Oxygen as an essential element of the aquatic ecosystem


Everyone knows about environmental protection and soccer. Or at least that’s the impression they give. Men are much better known, as they inherit intelligence from their mothers, which needs no justification and is simple biology.

Since last summer, the golden alga has been the most popular individual with the characteristics of an uninvited guest and at the same time fulfills the moral and didactic sense of the proverb “not all gold that glitters.”

Effects of anthropogenic pollution on oxygen in water

Already in elementary school we learn (I, of course, long ago, but much later than the wheel was invented) in physics lessons that matter or energy cannot be destroyed. Then this principle is consolidated in high school, and some even study. The amount of matter in circulation is constant, and after various transformations it still remains in the ecosystem – the earth is a closed system. But it wasn’t until the golden alga began to reign in public disputes that the secret physical knowledge reached (or should have reached) humanity, regardless of gender, age and other individual characteristics.

It’s not dwarves that make spotty discharges of untreated wastewater, it’s not fairy tale monsters or characters from modern fantasy that generate pollution, hoping that benevolent nature is like biblical love: “it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (…).” It can’t stand everything and won’t survive everything.

If we discharge untreated wastewater into a river or lake, the biology is disrupted. The pollutant load, entering the receiver, causes a rapid change in oxygen conditions. Oxygen is “taken away” from the water by pollution and whatever was living in the tank – fish, mollusks or crustaceans – dies, suffocating avalanche by avalanche. If an incident turns into a strategy or practice, the river or lake has no chance of self-cleaning, and an irresponsible person acting irresponsibly leaves behind a dirty, very oxygen-poor byway or watercourse.

If wastewater enters the soil directly, it infiltrates deep into the soil, passing faster or slower – depending on the filtration coefficients – into underground reservoirs or with surface runoff into streams, rivers and lakes.

Oxygen and temperature – a strong relationship

The amount of oxygen in the water depends on the temperature. The warmer the water, the less efficiently oxygen dissolves in it. Hence, crisply cool mountain streams are naturally “overflowing” with it, and in the summer season, with the high temperature of the air, which then heats up the water, the so-called “overflow” can occur. the suffocation effect. It is mostly found in shallow reservoirs and in standing water. Water has a high heat capacity and is much slower to cool down (also slower to heat up) than, for example, air.

Suffocation the effect of various water phenomena

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Dependence of the amount of dissolved oxygen in water on its temperature – Rożnów Reservoir 2022 , source: own elaboration based on PMŚ data

Oxygen demand in the water varies and depends on the number and species of fish. The density and type of fish and plants in the tank can cause the occurrence of suffocation. Oxygen deficit and suffocation symptoms in fish can also occur during eutrophication, artificial fertilization and… feeding. Oxygen under water can also run out when the reservoir is covered with ice and snow for long periods of time, which prevents photosynthesis and leads to a “winter squall.” Oxygen deficiency can occur during a spring or autumn water bloom – massive growth of phytoplankton: mainly cyanobacteria, diatoms, green algae and flagellates.

Too little oxygen in the water, in addition to the rapid death of fish, which occurs under conditions of critical shortage, causes a decrease in their immunity. By disrupting metabolism and metabolism, they are exposed to toxic organic and inorganic compounds and their bioaccumulation. And fish, as we know, are desirable on our tables for their taste and dietary qualities, and not necessarily for accumulated toxins.

Sustainable development in Polish law and beyond

Sustainable development is about intergenerational solidarity, finding solutions to guarantee further growth, actively involving all social groups in development processes and giving them the opportunity to benefit from economic growth.In Poland, the principle of sustainable development has been given the status of a fundamental right under the provisions of the Constitution. Article 5 of the Basic Law states: “The Republic of Poland shall safeguard the independence and inviolability of its territory, ensure the freedoms and rights of man and citizen and the security of citizens, guard the national heritage and ensure the protection of the environment, guided by the principle of sustainable development.”

The concept of sustainability originally came from the field of forestry. It was first formulated by Saxon tax accountant and mining administrator Hans Carl von Carlowitz back in the 17th century. It originally meant a way of managing the forest, consisting of. only as many trees as can grow in that place are cut down, so that the forest is never eliminated, so that it can always rebuild itself. How simple and obvious that The economy should develop in a way that does not threaten the welfare of the environment. And everyone will live well and prosperous in the goods flowing from nature.

Protecting the environment is as important as caring for independence and freedom. And I would add from myself that it is a measure of a person’s culture.

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