most natural components also intervene in the contamination of the water of rivers, seas and long lines, for example.

We understand by natural pollutants of water all those natural phenomena or elements that pollute nature and are caused by humans. Even so, many times these natural pollutants are aggravated by our activities. The main natural pollutants in water are:

  • Global warming
  • Floods
  • Coastal erosion
  • Volcanic activity
  • Bacteria

Next, we are going to explain water pollutants one by one, and in more detail, so that you can learn how water is polluted naturally.

If you want to know more, you can read these articles on How to avoid pollution of river water or How to take care of nature.

Global warming

The effect of global warming on water goes from one extreme to another: from floods to droughts. Approximately 93% of global warming on Earth is due to heat trapped and stored in the oceans, which has consequences on the temperature and circulation of water. This fact has been taking place since the 1950s, but now is when we are seeing its effects the most.

The increased temperatures It is causing the ice sheets to melt, thus increasing the water level and changing the water cycle. In addition, its quality also decreases since sediment is dragged. Another side effect of rising temperatures is the loss of biodiversity, since marine animals are forced to move in order to survive or even some of them die.

Here you can find more information on How to avoid global warming.


Related to the previous water pollutant, we also highlight the floods generated by the rains. When floods occur, excess water carries with it all kinds of toxic substances (like fertilizers or pesticides), dead animals and waste of all kinds that devastate the area. This pollutant can affect people's hygiene and even trigger diseases diseases caused by contaminated water, such as cholera or typhoid fever, since pathogenic microorganisms end up in the water. On the other hand, there is also damage to infrastructure and the economy, for example.

You can complete the information by reading these other Green Ecologist articles on the Causes and consequences of floods or Diseases caused by polluted waters.

Coastal erosion

Another way of naturally polluting water is coastal erosion. It's about a natural phenomenon caused by the combination of processes meteorological, climatic, hydrodynamic and sedimentary with the shape of the coast. This interaction between processes causes a shoreline modification. This natural phenomenon pollutes the water, since the erosion of the soil, the sediment and the dust of the coast end up in the sea water. In the case of erosions in areas where there is no water, the dislodged elements reach canals and the contaminated water infects drinking water.

If you want to find out more about the subject you just have to take a look at these articles on Marine erosion: types, examples and consequences or Types of erosion.

Volcanic activity

Maybe when we think of the ash released by a volcano When it erupts, we relate it more to air pollution, but we must not forget that the ash that falls into the water also pollutes it. Therefore, we are facing a form of pollution of the sea and contamination of fresh water, depending on how far the ash reaches. When the ash falls into the water, what it causes is that the oxygen in it is reduced. Basically, the ash is biodegraded by bacteria that consume the dissolved oxygen. When this decreased oxygen dissolved in water, the aquatic fauna that needs it to live can be endangered.

With the presence of ash, lava and other elements washed into the water, it becomes much more cloudy. In addition, the contact between lava and water can generate a acid rain.

Learn all about volcanoes by reading these Green Ecologist articles where we explain how volcanoes are formed, the types of volcanoes that exist and what are the parts of a volcano.


We find bacteria in almost every part of the planet: the earth, living things, air and water. In fact, they are the oldest known way of life. It is not surprising that bacteria exist in the water and that some of them can contaminate the water and cause health damage.

An example of this is the bacterium E. coli (Escherichia coli), which is only present in the human intestine and other warm-blooded animals. Due to floods or heavy rains, as we have explained previously, this bacterium can creep in through sewage overflows. The water contaminated by this overflow can contaminate drinking water sources and cause fever and vomiting or abdominal pain.

Here you can find out what types of bacteria exist.

Current state of the water

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), it is estimated that one in five developing countries will suffer from water scarcity problems before 2030. In fact, they are currently 2.2 million people who do not have access to drinking water and another 4.2 million people who also sanitation systems are lacking of safe water. This data is only one of the many Consequences of water pollution. Some of these consequences are:

  • Destruction of biodiversity.
  • Contamination of the food chain.
  • Polluted seas.

Unlike human pollution, natural water pollution is not as harmful or dangerous, since it does not usually cause high concentrations of pollution. When talking about natural pollutants we know that it is more difficult to control them, so the situation worsens. Therefore, we have to become aware and try to reduce human contamination that is in our hands.

In fact, if we continue with the same rate of consumption of this natural resource and do not stop water pollution, by the year 2050, it is estimated that approximately half of the world's population will have water shortage problems.

You can find out more about the subject by visiting this article on Water Scarcity: what it is, causes and consequences of Green Ecologist.

How to avoid water pollution

After having explained how water gets polluted naturally, let's talk about how to avoid water pollution. Although natural water pollutants are the result of natural phenomena and elements, we cannot ignore that a large part of the responsibility for not polluting water falls on humans. Therefore, we are going to mention some recommendations to reduce water pollution:

  • Avoid throwing polluting products (cleaning, paints or cooking oil) down the drain and dispose of them in an appropriate place.
  • Use natural products for the care of your garden, orchard or plants.
  • Avoid phosphates, present in some detergents and soaps.

You can read this other article about Water Decontamination: what it is and methods or watch the Green Ecologist video to know 5 solutions for water pollution.

If you want to read more articles similar to Natural water pollutants, we recommend that you enter our Pollution category.

  • UNESCO. UN-Water, 2022. United Nations World Water Development Report 2022: Water and Climate Change, Paris. UNESCO. Available at:
  • Carranza, C. F. Coastal water pollution study in Chancay Bay: recovery proposal. National University of San Marcos. Available at:
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