Plant Conservation Journal
Animals have been found with alarming amounts of human trash objects in their stomachs. The recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is yet another stark and graphic reminder of how water pollution affects wildlife, and why we collectively as a society need to legislate and implement stronger measures than ever before to protect nature. While the most recent environmental tragedy is of enormous scope and impact, it draws attention to the hundreds if not thousands of smaller incidents in which water pollution negatively affects wildlife and the ramifications of mankind's apathy and folly in failing to preserve nature. The sad fact is that many of nature's gifts cannot be repaired once damaged, and the affect of water pollution upon wildlife is often permanent and irreversible
despite extensive efforts. In the most basic overview, water pollution affects the creatures that reside in the water - fish and amphibians are are most frequently and strongly impacted as they rely on clean water for their very existence. Low oxygen levels in the polluted water make it difficult or impossible for these creatures to breathe and as a result of the pollution they simply perish from suffocation. The ecosystem upon which wildlife depends for sustenance is destroyed by pollutants, and in some instances entire species are eliminated from a specific location as a result of the pollutants in the water.
Even for those species that do survive, the overall population of wildlife is generally reduced and weakened, often with reproductive cycles becoming less frequent and less productive. Water pollution affects wildlife on land by means of a domino-effect, in which not a living creature is not impacted in one manner or another. The availability of clean drinking water for animals from a formerly reliable source is eliminated by pollution, as is the aquatic wildlife that once served as an important link on the food chain for land animals. The once natural balance in population and general health of all wildlife is altered beyond repair, as one species nearly becomes extinct while another grows in numbers that cannot be supported in the long-term by available natural resources.