Externalities of Water Pollution

Externalities of Water Pollution
  • Economic Costs. When an aquatic ecosystem is damaged, commercial fishing and aquaculture are likely to be less profitable. A comparison between the average output of commercial activities, taking account of extraction means (ships, surface cultivated, etc.), over a time period may reveal some indicators about the economic costs of water pollution. Another dimension includes damage to recreational facilities, particularly around fresh water lakes and major beaches. This can be evaluated by loss of attendance and in rent values. Water purification costs, including treatment and inspection, are a burden on municipal budgets. Securing reliable and uncontaminated water sources for large cities requires large investments in infrastructure (dams, pumping stations, waterworks, treatment plants, etc.). Accidental spills by tankers (petroleum products) are expensive events to cleanup.
  • Social Costs. Contaminated water is harmful to human beings, depending on the nature of the pollutants and the type of exposure. However, limited harm occurs in advanced economies, notably because of public awareness and water treatment facilities. The problem takes a very different dimension in developing economies where water treatment facilities are less common and overburdened and where the population relies more on outdoor water sources.
  • Environmental Costs. Besides extensive damage to the aquatic ecosystems, limited attentions has been put upon losses in water regeneration and purification potentials by the fragmentation and/or removal of wetland by transportation infrastructure.