How is the river water polluted

Water pollution

We bathe in them, let our ships sail on them and they supply our fields with water: streams, rivers and lakes have become an integral part of our lives. But they are not only important for us - they also provide a habitat for many different animal and plant species.

State of the waters in Germany

That is why it is important to protect our waters and keep them clean. Unfortunately, many bodies of water in Germany and other European countries have been heavily polluted for years: In 2000, the member states of the European Union therefore committed to bringing their rivers, lakes and groundwater back to a "good condition". The states have drawn up an "EU Water Framework Directive". This should ensure that the dirty waters look as natural and clean as they used to be by 2015 at the latest. This deadline could not be met in Germany. Even if the water quality has improved significantly, many bodies of water are still not doing well. However, the targeted goal is to be achieved by 2027.

Causes and dangers of water pollution

People are often responsible for the poor state of the water. This becomes particularly clear with the example of the rivers: In the past, humans simply used the rivers as drains. He dumped sewage from the cities and toxins from the industrial plants and rubbish dumps into them. In addition, man has removed trees and bushes from the banks to build houses and plant fields. He straightened many rivers so that ships could navigate them better. What seemed a good idea at the time has unfortunately caused a lot of damage to nature: fish can no longer find quiet, protected places to hide or lay their eggs. Mussels, fish eggs or insect larvae are buried under mud or washed away when heavy rain, sand and mud from neighboring fields wash into the water. Agricultural fertilizers and pesticides also end up in this way in some rivers. In the long run, these toxins are dangerous for all living things in and around the water. Very sensitive animals such as the fire salamander, the caddis fly or the brook lamprey are threatened with extinction due to water pollution.

The threatened pearl mussel

One animal in particular suffers from the poor condition of our waters: the freshwater pearl mussel. It is even threatened with extinction. In the middle of the last century, millions of them were still found in German streams. There was even the profession of mussel fisherman and the precious pearls adorned the crowns of European kings. Today, however, there is not much left of the former “mussel herds”. Especially the pollution and silting up of many streams and rivers cause problems for the mussel. The largest remaining deposits now live in the waters of the Hof district in Upper Franconia.

Status: 03/24/2010, 3:37 pm