Challenge

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Polluted Rivers, Streams and Lakes Unfit for Use

Nearly half of US rivers and streams and more than one-third of our lakes are polluted and determined to be unfit for use. This water not only sits in our rivers, streams and lakes, but is also what is delivered to American homes. The pollution of these waters causes severe harm to human health, the environment, communities, and the economy.
198M
People Impacted
$ 61B
Potential Funding
I have this challenge
the problem
Nature and Context

Covering about 70 percent of the earth, surface water is what fills our oceans, lakes, rivers, and all those other blue bits on the world map. Surface water from freshwater sources accounts for more than 60 percent of the water delivered to American homes. But a significant pool of that water is in peril. Nutrient pollution, which includes nitrates and phosphates, is the leading type of contamination in these freshwater sources. While plants and animals need these nutrients to grow, they have become a major pollutant due to farm waste and fertilizer runoff. Municipal and industrial waste discharges contribute their fair share of toxins as well. There’s also the garbage and toxins that industry and individuals dump directly into waterways.

Symptoms and Causes

Farms, factories, municipalities, and individuals all contribute to this issue.

the impact
Negative Effects

Surface water pollution greatly harms human health, and low-income communities are disproportionately at risk because their homes are often closest to the most polluting industries. Surface water pollution also has damaging effects on the environment, including the destruction of entire ecosystems.

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