How Do Chemical Fertilizers Cause Water Pollution?

Chemical fertilizers are used widely today and have been in common use among farmers for the past few decades.

They seem to be helpful in growing and nourishing a crop, whether it is by expediting its growth or ensuring that it can be grown in a less fertile environment.

Nevertheless, the growing use of chemical fertilizers has also given rise to a number of problems. Some of them include numerous food-related diseases while others are agricultural and water pollution.

Although water pollution occurs due to various reasons, the use of chemical fertilizers makes it more apparently harmful to us.

Since water is directly linked to crop yields and groundwater through absorption, it is crucial to learn about the manner in which chemical fertilizers adversely affect the water level, and quality and lead to water pollution.

In this article, we would study chemical fertilizers and how they work. Further, we would also discuss how they cause water pollution and what could be the possible solutions to this problem.

Before moving forward, it would be helpful to mention that although chemical fertilizers are good for crops, which has been proven and witnessed over the year, excessive use of these can be harmful.

Thus, while reading the article, know that a controlled and minimal use of fertilizers is not always the reason for bad yield.

Understanding the Effects of Chemical Fertilizers

Firstly, it is crucial to note that most fertilizers include large amounts of nitrates and phosphorus. They are carefully planned and chemically induced to have a specific proportion of these chemicals and compounds to enhance and expedite the growth of crops and plants.

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However, they are advised to be used on non-edible crops that are mostly used as raw materials, but their use on edible crops must be done with great caution and knowledge or else it could have detrimental effects with prolonged usage.

The fertilizers are food for plants, which they absorb and use to grow.

One of the reasons for their use is indeed increased production and yield which are a result of increasing demands and a complex network of imports and exports, all aimed at helping the economy of the country.

How Chemical Fertilizers Cause Water Pollution?

Chemical fertilizers are a crucial reason behind water pollution as apart from the other pollutants like oil, factory, and industrial waste, the fertilizers when washed away or when not applied properly often mix with the soil or get absorbed excessively by the edible crops.

Due to the passing on of fertilizers and mixing with the groundwater, it can often be passed to households and places where they are used commonly. Thus, causing water pollution. Let us now learn about the harmful effects of this process.

Harmful Effects

Due to eutrophication or the excessive presence of nutrients in the soil and crops, mixed with water, an adverse impact is observed in the lifespan and nutrition of aquatic animals. Not only do these animals have to feed on the contaminated crops but also often lead to toxic substances or effects.

Fertilizers and water pollution can easily lead to a rise in the number of algae and other water weeds present. This creates a further deteriorating effect on the water-based plants and soil through irrigation, leading to a more complex problem.

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Further, when water pollution caused by fertilizers reaches the common household through edible crops or drinking water, it often creates an imbalance of nutrition in the bodies of average healthy individuals.

In some serious cases, it can even cause food poisoning, allergies, and deformities. It is commonly observed that due to the excessive presence of nitrogen and less oxygen, the water is no longer fit for drinking or even washing your skin and hair. Thus, many waterborne diseases can also be passed along with fertilisers apart from causing deficiency and allergies.


One of the best ways to prevent the ill effects of fertilisers on water and its quality is to ensure that you only use fertilisers as and when they seem necessary.

It is not ideal to force plants and crops to grow without first accommodating nature-friendly agricultural practices.

You should always check the phosphorus value of your fertiliser. In case the phosphate levels are too high, it may not be an ideal cause for your fertilisers.

Additionally, it is advisable to consult an agricultural expert before you incorporate any fertiliser into your crops to ensure that the quality and application are adequate and as per the suitability of crops.

Another method to prevent the dire consequences of chemical fertilizers through water pollution is to adopt organic farming methods.

The organic market is becoming globally popular and inclusive, which is why many new communities can be easily found that would help you make the easy shift.

With organic and nature-friendly practices, although you have to give the crop the time it deserves to grow, but with flourishing demands for certified organic products, you will not lose out on the profit.

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Many people are becoming aware of their carbon footprint and the nature of the food they eat, which is why it is a good idea to shift to organic methods of farming.

Alongside the organic farming methods, it is our duty as consumers to ensure that we buy our food consciously.

With soaring demands due to many FMCG and retail companies, it becomes more important that we govern the quality of products that enter the market, and this small step can be helpful in curbing the effect of chemical fertilisers on the water in turn.


Thus, in this article, we learned about the functions and processes of chemical fertilizers.

We also learned how in a few cases it can even lead to water pollution, giving rise to several diseases and the spread of toxic substances.

It is crucial to have access to clean and pure water around us, as it is one of our lifelines apart from oxygen and food.

If we respect the water and work on sustainable development, this goal is definitely achievable.



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