We, along with most animals, are made mostly of water, which means that we and most other animals always have to drink H2O to keep our bodies hydrated. If the marine animals are drinking is contaminated or polluted in some serious way, it will quickly wreak havoc on their health, their ability to procreate and their ability to survive.

Credit: http://naturemappingfoundation.org/natmap/wild/

Types of Contamination

Water contamination is a major environmental problem, as it can harm the animal’s dependent on it as well as those that live around the natural resource. Many things can cause this contamination including sedimentation, runoff, erosion, temperature, pH, decaying organic materials, pesticides, grease and other toxic substances. These things will all end up in an area’s water supply and make it harmful for animals to drink or live in, causing them to die, become unhealthy or have developmental problems.

Most Effected

Animals who are most affected by this contamination are called water dependent animals. This means they eat mainly aquatic plants or animals or live in an aquatic area throughout their entire lives or in one or more of their life stages. It is no surprise then that more than half of the animals on the endangered species list are water dependent, due mostly to contaminated supplies.


When we consider that stat, it is clearly in the government and local community’s best interests to improve the water supplies wherever we can and keep contamination from occurring in the first place. Governments of all sizes must restrict factories, restaurants and other companies from polluting or creating situations where there can be large amounts of contaminated runoff from their facilities. This takes strict laws and enforcement. The government is also working to restore watersheds which have already been polluted through the variety of contamination listed above. Thanks to the Clean Water Act the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency is working to restore the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s lakes, seas, rivers and oceans.

What can You Do?

On an individual level, people can do their part to protect sensitive aquatic areas and keep contamination from happening as easily. One easy way to do this is to pick up animal waste outside and throw it away, so that it doesn’t dissolve when it rains and run off into a water supply. People can also bag and throw away leaking bottles of chemicals, along with the paper towels they used to clean up, rather than just washing those chemicals into gutter. Once you know where a lot of these harmful chemicals people have sitting around their own home go when they are washed away or when it rains, the more conscious they should be of properly cleaning them up. With a collective effort between individuals, companies and the government, we will help to protect this great natural resource for future generations of animals and people.