Chapter 3 Causes and effects of water pollution

3.1 Introduction

Water pollution negatively affects the quality of water. It occurs when harmful substances – often chemicals or microorganisms – contaminate a stream, river, lake, ocean, aquifer, or other body of water, degrading water quality and rendering it toxic to living organisms. Water pollution is one of the major global problems today and has been linked to 1.8 million deaths globally each year (Time, 2017).

This chapter explores water pollution in Myanmar, its sources, causes and effects. Unlike vast areas of the planet where water is scarce and people face shortages, Myanmar is a country with abundant water resources but where the quality of water is poor. This has adverse consequences for the health of the Myanmar population and the country’s ecosystems.

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Figure 1 Sunset at Yangon Jetty

3.2 What is water pollution?