Effects of pollutants on the aquatic environment
Effects of pollutants on the aquatic environment

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Effects of pollutants on the aquatic environment

7 Biological pollutants

Biological pollutants are organisms that may be harmful to other forms of life, but they have to be ingested to have any effect. The most usual form of transmission is the faecal–oral route, in which faecal matter from one human being finds its way into another. This can happen through the ingestion of faecally contaminated water or food. Alternatively, sometimes pathogenic organisms can be consumed through eating contaminated undercooked food, as in the case of certain strains of Escherichia coli.

The effects of the different organisms are varied, and can be more easily ascertained through sources such as the WHO or local health protection agencies. However, in this subsection I will describe the characteristics of the main water-borne pollutants, namely:

  • pathogenic bacteria
  • coliforms
  • faecal streptococci
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • viruses
  • protozoa
  • helminths
  • other biological pollutants.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371